Have you ever been interested in couponing? Sure, it can be annoying to cut and clip a bunch of coupons, but if you know what you’re doing you could really generate a lot of savings!
When I graduated from college, I wasn’t able to find a promising job in my hometown, so I decided to branch out and move to Florida with my best friend. He already had a job lined up teaching, but I still had to find something, otherwise I’d have to return home broke with my tail in between my legs. To clarify though, I was already broke, but I figured I could survive for a little while on the couple hundred bucks I had (and maybe get some help from my credit card).
I knew that I had to live cheaply, so my staple meals consisted of gross looking (probably Grade F) hamburgers from Wal-Mart, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I ate so little that I lost about 15 pounds in the first month (to be honest though, the summer Florida heat probably drained 7 of those pounds). And then I saw it, this little old lady on the news had her cart piled high with groceries. Typically, a cart-full would cost over $200, but do you know what her bill was? After she handed the cashier her handful of coupons and they were scanned one by one, her total came to $10.74. I bet she had enough food there to survive an entire month, and on $10.74! I decided right then and there that I would learn how to coupon.
Coupon SitesThe very first thing I did was subscribe to various couponing sites like CouponMom.com or GroceryAlerts.ca. On these sites, they take all of the guess work out of couponing. They tell you exactly where you can find these various coupons and also where to shop in order to get the best overall deal. As a beginner couponer, this is a great place to start in order to get your feet wet with coupon savings.
Don’t Go to the “Everyday Low Price” Stores
When I first started out, I would instinctively head to the big box grocery stores because I knew that they offered the cheapest prices on most of their selection. While it is true that their food is cheaper, they don’t often have sales, which is essential to find an amazing deal with your coupons.
The best way to find a good buy with your coupons is to keep an eye out for “Buy 1 Get 1” specials. Let’s say spaghetti is typically $.99 per box. With the Buy One Get One, you’re suddenly only paying 50 cents per box. Now, what if you have a coupon for 50 cents off? You’re only paying 25 cents per box.
Sometimes stores allow you to double up on coupons. They’ll call it “Double Coupon Thursday” or something like that. Sticking with our example from above, let’s say you’ve got two coupons for 50 cents off and the spaghetti is offered as a B1G1, after it’s all said and done, the store is actually paying you a penny for their noodles!
The average person would shy away from food that’s nearly expired, even though it’s probably good for another week, and if you immediately freeze it, it would keep for much longer than that. Since many people don’t want to buy meat that’s nearly expired, it will typically get a severe discount; something like $2 off of a package that costs $4. Find out when your supermarket typically marks down their prices for this reason and snatch those deals up! If you can combine a coupon, you could easily save 60-70% on a nice cut of meat!
If you find a great deal on some non-perishables, don’t be afraid to stock your pantry full of it. You know that it will be good forever, so why not buy a bunch of it for a severely discounted price and pick away at it for the next year or so. Sure, you’ll have to find the space for it, but that type of deal might not come around again.
Find the Best Paper
While there are coupons online, the majority of them are still found in your local newspaper. It’s likely that you have more than one option in your city, so take a careful look at each of them to see which on offers the most coupon savings per week. You’ll get more bang for your buck by making the right selection.
Also, if you know there are a couple of great coupons one week, and you’re able to double up on coupons at your local grocery story store, don’t be afraid to buy two newspapers! You might look a little crazy, but if you can save an extra $20 by purchasing two papers (at a cost of $1.50 each), it’s completely worth it!
Don’t Give Up!
Let me tell you, it takes quite a long time to really get good at couponing. At first, you’ll most likely save only 20% off your bill, but as you continue to learn more and more about how to find deals, you’ll slowly see your savings creep up and up. Soon, you’ll be saving over 50% on your groceries and couponing will turn into more of a game than a chore!