Everyone knows that using coupons can help you save money on groceries, and even though many of us do use coupons, there are very few of us that actually use them effectively enough to make a huge difference. So how do you use coupons effectively enough to save hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill? It takes strategy, organization, dedication, and compromise, but it can be done, and it can be very rewarding when you look at how much money you can actually save.
The first thing you will need to do to start saving with coupons is to review your current spending habits. Figure out what items you buy the most, where you buy them, and take note of how much you pay for those items. This will help you determine what coupons you will need to look for, what stores to look for coupons from, and how much your coupons are really worth.
Once you have a firm grasp of what your spending habits are, you will need to come up with a system of organizing coupons that works for you. You will need somewhere to keep your coupons such as envelopes, an index file, or a binder of some sort. You can set up your “coupon organizer” so that your coupons are sorted alphabetically by product, then by expiration date, or whatever works for you.
Now that you know your spending habits and how you will organize your coupons, you should learn about your grocer’s policies regarding the use of coupons and the store’s sale cycle. Much of this information can often be found on your grocer’s website (assuming they have one), but if not, just ask questions at your grocer’s customer service counter. Find out if they will allow you to stack coupons, meaning using multiple coupons for the same item (i.e. a store coupon used in conjunction with a manufacturer’s coupon). Also, see if you can use coupons in combination with store discount cards or on items that are already marked down. It’s also a good idea to find out when your grocer will be having a sale on items that you hold coupons for…this is when you can really rack up the savings. Just remember that different items may be on sale at different times, so it may not always be wise to do all of your shopping and use all of your coupons at once. Consider always trying to shop for items that are both on sale and you have coupons for…this can really help you save big time!
Finally, you need to know where to look for coupons. There are a couple of obvious places such as newspapers and “junk mail”, but next time you walk in the grocery store, look around the entrance for flyers containing coupons and be attentive as you walk the isles…many coupons are available right next to the products you are buying if not placed directly on the packaging. Another source is your grocer’s website. Many grocers put coupons on there websites and those are typically available online only. There are also several websites that offer coupons from manufacturers and from various store chains. Just do a Google® search for online grocery coupons…you will be astonished at the results you find.
There you have it…they key concepts to using coupons effectively. Review your spending habits; come up with a system for organizing your coupons so that you know what you have; learn your grocer’s policies regarding coupons as well as their sale cycles, and find coupons anywhere you possible can! It can be time consuming to make the most out of using coupons, but the savings can be well worth the effort.