How to Budget – Clipping Coupons
With the state of the economy these days, everyone should do whatever is within their power to save a few dollars here and there. It takes a certain amount of discipline to use coupons on most of your purchases, but believe it or not, they can save you a ridiculous amount of money! On the average grocery shopping trip, a dedicated "couponer" can save as much as 50% off of their total grocery bill with the strategic use of coupons. Finding, cutting, saving, and wisely using coupons on a regular basis is sometimes referred to as "couponing". The process may be a bit time-consuming, and even downright embarrassing to some of us, but there is no doubt that it will save you money. Here is a general guideline on how to save coupons, and in turn, save money on your groceries.
Source Your Savings
There a dozens of ways to obtain coupons. The first place to start is your local Sunday newspaper. These are packed full of coupons for hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses. Be sure to grab one every Sunday!
Tip: If you decide to subscribe to the Sunday paper, most newspapers give you the option to be sent "promotional offers", so make sure to look for this option, as this means you get more coupons in your mail, on top of the ones that come with the paper.
Now, once you have your coupons, you need to organize them. The easiest way to do this would be to get a Rolodex card filing system, and then create different sections based on different foods. For instance, you would create a section for "Drinks", then you could place coupons for juice, soda, water, wine, beer, milk, etc. within the category. Now, the above method works extremely well for those of you who create detailed grocery lists before you head out the door to do your shopping. But, not all of us make a shopping list, so for the rest of us, a simple pouch or coin purse works very well. If you are using the coin purse, you can separate certain coupons while you shop, so that you do not have to sit there and dig through a small bag of coupons with a line of people waiting behind you when you checkout.
Spotting Money-Saving Deals
We feel your pain, we know saving coupons can be a pain to manage, but this is where it begins to pay off. The absolute best way to save money on an item is to find a coupon that corresponds with an item that is already on sale. Whether the current sale is $ 1 off, or Buy 1, Get 1 Free, you should keep your eyes open for these items, and if you have corresponding coupons, and these are items you regularly purchase, then go in for the kill.
Here's an Example:
1 Gallon of milk is $ 3.89 at your local supermarket of choice
You find a coupon for $ .80 off a gallon of milk for this supermarket
You then find the milk on sale. For this example, let's make it Buy 1, Get 1 Free
This means the sale price will make the milk $ 1.94 per gallon, or 50% off
Then, you add in the coupon, which further reduces each gallon of milk by .80 cents
This brings each gallon of milk to a total of $ 1.14 per gallon
On top of this, many supermarkets offer a Double Coupon program, in which they will double the "reduction" reflected within a coupon (it gives more people a reason to shop there)
So, to push this whole milk scenario to the extreme, let's say this supermarket offers Double Coupons
That means you will save $ 1.60 ($ .80 x2) per gallon
Bringing the final cost of each gallon of milk to $ .34 cents per gallon!
As you can see, this can be applied to hundreds of products, but we simply use grocery coupons as our main example, as grocery coupons are more common than any other type of coupon. Saving coupons can literally save you thousands of dollars a year in groceries, especially if you have a large family. Just be sure to keep your coupon collection full of a wide range of coupons for multiple stores, and make sure you take a few minutes to go through your clipped grocery coupon collection and seed out the expired coupons, as these can be a real pain if you do not notice they are not valid until you are at the register. And our final tip, make a list of the grocery stores nearest you, and call each one asking for customer service. Once someone is able to get on the phone to speak to you, ask them how their coupon program works, and whether or not they offer Double Coupons. Also, be sure to ask if they have any restrictions on the way a coupon may be used, as some sneaky supermarkets will limit the amount of coupons you can use at the time of checkout, or the amount of products it will honor a coupon for .
Now go, save your coupons, use them, and save yourself some extra cash!