Learn How to Use Coupons to Save Money
Using coupons sounds like it should be easy: Just clip the coupon, present it to your cashier, and watch your total shrink. But if you want to save the most money, learn how to use coupons to maximize savings. Stores and manufacturers have strict rules regarding coupon use, but you can still save a lot of money and follow the rules.
You hear about people who use coupons to save thousands of dollars a year. You can reach this point, but if this is your initial goal, you may get frustrated quickly. Try to cut your budget by 10 percent for the first month and an additional 10 percent for each month after that until you are comfortable with your grocery budget.
Shopping with coupons does take longer at the store, but you can save time by keeping your coupons organized. This also helps ensure that you do not miss a deal or forget to use a coupon. Some couponers like to use accordion style files to store their coupons. Others like to use a three-ring binder with baseball card or money inserts to keep coupons organized.
Manufacturers often picture the largest size product on the coupon. Unless the coupon states a size requirement on it, you can purchase the smallest size available. Although smaller sizes cost more per ounce than buying in bulk, they are often much cheaper per ounce when you use a coupon. If a coupon has no size restrictions, you can use it on travel size items to get them for very cheap or even free.
Each coupon has an expiration date listed on it, and you must use the coupon before it expires. Stores do not get reimbursed for expired coupons, so allowing you to use an expired coupon is similar to stealing.
Some stores will accept a coupon that is a few days or a week past its expiration, but most will not. Ask the store manager what their policy is regarding expiration dates.
You cannot use a copy of a coupon, even if you printed the coupon at home. When you print a coupon at home, there is a unique bar code or number associated with the coupon, and the manufacturer limits how many times a person can print the coupon. Making a photocopy is fraud, and the store will not get money from the manufacturer for the coupon.
Stockpiling means buying as many items as you can at a deep discount. By doing this, you will not have to pay full price for items because you will always have them on your shelf. Stores run sales in cycles, so buy enough to last you until the next cycle starts. Most stores have 12 week cycles, but stores in your area may be different.