Get more out of your tight budget with coupons.
Coupons offer a fabulous opportunity for saving money. For a long time I thought of coupon clipping was a hassle, nothing more than a waste of time. I felt like I was only buying items because I had a coupon and the store brand items were often a better deal than the ones being offered by those name brand manufacturer’s doling out the coupons every weekend.
Finally, I read some books, visited a few blogs and started to realize there was a lot more to couponing than just snipping. There is a strategy, a method, and it is that strategy of using coupons effectively that has helped people all over the nation to save money at the checkout lane.
1. Wait for a Sale
The biggest trick to getting the most out of coupons is waiting for a sale. When manufacturer’s begin offering coupons they are getting ready to make a big push for a certain product. Reasons vary. It may be the time of year that those items are most frequently purchased, the company may have recently had a big lull in sales, or they may be trying to promote something entirely new. Either way, if coupons are coming out a sale is inevitably going to follow.
So do not just clip coupons, but also keep up with sale ads. Think about it, if you have two coupons for pledge and Winn Dixie has pledge buy one, get one free, you can use both coupons AND enjoy the benefits of that awesome sale. In the end you could end up paying just a few cents for your favorite item, it is all a matter of good planning and waiting for a sale.
2. Buy More than Just One Newspaper
Because of BOGO, BOGO 50% sales, and other marketing schemes it never hurts to have two or three copies of the Sunday paper every week. This way you can get multiple copies of the latest coupons, cut them all out, and have two or three of each. When a particularly good sale hits you will be able to stock up and all at a good price. To find additional coupons look online and on sites like eBay, where inserts are occassionally sold at a good price. Also, you can purchase weekly papers at most Dollar Tree stores for only $1, an awesome deal.
3. Stack Store with Manufacturer’s Coupons
Did you know you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon together at many locations, even if they are being used for one item? This process, which is known as stacking, is a virtual unknown to many consumers. However, when combined with a sale, this could mean getting items for free or even creating money makers. For example, say a tube of Colgate toothpaste is normally $3, but it is buy one get one free at Walgreens. You have two coupons for $1 off of Colgate toothpaste, then Walgreens offers a store coupon for $1 when you buy 2 tubes. You can use all of those coupons on the two tubes of toothpaste, making them free. Now let’s say Walgreens is offering 5,000 balance rewards with the purchase of two tubes of Colgate toothpaste. Now, by purchasing these two tubes for free you have actually earned $5! It sounds too good to be true, but opportunities like this come around pretty often for those who are patient and informed.
4. Stay Organized
The biggest trick to getting big savings from your coupons is staying organized. Clip out every coupon you find and file them away in a binder or coupon holder. Organize coupons by name and product area. It also helps to keep a running list of the coupons you have, in a searchable database whenever possible. This sounds like a lot of work but at the end of the day it actually makes couponing a lot easieyr and takes out some of the unneccessary additional steps, like searching through an envelope packed with a hundred oddly shaped coupons, hoping to find one particular clipping. It also prevents you from forgetting about a given coupon and missing out on a fab deal.
5. Follow Couponing Blogs
Lastly, if you want to get the most out of your coupons you will follow several couponing blogs through Facebook, RSS, and email lists. This way you will get notification of all the latest and greatest sales and coupon combination schemes. Here are some of my favorites:
Feel free to share your favorite deal and coupon sites in the comment section!
Published in: Homemaking