Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about saving and coupons.  If you have any questions you would like posted please email me at hollys.savings (at) gmail (dot) com.  Thanks!

How much time does a grocery deal take?

1 hour is the usual amount of time. It all depends but most of the time it can take me about an hour to put everything together.  At night after my daughter is to bed I start looking at blogs like the ones on my sidebar and I start researching which ones have some good deals.  As soon as I find some great matchups I will write those down and look for my coupons in my organized inserts.  I put the coupons in my couponizer for the next trip.

Where do I find coupon inserts?

Do you have a major newspaper in your area?  Look for the major newspaper in your area and subscribe to it.  My biggest suggestion is calling them and asking if there are any promotional deals going on and ask if you can get that promotion for a year or longer.  Like in my Beginners Start Saving Here page, I mention asking friends, co-workers and neighbors for their inserts. You can even ask your local coffee shop because on Sunday morning there will be those that leave them behind.

What does a profit mean?  Do you really make money on a purchase?

A profit is an overage of the purchases in a transaction after all expenses are subtracted.  The profit maybe store coupons for next purchases, cash, check, or gift cards.  It can even be a combination of them all.  Be sure to consider those store coupons as “money” or “cash” because it is.

What does OOP mean?

OOP means Out of Pocket.  When I first started to shop at CVS, I was so surprised how many people on would mention their LOW OOP.  I started to shop at CVS after learning about it from and I would get my Extra Care Bucks (ECBs), however, my OOP was equal to the amount of Extra Care Bucks I was getting back, which to us frugal shoppers might consider high but not as high as I would have normally spent.  I then learned that the goal in a transaction and in life for that matter is LOW OOP! In fact, this technique works great at just about any store and any shopping experience I have.  I set a goal for myself – a game if you like, and reach for a low OOP.  When you have a low OOP that means you are NOT spending much at all.  You are in fact saving and not spending!

To help you get motivated one of my OOP transactions was $.52.  Click HERE to take a look!  Or even $.10!  Click HERE.

What is a purchase vs. transaction?

When I started to use coupons this was one of the biggest lessons I learned!  A transaction is a start and finish process at the cashier and can include one to multiple purchases.  A purchase is one item.  You can have 10 purchases in 1 transaction or you can have 1 purchase in 1 transaction.   You CAN always ask to do more than 1 transaction at any store.  The reason can be because of coupons used or because of the requirements in the deals or store policies.

When a coupon says, “One per purchase.”  This means: One coupon per item or as many coupons per items in a transaction can occur.  Yes, you can buy 10 items and have a coupon per item.

What does a coupon mean when it says “One per customer.”?

This means: One coupon per customer visit. If you want to use more than one of these coupons you will have to ask or see if the cashier will accept it or not.  They may or may not.  This is usually a store policy.  Or you have to go a different store or come back another day.

What does YMMV mean?

“Your Manager May Vary”

This means that in some instances the manager or store may or may not allow a deal that the corporate company might not have a formal decision to accept or not accept.   For an example:  There might be a deal that someone learned about but it isn’t in the store ad.  Since the corporate company isn’t formally backing the deal up the manager makes the decision.

Can you really combine coupons and store deals?

Yes, it all depends on the stores coupon policy, and the coupon.  CVS, Rite Aid, Target and Safeway as examples, publish a lot of their own store coupons and you can match that store coupon with 1 manufacture coupon.  In addition, some stores offer the wonderful X/XX coupon (as an example $3 off a $15 transaction or a $5 off a $25 transaction).  These coupons pretty much guarantee a very low out of pocket as long as you use coupons and  don’t exceed the minimum requirements.

Why do some of my coupon say “Not Subject To Doubling” or “Do Not Double”?

This is a great question.  I’ve done some research on this and the best answer is this store policies vary, of course but as long as the coupon barcode starts with a “5” it will automatically double at the cashier, if it says “9” it won’t.

That comes to my next question.  Why doesn’t the manufactures put a “9” in the barcode if they don’t want the coupon to double?

There is actually a reason.

If you read the fine print on most coupons, you’ll note that the manufacturer promises to pay the store back the face value of the coupon, plus usually 8 cents for handling. But with many stores offering double or triple coupons all the time, the manufacturer wants to be clear that it will only pay the face value. When a store chooses to double or triple coupons anyway, the store is basically taking a loss on the doubled part of the coupon.

So, for example, if you have a 50-cent coupon and the store doubles it to $1, the manufacturer will pay the store back 50 cents for the coupon, plus that 8 cents for handling. But the other 42 cents comes out of the store’s pocket. Many stores choose to go ahead and double coupons anyway because it’s a way to compete with other stores in the super-competitive grocery industry. And that is really good for shoppers!