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How to Use Coupons (and Make the Most of It)

By , March 3rd, 2016 | One Comment


How to Use Coupons
The idea of using more coupons sounds great. Coupons mean that you’re saving money and saving money is excellent, but how does someone gather and use coupons to their benefit? It seems really easy, but when you’ve been presented the task of “couponing,” it can be overwhelming.

Coupons are usually used at grocery stores or for food purchases. Groceries are usually people’s second highest expensive (besides the mortgage and other larger bills). Before you start couponing though, you should probably set up a budget. Figure out how much you are currently spending on food and how much you want to be spending. Then, you set out clipping coupons so that you can save money without cutting the amount of food you buy.

There are a few things you need to know about couponing before you start though.

Where to Find Coupons

You have to have coupons to be able to use them. Where you can find the coupons differ though. You can discover different coupons through newspapers, flyers, online and even on coupon apps. There are a few ways you can always find coupons:

  • Coupon inserts in your newspaper
  • Printable coupons online
  • Printouts from the store (after check out)
  • Magazines (like newspapers) often have coupons
  • On the store shelves (tear pads)
  • eCoupons (you can find these online and through apps)

Store Coupons Vs. Manufacturer’s Coupons

There are two main types of coupons that you can use. There are stores coupons (these are usually found in the newspaper) and there are manufacturer’s coupons (can be found multiple places). A store coupon can only be used at the store. If you shop at a specific store a lot, these types of coupons can help you save a ton of money. Manufacturer’s coupons, on the other hand, can be used at more than one store. The manufacturer of the specific product is agreeing to give you the discount.

When to Use Coupons

To get the most out of your coupons, you have to know when to use them. If you spend a lot of time clipping the coupons or searching for them on the Web, you will want to make sure that you are saving the optimum amount of money to make up for your efforts. To get the most out of your coupons you should:

Wait for a sale to use your coupon. You waste your coupons when you use them on full price items. For example, if you use a “20% off” coupon for a full price item, you are only getting the 20 percent off. However, if you buy an item that is already, say, 40 percent off, you will receive a total of 60 percent off the item’s original price (instead of only 20).

Pay attention to the cycles. Sales tend to run in cycles. Stores and manufacturers repeat sales every eight to 12 weeks. If you learn the pattern, you can greatly benefit from your coupons. You can anticipate when items are about to go on sale and plan to use your coupons accordingly.

How to Use Coupons 2

How to Use Coupons

There are a few different ways to use coupons. Many stores offer things like “double coupons,” you can stack coupons and you can even often see if the store excepts competitor’s coupons. If you find a store that does any of these things, make sure that you are still getting the most out of your coupons. For example, some stores cap off double coupons at $1, so if you have a coupon for $0.75 off ($1.50 doubled), you would only get $1 off. In this case, you should not use both coupons, save the other (if it is not expiring). You can also do things like “stack” a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon and, of course, always ask if the store accepts their competitor’s coupons.

Stocking Up on Sale Items

Lastly, if you stock up on the sale items (when they go on sale), you will save even more money. If there is a sale (and you have a coupon, of course), you can buy multiple items and stock up so that you can wait until the next sale cycle. For example, if you have a coupon for toilet paper and only buy enough for that week when it is on sale, you will have to buy more next week (when it isn’t on sale). If you bought toilet paper for multiple weeks at the heavily discounted price (coupon and sale), you will save way more money and be able to wait until it is on sale again.

If you have any questions about the way you can use coupons at specific stores, don’t be afraid to ask a store clerk.

Photos: Flickr: Carol Pyles

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