Saving Money on Groceries with Coupons
The Most Important Thing About Couponing
Don't waste your time! The first time I decided to try out coupons (about a year ago), I began collecting them from every source I could. I went on a clipping frenzy, cutting every coupon I thought I might possibly use out. Then spent hours sorting them into categories and squeezing them into a series of baseball card holders. Finally I placed them in a large binder. Well that was a complete waste of time. Since then, I have learned how unnecessary this time spent was and also how ineffective it was. I ended up saving very little money and probably spending more than I would have, buying things that I did not need.
Time Spent Clipping Coupons
Now I have a rule I follow pretty rigidly and it works very well. I only clip coupons just before I go shopping (for about 15 minutes); sometimes I do this in the grocery store parking lot just before I go in. I always have a list of items I need to get to help me look for items on my list. I never have a huge amount of coupons; I might have 10 at the most.
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Effective Tips for Couponing
There are several other things I do to help me save more than you might believe possible.
- I only shop at two grocery stores and I always get their advertisements. If you don't get the newspaper, you can pick up these advertisements in the store for free.
- All of the coupons I use come for free in the mail. I get a coupon pack once a week that includes grocery store coupons for the 2 stores that I shop at. Some stores also have coupons that can be printed right there when you walk in.
- Sometime during the week, I quickly flip through these and trash the coupons or pages that I know I will not use. I put the others on a shelf (unclipped) for later use.
- Just before shopping and clipping any coupons, I browse through the grocery store advertisements. I am scanning for specific things: the items on my list and staples such as flour that I may need to buy later in the year and special deals on those items specifically. Special deals would be BOGOs (buy one, get one half-off or free), buy 10 for $10 (this can often save you a great deal of money if it is a nonperishable item), and any mark-downs that catch my eye.
- After scanning the paper, I clip coupons. I only clip the coupons for the items that I need or staples that I know I will need at a later time, and items that I both need and are one of the special deals.
Charmin Toilet Paper
$7.99 x 3 = $23.97
$6.99 x 3 = $20.97
Effective Couponing Example
Here is an example: I didn't have toilet paper on my list, but we tend to run out of this item before I buy it, so I noticed when looking through the advertisement for the store I was at, that if I bought 3 packages of 12 double-roll Charmin toilet paper, I would save $5. In addition, this item was on sale for $6.99 (usually $7.99). When I looked through the coupons, I had one coupon for $1.00 off any Charmin purchase. The best case scenario would be having a total of 3 coupons - that is why you should keep multiple coupons for the same products. See the short video below for a great example of this. My total savings with the special deal, markdown and coupon is shown below. This only took a couple of minutes to plan and I saved $9.00!
Collecting Multiple Coupons for the Same Product
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