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10 Tips for Saving the Most Money with Coupons
I love saving money and one of the ways I do that is by using coupons. Many people think they aren't worth the time, but I am here to tell you that if you do it right, it can be a very valuable tool in saving money. Here are 10 tips that will help you make the most money with those little slips of paper.
- Don't be brand specific. Cut every coupon out, for any brand. Yes flavors might vary a little bit, but if you can get free Hunts ketchup, then why pay money for Heinz? Once I stopped only clipping coupons for the specific brands I was accustomed to using, my coupon savings tripled and I got tons of stuff for free.
- Shop at a store that doubles coupons. If you have a store that offers triple coupons (usually a short term promotion) then all the better. Suddenly a $.50 coupon becomes $1 and you have a chance at getting a product for free.
- Buy smaller packages. It is usually the smaller size products that go on sale for $1 or so and with doubled coupons you can frequently get those items for free. A large box of cereal might cost $4 - $1 coupon and you will end up paying $3 for a 24 oz box of cereal - or $.12 per ounce. A smaller, 14 ounce box of cereal on sale for $2 - $1 coupon ends up being only $.07 per ounce. A much better deal. Do the math though, because each situation is different.
- When a good coupon comes out, get your hands on a lot of them. I do this by getting whole inserts from neighbors that don't coupon. If a particular week has a lot of good coupons, I will buy several Sunday newspapers. If it is a really good coupon, I will even go on Ebay and buy coupons there. Recently I bought 20 $.35 off Birdseye Vegetable coupons. These veggies are on sale this week for $1 a bag - I will get 20 bags for $.30 each.
- Print coupons online. Typically coupons that you print are for a higher amount than the ones that come in the Sunday paper. Usually you can only print one or two - which isn't going to go very far with building up a stockpile - but two $3 off coupons are better than none right?
- Look for coupons everywhere you go. On shelves, in dispensers by products, in magazines, in the mail and in the newspaper. Sometimes even the grocery ads themselves will have coupons. Keep your eyes open for them all the time and you will be rewarded.
- Match up coupons with sales and know when to hold them. The worst way to use a coupon is to use it when paying full price for an item. Of course if you are going to pay full price anyway, using a coupon is better than nothing, but you can get such better deals by combining coupons with sales. Knowing the prices of the items you normally buy will help you in this. Take my Birdseye veggie example from above. I could have used those coupons when they were on sale 4 for $5 - meaning they were $1.25 each, minus my doubled coupon ($.70) and I would have paid $.55 a bag. A good deal yes, but a great deal? No. I know that frozen veggies frequently go on sale for $1 a bag, so I waited. My patience paid off and on the 20 bags I bought I saved an extra $5.
- Watch the register and check your receipt - before you leave the store. If the clerk missed a coupon, you can have them go through their coupon bag and fix the mistake. If I had done this at Wal-Mart recently I would have saved an extra $3, because he didn't ring one of my $3 coupons. I can't tell you how frustrating that was to realize when I got home. Suddenly a great deal was hardly even a good deal.
- Don't buy items just because you have a coupon. I throw away at least half of the coupons I clip. Sometimes the sales never come around before the coupon expires, or sometimes it goes on sale, but it still isn't a great deal. Clip everything, but be picky about what you use.
- Be willing to shop places other than the grocery store. Shopping around will help you get the most bang for your buck. Drugstores are overpriced if you don't know how to play the game. Figure it out and you will rake in the products for not a lot of money. And sometimes the grocery store that does not double coupons will have sales that make it better for me to use my coupons there than at my regular grocery store.
Now, if you haven't couponed before take these tips and save some money! It really is worth the time.