Coupons have been around for probably a hundred years and you can find a coupon for almost everything you buy. You won't use every single one of out of your Sunday circular, but over time you can amass a good variety of the things you use often. The most common couponing is done at the grocery store for obvious reasons. Grocery prices continue to go up as most families incomes are going down. Here are a few basic tips on how to use your coupons to your best advantage....
- What type of coupons are there?: Manufacturer's, Catalina's (register printed), Store Coupons from fliers, Blinkies (flashing machines on shelves), Internet Printables (IPs) and Digital Downloads that go directly to your Shopper Card.
- Where to get valuable coupons? EVERYWHERE! Sunday circulars, magazines, store fliers, in-store posts, internet printables, e-mail lists from brands/products, digital downloads and websites such as coupons.com, smartsource.com and shortcuts.com.
- Decide what kind of coupons you need or want to use. Don't waste time clipping items that you probably won't use or don't need to buy just because there is a good coupon on it.
- Clip, Organize or download to your store cards: Once you've found the coupons you want, immediately cut or print them out and get them in an envelope or better yet tab sorted coupon file or folder. If you download coupons directly to your card that makes things even easier.
- Match your coupons to store sales and promotions: Once you're armed with a batch of coupons, check the store flyers to see which ones match up with items that are on sale for the week. You can use your manufacturer's coupons in addition to coupons that may be printed in the flyer. This is considered "stacking" and allows you even more savings.
- Plan to shop at various stores: If you're not shopping in at least one store that DOUBLES coupons then you should start right now. This maximizes each coupon you use to twice the face value. a .50 coupon becomes $1.00. (Most stores that double will also sometimes do TRIPLES or SUPER DOUBLES a couple of times a year!)
- Last and MOST important: Remember to take the coupons with you when you actually go to the store. That's the ONLY way you'll save is by using them. You could keep your coupon holder in the car for those times when you're out and need to stop by the store for something. STAY PREPARED.
Now that you have the basics of coupons, you can be more efficient with your shopping and more savvy with your dollars. Couponing may take a little time up front, but it's so much worth it in the long run. You may only save a few dollars when you first start out, but with time and patience, you'll soon start to see your savings ride to 50% off your normal grocery bill, or better yet even higher. You've probably seen stories or news reports where proficient shoppers end up paying pennies on the dollar for their items or even leaving the store with cash back! (read our best shopping deal here) It can and does happen and I hope it happens to you soon!
If you have any questions in regards to any of the points listed above, please leave a comment below or you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be happy to answer any of your questions or direct you to someone who can! Now, get out there and $AVE!