A lot of us were raised watching mom take a wad of papers out of her purse to pay for groceries along with some money. We learned the value of those “coupons.” Strangely, times changed a little and coupon shopping was no longer the vogue.
Super markets introduced their paperless coupons, and a new generation never knew there Had Been paper coupons.
Tough times bring tough solutions. And suddenly, couponing is back in style, and everyone is back to using them – with a vengeance.
But are they really worth the extra time and effort to use them?
Well — a resounding YES!
A little common sense, and a lot of patient work at them, and they can add good things to our tables (and laundry). At the same time it will save you considerable money that makes the effort well worth while.
Here are a few hints to help make your coupons not only worth it, but also more manageable and valuable.
1) If you have an old check holder case, make use of it again, and use it for your ‘coupon book.’ You will have to get in the habit of taking it with you. It will help for those times when you ‘stop on the way home.’
2) Here’s where your menu plans and coupons come together.
Cut and save all of them that match your menu plan. Or even change menus a little to take advantage of sales and coupons. If you have a long expiration on the coupons, and you don’t need them now then save those for when they are more useful.
3) There still are a few locales where stores offer double and triple value of the coupons, be sure to use those at the stores that offer that option. Be sure of the days that those doubling offers are valid. Plan your shopping at that store on those days.
You will be amazed at how quickly this type of coupon system can help you slash your grocery bill.
4) Watch out for stores that inflate their prices when offering coupon deals or specials. This is mostly done when it’s a buy one—and get a deal on the second one. Stores will always put that price up to the full price of the first item. Soft drinks are the most guilty of this practice. If its still a sweet deal.. go ahead and get them.
5) Don’t be tempted to use a bunch of coupons on items you don’t normally use. The exception is to try an item, but if that item’s brand is higher priced than you generally spend on “your brand” then don’t bother with it or your grocery bill may end up increasing!
6) Be sure to use the same diligence of couponing you do for groceries for other non-food items. Things where coupons could add greater savings to your families monthly food budget.
The items at the grocers where the soaps, and paper products and over the counter medicines can count up really high.. and so do hair care and cosmetics. When laundry soap begins to get low, get over to your coupon supplier, and add them to your coupon pack. Savings up to $2 and $3 per item are not uncommon.
7) Think outside the Grocery Store
There is still another area you may not have had opportunity to
consider. The first one is your local restaurants, and national chains.
A “two for one” is very common. How nice for that special night out, instead of forking over $50 or more, how about half of that? Or even only 25% off? Its so popular that fast food chains now send coupon packs and offer buy one sandwich and get the second one free. Or a free sandwich if you buy a fountain drink.
8) Look for entertainment coupons too, for movies; amusement parks; all sorts of places from fairs to concerts and many special events. State fairs often offer free admissions, and percentages off rides and events and food.
9) Even think further out.. travel! Going on a vacation? Take along your little coupon book.. for eating out, especially fast food places. Hotel rooms and many special tours and “special fun things to do” all may offer nice discounts. A lot of these coupons also include shopping, especially at malls. Some hotels offer a coupon book with your reservation, be sure to watch for that feature.
10) Don’t miss the “almost coupon” on your credit or debit cards rewards feature. Some have the hotels and eating places and amusements mentioned above, but also have gift cards and clothing and gifts and an amazing variety of things.
11) And here is where you can be a hero. Help some other people with your coupons. You may know of some limited income people who could use those cents off their grocery bill too. Pet item coupons are marvelous, even if you don’t own a pet. Most pet shelters will accept all you can send them, they give them to senior adults for their pets, and for people who are adopting a pet. Lots of local charities will love to get some of your coupons also.
Is Couponing really worth it? Do you need to ask? Take advantage of every thing that gives you some money off, then laugh all the way to the bank.. or that expensive concert you’ve been wanting to see.
…And don’t forget your coupons..