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Save Money at the Grocery by Couponing
What is an "Extreme Couponer?'
An "Extreme Couponer" is someone who can save an extreme amount of money by using legitimate couponing methods, keeping a conservative stockpile of items that will pack the pantry, but not so much that it will go to waste by being outdated. These couponers only spend a few hours planning their shopping trip instead of half the week. Many people see extreme couponing as clearing shelves, having a stockpile take over the house, using coupon unethical practices, and finally spend over half the week to prepare for a shopping trip. We are going to describe how an "Extreme Couponer" works to best benefit their families, their places they donate to, the stores, and themselves. Let us get started in learning what coupons are and how to get started using them to save money. There are some steps that are given below that will help you to understand what coupons are and how to use them effectively.
How do I get started using coupons?
To begin to start to use coupons you need to understand how much money you will need for your groceries and personal items. To know this you will have to create a budget. Understanding where you are spending your money and where you can save will help to see the information needed to plan for the savings in groceries. You can begin by knowing what your biggest expenses are. The two things that are most expensive for people are mortgage or rent payments and groceries/personal care items. The car payment and expenses are pretty close in the amount of an expense compared to groceries and personal care items. After analyzing your expenses, taking a look at your situation is also important. There may be a job lay-off or even an illness that can cause expenses to have to be cut. The use of coupons can allow the expense of groceries to be cut extensively. There are four steps in successfully saving at the grocery.
Do you use coupons?
Step 1 - Knowing where to find coupons
To begin to save money you need to have coupons. So where do we find them? There are so many different places that coupons can be found. The first and most obvious place is the weekly newspaper. There are inserts that are in Sunday's Paper each week. The inserts are from Red Plum, Smart Source, and P & G. The next place that coupons can be found our right on the computer. They are know as printable coupons. There are many different sites that have these. The next place that coupons can be found is at your store after purchasing your groceries. These type of coupons are called Catalina's.
Many magazines also have coupons. It depends on what types of coupons that you are looking for in a specific magazine. Food item coupons are generally in food or cooking magazines. Beauty coupons will generally by in beauty or style magazines. There are tearpads and blinky coupons posted throughout the grocery store. These coupons may be posted in front of an item you are purchasing for future savings. These type of coupons are posted throughout the store to draw you to purchase a complementary item in another part of the store. Finally there is a type of coupon that is becoming extremely popular. This type of coupon is an Ecoupon. These type of coupons load onto your loyalty card or smartphone. These coupons are deducted at the checkout when a qualifying purchase is made.
Step 2 - When should coupons be used?
Clipping coupons and using them is the first step. Knowing when to use coupons will help you save even more money. Most people generally shop at one or two stores. Knowing when the store sales are and waiting to use coupons for the sales is extremely effective. Do not waste coupons on full price items. Hold on to these coupons when the item is at the lowest sale price that way you can get the item cheap or even free.
Sales on products usually run in cycles of around 8-12 weeks. Sales also follow cycles of holidays and events throughout the year.And example of this would be baking items and spices go on sale around the holidays and this is when the best sale price is. This is when you should use your coupons for these types of items. BBQ items go on sale around Memorial Day and July 4th. This is where the coupons for BBQ items should be used.
Buy the items that you need when they are at the lowest price. If you wait for the item to go on sale that you need, and you are able to get it at it's lowest price, combined with a coupon and even a store promotion. This goes along with what was discussed right at the first of Step #2. An example of this would be purchasing cheese. The regular price of cheese is 4.99. If you use a coupon for $1.00 on the regular price, then you will pay $3.99. On the other hand, if you find cheese on sale for 3.99 and you have a $1.00 and your store offers another $1.00 store coupon off, you will only pay $1.99 for the cheese. What a great deal!
Step 3 - You Need to Know How to Use Coupons
Ask the customer service department at your grocery store if they accept competitors coupons. You may never know many ways that money can be saved unless you ask. Some stores allow double coupons. A lot of stores have done away with this because of the abuse of coupons as well as shelf clearing, but if your store allows this it usually happens with doubling a coupon up to $1.00. Other coupons that are more than $1.00 have that value deducted at checkout for the correct item.
Another way to use coupons is to stack them. You will need to ask the store if you are allowed to use a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon. If you are allowed then this will allow more savings and is called stacking coupons. Finally like at the beginning ask the store if they allow competitors coupons. If they do then a coupon that is from another store can be used as long as they are not expired.
Step 4 - Stocking up
Stocking up on sale items is a very important part of getting the most savings at a grocery store. This way you can have control over what you are paying for your groceries instead of allowing the grocery or even drug store to have that control. Stocking up does not mean turning your house into a mini market but it does mean having a stock of items that will last your family about 3-6 months. A typical stockpile usually consist of products that can be store on 3-4 shelves.
Saving time in planning is very simple. Having a list on the refrigerator and in the bathroom for when you run out of something is a key to saving time. Reviewing these list on one day only and planning what is needed around sales then this will save a tremendous amount of time. Shopping on the first day when the sale begins seems to be the best time to get what you need, especially if it is a large number of items. The grocery usually runs out of sale items toward the end of the sale. Shopping twice per month works for me. Some people shop weekly while others only shop once per month. You have to do what is best for you to save the most money for your household.