Not all the effects of the economic recession have been bad. More people are learning money management skills, and they are putting those skills to use. One money saving strategy that has gained popularity is couponing. Coupon clipping is a wonderful way to save money if it is done correctly. The following strategies are guaranteed to maximize savings on groceries and other items.
*Locate the coupons*
The first thing a person must do in order to save money by using coupons is to locate the coupons. The newspaper is the best place to find them. Most newspapers will contain coupon inserts on set days. All a smart shopper has to do is purchase a paper on the day that the paper contains the inserts. Another place to find coupons is on social networks like Facebook. Simply visit the company’s site, like them, and check for coupons and other promotional offers. Some magazines like ‘All You’ contain coupons. Coupon clipping services are also great places to find multiples of the same coupon. Coupons can even be found in store aisle next to or on the product. Many new products will offer high value coupons in order to get the consumer to try it.
Next, organize the coupons. They can be organized in different ways. They can be placed in small photo albums, envelopes, baseball card sheets, or any other container where they are easily accessible. The coupons should be labeled so they can be identified without any problem. The meat coupons should be placed in a section for meat, and coupons for paper towels and tissues should be placed in a section marked for paper products.
*Learn store coupon policies*
Different stores have different policies on coupon usage. A smart couponer will learn the coupon policy of the stores that they will use the most. It is also a good idea to print a copy of the store’s coupon policy and keep it handy.
Almost all stores print sell circulars. Be sure to check the circulars. These will list the items that are on sell for the week. Always check the sells papers of more than one store. This will ensure that the consumer gets the best deal on a product. Combine a store sell with coupons and watch the magic begin.
*Price check items*
Check prices on staple items. Keep a notebook of the prices of items at several different stores. By doing this the consumer will be able to identify where the best deal is.
*Store loyalty cards*
Stores like CVS, Rite Aide, and Winn Dixie offer loyalty cards. This cards offer discounts for their regular customers. Applying for a store loyalty card is simple. Usually all one has to do is fill out a simple form. The perfect storm comes when a shopper can use a store loyalty card, a store sell, and coupons. This can make some items free.
Stacking coupons is when a consumer is able to use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon together. This also allows a consumer to receive maximum savings.
*Double coupon days*
Some stores offer double coupon days. This is a day when the store doubles the value of a coupon up to a certain percentage. Some stores double up to $0.50 while other stores will double coupons up to $1.00.
*Buying in bulk*
Successful couponers buy items that they use on a regular basis in bulk while they are on sale, and while they have a high value coupon. Always purchase enough of any item to last for three to six months. Store sales tend to follow a pattern. Learn that pattern and stock up accordingly.
*Have a plan*
Good couponers always have a plan. Make a list before going to the store. Separate the coupons that will be used into envelops by stores or transactions. This will save time. Try to shop alone. Do not take children along because they can be a distraction. Smart couponing takes planning and concentration.
*Shop multiple stores*
Be willing to shop at more than one store. By shopping at more than one store, the consumer can easily identify which store has the best deal.
*Take advice for experts*
The old saying, “Study to show thy self approved” is true even in couponing. Be sure to study the strategies of other coupons. There are websites like ‘The Krazy Coupon Lady’, ‘Southern Savers’, and ‘Coupon Mom’ that will match up store sales and coupons. They are also great places to find coupons.
Although the recent economic decline and shows like TLC’s ‘Extreme Couponing’ have made couponing popular, couponing has been around for years. Regardless of when couponing started, it has become a money saving phenomenon. The most important thing new couponers need to learn is patience. It takes time to build up a stock pile and to learn the sell cycles of stores, but by applying the strategies listed above, a couponer can get the most out of their coupons and increase their savings.