5.07.2007

Coupons, Part I

One of the easiest ways that I have saved tons of money for my family is by using coupons when we go grocery shopping. I know many people have their excuses for not using coupons, but really it is not that difficult to do and it WILL save you money. Let me explain.

First of all, many people say they don't use coupons because it is cheaper to buy store brand products. This is almost always false. Sure, there are times when the store brand is cheaper, BUT there is an easy way to beat that price and still buy name brand. It's as simple as matching your coupons up with the sales on brand name products. When you combine the sale price with the coupon discount, many, many times this price will be better. What can make it an even better price is if you shop in a store that doubles coupons (usually up to $1.00 off). This is common practice in every grocery store in my local area. So I end up with the sale price and an extra $1.00 off.

To truly maximize savings, the best thing to do is stock up on items when they are on sale at a good price and you also have coupons for them. Stock up and store them for future use if they are non-perishables or if they can be frozen. This works very well for snacks, soup, beverages, paper products, baby food, diapers, meats, and boxed side dishes like mashed potatoes, rice and stuffing. Once you stock up on several different items, you will have the ability to go shopping and only buy sale items because you will have stock of things at home already and you won't be forced to pay full price when you need something.

Anyway, back to coupons. Another excuse people have for not using coupons is that they take too much effort. And it doesn't. Really, it doesn't. It's as simple as going through the coupon inserts in the newspaper and cutting them out. Takes less than 5 mins a week. Once you have your coupons, organize them simply in an envelope or with slightly more effort in a coupon organizer. I organize my coupons in a small accordion file that fits in my purse. It has sections for beverages, breakfast foods, snacks, dairy, meats, frozen items, etc. Make up categories that work for you and label them to make it easier when you're shopping.

Next you should take another 5 mins from your week to look over the sales ad for your grocery store and match them up to your coupons. This will save some time at the store. I don't even do this... I never remember to look before we go shopping. So it takes me a little longer in the store, but it's no big deal, really.

Another idea is to take the cherry picker approach. Check out the ads for several stores and shop at each one, only getting the sale items, to save the most money. I also don't do this one for several reasons... hubby would die if I made him trek all over town with me (yes, he always willingly assists in grocery shopping), Baby Dear would have a fit (13 month olds do not like errands that never end), and I prefer to keep travelling to a minimum... it's better for the planet.

So far, I hope this information has helped and I will have a follow-up post with more details on where to find more coupons and how to find coupons for the items you actually need. Look for that coming up soon. Feel free to leave comments with your coupon tips, treasures and even troubles.

1 comment:

Sarah Forhan said...

I love coupons I just wish they would come pre-cut, I hate cutting out coupons. But I guess that is probably asking too much. Recently, I haven't had time to use coupons and the difference between coupons and no coupons was out of this world.

I don't like coupons but really there is no excuse not to use them.

Thanks for the reminder.