Using coupons can really help you save a lot of money when shopping for groceries and other items. Knowing the store's coupon policies, taking advantage of websites and coupon apps, and being smart about how you use coupons can maximize your return per dollar spent.
Tips for Getting Started:
- Don't fall for the pricy "hero" item. The largest, most expensive item is usually pictured on the coupon, but if there is no size restriction, you can use the coupon for any size of that item.
- Know what "One Coupon Per Purchase" really means. It means one coupon per item NOT the entire purchas so if you have 10 of the item you can use 10 coupons to go with them.
- Follow the Expiration Date. Check the expiration dates on your coupons and make sure they're still valid at the time of purchase. While some stores will honor expired coupons, most will not, so take note and pay attention.
- Don't Copy Coupons. Most printable coupons have bar codes that change every time you print. Be sure to use only original coupons so the store is properly reimbursed for the coupon you used.
- Beware of FREE Product Coupons. Most fraudulent coupons come in the form of free products, but there are legit coupons for free products, too. Real coupons for free products usually come straight from the manufacturer.
Where to Find Coupons:
- The Newspaper
- Manufacturer Websites
- Printable Coupons
- Pick up Magazines
- Buy Coupons Online
- Peelies, Blinkies and Tearpads (Peelies are sticker-like coupons stuck on products. Blinkies are coupons from Smartsource machines found in aisles. Tearpads are usually found on product shelves or displays.)
- Catalina Coupons (cash register tape coupons that print out after you've bought a product)
- Store Coupons
When to Use Your Coupons:
- Track Sale Prices (write down prices for items you buy week to week to compare fluctuations)
- Stack Coupons (pair store coupon with manufacturer coupon)
- Use Coupon Matchups (take sales flyer and match it up with coupons available right now)
- Pick the Right Store (make sure the store you're shopping at is best for savings that week)
- Pricematch WITH Coupons (take sales flyer to pricematch a competitor ad, then use coupons)
Learn Your Store Coupon Policies:
- Do they accept internet coupons?
- Do they offer store coupons?
- Do they double coupons?
- Do they offer other savings methods?
Keep Your Coupons Organized:
In a 3-ring binder, put your coupons into baseball card dividers so you can actually see them. Use section dividers to make it easier to find what you need. You can set up the dividers according to individual aisles at your favorite store or by general product categories (Baby Items, Dairy, Frozen Foods, etc.)
If you like, you can also include a list, pen/pencil, calculator, scissors, or other useful tools you may need when clipping, organizing, and shopping with your coupons.
Make sure you keep up with your coupon binder, clearing out expired coupons, adding new coupons, etc., every week.
What are your tips for using and organizing coupons?