Couponing 101: The Pretty Girls Guide to Penny Deals

Friday, May 9, 2014

Hey ladies! 
Im back again with another lesson in couponing =)

This week has been jam packed with "Penny Deals" and unmarked clearance "Run Deals". It wasn't  until I started posting on Instagram and Facebook about all my finds that I realized a lot of you had no idea what either of these things were.

Literally every post I made was getting dozens and dozens of questions coming in one after another. Like questions were coming in so fast I couldn't even keep up with them lol. I was like a deer in headlights!

Now trust me had I known that this many people didn't know about penny deals, this post would have been up ages ago. One because then I wouldn't have ad to answer as many questions lol and two because I really do hate seeing people miss out on great deals because they are not in the know. 

So I have taken it upon my self to put up this post to make sure that all my pretty girls are prepared for the next time I let you know its time to go after some penny and run deals.

One of my penny items hauls total cost pop .17 cents 
Below you will find ALL the information you need to know about Penny Deals, if you still have questions after reading this please feel free to contact me via Instagram @Regularasslife or email and ill be happy to try to help you further. Also don't forget to subscribe to The Pretty Girls Guide its completely free and you will be able to stay up to date with all  my post!


Ok first thing first If you are completely new to couponing I suggest before you even think about trying to take part in Penny Deals or Run Deals that you go back and read my previous post to get up to speed on everything that is couponing. You can find couponing lingo HERE, couponing tips HERE , HERE and HERE and how to stack coupons at Target HERE.

Before I get started I would also like to throw a warning out there to those who are relatively new to couponing and considering on taking part in hunting for Penny Deals. Personally I wouldn't openly suggest that newbies go after these these types of deals only because it takes a bit more work than regular couponing deals and it can also be very frustrating. Going on the hunt for penny deals is a huge hit or miss and you can often spend a whole day searching and driving from store to store only to come home empty handed. So I tend to let newbies know that this may not be the deal for them if they are not completely dedicated to it and prepared for disappointment. However on the flip side there is a chance that you could hit the jackpot and get HUGE discounts on items that can be used as gifts, kept for you and your family or resold.

What to know how to get a receipt like this? Keep reading!
Now that all that is out the way....lets get down to business. Im going to try to explain Penny Deals as best I can, what the rule to hunting them down are and address the most frequently asked questions I got about them.

What Is A Penny Deal/Penny Item?

To explain in the simplest way a Penny Deal or a Penny Items is an item in a store that has been marked down to a penny in the stores system to let them know as they go through inventory or markdowns that this item should be taken off the shelves completely.

As with most stores when its time to do markdowns, they will get an email telling them what to mark down and to what price/percentage however even before those emails are sent the company changes the prince in the system so the items will ring up at the new markdown price when scanned.

We are all used to 20%, 50% and even at times 70% mark downs in stores as seasons change and they phase out old product and get in new product. The penny items are the same idea except as I said before those itms have been marked down to the lowest possible selling price (.01 cent) so that sales associates when scanning and remarking prices can see it and know this item needs to be taken off the shelf completely, it is either too far out of season or the store is no longer going to cary it.

How Do You Know About A Penny Deal/Penny Item?

More Michaels Penny Items
Ok here is the "tricky" part, because penny itms are actually supposed to be cleared off of the stores shelves by their workers and either destroyed, donated, or sent to overstock stores (marshalls, ross ect) I'm sure your wondering how we as couponers are supposed to get in on these deals.

The truth behind this question is that.....well we are actually not in some sense, if everyone did their job in stores and did markdowns and inventory on time there would be no way that we could get in on the deals, but seeing as how some people are lazy, some stores are big and there is a huge margin of human error (missing physical markdowns, missing items ect) a stores computer system will have things marked down to a penny and they could possibly be still sitting on the shelf while their tag shows regular price and no one is the wiser.

Luckily for us, there are couponers all across the country who dedicate time to watching things such as sessional items at certain stores drop in price. These same couponers also know store cycles and about how long or when things should start to drop in price and when things should get to their lowest possible selling price and should be taken out of the store (I AM NOT ONE OF THESE PPL so please don't ask me lol) They go to the stores and price check items often to see the difference in price then right before it drop to the lowest price (.01 cent) they will let others know that in the next few days that things should be a go!

How long do Penny Deals Last?

Normally once the word gets out in couponer land that a Penny Deal/Penny Items are a go you have about a one to two day window depending on what type of area you are in to search your local stores and stock up on your penny deals. This is because your are racing against other couponers looking for the EXACT SAME ITEMS AS YOU while also racing against store workers who have probably just gotten the email that it is time to do markdowns and to pull the penny items off of the shelf. So when you hear its time to RUN....RUN! Its pretty much every man for him...or herself after that point.

Dont be a slow poke and wait. If you want your penny deals like me RUN all of these were one cent each!

What stores have Penny Deals/Penny Items?

Ok so I only know about two stores that actually have Penny Deals/Penny Items and that is Michaels and Dollar General. I know for a fact that other stores mark down items super low like that. For example I know of a retail store who in order to know that the item should be pulled off the floor corporate marks the item down in their system to .10 cents. However they if you happen to pick up an item that is .10 cents in their system (No it will not be marked .10 cents on the tag) and you take it to the cashier they will not sell it to you for .10 cents...hell they won't even tell you its .10 cents, they will sell it to you for the last known or last sellable selling price. 

Target is also like this for things that are no longer carried by them and have been clearance'd down so low that it is no longer in their systems when it rings up they will either give it to you for its last known selling price or ask you, "what do you want to pay for it".

Michaels and Dollar General however, if you go to the register and it rings up .01 they will and have to sell it to you for that price =)


So now that we have the basics of what Penny Deals are out of the way lets get down to how to find penny deals and the rules (yes there are rules) of Penny Deal shopping and how to find the Items.

How to find out about Penny Deals 

As I stated earlier there are super couponers (lol I imagine them to wear capes) out there who basically make it there job to track dropping prices on items. From there the word really just does trickle down the couponing totem pole.

The easiest EASIEST and BEST ways to know when a Penny Deal is going on is to follow the right people on Instagram. A lot of the more popular couponers on their are the first to know about these deals. Once they know and have gotten to a store to confirm they post about it and from their its time for you to decide if your going to go after a deal or not.

How to know which items are Penny Items

The knowing if an item is a penny or not is surprisingly the easiest part of the whole thing. Once your are following someone that post about a penny deal more often than not they tell you in the post EXACTLY what items are a penny. Some people post list, some people tell you what tags to look for or when all else fails just look at what is in their haul picture. If they have a picture of an items/items and they said they paid a penny for it....just look for the exact same items.

No not everyone will post the same things and not everyones store will have the same things so if you don't like what someone is posting or if you are wondering if there are more items that are a penny that they did not get check tags on instagram like #pennyitems, #pennyfinds, #pennydeals, #nocouponsneeded and that should show more items that the person you were following didn't post if there are any.

This is an example of what couponers post on instagram when there is a Penny Deal. Clearly shown is what she found and what tag you should be looking for. There should be no confusion.

Rules to Penny Shopping

The rules below are VERY IMPORTANT and should always be followed in the case of penny shopping as to not ruin it for fellow couponers. So please if you are going to attempt to do any Penny Deals or Penny Item shopping please please PLEASE follow these rules.

1. DO NOT call the store before hand asking if they have this or that item just go and look.
2. DO NOT ask the sales associates in the store "where are your penny items".
3. DO NOT ask employees for help (unless absolutely necessary) this past go around with the Michaels baskets I had to ask for a ladder and someone with longer arms to each a basket on the top shelf however I did not say "oh thats a penny basket can you get that" I simply said can you get that down for me and put it in my cart and walked away.
4. Please look at posted pictures or hashtags, if it is posted that its a penny it will be a penny (unless its a newer version of the same item), if you want it go get it. 
5. Get ALL that you want from the store that your in one trip, it is very likely that once you go check out the items that you purchased and all other remaining penny items will be pulled from the shelves because they should in fact should not be there.
5. DO NOT leave the store a mess looking for these items, if its baskets from Michaels please put the ones you go through back, if it is other items just keep it neat.
6. DO NOT argue with employees, if you have any issues at check out call corporate if the items are in your basket they pretty much have to sell it to you.
7. Happy shopping 

This is one of my complete hauls total cost oop for me was .08 cents retail cost over 170.00 =)

About Penny Deals/ Penny Items

These are the top 10 questions I got on instagram and Facebook, I figured I would post them here because sure you all have these questions too so to stop the wildfire before it starts LMAO here are you answers.

  Q- Will this sale be going on tomorrow? Was this sale only today?
A- THIS IS NOT A SALE, penny deals will go on as long as it takes for all the items to be sold or for the employees pull them from the shelves

Q-Will the items be marked a penny? Like will the tag say one cent?
A- NO, theses items will not be marked .01 cent you have to look for other indicators like what the items look like or what their tags look like. NOTHING WILL BE MARKED ONE CENT!

Q- Will these items be at my local store?
A- -______- Im sorry I HATE this question. I don't know what your stores carry, every store is different, what my store carries your store may not you have to go look....thats the whole point. Look and hunt.

Q- Will this include my Michaels or my Dollar General?
A- Yes when a Penny Deals are posted for a store it is ALL of their stores you just have to go see if your store has the items or not.

Q- How did you know what to look for/how do you know its a penny?
A- I follow people on Instagram and do my research in the appropriate hashtags that I mentioned previously. Again if an item is posted and you want it go look for it. Everyone will have posted what to look for if there is a certain tag ect. Just go look for it.

Q- Whats the trick to finding penny items?
A- There isn't one....however I find it helpful to jump on deals early and to go to messy stores, yes its harder to look through but a messy store can mean that even their workers may have missed a basket or penny items or two =)

Q-What should I do, they won't sell it to me?
A- Really I don't know the answer to this, I know in some states they by law HAVE to sell you something in your cart for the price its marked but in not sure soooo maybe call corporate while in the store. But I have not had any issues so I'm not sure.

Q- How often does this happen?
A- Every so often, like I said before its part of their markdown process so you really just have to keep your eyes peeled for when people post on instagram but you can also expect that this happens at the end of a season or after holidays for example. Easter, end of spring, end of summer ect. They would want to get rid of items from that time frame so you can expect them to go on clearance however those will often times be marked. Other things like baskets at Michaels and items at Dollar general can be harder to know about so I rely on Instagram.

Q- Will the items just ring up one cent/What coupon do I need?
A-......would we really be having this conversation if they didn't? There are no coupons needed for this deal and yes they will just ring up a penny.

Q- What if my store does not have any of the items? 
A- Im sorry......really I am lol. You may have been too slow and another couponer got to it before you or your store may have actually done their job and pulled the items. In either case, try a different store or better luck next time.

Penny deals are not promised or guaranteed which is why hunting for them may not be the best idea for newbies, you can waste a lot of gas chasing down deals that may not even be in your store or may already be gone. Knowing what stores to look in, getting their early and knowing what to look for is a big part of being successful. 

Always remember you win some and you lose some its all a gamble.

This day was a win!!
I hope this break down has helped all those confused about Penny Deals and those that wanted to learn about how to spot them and get in on the action. Again if you have any questions please feel free to ask and as always tag me in your hauls on instagram with the hashtags #prettygirlscoupon and #prettygirlsguide I love seeing your hauls!

Until Next Time,
XO Deanna


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