Coffee With Collin

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Coffee with Collin: All About the Bloopers

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Today’s Coffee with Collin episode is all fun with pretty much no educational value. Despite the fact that all of you made so many wonderful suggestions on the Coffee with Collin survey from several weeks ago, I have opted to dedicate an entire episode to my bloopers. And let me tell ya, I could have created a video of bloopers that easily lasted an hour or more. As you’ll see, I have made many mistakes on my videos throughout the years. In addition, you may be surprised to find that my attitude isn’t always so sweet and “hip”…ask my hubby, sister, dad, mom or anyone else that interacts with me on a regular basis. Yep, I am just a real person behind the camera and behind the computer and you’ll get to see my good and bad sides today. Enjoy! At the very least, I hope that I make you smile! :D

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

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Coffee With Collin: Walmart Shopping

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This week’s Coffee with Collin is all about shopping at Walmart. Walmart is a great store for all you coupon newbies as it is what I consider a “basic” store meaning you do not have to worry about Register Rewards, +Up Reward, Extra Care Bucks, buy one get one free sales, Catalina coupons etc.

Enjoy!

*If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

Hip’s Basic Tips for Walmart Shopping:


(1) Park far away…it’s great exercise and you’re less likely to have to fight over a parking spot.

(2) Subscribe to All You Magazine or purchase a copy at your local Walmart. In this month’s All You Magazine, you’ll find over $75 worth of coupons.

(3) Keep your eyes peeled for those Roll-Back prices.

(4) Read through and print a copy of Walmart’s coupon policy to have with you while you shop. One of my favorite additions to Walmart’s coupon policy is the following: “If coupon value exceeds the price of an item, the excess may be given to the customer as cash or applied towards the basket purchase.”

(5) Be sure to stop by the travel section to make use of coupons that have no size exclusions.

(6) Know your price points. You may also want to check out this post for some helpful information.

(7) Pick an off time to shop to avoid the crowds.

(8) Read through and print out a copy of Walmart’s Price Matching Policy. Try to keep all your price matching items together in your cart to make for a more efficient check out experience. Be sure to point out the items that you are price matching before they are scanned by the cashier.

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Coffee With Collin: Proper Coupon Usage (Un-Extreme & Un-Complicated)

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This week’s Coffee with Collin focuses on a VERY important topic in the world of couponing: proper use of coupons. Let me say that this video is primarily directed at coupon newbies so it may be somewhat boring for those of you who have been couponing for quite some time now. However, I encourage all of you to take the time to watch the video (newbies and experts alike) as I hope that all of you coupon experts will leave tips to help the newbies and on the flip side, I want all of you coupon newbies to be able to ask any sort of questions that you may have (and remember, there are no stupid questions!).

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

Proper Coupon Usage

(1) You can only use one manufacturer coupon per item purchased. For example, if you have 3 $1/1 Colgate toothpaste manufacturer coupons, you can purchase 3 Colgate toothpastes in the same transaction and use all 3 $1/1 Colgate toothpaste manufacturer coupons (i.e. one coupon per toothpaste purchased). This “rule” may seem obvious but many coupon newbies (and even some cashiers/managers) do not always understand the difference between a purchase and a transaction. Since you are purchasing each item, each item is itself a purchase. A transaction is the total of all the items purchased. In this case, the 3 Colgate toothpastes make up your transaction. Still confused? Check out this article.

(2) In some cases, you can use both a manufacturer coupon AND a store coupon for the purchase of one item (this is called stacking). For example, Target allows you to use both a Target store coupon AND a manufacturer coupon for the purchase of one item. This same sort of policy holds true for Rite Aid and Walgreens as well. If you are not familiar with a store’s coupon policy (and whether they allow stacking), I strongly encourage you to read the coupon policy and/or check out my store guides prior to your first shopping trip.

(3) Do not use expired coupons even if they scan! If you have a stash of expired coupons, consider sending them to military families overseas. Check out this post for more information.

(4) If you have a coupon that requires the purchase of multiple items, then you must purchase the stated number of items on the coupon. For example, if you have a $1/2 Ken’s Dressing coupon, you must purchase 2 Ken’s Dressings to use the coupon. Also, keep in mind that this $1/2 coupon is applied/attached to both dressings so you cannot apply an additional manufacturer coupon to either of these 2 dressings.

(5) Read the text on Free product coupons and Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons and pay special attention to the maximum value allowed. For example, let’s say you have a free product coupon for Axe Shower Gel with a maximum value of $5.99 specified on the coupon. Your store has the Axe Shower Gel priced at $6.99; if you use the free product coupon, you will actually pay $1 for the shower gel since the coupon only allows a maximum of $5.99.

(6) Look Beyond the Picture (i.e. focus on the text and NOT the picture). For example, I have a manufacturer coupon that specifically states “Save $3 off any K-Y Brand product (excludes trial sizes)”; the manufacturer has intentionally placed a picture of K-Y Intense (a rather expensive K-Y product) on the coupon. At first glance, one may assume that you can only save $3 off the purchase of K-Y Intense; however, once you read the text, you realize that the coupon can be used to save $3 off any K-Y product except for trial sizes. That means you could use this coupon to snag K-Y lubricant for FREE or almost FREE!

(7) Have I mentioned that you need to read the text?! ;) Another reason to read that text is because occasionally a coupon may state one per customer. In this case, you can only use one coupon no matter how many items you purchase.

(8) If a printable coupon seems too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of e-mails (even if they are from your friends and family) that attach coupons for free products or other offers that seem “too good to be true.” They are almost certainly counterfeits. To check out a suspicious coupon, head over to the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) and you can view a list of current counterfeit coupons. You can also report a suspicious or counterfeit coupon that you discover.

Photo courtesy of FritoLay.com

If you come across a coupon with one or more of the following items, keep in mind that this may indicate that the coupon is fraudulent: coupons with NO expiration date; misspellings on coupon; no purchase required to get free product; coupon does not refer to specific size or weight limits for free product; extremely high maximum value for free product (ex. – $5 maximum value for a single bag of Doritos is extremely high considering these rarely sell for over $4/bag at ANY store)

(9) If you want to confirm that a Coupons, Inc. coupon is legit, head over to the Coupon Resource Center and enter the Veri-Fi code found on your coupon (i.e. the unique code that prints on your coupon). Keep in mind that when you go to print a coupon, you should never see the actual coupon on your screen, only an offer to print it. Real coupons require special software to print proper barcodes and limits the number of prints of each coupon. For this reason, you CANNOT photocopy a coupon! Keep in mind that photocopying a coupon, intentionally using a coupon for a product that you have not purchased and/or intentionally using a counterfeit coupon can result in serious legal consequences (to date, the longest prison sentence has been 17 years of jail time and the highest financial penalty has been $5 million in fines!).

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OK, now that you know how to use coupons properly, how about learning about the coupon redemption process. Do you really know how the process of coupon redemption works for stores?! What do stores do with those stacks of coupons that they collect from all of us savvy shoppers? Knowing this information outlined below will allow you to be that much more confident when you are at the register and the cashier mumbles something like “Using coupons rips off the stores.”

Coupon Redemption Process

-Manufacturers design coupon promotions with their sales/marketing teams

-Coupons are distributed via newspaper inserts, direct mail campaigns, via the internet etc.

-A very “hip” shopper excitedly enters the store and proudly uses all of his/her coupons at checkout ;)

-The cashier scans the coupons and puts them into the cash drawer. Typically, at the end of the day the coupons in each cash drawer are added up as if they were cash, and that amount is added to the cash sum to be sure the overall total for the drawer is accurate.

-Once per week, all of the manufacturers’ coupons (and any coupons issued by the grocer) are sent in plastic bags or pouches to the store’s corporate headquarters.

-There is a very lucky person at headquarters in charge of processing the coupons. That person boxes all of the bags of coupons and ships them to a third-party clearinghouse.

-The clearinghouse is then responsible for doing the most important part of the coupon redemption process– separating the coupons by manufacturer or by scannable coupons versus damaged/torn coupons. Most of this process is done by hand. Sometimes coupons are put face up on a conveyor belt and move under a scanner that reads the UPC codes and tallies the amounts. However, damaged and torn coupons have to be tallied by hand. The clearinghouse then sends all the sorted coupons with an invoice to the manufacturer.

-The manufacturer will reimburse stores the face value of coupons or if the coupon calls for free merchandise, for the retail-selling price up to the stated maximum value printed on the coupon PLUS 8¢ for handling each coupon properly redeemed (this 8¢ value may vary slightly). Many times manufacturers, such as ConAgra Foods, will also reimburse retailers that are using a clearinghouse or billing agent at a rate equal to $5.50 per thousand of coupons redeemed.

-The manufacturer either reimburses the clearinghouse for the amount of the invoice, and the clearinghouse mails a check to the store for the amount of the coupons OR the manufacturer sends a check directly to the store and the store then pays the clearinghouse. (The clearinghouse is paid a certain amount per coupon by the store, plus shipping and handling).

(Thanks to HowStuffWorks for some of the info on explaining the coupon redemption process!)

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If you’re ever in need of a specific product and are wondering if there is a coupon available, what better place to search for it than the Hip2Save Coupon Database!? :D Here at Hip2Save, we’ve created a Hip2Save Coupon Database where you can search for any and all coupons, including home mailers, printable, store-only, in-store, Facebook, and many other types of coupons!

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Coffee with Collin: Your Help is Appreciated!

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I apologize for the lack of a Coffee with Collin video this week. :( No good excuse other than the fact that I opted to spend the weekend with my kids and hubby. We watched lots of movies, played games, ate good food and just enjoyed each other!

Today, I’m looking to you for input and inspiration on upcoming videos. If you can take a few minutes to fill out this survey, I would be most appreciative. In addition, 5 survey participants will win one of my 5 most favorite things highlighted below:


* Vitamix Blender
* Apple iPad 2
* Designer Jeans (you give me your size/style preference and I’ll do the rest!)
* Keurig Home Brewing System
* Smooth Move Tea 6 pack ;)

What are you waiting for?! Head on over to complete the survey. Thanks for your help! :D

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Coffee With Collin: Stockpile Organization

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This week’s Coffee with Collin is all about stockpiling. Although many of you may expect that I have a huge stockpile of all the deals that I have snagged in the last few years, you may be surprised to learn that my stockpile is actually rather small and is all contained within my pantry, under my bed, and on a shelf in my garage. I also love to donate items and share my excess with friends, family and neighbors!

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

So how about you? Where do you stockpile all your goodies? Do you have any creative ways to store items? Please share with us in the comments below.

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Coffee With Collin: Let's Talk Fashion

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This week’s Coffee with Collin is one of my favorites thus far as I am chatting about one of my most beloved topics. No, it’s not couponing per se (although that is at the top of my favorites list) and no, it’s not food (again at the top of my favorites list)…it’s fashion, jewelry and shoes!! Yep, this week’s episode gives you a glimpse into where I find my favorite outfits and accessories.

Enjoy!

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

How to Save on Jewelry
* Hit the clearance section (my favorite stores to find discounted jewelry are Target and Walmart)
* Ten Thousand Villages (click on shop, then click on clearance and sort low to high)
* Forever 21
* Wait until items are marked 75% off or more

How to Save on Clothing
* Skip the mall and head to the clearance racks at Target or Kmart (or T.J. Maxx, Ross and Marshalls)
* Tulle (wait for their “Tullesday” Sales)
* HauteLook.com
* Swirl.com
* Rue La La

How to Save on Shoes
* 6pm.com
* Amazon.com
* Browse the clearance section at Target

So…now it’s your turn! What are your tips for snagging shoes, clothing and jewelry at a “hip” price? Please share your secrets in the comment section below.

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Coffee with Collin: "The Car Episode"

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This week’s Coffee with Collin is a little different and likely not a topic that you would have expected me to address. However, due to my extremely squeaky brakes and my got-to-get-it-done-right-now mom, this week’s video focuses on how to feel confident and make smart decisions at the mechanic. You’ll learn my top 3 money-savings tips and hopefully be entertained as well! *Note: This video is not as informative as I had hoped, but hopefully you’ll get a laugh or two out of it.

Enjoy!

**If you can’t see the video, then go here to watch it.

More Ways to Save at the Mechanic…

* Check out your mechanic’s website for special savings. You may also want to consider signing up for the newsletter as you’re likely to receive special discounts and offers. For example, if you head over to the Firestone website, you’ll snag special coupons like $7 off a standard oil change and $10 off select maintenance service. In addition, sign up for Firestone’s email newsletter and you’ll receive exclusive coupons.

* Check out Valpak.com. Enter your zip code and you should discover local deals like discounted oil changes, auto services and more.

* Check out this article for even more tips

** A BIG thanks to Keith and Noreen, the owners of 30 Minute Muffler & Brake Center in Jacksonville, NC. If you live in or near Jacksonville and are in need of a trustworthy mechanic, I highly recommend that you check them out! They are located at 740 Bell Fork Road and can be reached at (910) 353-3160.

Do you have a mechanic in your local area that provides excellent customer service? If so, please feel free to share the name and location of the auto service center in the comments below.

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Coffee with Collin: Coupon Organization Part 2

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Today’s Coffee with Collin is all about my coupon binder. That’s right… today, you will get an exclusive look at my gigantic coupon binder! Plus, you’ll get lots of tips to make your very own binder!

On a side note, I had a great opportunity to visit with reader, Tambry, from Tennessee. Unfortunately, when I went back to edit the video, I discovered that it was really difficult to hear Tambry speaking. For this reason, I’ve decided to not include my conversation with Tambry in the video below. I’ve also decided to not continue with the reader conservations at this point. I am trying to think about another way to get you all involved, so stay tuned for some possible ideas.

Enjoy!

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

As you saw in the video above, my favorite coupon organization method is the three-ring binder with baseball card sleeves and clear plastic dividers. I prefer a standard three-ring binder versus the more expensive zippered binder. Although, I initially started out with a zippered binder, I was unable to zip the binder as my coupon stash expanded (which defeats the purpose). In addition, the binder was so bulky and very difficult to put in my purse. I arrange my coupons by category… you can also arrange them alphabetically.

Coupon Binder Supply List


* Heavy-Duty 3 Ring Binder
(keep in mind that Staples has all Avery Heavy-Duty View Binders at 50% Off with in-ad coupon this week)

* 4 sets of Plastic Dividers 8 count
(I highly encourage you to spend the extra money to get plastic instead of paper …it will be well worth it!)

* Baseball Card Sleeves to hold your coupons
(If you are a newbie couponer, you may only want to purchase 18-20 sleeves initially and then add more as your coupon supply grows)

* Scissors – Every couponer needs these! ;)
(Staples has the Westcott 8″ Recycled Scissors on sale for $2 with in-ad coupon this week)

Build Your Own Coupon Binder on Amazon.com:
(for those of you who would prefer to create a coupon binder from the comfort of your own home)

* Avery Durable View 3 Inch EZ-Turn Ring Binder $9.59 with FREE shipping with Amazon Prime
* Avery Style Edge Insertable Plastic Dividers 8-Tab Set $5.41 with FREE shipping with Amazon Prime
* 25 pack of baseball card sleeves $5.99 with FREE shipping with Amazon Prime
OR 100 pack of baseball card sleeves $13.75 with FREE shipping with Amazon Prime

Wondering what categories I use? Check out these FREE Hip2Save printables below to help you organize your own coupon binder…


* Hip2Save Coupon Binder Cover Sheet
* Avery Style Edge Plastic Dividers (item #11201): Page 1 and Page 2
* Avery Big Tab Insertable Plastic Dividers (item #11901 & 16282): Page 1 and Page 2

As I mentioned in this video, I highly encourage you to print off each store’s coupon policy and place it in your binder. Below are the direct links to the coupon policies of some of my favorite stores…

Rite Aid Coupon Policy
Target Coupon Policy
Walgreens Coupon Policy
Walmart Coupon Policy
* Please note that CVS does not have a coupon policy; however, check out my CVS Store Guide for lots of great tips!

If you are a newbie couponer,  start small. Instead of jumping into a binder (which can be very overwhelming), consider filling up an envelope with coupons. As you become more familiar with couponing and are determined to continue for the long term, then you may want to advance to the binder method or another organizational method of your choice.

Did you miss my past Coffee with Collin episodes?! If so, head on over here to check them all out.

A special thanks to GiftCardRescue.com for providing Tambry with a $50 Starbucks gift card! If you are in the market to buy, sell or exchange unwanted gift cards, be sure to check out GiftCardRescue.com.

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Coffee with Collin: Coupon Organization Part I

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Today is my third episode of Coffee with Collin. In addition to discussing the various coupon organization methods, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit with Hip2Save reader, Jennie, from Missouri.

Enjoy!

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

As you will see in the video above, my favorite coupon organization method is the three-ring binder with baseball card sleeves and clear plastic dividers. I prefer a standard three-ring binder versus the more expensive zippered binder. Although I initially started out with a zippered binder, I was unable to zip the binder as my coupon stash expanded (which defeats the purpose). In addition, the binder was so bulky and very difficult to put in my purse. Although you can arrange your coupons alphabetically, I choose to arrange them by category (stay tuned for next week’s episode as you’ll be able to print off a list of my favorite categories).

If you are a newbie couponer, keep in mind that you may want to start small. Instead of jumping into a binder (which can be very overwhelming), consider filling up an envelope with coupons. As you become more familiar with couponing and are determined to continue for the long term, then you may want to advance to the binder method.

You may also want to consider Jennie’s preferred coupon organization method. Jennie arranges her coupons alphabetically in a plastic box.  She writes each category on a 3×5 card/sticky note, staples the index card/sticky note inside a small envelope and organizes the envelopes within the box in alphabetical order by category (see Jennie’s pictures below)…

Did you miss my past Coffee with Collin episodes?! If so, head on over here to check them out.

Would you like to appear as a phone guest on an upcoming episode of Coffee with Collin?
Be sure to complete the form found here!

A special thanks to GiftCardRescue.com for providing Jennie with a $50 Starbucks gift card! If you are in the market to buy, sell or exchange unwanted gift cards, be sure to check out GiftCardRescue.com.

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Coffee with Collin: How to Make Coupon Clipping Fun and Time Efficient

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Today is my second episode of Coffee with Collin. In addition to discussing how to make coupon clipping more fun and time efficient, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit with a Hip2Save reader. Nicole from Amarillo, Texas, was randomly selected to be my first Coffee with Collin phone guest. Please note that because the total length of the video has to be 10 minutes or less, I had to edit quite a bit of this video including a large amount of my conversation with Nicole. Also, I noticed when watching the video that I was talking quite fast… sorry about that! It’s just that talking coupons always gets me excited! :)

**If you can’t see the video, go here to watch it.

Did you miss my first Coffee with Collin episode?! If so, head on over here to check it out.

Would you like to appear as a phone guest on an upcoming episode of Coffee with Collin?
Be sure to complete the form found here!

A special thanks to GiftCardRescue.com for providing Nicole with a $50 Starbucks gift card! If you are in the market to buy, sell or exchange unwanted gift cards, be sure to check out GiftCardRescue.com.

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