Saving money with smart phone coupons.

I’ve recently gotten into using seed beads to make art projects. When we were in Sibundoy, Colombia I learned how to make bead bracelets and we were using Preciosa seed beads from the Czech Republic. The Preciosa seed beads are a very good quality bead at a very reasonable price. The cheapest seed beads are made in China and have very inconsistent quality and sizes. The best and most consistent, quality and sized, seed beads are made in Japan and are a bit more expensive than the Preciosa beads. One day we want into Michael’s which is an arts, crafts, hobby and decorating store.  We went into the store just to see what kind of seed beads they had for sale.  They did not have the Preciosa beads that I was looking for but only had cheap Chinese seed beads and expensive Toho brand seed beads from Japan.  We looked at the coupon page and saw that they offered a 40% off coupon for one item.  When you check out they simply scan the coupon bar code displayed on your smart phone screen.  Michael’s is selling the beads for $2.99 and with the 40% coupon brought down the price to $1.794, with the total is $1.96. I bought one package of beads, handed my phone to my wife who also bought one package of beads. We also got my mom to use her phone to get the coupon and buy one package of beads.

We thought we were doing pretty good getting 40% off.  You can’t even buy the Toho seed beads for that price on-line. So it seems to be a good deal.  However when the receipt printed we each got a 50% off coupon for one item good for the next week.

At 50% off the seed beads are an even better deal.  The next time we were near Michael’s we stopped in we both bought one package of seed beads using our 50% off one item coupon. The 50% off price is $1.49 and with taxes the total came to $1.63. That’s $.33 less than what we paid at the 40% off price.  It’s not a huge savings but $.33 adds up.

At checkout we received a 50% off coupon for one item for the next week. After using the 50% off coupon a 40% coupon had much less appeal. I was curious and looked online to see what coupon Michael’s had for that week. The current coupon was 50% off of one item.

The closest Michael’s is 13 miles away and driving that far to save $1.49 ($2.99 on 2 ) does not make economic sense. It would more than that in gasoline to drive there and back.

We were still at the store and were wondering how we could used the on-line coupon to save 50%. Both the printed and on-line coupons say “Limit one coupon per person per day”.  We had just used out paper 50% off coupon and if the cashier was strict with the coupon rules we would be out of luck. Fortunately for us the cashier that we had went on break and another cashier opened up another register. That cashier didn’t know that we had already made a purchase. So we each bought a package of beads using the 50% coupon on our phone.  While we were checking out the line for the cashier got long and they temporarily opened up another register.  Seeing another opportunity walked out the exit door and then went back into the store to buy more beads at with the new cashier, again using our 50% off coupon on our phone.

This was a rare circumstance that there were three different cashiers but we used it to our advantage and were able to buy 6 packages of Toho seed beads at 50% off. Plus we received 6 50% off coupons for the next week.

The next week we are in Michael’s again and both use our 50% off coupon. Unfortunately it is not busy so no more registers open and the cashier does not go on break. We left with 4 valid 50% off coupons in our pockets. We did some other shopping and returned to the store about an hour later. Luck was on our side and there was a new cashier. Again we were new customers to her and we both bought our one package of beads at 50% off. As we were leaving someone just opened up the service desk so back into the store we head and checkout with the service desk person.

Now we have 6 packages of beads in our pockets and 6 40% off coupons which are good the next week.   We won’t even use the 40% off coupons now, especially since we know that 50% off coupons exist.  Now we only stop in if there is a 50% off coupon AND we are in the area.

So far we’ve picked up 25 packages of beads for $38.26 and saved 37.98 using 3 40% off coupons and 22 50% off coupons.

Even today we were in the area and bought some beads. We ran some errands then returned to a new cashier and bought a couple more packages using this weeks 50% off coupon.  It works when you have more time than money.

It’s nice being able to make a purchase and save 50%. What I don’t like is the fact that if you are not using a coupon or buying things on sale you are getting ripped off and overpaying for something which the company is happily overcharging you for.  Michael’s made $176 million in profits on $4.2 Billion in sales in 2011 so I don’t mind going back through the line to save myself $1.49 each trip.  When the coupons stop so does my shopping.

That’s my idea. You can apply this concept for purchasing items other than beads, that’s just what I’m into at the moment.

Good luck!



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