Sunday, May 26, 2013

Are you really using coupons to the greatest advantage?

Coupons really are a boon to consumers, and are a great way to save money. In fact, the incredible usefulness of coupons has in recent years been exemplified by the hobby called “extreme couponing.” Sure, it isn’t always a very healthy thing to do, particularly when you try to buy out all the toilet paper from a store, and the guy behind you in line really, really needs some. You don’t necessarily need to go completely overboard with it, but you really can save a ton of money on your grocery bill just by using good timing, using the right coupons at the right time, and being aware of your purchases. In fact, many regular couponers claim to annually save half or more of their grocery bill every year! That’s not exactly a drop in the bucket, so how is it that you can really take advantage of coupons?

It isn’t always necessary to use up coupons on the week that they’re issued. Although it can be tempting to clip out the coupons and then run out to the store, that’s what manufacturers and the stores themselves are expecting. Instead, pay attention to the circulars that run for your local grocery stores. Many times, you’ll find that an item will go on sale a few days or weeks after a coupon was issued. In fact, you might just luck out and pick up a really good sale like a 2 - for - 1, and add coupons to that. Depending on the coupon, you might be able to use two coupons, double the coupon value through the store’s coupon program (which many grocery chains do now to remain competitive) AND use the 2 - for - 1 as well. That means you could easily save 75% or more off the original sale price. 

It’s important to remember that many food makers run specials on their products during certain times of the month or year. It’s all very well thought out according to high and low sales forecasts, and there’s no real reason you can’t track when the items that you buy most go on sale, then plan ahead when you get coupons for those items rather than just guessing and then getting a paltry, barely-worthwhile 30 cents or 50 cents off the full price that usually gets charged

Some of the problems most often cited by consumers and retailers about people who consider themselves “extreme couponers” is that they’ll take all the coupons out of all the newspapers, clear off shelves of sale items, and use other means to essentially rip off the stores and other consumers. Whatever you do, don’t go that far. For the most part, retailers and manufactures work on a quarterly or monthly cycle. For instance, let’s say peanut butter goes on sale as a 2- for -1 item. They might actually run that same product every six weeks or so, so really you don’t have to buy every single one that they have. They’re going to make more after all, and it’ll go on sale again. All you have to do is determine how much of that product you’ll use in that period of time. Maybe you’ll go through 4 jars of peanut butter. Why buy eight then? They might eventually go over their expiration date by the time you’re going to use them!

Coupons are available from many, many sources, and part of the fun of saving so much money on the goods you use every day is hunting down the reliable places to find those deals. Check online, in newspaper ads, or even in your local mailers and see what you come up with. Chances are you could be one of those shoppers savvy enough to save half or more off their grocery bill every year!

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