With product prices on the rise, we all want to bag a bargain and save money where we can. One of the best ways to save yourself money and make your budget go further is by collecting coupons.
Did you know that by saving up coupons you could save between 50 and 90 percent off of your weekly food shop? That’s right; you could save up to 90 percent off your grocery shopping. How crazy is that?
Believe it or not, by collecting coupons out of your local newspaper or printing coupons off from online sites, you can reduce the cost of your average food shop by over half.
You might be thinking that that is all well and good, but it probably takes hours of work, right? Wrong. To be a couponer and save yourself money you don’t have to spend hours each day searching for coupons, all you need, is a couple of spare hours a week.
For all the tips, help and advice you need to start couponing, have a read of our helpful guide below:
How to find coupons
To get started as a couponer, the first thing, you need, is of course, coupons. But, where can you get them from? There are many different ways you can get your hands on coupons, such as:
1. Your weekly paper. You may not realize it, but those pesky newspaper inserts that always fall out the second you open up the paper, are actually incredibly useful, money saving coupons.
2. From the internet. If you go online, there are many different sites offering printable coupons. All you have to do is select the ones that you want and print them out.
3. Store coupons. When you go shopping at your local supermarket, along with your receipt, you may get given a book of discount vouchers or coupons.
4. Magazines. Women’s weekly magazines are always full of coupons too; you just have to keep your eyes peeled for them that’s all. The best magazines for coupons are Women’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens, Shape, and Good Housekeeping.
5. Display coupons. As you are walking around the supermarket keep an eye out for coupons displayed on notice boards or stands by customer services. Sometimes you may even find coupons hanging from the shelves. It is all about keeping your eye peeled.
6. eCoupons. These are becoming increasingly popular. eCoupons are coupons that can be loaded onto your smartphone or in-store loyalty card. These are popular because they are easy to use and require no fiddly cutting out and organizing like paper coupons do.
When is the best time to use coupons?
Now you understand the different types of coupons that are available, the next thing, you need to learn, is when the best time to use your coupons is. That’s right, there are prime times to use coupons, and these are as follows:
During a sale:
By waiting until a sale is on you will be able to save yourself the most money. There is no point using your coupons on full priced items, hold onto them until a sale comes on and then use them.
For ultimate couponing success, make sure to learn the sale cycle. Sales on products tend to run in cycles of eight to twelve weeks. Sales also follow certain events and holidays throughout the year. For example, sweets and candy go on sale around Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Whereas savory snacks and finger foods go on sale around the time of important sporting events.
Another thing, to take note of, is that around the time when products go one sale, samples are also often put out. Make sure to take full advantage of these samples. You may also find that around the holidays and other events that more samples are given away online. For instance you can find absolutely free samples here from Walmart. Free samples are an excellent way to try out new products for free, before you buy them.
Buy when the price is lowest:
Don’t be tempted to use your coupons on full priced stock, wait until the item reaches its lowest price, for example, when it is on sale. By combining offers, you will save yourself even more money, so it is definitely worth waiting for.
How do I use coupons correctly?
To use your coupons correctly, it is important that you know and understand everything about coupons. So, if there is anything you aren’t sure of, make sure you find out.
Did you know that some stores accept their competitor’s coupons as well as their own? Next time you are doing your weekly food shop, make sure to stop by the customer services desk and ask whether they accept competitor coupons. Competitor coupons are an excellent way to make additional savings in store.
As well as asking about competitor coupons, there are some other things you should ask next time you are at the supermarket, such as:
Whether they accept double coupons. Ask at your local supermarket whether they accept double coupons. If they do, ask them what their rules are – is there a limit to how many coupons you can get doubled? Make sure that you understand how their discount policies work, so that you know what you are doing when shopping.
Do they accept stacking coupons? Find out whether your local store allows you to use an in-store coupon combined with a manufactures coupon. Combining a manufacturer’s coupon with an in-store coupon is known as stacking coupons. While you can’t use two manufacturers coupons on one item, you can combine a store and manufactures coupon.
Is it a good idea to stock up your shelves, aka create a stockpile?
While you don’t want a massive stockpile taking over your home, part of the fun of couponing is making large savings. To do this, you do need to stockpile to a small extent. Set a maximum of four shelves worth of stockpiled products and stick to it.
The best products to stockpile are things like tinned, frozen and dried products as they have long lifespans.
By buying your products in advance when they are at their cheapest, you are taking control of your spending. You are choosing how much you are willing to spend on particular products.