I have had several questions from moms learning to coupon so I thought I would repost this article on using coupons effectively.
Everyone knows that using coupons saves money, right? Well, maybe not. It all depends on how you use them.
Saving money on groceries is a learned skill. In observing shoppers over the years, I have developed what I call the Smart Shopping Hierarchy:
Level 1- Shoppers who go to the store when the food runs out and buy whatever looks good.
Level 2– Smart Shoppers who look at sales ad as they enter the store and try to buy some sale items.
Level 3 -Smarter Shoppers who look at the sales ads ahead of time, make a menu and grocery list. Perhaps they cut coupons for items they want to buy.
Level 4-Savvy Shoppers who make a menu based on the sales ad, cut coupons for some items.
Level 5- Super Savvy Shoppers who look at all the available sales ads, visit multiple stores to purchase the “loss leaders”, make a menu based on items in the pantry and fridge along with super sale items and who use coupons combined with the super sale prices to pay the absolute lowest cost.
Super Savvy Shoppers know to wait to use coupons until prices hit rock bottom in order to score a great deal. You can read more about this strategy here.
If you are just beginning to use coupons, here are some ideas to get started:
1. Buy the Sunday Newspaper (or better yet, get it for free)- A paper with double coupons in my area is $3.00, which is a pretty good investment considering all you can save using the coupons. I actually try to use my CVS Extra Care Bucks rather than paying cash, so I get the papers free. You can also ask neighbors and friends to give you their unused coupon inserts.
2. Organize– My best advice is not to spend hours cutting individual coupons. I use the Coupon Mom method, which is to write the date the coupon came in the paper on the front of the flier and file the complete flier in order by date. If you must cut out every coupon, you can buy a 3 ring binder and baseball card inserts to organize them.
3. Find Printable Coupons-You can print coupons directly from The Peaceful Mom here. Check my Printable Coupon Updates for the latest printable coupons available on the web or sign up for instant updates on Facebook or Twitter.
4. Use Electronic Coupons-Websites like Shortcuts and Kroger offer coupons which can be loaded to your shopper card. The amounts will be automatically deducted off your order at checkout. You should be aware that these coupons do not always work and there is no way to remedy the situation if that occurs.
5. Check Websites– Check websites like Coupon Mom which show the percentage saved on each sale item at your local grocery store.
Once you check the deals, make a grocery list including the coupons you need. Then print and cut the coupons, place them in your binder or envelope (I have an envelope for each store) and go shopping! You can also read Why I Shop at Multiple Stores here.
6. Have Fun- Don’t be frustrated if you find out that you have missed a good sale or used a coupon on something at the wrong time. Consider yourself a winner every time you save money.
You may also be interested in these articles:
If you have questions, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be happy to help.
©2010 The Peaceful Mom-No material on this website may be reprinted in any form without the express written consent of the author. Please note that this post is not intended as professional advice but simply the author’s personal opinion. You should seek professional advice if your circumstances require it.