By: Francesca Fiori
Using coupons is a great way to save money. Not everyone uses coupons, and most just use a few here and there. A casual coupon user saves an average of one to five dollars per shopping trip. But there are some people who use coupons to their maximum advantage, and it can save families hundreds, even thousands per year in grocery expenses and other costs. Companies make coupons today for everything from every day groceries and household items, to clothing and electronics. Understanding how to use coupons to their fullest benefit is the best way to get the absolute most for your money. Truly saving money using coupons can take some time, as well as organization and focus. With some easy tips, you can become an expert coupon user in no time.
The most common way people get their coupons is in the weekend newspaper, usually on Sundays and Wednesdays. These coupon inserts usually look like a small magazine, and have pages of different coupons you can cut out. You can also purchase coupons in bulk online through auction websites and other places, where some people will even trade coupons. This allows you to trade someone else for the coupons you don’t use in order get the ones you definitely will use. Many manufacturers and retailers also offer coupons online. You can either redeem these coupons on the website when shopping online, or print them out and bring them to stores just like a traditional coupon. Serious couponers often get multiple copies of the newspaper inserts and cut several out at one time. You can use a binder to help organize the coupons by type, dollar amount, or expiration date. Take a day of the week where you have some spare time, and sort through the coupons you’ve collected, and decide which ones you will really use, and where. A good idea is to go through your local stores’ weekly circulars to find out which items are on sale so you can get even more savings.
Remember, not all coupons you find have to be used all at once, and not all coupons are necessarily for something you will even want or need. Just because there are some savings does not mean you have to buy the item, unless it’s something you plan to purchase anyway or offers exceptional savings out of the norm. Coupons can be a great way to help people save money, and can be utilized to help you plan a budget. On the other hand, they can sometimes be a tempting way to get you to buy something you may not normally purchase. Prioritize your shopping list first, and then organize the coupons you plan to use around this. Set limits for yourself in terms of how much money you can spend, and how many items you actually need. You can also maximize your savings when stores offer double coupons. Many supermarkets have limited times where they accept double coupons up to a certain amount.
While people who claim to be extreme couponers can get a lot of items at deep discounts and stock up, not everyone has the time or ability to do this. Know where to set your limits, and make sure you stick to your budget. Check the store’s policy on coupons in terms of how many can be used at a time, and if they even take printed online coupons before you bring them to the store. Do not feel like you have to buy something simply because you have a coupon. It is a good idea to keep a record of what you save versus what you spend for a while after you start using your coupons, that way you get a better idea of how you’re doing. With a little of bit of pre-planning and organization, you will be surprised at how much money you will save in the long run. Before you know it, you will be a seasoned coupon user and will be pleasantly surprised at how much money your family can save on groceries and other items.
For more information about coupons and how to get the most use out of them, please refer to the following websites: