- Personal Finance
Shopping with coupons
Believe it or not, it goes much further than saving a few dollars. It leads to a mental shift, to something that will improve your life in many aspects. And if you need to spare one hour a week to collect coupons that will benefit you financially and save you up to 100 dollars a week - then that is a qualitatively spent hour, don't you think? Here’s how to get started.
There are multiple sources for your coupon stash, usually - newspapers, magazines, printable coupons, eCoupons and mobile coupons. Figure out which papers and magazines give out coupons on a regular basis, then go and buy a couple of copies. There are also web databases of free coupons for which you only need a computer and a printer, and mobile coupons which are collected through mobile applications and are great if you are someone who is always on the move. For eCoupons, register on the store site and add your personal card number to your account, click on the coupons you want and simply load them to your store loyalty card. For example, there is a vast array of product and service choices with Freecharge coupons and promotional codes that you don’t even have to leave your home when buying.
Coupons are to be found all over the place and need to be collected, clipped and stored. So if you want to be a couponer then you ought to get organized in order to reduce the time spent on finding your coupons and, in that way, enlarge your money and time savings. You can clip all the coupons, clip coupons that you plan to use or clip them only when needed (right before the actual purchase). Anyhow, you need to develop your own filing system and store all your coupons neatly in a secure place (some kind of a container – a small box or a bigger wallet). File them on a regular basis, do it neatly and categorize them – coupons for food, clothes, jewelry, cleaning products, baby products and such, or according to their expiration date.
Next, develop a sense of timing, don’t rush to use them immediately. There is no need to buy things you don’t need just because you can have a discount. For those you do - wait for promotions and sales when the prices are already down and then use the matching coupon. Pay attention to stores that double coupons in order to get a discount at twice of its value. You will learn the glossary of terms that frequently appear in the “coupon world” on the go, so to get the best of your purchases and not get confused when you hear about rainchecks, rolling catalinas and blinkies.
Go store by store and get to know their policies. Always have your coupons with you, so you don’t catch yourself in front of a great deal without your discount “weapons. Before going to a shopping spree – make a list, create a shopping plan and try to avoid those times of day when the stores are crowded in order to make the purchases more comfortable both for you and the cashier.
In the end, you don’t need everything all the time, so strive towards achieving balance. Get to know the stores one at a time and remember the time of year when they organize sales. Do not get hooked and start buying everything that gets to you, but prioritize and set yourself a limit.