THE main complaint about couponing that I hear from those who are just beginning is that they do all of this work getting the coupons, cutting the coupons, and organizing the coupons, then end up saving less than $10 when they shop. Goodness, I would want to give up too! But I am here with good news — there is a solution: KNOW WHEN TO USE YOUR COUPON!
Don’t just use a coupon because you have it (that’s what the manufacturers want you to do!) We must be strategic with our coupons if we are going to really save BIG.
Here are a few tips that I have found helpful in my use of coupons:
Wait for the sale. Hold on to your coupon until you see that there is a good sale on a product, THEN use it to get an even better deal! If an item regularly costs $4 and you use a $1 coupon for it, then you will just save $1. But if you wait for it to go on sale for $2.50 (yes, prices will come down that much with sales) and use the $1 off coupon then you have saved $2.50 off of the original price instead of just $1. This type of savings really adds up!
Be patient with your free product coupons. Periodically you will get free product coupons in the mail (these could come through freebies, Vocalpoint, calling/emailing the manufacturers, or a variety of other ways). I know it’s tempting to go out and get your free product right away, but if you wait to see if there will be a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale, then your 1 free product could turn into TWO free products. The same applies for Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons. Wait for a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale, then use your B1G1 Free coupon to get TWO items completely free!
Take your low-value coupons to stores that double/triple coupons! Don’t waste your 25¢/1 or 35¢/1 coupons at stores that don’t double (unless you have no other option). If you have a grocery store that doubles or triples coupons, use the low-value coupon there (when there is a sale), where they will turn into high-value coupons!
Use your coupon when there is also a store coupon for that item. Many stores put out store coupons that you can use WITH manufacturer coupons. Using these coupons together can give you some great savings and, many times, FREE items!
Save your coupons for an ECB deal at CVS or a Register Rewards deal at Walgreens. Coupons for makeup, toiletry needs, medicine, and feminine products, can usually be saved to score a great deal at the drug stores… and sometimes even a money-maker deal!
When your coupon is about to expire, see if there is a travel or trial sized item to use it on. If the coupon does not say that it excludes travel/trial sized items, or it does not specify a size, then you can use it on the trial size! Of course, it’s better to get the full for free, but if a great deal doesn’t come up before the coupon expires, then you can use it to get the smaller sizes for free.
Look for clearance deals while at the store. The Kroger in my area has some GREAT “manager’s special” mark-downs on meat, cheese, and other perishable items every time I go. Many stores will also have “clearance shelves” where they put their clearanced merchandise. This is one of the reasons that many couponers like to bring their coupon binders into the store with them… you can typically use coupons on clearanced items too!
Lastly… (I want you repeat this after me)… “I don’t have to use every coupon I get. I don’t have to use every coupon I get.” Really! I only use a small percentage of the coupons that I get from the newspaper because if I don’t, I will end up spending more money using coupons than if I would’ve stayed away from them. BUT, if I time it right, and only use the coupons when there is a good sale, then I can score some AMAZING deals!
(NOTE: If you are going to buy a product ANYWAY, whether it’s on sale or not, then by all means use the coupons that you have for it.)
Do you have any tips that you would like to share regarding this topic? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below!