Coupons can save you hundreds of dollars a month while others might only save a few dollars every year. It’s all in how you acquire coupons and utilize the ones that you have. Many think it’s a big hassle to go through coupons to save .55 off of one item, but others find they can find quite a bit of coupons they can utilize.
The first thing to look for when using coupons is if the store doubles manufacturers’ coupons up to $1.00. Shoppers and Giant are two stores that will double manufacturer’s coupons, which can add up considerably if you have a whole bunch of coupons under $1.00. This also might be why manufacturer’s will give you $1.00 off versus $.75 off these days. The second thing to look for is if the item is on sale when you are wanting to use the coupon. Do the math in your head. If your suntan lotion is $12.99, and you have a coupon for .50 off, this will make it $11.99 if you double it. However, if that same suntan lotion is $11.99 at Wal-mart, then purchase it at Walmart so you can save money on it.
The best way to accumulate coupons is to go through your mailings that you may constitute as “junk mail” at home. RedPlum has been sending coupons directly to the home and stuffing it inside what I normally threw away before. You also might find some valuable coupons in the Val-pak so go through all your mail before tossing. Many times a new restaurant opening offering a two for one special can be found here or Macaroni Grill coupons as well. Set all the coupons aside, regardless of if you think you will use it or not. You can join a coupon swap group in your community or online to trade coupons you don’t want or need for those that you do.
Sign up for the savings cards and birthday clubs because this gets you on the list. Giant and other grocery stores send a mailing with recipes as well as grocery-store specific coupons. It’s wonderful to see completely free items with these coupons. But bear in mind if you don’t have a card, they don’t have your info, and can’t send you these valuable coupons. Joining birthday clubs at Chuck E Cheese and specific restaurants also get you free meals or coupons for a certain percentage off of your meals. Since so many restaurants do this, most restaurants give you anywhere from a week to a month to use your free birthday meal or redeem a gift. Sign your kids up for Toys R Us birthday so you get a special savings card for them each year for their birthday too.
If you forget a coupon, hold onto the receipt and take it back with you to the store. This way you can redeem the coupon and get the cash handed directly back to you. Many figure out they won’t have to buy it again before the coupon expiration so throw the coupon away, completely unaware they can take the receipt and coupon back in to get the savings.
The biggest place to find coupons, however, is in the grocery store. While you go down the aisles, take the coupons out of the dispensers. The majority of the time those items aren’t even on sale at the time, but people will take the coupon and use it since it is there at the time. Instead of using it, put it aside so you can use it when the item is actually on sale at that store. Sometimes you might see a coupon for an item that is on sale at another store so no reason not to grab that manufacturers’ coupon and take it with you to the next store.
Valuable savings coupons are also printed out at the grocery store with your receipt. These are store-specific coupons, but you can also add manufacturers’ coupons to get more savings. You might find $1 off of your next shopping trip, a free item, or money off a specific item. During the summer, grocery stores will hold sales on specific items to get you heavily discounted or even free tickets to a theme park. For example, Kraft had two sales going on to where if you spent $30 or more on specific items, you saved $10 off of your bill; they furthered that sale by offering a free ticket to HersheyPark with the purchase of $45 worth of the Kraft specific product. So I ended up getting $55 worth of Kraft product for $45 (actually less since I had coupons), got a free ticket to HersheyPark ($55 value), and then two $1 off coupons printed out as a thank you for buying Cool Whip and hot dogs good towards a future shopping trip. Another sale was buying $12 worth of Good Humor and Klondike bar and automatically save $3 off the total. The items were also on sale and a grocery store coupon for $1 off my next shopping trip printed out.
So pay attention to those circulars. Comb through your coupons and write on your shopping list that you have a coupon for a specific item on your list. Keep your other coupons on hand in case you find something on sale and realize you also have a coupon for it. You might just find an item on sale for .99 that you have $1 coupon for, so you get paid .01 to buy that product. Trade coupons for those you need and stock up on coupons when you come across them to use on another day. These valuable trips can save you lots of money throughout the year and is well worth the effort.