Who will help?
Companies will help you save money. A coupon is as good as free money. Issued by manufacturers and retailers to encourage you to buy certain established products and try new ones, coupons offer financial incentives to shoppers to choose one brand over another. Regular use of coupons combined with consumer savvy regarding retail sale cycles, planning of household meals and organizational skills can help you trim the size of your grocery bill.
Below are steps for reducing spending by using coupons;
- Know the rules. Each grocery store will have its own policies about what coupons it will accept and when. Some will limit the total number of coupons that can be redeemed within a single transaction. Fabled coupon techniques, such as receiving money back when your coupon is worth more than the item’s cost, are at the store’s discretion. Read the restrictions on the coupon itself. Many manufacturers’ coupons will specify they cannot be combined with any other offers and will have an expiration date and specifications about the item or the amount that must be bought.
- Track the timing of sales. Certain grocery store products go on sale on a regular schedule. Stockpiling items when they go on sale so you have enough to use until the next cycle of price reductions will allow you to never run out and have to pay full price. Knowing the cycle also allows you to match your coupons with in-store sales; most markets will allow you to use a coupon on an item whose price is already reduced because of a sale.
- Gather as many coupons as possible. Subscribing to the Sunday newspaper with the most coupons, searching online for coupons and gathering free publications with coupons will ensure you have a large supply of coupons to choose from. Keep your coupons organized so you know what you have and can use them accordingly. Join a coupon club to swap coupons you have no use for in exchange for ones you can benefit from.
- Buy only what you need. A good deal can serve as a temptation to purchase something you have no use for and will remain unopened in your pantry. Unless you have altruistic intentions, such as donating the items to a food bank, avoid spending money on things you will not use. An alternative is to plan your household purchases around what is on sale; plan meals around grocery store sale items instead of looking for sales on what you normally eat.
- Join store loyalty programs. In addition to honoring coupons and having in-store sales, many grocery stores allow you to earn points for shopping that you can use toward a future purchase or get price breaks not available to the general public. Signing up for these programs is usually free. The discounts are taken automatically once you swipe your card at the register.
- Calculate your gas costs. If you shop at more than one store consistently, you may lose your savings in the expense of driving from one market to another. Choose a few markets with consistently low prices and use your sales tracking information to visit other markets only when they have their regular sales on the items you are looking for.
- Know a good deal. Clipping, saving, swapping and using coupons is a great way to save money; however, not all in-store sales are equal. One market’s good price on an item may be higher than that at a different store. Knowing a good price on an item allows you to maximize savings by using a coupon with an already low price. For example, a $1 dollar coupon is better spent on a box of cereal at a store where the price is $3 per box than on the same box for sale at a different store for $4.
Budget Investigator can help point you in a positive direction. The multi-page report provides the tools useful for fixing a broken situation.