You usually throw out the big stack of coupons that comes in the mail every week. But did you know that you’re throwing out thousands of dollars when you toss those coupons?
It’s true. People who learn how to coupon effectively can save money on nearly everything. And when you’re pinching every penny, long-term couponing can be just what you need to make ends meet.
New to couponing? Keep reading! We’ve got everything you need to know about couponing basics, as well as tips about how to avoid couponing burnout.
Beginning Couponers: What You Need to Know
Tip 1: Change Your Mind
Ready to save hundreds of dollars each month on your groceries, clothes, and other necessities? It all starts with changing the way you think about shopping.
Many people shop at the last minute and end up making hasty, spontaneous decisions. We’ve all been there-the late night grocery store runs, the emotional wardrobe compromises, and the post-shopping regret.
There’s a better way. Couponing will help you save money, but it takes careful planning and a little commitment. Change the way you think about shopping, put yourself in the driver’s seat, and get ready to save.
Tip 2: Start Collecting
You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find and collect coupons. You can find them pretty much anywhere, including:
Websites. E-coupons are available to print or scan on store’s websites. There are also great websites that compile the coupons for you-all you have to do is type what you’re looking for into the search bar.
Newspaper inserts. You’ll find these coupons in your mailbox and tucked inside your newspaper. Mobile coupons. Many stores offer unique coupons available only on your smartphone.
Collect coupons from your favorite stores, but don’t be afraid to branch out. You might be used to shopping for shampoo and soap at Walmart, but you could find great deals on those items at Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and other drug stores.
Tip 3: Organize Your Coupons
Because coupons are time-sensitive, you need a way to organize your coupons so you don’t forget about them and miss great deals.
Some couponers use a binder to organize their coupons by date or category-others use a folder system, or make a list on their phone. Pick a method that works for you and your family.
Some people get overwhelmed by trying to find and save every single coupon they might use later. Doing so will only waste your time and your energy. Clip a coupon if you’re pretty sure you’ll use it. And if you won’t, then don’t.
Organize to help you capitalize on timing. Don’t just buy an item when you have a coupon for it. Wait until that item is also on sale or until the store offers an additional promotion. Your coupon plus other deals can help you save tons of money.
Tip 4: Master One Store at a Time
Each store has a different policy with unique coupons, rewards, sales, restrictions, and more. Pick a large store that you frequently shop at, and make sure you know the store’s policy well. You may even want to print the policy out and carry it with you.
Get to know the store’s management and employees. Develop good relationships with people early so that if you need to discuss the store’s policy, you can do so with people who know, like, and respect you.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Become an expert one store at a time.
Tip 5: Read the Fine Print
Coupons use the big print to lure in customers-after all, who can resist “10 for 1” in big, red print? But don’t just read the big print. The fine print will explain any restrictions or time limits you need to be aware of.
The fine print will explain exactly what the coupon can be used for. Know what the coupon actually says so you don’t accidentally spend more money than you need to.
Tip 6: Stock Up
When you hit upon a really great deal, stock up! Non-perishables like paper products will last forever, and buying in bulk while something is practically free can save you hundreds.
Buy clothing in larger quantities when they’re off-season and less expensive, and buy food products that have a long shelf life and that your family will use quickly. Stockpiling can help you when you run out of a product and would normally have to buy it at full price.
Tip 7: Have Fun
Couponing takes organization, planning, and a lot of work, but it can be a lot of fun too! Finding great deals and saving money can be exhilarating and fulfilling.
When you first begin couponing, relax and enjoy yourself. Memorize that sales cycle, but also remember that if you miss a coupon opportunity, it’s not the end of the world. Couponing should be a positive experience, not one that turns you into a frantic mess.
Use these tips to help you become a successful couponer who saves big. There’s no shame in using creative strategies to save money each month. And remember: payday loans are available if you need something extra to tide you over. Coupon, save money, and watch your bank account grow!