Tips For Couponing Like A Pro

By Rebecca Lake. May 7th 2016

If you’re looking for ways to trim your family’s grocery bill, cutting coupons is the first step to saving more. However, making the most of your coupon savings requires an investment of time and patience. Use the following tips to help you on the path to couponing like a pro.

Accumulating Coupons

The first step in maximizing your savings is to begin building a stockpile of coupons. Coupons can be accumulated using a number of different sources and the best place to start is often the Sunday newspaper. Depending on where you live, your paper should include several sales inserts which may feature coupons for a variety of products including food items, personal care products and household cleaning supplies.

In addition to newspaper inserts, coupons can also be acquired from many other sources. There are a number of websites that offer printable coupons including RedPlum.com and Coupons.com. Certain websites, such as SavingStar.com, offer printable coupons as well as digital coupons that you can “clip” directly to a participating grocer’s store loyalty card. You can also check to see if your grocery store offers digital coupons through their website. Coupons can also be found in magazines, at in-store displays or by contacting a particular product’s manufacturer directly. You may also be able to find coupons for sale on eBay or Craigslist. If you plan to purchase coupons, make sure you investigate the site and the seller thoroughly beforehand to avoid falling victim to a scam.

Sorting And Organizing

Once you begin accumulating your coupons, you need to develop a system for organizing them. There are a number of different ways to keep them in order including arranging them by expiration date, product type or alphabetically. You may also choose to separate store coupons from manufacturer coupons and subdivide them further based on specific categories. It’s important to note that store coupons can be used to purchase a particular product only at one of the issuing store’s locations. Manufacturer coupons are issued directly by the product’s maker and can be used to purchase the product anywhere.

Beyond organizing your coupons by type, it’s also important to create a system for keeping them together. For example, some couponers prefer to divide coupons into individual envelopes based on category while others use a plastic organizer with multiple divider pockets. Still others store their coupons in plastic inserts which can be clipped into a three-ring binder. Whichever way you choose to organize your coupons, the most important thing is that they be visible and easily accessible so that you’re able to keep track of what you have.

Planning Your Shopping Trip

Going to the grocery store without a list is the surest way to overspend and end up with items you don’t really need. Taking the time to plan out your shopping trip is vital to maximizing your savings with coupons. You should begin by reviewing the store circulars that go out each week in the newspaper. If a particular store doesn’t send out an insert, you can visit the store’s website to see what items are on sale. When looking for sales, it’s important that you cover every possibility and avoid making the mistake of focusing solely on grocery stores. A number of retail stores, including Walgreen’s and Target, routinely offer deep discounts on things like health and beauty products, household goods and certain food items.

Once you’ve made note of what items are on sale, you can begin planning your shopping list. When making your list, you should plan your purchases based on what items are on sale and what you have corresponding coupons for in order to make the most of your savings. It’s also important that you make note of a particular store’s coupon policy before you start shopping. For example, some stores allow customers to double or triple coupons while others, such as Kroger, do not offer double coupon promotions.

Stacking Coupons

In addition to seeking out double coupon promotions, you can also maximize your savings by stacking coupons. Stacking coupons simply means that you use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item. Ideally, you can save the most money when you stack coupons for items that are already on sale. For example, your favorite grocery store has butter on sale 2 for $4.00, with a regular price of $3.00 each. You have a store coupon for .50 cents off one, along with a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of 2. If the store allows coupon stacking, you would end up paying only $1.25 for each item and saving $3.50 altogether. Not every store allows coupon stacking so it’s important to check their individual policies beforehand.

Learning how to make the most of your coupon savings can be time-consuming, but it can pay off big once you develop a system that works. For some, clipping coupons is a casual hobby but for others, it’s more like an extreme sport. Either way, incorporating coupons into your shopping routine is guaranteed to make your grocery budget go farther.

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