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How to Stop Overspending with Coupons

Updated on July 8, 2014

Clip This.................... Not That

Clip This
Clip This | Source
...Not This
...Not This | Source

Clipping coupons can be a great way to save money on groceries. There are a gazillion blogs and news stories about frugal housewives (and househusbands) whose vigilant eyes and diligent scissors save their families thousands of dollars each year.

They make it seem really easy. Just buy their books or read their blogs, learn their secrets, shave 50% off your grocery bill and take a tropical vacation with your yearly savings.

Before you subscribe to the Sunday paper and clear your dining room table for some serious clipping action, review these simple tips to keep your couponing on track and maximize your grocery savings.

1. Clip what you'll use.

Remember - if you're following a serious coupon regimen, what you clip is what you'll buy. Proper meal planning requires you to build a list and stick to it.

Clipping unnecessary coupons can lead you to purchase wonderful bargains you don't want or need.

If your pantry floor or basement storeroom contains stacks of canned tuna, or your freezer overflows with frozen green beans, buying more - no matter how cheaply - won't save money or make your shopping more frugal.

If you don't use it, you might as well donate it to charity. The tax write-off will help you recoup some of your losses.

2. Use what you clip

Using what you purchase is essential.

You save money with coupons by substituting cheaper, couponed food items for more expensive full-price foodstuffs. If you're buying bargains, but never using them, you're wasting your time and money.

On triple-coupon day, tomato paste was only 10 cents a can. Now that you have 10 cans, it's time to plan tomato-based soups, sauces and sandwiches that replace more more expensive meals.

Remember- substitution equals savings.

Browse Amazon coupons

Yes, Amazon has coupons
Yes, Amazon has coupons | Source

3. Focus couponing on non-perishable essentials

Focus on non-perishable essentials. Spend most of your couponing time on reducing the cost of non-perishable household essentials like laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and aluminum foil. These types of items maximize your household savings for two reasons.

  1. You need them. Unless you're making your own organic substitutes like Borax and washing soda, you're going to buy them and use them on a regular basis.
  2. You can store them until you need them. These items won't rot or spoil -even when kept for weeks, months or even years. Stock up on non-perishable essentials when they're cheap, and use them frugally so you won't run out before the next sale. With careful couponing and diligent economizing, you'll never pay $3 for soap again.

Browse Gourmet Staples at Warehouse Prices

4. Buy the basics

The basics are the building blocks of healthy meals. They're the inexpensive carbs that disappear beneath jazzy herbs, awesome sauce and hunks of juicy animal flesh. Beans, rices, pastas and flours form the basis of most dishes, no matter how sophisticated.

What makes them really great is that these ingredients are extremely versatile and virtually interchangeable. Unless you're an outrageous gouramand(e) curry chicken on a bed of basmati rice is as good as jasmine rice, is as good as plain old brown rice in a super-size bag reduced to $1 through 3 coupons and an end-of-month sale.

Order fancy-schmany staples online.

Grocery stores charge a hefty mark-up for gourmet items that don't sell well.

Order gourmet foods from Amazon, and look for items with free Super-Saver shipping. Amazon warehouses won't ship expired or spoiled goods. You're assured of world-class quality at a price well below what you pay at your local retailer or at big-box warehouse stores like Costco, BJs and Sam's Club.

Buy This ................... Not That

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5. Skip the sauces

Barbecue sauces, pasta sauce and marinades seem like a great deal - particularly when couponing reduces them to half-price or less.

The reduction is deceptive. Even the amazing coupon price that's a small fraction of their original cost is much greater than buying the basics and mixing the sauce yourself.

Instead of a $2 jar of chunky vegetable sauce, grab a small container of peppers and mushrooms from the salad bar. Mix with a can of tomato sauce from the pantry and Voila! Chunky tomato sauce at much less than your extreme couponing price. From a health perspective, you'll also come out ahead.

Tomato sauce mixed with fresh veggies has more veggies, less sodium and fewer preservatives than the store-bought jar with a 2-year shelf life.

For barbecue sauce, try a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with one can of tomato sauce and the spice blend of your choice.

Even if the original flavor isn't great, the essential cooking elements are there. Vinegar tenderizes the meat. Tomato sauce cuts the vinegar's acidity. The liquid keeps the meat from drying while the fat renders and meat self-moisturizes.

Egregious errors aside, the juices of the marinated meats and the carmelized fat bits make the final product savory and amazing regardless of the original sauce. Just don't serve bowls of sauce on the side.

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    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Coupons can really make a difference. I use coupons when I buy razors or hair products. voted up awesome!

    • toomuchmint profile image
      Author

      toomuchmint 4 years ago

      I'm a really big fan of gardening and reducing food purchases in general, but nothing beats coupons for reducing the costs of staples you can't make yourself. Razors are definitely a staple.

      Thanks lovedoctor926 for reading and commenting!

    • sadie423 profile image

      sadie423 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great, practical tips. I have trouble with the use what you clip part....I always forget them, and if I do bring them to the store I forget to use them....voted up and shared!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      You have some really good advice here. I wrote a hub several months ago titled-How to Really Save on your Grocery Bill, and it included many of the same ideas you have here. Great minds think a like as they say! I am going to include a link to your hub in mine. Lord knows, the way grocery prices have gone up, we need all the help we can get on the cost. Voted up, useful and sharing. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • toomuchmint profile image
      Author

      toomuchmint 4 years ago

      I have the same problem, sadie423. SometimesI don't remember coupons until I'm loading groceries into my bike trailer. If I put a sticky note about coupons on my shopping list, it helps.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. :-)

    • toomuchmint profile image
      Author

      toomuchmint 4 years ago

      Thanks Sheila! Great minds do think alike. :)

      I'll link your hub to this one so readers can benefit from your ideas, also. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      These are excellent ideas about how to save money with coupons. I've gotten lazy lately with my couponing and need to start clipping again.

    • toomuchmint profile image
      Author

      toomuchmint 4 years ago

      It's easy to fall off the wagon, MT. I'm trying to get back on myself. I clipped about $17 in savings this morning. Now it's just about getting the coupons to the store and using them :-)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

      One great coupon a lot of people toss in the trash is the $5 off coupon Dollar General gives out on its receipts a couple of times a month. They are usually for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. This is a great savings and a good way to stock up on whatever you buy the most. I always get my dog and cat food when I have one of these valuable coupons.

      Great coupon clipping info! Voted up and useful! :)

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