Coupons are a great way to save money. They don’t only help you save money at the supermarket; you can often use coupons to save money on your restaurant bill, online shopping, game and movie rentals, household items, car maintenance, clothing, and much more. If you’re new to couponing, here are some tips that can be helpful:
Set up a system
It helps to be organized with your coupons so that you don’t spend too much time looking for one specific coupon when a particular item goes on sale. Binders or filing cabinets can work well, but pick what works best for you. You can then either organize the coupons by brand name or by category.
Look for coupons in different places
The Sunday newspaper is one of the best places to find coupons, but it’s certainly not the only place. Don’t forget magazines, food packaging, and of course—the Internet. You can even do a search for a particular product before you buy it. You may be able to find coupons on the company’s main website, or on their social media pages.
Don’t buy things you don’t need
Stocking up on something that you use is one thing, but buying something you never use because you can get a great deal by couponing isn’t worth it. Unless you’re donating the item, you have to consider the time and effort that goes into clipping coupons, planning, and shopping. Even if the deal is great, just skip over what you don’t need.
If you do end up with a lot of unwanted coupons each week, swap them with a friend or family member. This is a great way to pass along good bargains, while receiving more coupons for the items you really need.
Depending on what you’re using coupons for, there could be hidden costs that make it not such a great deal in the end. For example, you may have a coupon that gives you a portion off food delivery from a specific restaurant, but they have excessive delivery charges. A comparable restaurant may have cheaper food that tastes just as good, and with little or no delivery fees.
Know the prices
Just like with hidden costs, it’s important to make sure you are, in fact, getting the best deal possible. You may be able to combine a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon at a specific grocer for an item you want to buy, but that same item might be available right down the street at a much lower sale price. Always look through the weekly circulars in the newspaper when you’re clipping your coupons, and become familiar with the regular prices at the different stores for the items you frequently buy. This can help you decide where and how to shop, and will help you save the most money in the end.
Every store has their own coupon policies, so it’s important to find these out ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. Some are more restrictive than others, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get a terrific deal. On the other hand, some are more lenient and may allow you to double down on your savings.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, legal, or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.