Grocery coupons, drug and other store coupons are some of the best weapons in the fight against overspending and in keeping your budget under control.
For those of you who have never used coupons, they are promotional advertisements used by manufacturers and retail stores that offer discounts off of regular retail prices.
Grocery coupons, or any other type of coupon, may come in the form of a specific saving such as “50¢ off” or they can offer “buy 2 and get one free” (aka, BOGO). Through an extensive use of coupons, you can actually cut your monthly grocery and personal care expenses by 50%.
Like many acquired skills, effective grocery coupon use requires knowledge. You get that by doing research online, reading books, becoming organized, and in general, devoting some time to this endeavor. The rewards in terms of savings will astound you.
This important area of frugal living is overlooked or underutilized by the majority of consumers. The reasons are generally that using grocery coupons is too time consuming and you really don’t save that much.
Yes, it does take time to look for the grocery coupons, clip them out and take them to the store. However, if you were going to buy a particular product anyway and there is a coupon for it, why throw money away?
Try to think of grocery coupons as cash and this may spur you on to give this money saving technique a good effort.
Let’s look at an overview of how the process works:
- Newspapers- Your local newspaper will generally publish all coupons at one time. This is usually the Sunday edition but sometimes they may appear in the mid-week edition.
If you need extra coupons, consider asking your friends and neighbors for their coupon section if they are not going to be using it. You can also think about buying an extra Sunday newspaper if the coupon savings will more than offset the cost of the newspaper.
- Internet- Printable online coupons are now very popular.
There are several ways to get these grocery coupons:
Organize Your Coupons
- Manufacturer’s Website- You can go directly to a manufacturer’s website to see what coupons are available. You will probably have to register to set up an account but this is free. If you do not know the exact name of the manufacturer, go to one of the search engines like Google and put in the product name. For example, “ Colgate Toothpaste + Coupon”. There will most likely be a limit on the number of coupons you can print.
- Coupon Websites- there are dozens of reputable websites that make available printable coupons that you can print from your printer. As a rule, you will have to register to have access to the site. I would recommend setting up a free, alternative e-mail account to avoid too many solicitations. It is very important to know that you may not photocopy coupons. Use only the ones that you print out. Photocopied coupons are not accepted by stores.
This step is key to not only saving you money and helping prepare your future menus but to saving valuable time. Once you have a good collection of coupons, a simple way to organize them is to use a coupon box
In the box you will have envelopes labeled by product category such as cereal, bread, canned goods, pasta, rice, beverages, etc. You can have as many detailed categories as you desire, use whatever works the easiest for you.
File all of the coupons by category, with those with the most savings at the front. As you make out your grocery list, pull out the coupons you can use for the day’s shopping trip and put these in an envelope with the store name on it.
When you arrive at the store, you will take the envelop with the coupons for that particular store in with you. You also have the option of taking the entire coupon box in with you or leave it in the car. If there are unadvertised sales or specials in the store that you did not know about, you can always go back out to get whatever coupons you are missing.Five Important Coupon Techniques For Maximum Savings
- Understand the store’s policies- It is a good idea to talk to the various store managers regarding their policies regarding double coupons, internet printable coupons, combining store coupons with manufacturers coupons and expired coupons.
- Match your coupons to the sales- One of the best ways to save the most money is to match your coupons with items that are on sale. Your savings will really mount up if a double coupon promotion is being offered. You can also see if you can match up the store sale, your store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon you printed off the internet.
- Watch your quantity purchases- When matching coupons with the store sales, it may be better for you to buy just one sale item if it is a product that will last awhile. The same is true for items such as a “ buy 2, get 1 free sale”. You can still buy one and get the sale price. Do not buy what you do not need just because it is on sale. The exception to this, of course, is if you are buying for stockpiling purposes. The goal of using coupons is to lower your overall grocery bill, not raise it.
- Shop at more than one store- Grocery and drug stores do not run the same weekly sales. This is a good technique for doubling your savings by shopping at two or more stores. You have to consider how far apart the stores are so that you can factor in your gas usage. This technique works best if the stores are relatively close together or you can combine these store visits with other errands.
- Competitor coupons- Check with the stores that you frequently use to see if they will accept competitor coupons. Many stores will do this but they will not advertise it. This strategy will add many more usable coupons to your coupon box.
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