Do you see people in line at the supermarket handing over a wad of coupons and saving a ton of cash at the register? Does a little twinge of envy and wonder well up in your chest? Well, there’s no need to be jealous. You, too, can learn the tricks of “couponing” and stretch your grocery budget. You may be surprised to know there’s a right way and a wrong way to use coupons. The right way saves you money. The wrong way will drain your cash (and time) while giving you a false sense of accomplishment. (We’ll discuss the wrong way in Part 2 of this series on couponing).
Here are four tips on how to work those coupon savings in your favor.
Step 1: Plan ahead. Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. This way, you’ll clip coupons according to what you need instead of what’s on sale. This will also save you from wandering aimlessly through the grocery store aisles, deciding what you need to buy.
Step 2: Look for coupons. Store circulars and the Sunday paper aren’t the only places you’ll find coupons. There are also coupons online. Some of the most popular coupon sites are Coupons.com and CouponCabin.com. Some store website also feature printable coupons. In addition, if you sign up for a store’s mailing list, you’ll often get coupons in the mail or via e-mail.
Step 3: Look for sales. The best way to maximize your savings is to use coupons when they match up with the store sales for the week. Also go to stores that double or triple coupons for even bigger savings.
Step 4: Branch out. Don’t feel obligated to only stick to certain brands. If you see a coupon for an item that you need, but it’s not the brand you usually buy, try it. The savings will be worth it. Also try shopping at different stores. For example, Target has great deals on groceries. In addition, make sure to sign up for store loyalty cards.
Now that you’re armed with information, you can go out and shop with confidence! And don’t forget to let us know how much you saved! Say tuned for part 2 of this series to learn about the wrong way to use coupons.