Coupons can go a long way in helping you save money.
Our economy is still not showing promising signs, and with record number out of jobs, more and more families are experiencing financial hardship. It is natural that household budgets have to shrink in size for those affected.
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According to a 2010 CNN report, Americans cashed in 3.3 billion coupons in 2009, a 27 percent jump from the previous year. The report goes on to say that the cause is likely the financial recession.
But there are things that you can do to save money within the house and beyond.
Of course, the use of coupons ranks right up there among the top money savers.
The amazing array of coupons available across various industry means that you can save money on gas, grocery and food, vehicle repair shops, utility bills, movie passes, the list just goes on.
Following demonstrates how coupons can be used to save money:
1. Collect the Coupons
Nowadays coupons are really omnipresent, all it takes is for you to get interested enough to find out where they are.
Your local grocery store would be a great place to start as coupons are often commonplace there.
Here are a few ways to find good coupons:
Top Coupon Apps
If you want to become an extreme couponer, this is for you. All you have to do is take a picture of a coupon. It saves it for you and reminds you to use it when in store.
A great free app that alerts you to coupons and deals in your geographic area.
- The Coupon App
It gives you daily deals and allows you to save and share coupons with your friends.
Top Coupon Sites
The giant that is a must to check before buying anything.
Great coupon site with lots of updated deals both for offline and online shopping.
The name says it all!
- Target app
If you shop a lot at Target, this app can save you a ton. The best thing is you can use it both online and offline.
- Walgreens app
This app is great for getting exclusive offers and weekly store ads on your phone.
- CVS app
It does the same thing the Walgreens app does.
Pay attention as you get to either the cereal or cracker aisles, there is a gold mine of coupons and you just find what fancy you.
Try Swagbucks, the famous rewards program that pays you for watching videos, taking surveys, shopping and more.
The Sunday newspaper is the best source to look out for manufacturer’s coupons. These same coupons are also available in other magazines, cereal packaging, inside dog food bags and even mailed to you if you so desired.
These days most companies offer coupons. From department stores like Walmart to pharmacies like CVS to grocery stores like Schnucks and any other industry you can think of, there are always coupons to be found. Some of them also have printable coupons on their websites that you can print and take with you to the store.
Do keep in mind that stores like Walmart have coupon policies. So be sure to read those so you don’t waste your time collecting coupons that don’t work or are going t expire before you use them.
While waiting for your change at the checkout counter, you may be handed your receipt alongside some Catalina coupons. Such item-specific coupons are from the competitions, a move designed to entice you to buy their discounted products the next time you go shopping.
Sometimes, these coupons actually promise instant discount on your entire bill next time you go to the shop while not necessarily dictating that you buy their products at all.
2. Organize Your Coupons
It is true that coupons collecting can be exciting, but keep in mind that coupons that expire do nobody any good. At the same time, make a habit of organizing your coupons, so that you can take full advantage of them.
In this instance, an index card would come handy (you could get one at the Dollar Tree).
Assign individual food categories to the divided tabs. For example, you can have categories like frozen food, laundry, cereals, pantry, and miscellaneous.
Once you get the various categories in order, fill in the respective coupons accordingly, always organize in such a way with those close to expiry ahead of those with longer shelf life.
3. Compare Prices
Make sure you have everything planned out before you head for your regular grocery store.
With your coupons by the side, list down on what you like to purchase for the week and check what goes on sales promotion on that same week.
For items you have coupons, mark these items with stars. If these items are on sale that week, circle them. This way you can have a rough gauge on your expenses even before you set foot on the grocery store.
You will get to know what items you will have to pay the listed price and discounted items due to either coupons or sales (and of course hugely discounted items thanks to both sales and coupons).
By doing such comparisons, you may want to tweak your supplies for the week!
Obviously, smart use of coupons is going to yield decent saving. But your money saving effort will come to naught if you don’t keep your saving!
A wise choice is to open a savings account, ideally, the sort that does not impose a minimum balance requirement.
By sticking to the advice offered above, you will become a smart shopper and a saver at the same time, soon!
You don’t have to be an extreme couponing shopper to take advantage of coupons.
Whether you are trying to save money while on a tight budget or otherwise, as long as you get into the habit of using coupons, you can, at least, save yourself a few bucks in grocery stores, department stores and any other places you shop.