Saving money with or without coupons
Not always a need for coupons to save
I know a lot of people are going back to cutting coupons in this economic downturn, myself included. However, you really have to be careful as a lot of the things that there are coupons for in the Sunday paper are more expensive than their no-name brand counterparts. You've probably heard before that the no-name brands are just as good as the name brands. I was once a skeptic. I admit, I was a brand snob and then for a couple weeks, I was busy at work and my husband offered to do the grocery shopping (I know, lucky woman!). Well, he bought some generic products. I grumbled, but I used them. Guess what? The majority of them WERE as good as the name brands. Canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, cereal, sliced cheese and some cleaning products all passed the test. I went over the receipt and found that the generic or store brands cost considerably less, even if you factor in the coupons. Now, I'll be honest, I didn't do a study of it week after week and I was comparing regular prices, not sale prices, so if you don't have the time or if you don't want to have to pour over the newspaper advertisements each week with the coupons you already have cut out, do the same experiment. Try to find items that you can switch to store brands.
some items that I just will NOT use an 'off' brand of. That's just my
preference. For instance, I only use Hellman's mayonnaise (Best Foods,
west of the Colorado River). My husband only likes Miracle Whip.
Neither one of us is willing to budge, so I definitely use those
coupons. We really like Sparkle paper towels, so we stick to those. We
find the cheaper ones just don't work as well, and the more expensive
ones aren't needed. Stables like sugar, flour, salt, etc., I don't mind
the store brand. I've really been amazed at the quality of the bagged
Malt-O-Meal cereals. They're really good.
There may be times when I'm reading an email from a friend that found an awesome deal in a store with a name brand and a coupon, so I do save my coupons, but I only cut out the ones I know I'll use. The rest I leave intact and filed with the oldest in front. Each coupon section has the name (Red Plum, Smart Source, etc.) and the date stamped on the side, so it's easy to find the one I need. That way, my purse isn't full of coupons I'm not likely to use.
One last couponing tip. When you
figure out exactly which name brands are nonnegotiable in your home,
find the website for that product or manufacturer and get on their
mailing list for even more coupons. Especially helpful for baby items;
diapers, formula and wipes, etc.
This system may not work for your family, but it works for our family of 3 that has a pretty basic and stable grocery list.