How do I decipher these ad matchups?
Ad matchups look intimidating to those unfamiliar with them and can be confusing to those of you just starting out. Let's begin by walking through what exactly an ad matchup is.
An ad matchup is where the published ad for any given store is typed out, and all available coupons for each product are listed below each product. Since stores have varying coupon policies, most matchups will not include a final price unless the policy is corporate.
Here at OCH, we like to be organized and color code the types of coupons we list. Each product and price if given will be listed in bold and black. Directly below, if there is a manufacturer coupon from the paper, magazine, tearpad, peelie, etc. these coupons will be listed in red. Printable coupons will be listed in blue, store specific coupons will be listed in purple, and e-Coupons will be listed in green.
Printable coupons and e-Coupons will be links, so make sure to click on these to either print or load your coupons.
Now that you know how to read an ad matchup, let's talk about how to find the best deal. Visit your local store's forum HERE, locate your current matchup (these will have the date of the sale listed in the title of the thread), and print it out for each store you generally shop.
Next, you will start with one store, take your list, and put an asterisk (*) next to each item in the ad that you have on your list. Do the same for each of the stores, and then compare to see which store has the lowest cost. You need to be familiar with each store's policy to know whether or not they double and how many like coupons they accept.
Once you have found your lowest prices on the items you wish to purchase, you then need to make a gameplan of which stores to visit in which order. If you're like me, I prefer to find the store with the best deals and stick to that store. If I absolutely cannot pass up a deal, I will then make a stop at multiple stores.
The best piece of advice I can offer is a variation on the old saying of "the early bird gets the worm."
The early couponer gets the deal.
If there is a hot advertised deal, be prepared to be at the store as close to opening on the first day of the sale. If you are late, or are unable to get there before shelves are cleared, be sure to know your store's policy on rainchecks.
Typically rainchecks are given when an item is advertised and is out of stock during the sale. Just visit the customer service desk, request a raincheck for the item you wish to purchase, and in a specific quantity. Again, keep your store's policy on doubling and how many like coupons in a single transaction you can use in mind when doing this. Rainchecks will typically have an expiration date of 30 days out. Be sure to not let a raincheck expire and keep checking back to see if your items have been restocked before your raincheck expires and of course your coupons expire.