With no end in sight for the economic crisis, many people are looking for ways to stretch their money farther. One of the easiest ways is by couponing. Coupons are frequently put out by manufacturers as a way to entice new customers into trying their products. A new trend is for extreme couponing – a technique that allows for shoppers to get everything they need for their families at drastically reduced prices.
Learning to coupon effectively is the key to reaping the huge rewards that you see on shows like TLC’s extreme couponing. With a little bit of practice and some careful observations, you can soon create a stockpile of your families favorite products for drastically reduced prices. Read on to discover 5 helpful tips for couponing.
1. Be open to trying new brands
Couponing will only work if you’re open to trying different brands. If you aren’t picky about what type of toothpaste you use, you will never have to pay for another tube again. If you don’t mind changing your shampoos or toilet paper brands, you can also get those for free or cheap. Being flexible will give you more opportunities to get the rock bottom prices on items your family uses on a regular basis.
2. Keep track of your store’s sale cycles
Use a journal or spreadsheet to keep track of when your favorite products go on sale at your store. Sale cycles vary by region and retailer, so it’s important to learn your store rather than relying on some generic internet information In addition to keeping track of the sale cycles, you should also make a note of the unit price you pay for the items. This will help you know if the product is on sale for the absolute lowest price or just a good price. Learning what the rock bottom prices are will take a while and the lowest prices vary by region and store.
3. Only clip coupons for products you normally buy
One of the biggest mistakes that new couponers make is cutting out coupons for every item that they think they may want. Only cut coupons for the products your family buys regularly. If you don’t ever buy frozen dinners, cutting coupons for them won’t help much. At best you’ll waste your time, at the worst you’ll buy products that you don’t need or want, which is a waste of money.
4. Use a coupon binder to display your coupons
Being able to see all of your coupons will make you more likely to use them. You can use baseball card holders in a regular 3-ring binder to create a lovely coupon binder. Use dividers to break the sections down according to the layout of your grocery store (ex. dairy, meat, produce, frozen foods, grocery, personal care, household items).
5. Start small and work your way up
You can’t turn into an extreme couponer overnight. The key is to start small and work your way up. Pick one store to focus on. Drugstores are a great place to learn to coupon because you will typically only buy a small number of items and the complex rules of a drug store will teach you to combine coupons, sales, and store coupons to maximize your savings. There are also plenty of bloggers offering help finding drugstore sales.
With a little bit of practice and diligence, you can learn to coupon like a professional. Getting all of your families favorite products for a fraction of their retail price is a rush that will have you coming back for more. Best of all, couponing will save your family money and boost your budget for other needs.