Learning what to do with your coupons is essential to decreasing your spending and maximizing your savings. I used to think that coupons could not save you much money. Sure, you could save 50 cents here and 25 cents there and maybe even a dollar sometimes, but what is a few cents or a dollar in the grand scheme of things? Well, if you only use coupons occasionally, then you won’t save much money, and it probably isn’t worth the time to locate and cut coupons. But, if you learn to maximize the potential of your coupons, you will save a lot of money. I’m not talking about a few dollars here or there. I’m talking hundreds of dollars. I’m talking decreasing the amount of money that you spend on groceries/household items/diapers/medicine/make-up/etc. by half or more!
These savings don’t come without some effort, but the effort is worth it for the savings that you will gain. One day, before I started using coupons, my husband and I calculated how much money we were spending on food per month. When I finished adding, I was shocked! We were spending $800+ on food/household items (and, at the time, there were only two of us)! What a waste of money! I am happy to say that since I have learned how to maximize the potential of coupons, we now only spend a maximum of $300 dollars a month on groceries/household items/diapers/medicine/make-up/etc.
So, how do you maximize the potential of your coupons? Here are a few ideas:
- Look at your grocery store’s circular BEFORE you go to the store.
- Match coupons to your grocery store’s sale items. One of the biggest ways to save money with coupons is to pair coupons with sale items.
- Make your grocery list based on what is on sale. I plan my meals for the week based on what is on sale and what I have in my cabinets. Stock up on items when there is a good deal even if you do not need the item at that time (as long as it’s not perishable). Your goal is to buy at rock bottom prices. My only exception to this rule is do not go over your budget! It defeats the purpose of using coupons if you are still spending more than you should.
- Make a list. I know that this goes along with the previous point, but I felt that it deserved a place of it’s own. This is such an important rule! If you don’t have a list, you don’t have a plan. Goals are not reached without a plan! I even go so far as to write down how much the item costs before coupons and after coupons and the estimated total. I don’t want any surprises! Mistakes in calculations happen sometimes, but they are much less likely to occur if you have already planned and done the calculations.
- Do not stray from your list. It is so important to stick to your list! (Did I mention that making a list is important?:)
- Pay attention while they are ringing up your purchases. Okay, now my analness is going to shine through, but it’s okay…I’m not ashamed! I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten back to the car and thought, “That total did not seem right.” Well, sure enough an item will not have rung up correctly or I picked up the wrong item or they forgot to ring up one of my coupons. If you are paying attention while they are ringing you up, you can catch and correct these situations, and, hopefully, save yourself a trip to customer service!
The key to all of this is planning. If you are still thinking this is too much work, think about it this way. I used to pay $800+ for groceries a month, and now I pay $300 a month. Basically, I am paying myself $500 a month for all the work that I do to save…I think that’s a pretty good deal!!!