How many times in the last month have you used coupons? In the last year?
If the answer is never, then you are missing out on potential savings every time you shop.
Retail data firm Inmar reports that over 2.2 billion coupons were redeemed by American shoppers in 2016. Since coupons are now so prevalent online and in stores, this number continues to grow.
Ready to save money using coupons? These money saving tips will ensure that you are getting the best deal every time you check out.
How To Find Coupons
Not too long ago, the only way to regularly access coupons was via the newspaper. Not much has changed, except that newspaper circulation numbers have continued to drop for the 28th year in a row, according to Pew Research. For coupon-cutters, the newspaper has been replaced by a multitude of online coupon sites that allow consumers to find discounts for a number of different brands and stores, all in one place.
Social media has become a primary way for coupons and discounts to be issued to consumers. In a way, this harks back to loyalty programs that reward regular customers, as you’ll need to follow and engage with brands to see any discounts offered.
Dedicated couponing sites like coupons.com also aggregate different brands and retail coupons, ensuring that you don’t miss out on any deals, no matter what you’re shopping for.
How To Organize Your Coupons
Imagine cutting or printing out dozens of coupons and leaving them in a pile on your desk – how often will you go searching through them for one that you need? Instead, organize your coupons so that you can always find them, and so that you don’t let any of them expire before use.
- Get a binder: With a simple binder and some coupon-sized display inserts, you can organize your coupons by type, store, and even expiration date, while ensuring that you always see what you have available.
- Use your computer: If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer anyway, you can set up spreadsheets or lists of the coupons you have available, their expiration dates, and even images of coupons you’ve collected online.
- Use your smartphone: If you’d like to use coupons, but you often forget them at home, your smartphone can be a method of organization that you’ll always have with you. Take photos of coupons and save them to a folder in your photos. When you find coupons online, group them all here for easy access.
How To Save $100 Or More In A Month
If you’re ready to put your coupons to use strategically, you can end up saving hundreds each month. When you casually collect coupons and use them here and there, you’ll end up saving some change, but if you want to make a dent in your monthly spending, it’s time to get a little more extreme and focus on frugal living.
1. Combine Sales With Coupons
If you’re looking to save the most every month, start combining coupons with in-store sales. When you present manufacturer’s coupons during a sale, the store will still honor them, meaning that you’re getting a discount on an already discounted price. If the shampoo you love is $6.00, and the store is having a 25% off sale, that shampoo is now $4.50. If you have a coupon for $0.50 off that item, you’ve just saved nearly half the cost.
You’ll need to get savvy with looking for sales to go this route. Most stores work on a cyclical sales calendar, with peaks on holidays, so start keeping track of sales so you can plan out when to spend.
2. Start Stacking
Coupon stacking is when you “stack” multiple coupons on top of each other by using them at the same time. Let’s say you found a manufacturer’s coupon online for $2.00 off a $10.00 multi-pack of toilet paper, and then received an in-store coupon for 25% off the same pack of toilet paper. If you use the 25% off coupon, you’ve saved $2.50. Then when you use the $2.00 coupon, your price is down to $5.50 – a savings of $4.50 on a single item.
Imagine adding these savings onto a store-wide sale, and you can see how coupons can end up saving you a significant amount of money.
3. Compare Generic Brands To Name Brands With Coupons
You may have a coupon for your favorite name-brand juice that saves $0.25 on a $4.00 bottle, but right next to it is a generic juice that is the same size for $3.25. If you have to have the name brand, then you at least get some savings, but you can double those savings just by opting for the generic.
How To Use Coupons
When you’re at a store, you’ll want to check that their coupon policy doesn’t affect your shopping plan. Find out if they have a limit on coupons per transaction, whether they’ll allow coupons during store sales, whether coupons can be used on buy-one-get-one-free sales, and even whether they’ll accept coupons from competitors. It never hurts to ask, and you may figure out some new strategies to keep saving.
Coupon Fraud: What To Watch Out For
- Coupons offered for sale
- Coupons offered in online forums
- High-value coupons
- Free product coupons
- Copies made of other’s coupons
The Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) keeps a running list of current coupon fraud, so whenever anything seems too good to be true, you can double-check.
If the idea of saving $100 or more each month is appealing, it’s time to start using coupons. Just doing some simple research from the comfort of your home can help you save every time you spend.