You know that coupons can help you save money when you go to the store. But many people find that they are only getting a dollar or two off their entire order. Sure, every little bit helps, but it can be discouraging to see a bill of $95 reduced to only $90 after you’re done with coupons. The good news is that there are ways to use your coupons more effectively. Here are some tips for maximizing your coupon use:
- Make a shopping list first: Before you even look at your coupons, make a shopping list. Figure out what you need, from food to toiletries to household items. Then only get coupons for what you need. Don’t buy something you don’t need just because you have a coupon. That’s a good way to spend more money than you need to.
- Be flexible about brands: You don’t have to get the same brand of paper towels every time. Get a different brand if that’s what the coupon is for.
- Shop strategically: Consider what’s on sale. If you have a coupon for a sale item, even better! Also, consider your supplies. While having a stockpile of items you need is a good idea, don’t get too carried away. Buying more of something when you already have an ample supply can be money draining.
- Pay attention to sale cycles: This goes along with shopping strategically. Sales on certain items go in cycles. Plan ahead so that you know when sales are likely to be, and, if you can save your coupons for that time to get the best bang for your buck.
- Remember that the best deals are on household items: Buying a bunch of junk food because it’s on sale is a good way to pay more in health care costs down the road. Instead, focus on the savings you can get on bulk sales combined with coupons for household items. The money you save can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables, and other healthier food choices.
- Organize your coupons: You can buy coupon organizers for a small amount of money. Take a few minutes each week to examine your shopping list, and your coupons and get rid of the expired coupons. Then put the organizer in your car so that you can take it with you.
- Combine couponing with savings cards: If you frequent a store enough to warrant a discount card, make use of it. You can get special savings, and discounts for your coupons. Sign up for programs that send you extra coupons in the mail. This can give you an extra savings boost.
- Look online: You probably know that there are a ton of places where you can get online coupons. After you’ve made your list, go to your favorite two or three online coupon places and see if you can find coupons for those items. Then, combine those coupons with what you have already in coupons.
Before you get too excited, though, make sure that you understand the store’s coupon policy. Some won’t take double coupons, and others won’t take online coupons. Make sure you understand how it works so that you don’t get caught at checkout.
It may take a little practice before you get it all down. But there are those who manage to save up to 50% or more on their shopping each week, just by maximizing the efficiency of their coupons. It requires a little sacrifice of time, and some planning, but it can be done.