Saving money using coupons is more than clipping coupons from your Sunday paper. Shopping with coupons for groceries takes time and patience to see results and real savings.
Here are a few quick tips to use to get make the most of your coupon clipping:
Know what’s on sale
– Before you set foot in a grocery store or supermarket, you need to have a plan and clear goals. First, you need to go through your local supermarkets’ sales flyers to see what is on sale for the coming week.
You can buy the newspapers with the flyers or if you don’t want to spend the money buying the newspapers just for the flyers and coupons, you can usually pick up the flyers at the grocery stores or supermarkets.
Now a day, almost all supermarkets post their sales circulars on their websites a few days before the print circulars come up. Go to the supermarkets’ websites and check out what’s on sale.
Stock up on the grocery coupons you need
– If you see that the week’s coupons inserts in the Sunday newspaper include many of the products you normally use, stock up on those coupons by buying extra copies of the paper.
Print free coupons from coupon websites
– You can get free printable grocery coupons from online coupon sites or directly from manufacturers’ websites.
Plan your week’s meals around your store’s sale items
– You will need to be willing to plan your meals around what is on sale or what you will be buying for the week with or without coupons.
Shop with a list
– Always go grocery shopping with a grocery list so that you know exactly what you need to buy. Develop a shopping list by going through your pantry, freezer and refrigerator and note the ingredients you already have that fit into your meal plan.
To make this inventory check fast each time, start keeping inventory of your grocery items in your pantry and freezer. Keep a notebook near your pantry or freezer and keep track of the items as you use them. Make your grocery list based on what’s on sale, what you need and what coupons you have for what you need to buy.
Organize your coupons
– If you haven’t already done so, organize your coupons to make them easy to file and easy to use. Use an index card box or an expandable or accordion folder with separate pockets for your coupons. Divide the coupons by group, such as canned goods, baby products, breakfast, baking goods, dairy, etc., and sort them alphabetically and by expiration dates. Try out a few systems to find one that works for you.
Shop once a week or less
– Keep your shopping trips to the grocery stores or supermarkets to no more than twice a week to save time and money. Weigh the benefits and costs before driving too far to save a few pennies on a grocery item.
Sign up for your local supermarket’s loyalty card
– Most supermarkets issues a savings, loyalty, or club card. They are free and only require signing up. You will not get some of the advertised specials without these membership cards.
Check for unadvertised specials at the door
– Look for fliers near the entrance of the grocery store or supermarket that offer unadvertised one-day sales or special buys that you may want to add to your grocery shopping list.
Give up on store loyalty
– Shop at supermarkets that will save you the most money and give you the best deals on the items on your grocery list.
Give up on brand loyalty
– Buy the brands that are on sale that you can buy with coupons that will save you the most money. Consider buying the store brands, or generic brand, if they are less expensive than brand name products.
– Almost all supermarkets give you double coupons. This means that you will get a discount equal to twice the face value of the coupon. But make sure you know how your supermarket’s double coupon policy works. Most supermarkets will double the face value of the coupon up to 50 cents, equaling to a $1 discount, or equaling the value of the grocery item. You do not get money back if the item is less that the amount of the discount.
– Most supermarkets will run triple coupons days for special promotions or incentives a few times during the year. With triple coupons, your chances of getting free groceries are very good, so take advantage of triple coupons when they come around. As with double coupons, supermarkets will limit amount of the discount you get with triple coupons. You do not get money back if an item is less that the amount of the discount.
– Some stores or supermarkets will allow you to stack, or combine, their store coupons with your manufacturers’ coupons. However, store coupons usually limit the number of the items that you can buy at that particular price.
Compare prices with unit pricing
– When you are trying to decide between two or more grocery items that are of different brands and different sizes, make it easy on yourself by shopping using unit pricing – the price per ounce or piece. Most grocery stores and supermarkets now have the unit prices for all items posted on the shelves. Always bring a small calculator with you on your grocery shopping trips.
Get familiar with the layout of your grocery store or supermarket
– Some supermarkets now have a map or diagram of the store posted on their shopping carts. Arrange your grocery-shopping list according to the store’s layout to cut down on going back and forth the same areas. Save frozen or refrigerated items for last to keep them from warming up too much
Practice safe food handling
– If you have frozen or refrigerated item on your grocery list, bring along a cooler with ice packs in your car to keep these items chilled during your trip home. If would also be a good idea to double bag fresh meats and seafood to avoid cross-contamination with fresh produce. Don’t pack raw foods that need cooking on top of food that are eaten raw.
Go home after shopping
– Go straight home and get all of that food into the refrigerator and freezer as soon as possible – even if they are in a cooler.
More Tips –
Here are some more tips to consider for maximum savings:
- Learn the regular prices of the items you normally use so that you will recognize good sale prices and act immediately.
- Don’t waste time cutting or printing coupons for items that you don’t buy or use.
- Don’t buy items that you don’t need or use just because you have coupons.
- If you have the storage space or freezer space, store up or buy in bulk of items that offer good value.
- Don’t buy more than you can use before the item either expires or go bad.