Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Savings Tip: Use Those Coupons

I think more people are using coupons these days.  There are shows where people save ridiculous amounts of money buying ridiculous amounts of things they may or may not ever need.  Everybody wants to get in on the action!

Either that, or they're completely intimidated by the 'Extreme Couponing' and figure why bother, it's too complicated.  I say - use those coupons!  No, you don't have to go to extremes and collect coupons from every possible source so you can buy more stuff than you'll ever need.  What you can do is go ahead and cut out those coupons you get in the Sunday paper.  Those are like money somebody put into your paper, money you get to spend.  Once you've got the coupons cut out, organize them.  Set some basic categories - meat, dairy, cereal, frozen foods, etc. - and organize your coupons by category.  This will make them easier to find when you want to use them.  I also like to organize them by expiration date within each category, making it easier to discard unused expired coupons.  Yes, I said unused.  Just because you cut out and organize your coupons does not mean you have to use them.  What it means is that you can use them - which you wouldn't be able to do if you just left them in the paper or put them out with the recycling.  Cut them all out, and then be sure to take them with you when you go to the store.  I put mine in a plastic 3x5 card box with dividers for the different categories.  Other people use binders, and there are coupon organizers that will fit in your purse, so there are several options.  You'll have to figure out what works best for you.

Now, actually using those coupons.  First, go through your local ads to see what's on sale and match up your coupons with the sale items.   Just because you have a coupon and can save an extra 50¢ or $1 does not mean you should pay full price - unless it's something you always buy anyway, and then be thankful for that extra money you're saving.  Most things go on sale regularly, and that's when you want to buy them.  Using coupons will save you even more.  But wait - before you buy something just because it's on sale, and you have a coupon, be sure to check the other brands or even the store brand, because sometimes those will cost you less - even without the coupon.  The key is to have the coupons with you and to use them if and when they actually save you money - on products you need and will use.  And sometimes with a sale and a coupon, you can try a product you might not otherwise have tried - which is why you cut them all out, whether you think you're going to use them or not.

So, if you're not already using coupons - start.  The manufacturers are giving you money to spend on their products.  Take it.  Use it.  But be smart about it.  Remember it's the final cost you're looking at, not how much you save.


  1. I have tried using coupons, but for some reason I always end up spending more than I usually do because I buy things that I normally wouldn't buy because I have a coupon. I am more of a buy what is on sale and on clearance and make my meals from there.

  2. Your post inspired me to use my 4 coupons today! For things i was going to buy anyway!


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