So, you’re in need of money saving tips, but don’t have hours to spend clipping coupons? Well, look no further! As a busy full-time worker and a lover of bargains, I’ve found that saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be challenging or time consuming.
- Know where to find coupons
Newspaper inserts. If you’re already familiar with extreme couponing, you know that to get the best deals, you’ll need multiples of the same coupon. So here’s the shortcut: Try buying the smaller, less popular (aka cheaper) newspapers in you’re area to get more multiples.
*Example: In my state, the largest newspaper sells for $3.00–a lot of money if you plan on buying several. However, many smaller local papers are only $.50 and include the same inserts. That’s six papers for the price of one!
Online clipping services. Many sites, such as coupondede.com have coupons from newspaper inserts pre-clipped. You pay for the clipping service, per coupon (they’re usually in the $.08-$.50 range) and have them sent to you. The best part is that you get to choose the coupons you want and how many you want without all the clipping fuss.
Online printable coupons. Coupons.com is my favorite venue. There is a limit of two like coupons that can be printed per computer. Shortcut: At my job, I have access to multiple computers that I can print from. You can try this (ask permission of course) or have friends print some for you. You could even try printing from your local library.
- Get organized
Lack of organization is a couponer’s nightmare. But, seriously, who wants to spend all that time clipping? It can be a pain, especially if you have lots of inserts. Once again, here’s a little shortcut: Instead of chopping away at the inserts, try keeping them together in a neat little stack. Then, go online and search the name and date of the insert (ex. 2/13/2013 Redplum). Many websites have listed all the coupons found in each insert, alphabetically by brand. Print the list and keep it near your stack of inserts. Refer to it as needed, and clip only the coupons you’re going to use, then cross that item off the list.
- Know your coupons and store policies
Each store has a different coupon policy. It is important to familiarize yourself with your store’s to achieve maximum shopping success. You can find policies online, or ask for them at the store. Here are some basic terms you’ll need to know:
Doubling. A coupon, when doubled, is worth twice the value that is printed on it. Usually, only coupons under a dollar double–so a $.50 off coupon can actually be worth $1.00, a $.75 coupon could be doubled to $1.50. Unfortunately, not all supermarkets double coupons. Some do so only on limited terms.
Example: At my local supermarket, they’ll only double four “like” coupons in a single transaction.
Stacking. This refers to the use of a manufacturer’s coupon along with a store coupon on the same item. All of the store’s that I coupon at allow stacking.
I hope these tips were helpful in kick-starting your couponing journey. There are lots of other tricks you’ll learn along the way. In the end, the best piece of advice I can give is to have fun with it. Look at it as a new hobby rather than a chore. Have fun and happy savings!