Couponing is something that I have talked about a few times in the past. It’s a great way to save money when you’re a new family working within a budget. Collecting coupons from newspapers and magazines in order to save cents off of a product might seem a bit time consuming but if you do it right you can really put a dent in your grocery bill! Becoming a couponer doesn’t have to be difficult. Odds are that you have heard of extreme couponers before, these people take couponing to the next level and spend a lot of time searching for coupons, comparing deals and saving money.
A lot of people don’t take couponing seriously. In fact, when we first got together my husband didn’t really like coupons, he thought they were a waste of time and in some places, there might be a social stigma against using them. But, when you hear just how much people have managed to save with couponing you might change your mind. Some couponers manage to save the kind of money that could pay mortgages off early, clear debts, travel or put a dent in college education for their kids. Couponing might never be cool, but the results certainly can be. For best results, you should consider combining the tricks below with other methods to save money at the grocery store which can be found in this article.
Becoming a Couponer – Tips and Tricks
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Becoming a Couponer – Start a Coupon Binder
There is a pretty good chance that you have clipped or saved at least one coupon in the past. You probably put it in your purse, and completely forgot about it until it had expired. You might have even lost coupons and vouchers that you were planning to use. We’ve all done it, and the more coupons you start to save the more complicated it gets. When you’ve got a giant pile of coupons, it’s hard to remember expiry dates and terms.
If you want to make the most of your coupons, you need to get organized. Get a 3-ring binder, some page protectors or envelope pouches and start sorting! The system you use to sort your coupons is up to you and it might take some experimenting before you find the one you like best. The most common methods include sorting the coupons by product department (meat coupons, dairy coupons, cereal coupons, etc), by the expiry date or by store.
Once you have a binder set up you will have a place to store your coupons safely. No more losing them, missing expiry dates or forgetting to take them with you.
Becoming a Couponer – Finding Coupons
Newspapers and magazines can be filled with great coupons. But, paying for the Sunday paper just to get a few coupons for things that you might not need, isn’t always worth it. Instead, try this best coupon app blog post where they list some of the pros and cons of several popular coupon applications. Many stores include coupons in their sales flyers and you can typically get those for free! Likewise, if you know someone who has a paper subscription already and they don’t use coupons maybe they would be willing to pass them along. Try not to spend money to get a coupon, unless it’s a significant saving on something that you need or want.
Sometimes buying the paper is worth it. Once in a while a coupon comes out that is so good you might even want to buy several papers. Thankfully you can go online and see before you buy! You might have to search a bit to find a site which caters to your local area but sites like Sunday Coupon Preview can be very helpful!
It might also be helpful to look into your grocery stores loyalty programs if they have one. Many of those programs allow you to clip virtual coupons and load them onto your rewards card or print them out on their websites. Rewards programs might not be ‘coupons’ but they can be very useful, points are often accrued over time based on how much you spend at the store and can be turned in for dollars off your total.
Becoming a Couponer – Learn to read the Terms and Conditions.
Not all vouchers are equal, and not all stores have the same rules. They’ll all have expiry dates, restrictions on where they can be used, what they can be used for and how many can be used at one time. Get into the habit of reading the terms on every coupon that you save. Take note of whether there’s a minimum or maximum spend, as well as other restrictions to help you your coupons wisely and prevent confusion at the checkout.
It’s also important to learn the coupon policies at the stores you shop in. Some stores have special days when they double the coupon amounts, some stores allow coupon stacking and some will take competitors coupons. Knowing the policies means you won’t be surprised when you shop and that you can preplan your trips to maximize your savings.
Becoming a Couponer – Look for the Best Deals
Some stores, let you use coupons on sale items or combine them with other deals. Sometimes this means you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item! If you then combine this with a sale you can get items for pennies or even completely free! This makes your coupon far more valuable. Make a note of the expiry dates on your coupons and keep track of sales in the stores to combine them for the best deals possible
Percentage off coupons can also get you more if you wait. Don’t waste a 25% off coupon on a bottle of milk. Save it for when you need to make a more significant purchase to maximize your savings.
What a helpful post! I don’t really use coupons (only those for McDonald’s) because I feel like we don’t really have them in my country. I mean there aren’t any in newspapers (in contrary to what you mentioned).. I think that being a couponer definitely saves some bucks but it’s still important to understand that it’s only marketing and don’t buy recklessly only if we need something. 🙂
So true! You should never buy something just because you have a coupon for it! I do know that some places have better coupons than others. Sometimes store loyalty programs can close the gap in those places. Sometimes you just have to work with the sales and what you have on hand locally!