Did you take advantage of all the savings, yet? In my last article, I shared three easy tips to help you on your quest to save money on the items you and your family use the most, by using coupons. I’m super excited to share more big tips teaching you to coupon like the pros!
Last month you learned that coupons are more than just meaningless slips of paper. They are just as valuable as the almighty dollar. You learned where you can get them, and I am sure you have tons now and can’t wait to use them. I also covered the top two organizing methods and by now you have determined which method works best for you. The last important step was learning your favorite stories’ coupon policies.
Now that you have mastered the basics, you’ll want to know how to get the most bang for your buck. This month I will share the most strategic times to use your valuable coupons. Remember: just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean you need to use it right away.
Tip #1 Shop the Sale
I can just see your face as you think to yourself, “Shop the sale? What does that mean?” Shopping sales means you only buy items that are on sale. This is the best way to use your coupons. Wait for a sale and use your coupon discount in addition to the sale price. Now granted, as you are starting out you may still need to purchase items that are not on sale and/or that you don’t have coupons for. Over time, catching great deals you will look for stocking up on those items, making it easier for you to limit your purchases to sale items.
Using coupons on items that are already on sale is the best way to achieve big savings. Often you are able to purchase brand names products for less than you would pay for generic items. I like to use this formula: Store Sale + Coupons = Huge Savings.
Tip #2 Double Down
Many grocery stores double manufacturer coupons that are $.50 or less. There are even a few stores that do little more. For example, if you double two coupons for $.50 then you will get credit for $1.00. If the item is less than a dollar you will get credit for the difference. This means your discount extends to the rest of your purchase saving you money on your other items! Great stuff, huh?
Remember, not all stores are created equal. Some stores have specific days that they double coupons and yet others double seven days a week. Check with your local stores before you use your coupons. Every cent counts.
Tip #3 Stack ‘Em
‘Stacking’- the skill of using two coupons on a single item.
Stacking coupons is the hallmark for achieving extreme couponing success. By using two coupons (a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon), on an item already on sale you can triple your savings. A manufacturer’s coupon is a coupon that is issued by the company who makes the item. A store coupon is a coupon that is issued by that particular retailer. You can find your favorite store’s coupons in sales flyers, monthly coupon books, home mailers, and even online. Some stores will even accept competitor’s coupons.
Here’s how it works:
Brand Name Cereal- $3.99
-Use a manufacturers coupon for $1 off
-Use the store’s coupon for that cereal
Final Price = $1.00
Stacking coupons is an awesome way to increase your savings on your favorite items.
Tip #4 Clear the Air
Many stores have a clearance section. Using your coupons on clearance items can help you score huge savings because the clearance item is already marked down from the original price. It’s a good idea to have your coupons handy when you look through clearance section. You never know what items will be final markdowns or closeouts.
Tip #5 Hold On ’til the Bitter End
Much to my dismay, most coupons do have expiration dates. They don’t last forever. You should keep your coupons ready for the perfect sale, but we live in the real world. There are times that sale doesn’t come soon enough.
When this happens, you are faced with a decision: use it or lose it. If it is an item you really don’t need then I say lose it. However, if it is something you really need they my philosophy is a little saved is better than full price-so use it. Don’t fall into the trap that just because you have a coupon, you have to use it.
These tips have given you a lot to digest. Remember, couponing is not for the faint at heart. It’s hard work, but trust me, it’s so worth the effort. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If you have questions, feel free to post them. And, stay tuned for more money saving tips for the ‘savvy couponer!’ Happy couponing!