So, you’re ready to try couponing?
It is not difficult, and it doesn’t take as much time as you might think. As with anything, you get out, what you put in. If you’re apprehensive, start slow. Getting a 10% discount is better than paying full price, right? So set a goal of saving 10% each trip. Once you are comfortable there, aim for 20% and keep building.
Your first 10% off:
Get your first discount by readjusting your shopping and couponing mindset. We (grocery and household shoppers) are trained to go shopping when we are out, or nearly out of a product. By shopping with this approach, you are only able to get discounts when you are lucky enough to be shopping for something that is on sale.
The trick is to take luck out of the equation. If you are after deals, shop when deals are available. Products go on sale every 6 weeks or so, therefore, you need to buy enough of your product to last you 6 or more weeks. Yep, this means stocking up! Your local Sunday paper will tell you what is on sale each week in your grocery store. Look for the items you are always buying and when they go on sale, buy extra.
What if you don’t have the money to stock up?
Admittedly, this is a valid argument. Remember though, we’re learning to adjust our thinking about shopping. Transition your thought process from “I don’t have extra money right now… ” to “what can I save on now and not worry about buying for awhile?” The second thought process will give you a discount on your item today, and since you won’t have to buy your product for awhile, it will save you money for weeks to come!
After you have identified what’s on sale, cut the coupons that you plan to use. Look closely to see if the coupons have a quantity limit. (You should max out the quantity limit, and if you want to buy even more, just have the checker ring you up on two orders.) Make a note on your grocery list next to any item on sale, and note on how many you can buy.
Next, check out your store’s rewards program. You can likely find additional deals there. Grab your list, and head to the store to start saving! Note: If you get to the grocery store, and find they are out of your products, ask for a rain check. This will ensure you get the sale price at a later date.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to coupon. However, the biggest theme amongst couponers is their meticulous organizational habits. Binders and excel files are standard, although there are many other ways to organize coupons. You’ll just have to decide what works best for you.
Go get a couple local newspapers and dig out the coupon inserts. Set aside any part of the paper that’s not intended for couponing. If you like the idea of using the computer to help keep track of your coupons, enter all your coupons into a spreadsheet. Include the sale price, and how many coupons you have of each.
If you think you’re more of a binder person, cut out your coupons and put them in a binder. Then as you prepare your shopping list, flip through your binder to see what coupons you have.
Whatever way you’re planning to attack your coupons, stay organized. Develop a system that keeps track of when coupons are about to expire. Throw away your expired coupons often so you don’t accidentally use them. One of the more common couponing systems separates items by category: household, groceries, et cetera.
Work to find coupons on everything you can, and start combining the items that are already on sale with additional clipped coupons that you found in your weekly flyer.
Now start saving money!