It s estimated that Americans save 46 billion dollars a year by using coupons. That sounds like a lot of money, right? But consider that, according to Extreme Couponing, it is estimated that Americans also throw away coupons worth 57 billion dollars and you’ll see that we haven’t yet mastered the profitable art of couponing. There is a strong likelihood that you contribute to this statistic. If so, this guide will help to make you an expert at couponing.
1. Do not be afraid to look cheap
Many people hesitate to delve into the world of couponing because they are afraid to look cheap. However, with tough economic times, a compromise has to be made and going all out with every coupon in sight is certainly a worthy one. With the money you save, you could go on an occasional dinner to an expensive restaurant or on a vacation to an exotic destination and guess who won’t be looking cheap when that happens!
2. Diversify coupon sources
There are lots of coupons ready for the taking if you know the right places to find them. Coupons are available in a large variety of sources and can be acquired very easily. These sources include newspapers, magazines, online services focused on frugal lifestyle and couponing like Discountrue , store mailings and even ones you find in the store on products.
3. Organize your coupons
If you aspire to be an avid couponer, your collection could run into hundreds of coupons. Get a container such as a shoebox or recipe box which you can use as a landing spot for your coupons. Better yet, you could acquire a coupon binder, coupon wallet or file in which to organize your coupons. Develop a filing system based on category, expiry date, etc. Purge regularly in order to eliminate expired coupons which may fill your storage space.
4. Carefully plan your shopping expeditions
Couponing can be a very complex and time consuming undertaking. A good couponing schedule sets aside time for finding, clipping and storing coupons and also indicate the precise times and locations for shopping. This helps avoid last minute rushes to grocery stores and facilitates efficient coupon use.
5. Familiarize yourself with coupon lingo and rules
Many shoppers do not know that there is a special jargon used in the coupon world. In order to make the best out of your coupons, you need to understand every term related to this niche. You may have to memorize quite a few of these and their meanings in the beginning but mastering the lingo gets easier with time. Couponing comes with a set of rules and failure to learn these can lead to embarrassment or even trouble with the law when trying to redeem coupons.
6. Base your decision on the best deal rather than brand loyalty alone
Sometimes brand royalty can help you draw a better bargain from your coupons. However, it is important to remember that the idea behind couponing is to get the best deal possible. If a dealer other than your usual dealer offers you a better bargain, then do not hesitate to go to them. Be ready to travel instead of stopping at one efficient location. The extra savings may well be worth the extra effort it takes to visit multiple stores.
7. Buy in bulk
When an item is available on a coupon discount, buy many units for future use especially if the discount is not expected to continue for a long time. This requires a dramatic change in your thinking. Instead of making a list of what you need, make a list of what is on sale and buy as much as is reasonably possible. Organize your spoils well and make room in case you need to make additional bulk buys on other products.
8. Do not be overzealous
A bargain is only a bargain if you actually need the item you purchase. Many couponers do not understand the difference between bulk buying and hoarding. They end up with a warehouse of useless items in the false belief that they are saving money. Only purchase things can be stocked without going bad or that can be donated.