My parents have always been coupon fiends. I remember Saturday mornings from my childhood, sitting at the kitchen table with my father helping him clip grocery coupons from last Sunday’s newspaper (and sort through envelopes of saved coupons) before heading out to the store. Coupons have their pros and cons—they can save you a bunch, but they can also tempt you to buy things you might not need. Do you use coupons? If not, here are some tips for saving with coupons.
Where to find coupons
Coupons are everywhere if you know where to look. Sunday newspapers are best, usually featuring at least two or three coupon inserts. Catch is, Sunday papers cost several dollars and include articles that are online for free. Shopping for more than one? You might save more in coupons than the cost of the paper. If not, get creative: ask friends for unused flyers, or loiter around a Starbucks until somebody tosses one!
You may also find in-store coupons, either hanging on store shelves or in flyers by the door. They are meant to trick you into impulse buys, but you can save them if the coupons are for a product you might need in the future.
Junk mail isn’t all bad, as you may receive packets of useful coupons, just as you may receive mailers with coupons from stores with shopper loyalty programs. Other places you can look for coupons include manufacturer websites and on product packaging. I recently bought a pint of blueberries that included a $1 off coupon for a box of cereal. It wasn’t the brand I usually eat, but I needed cereal and wasn’t picky!
How to save and organize coupons
Manufacturers produce coupons to get you to buy things you usually wouldn’t—or when you usually wouldn’t. To save money with coupons, you’ll need to be able to delineate coupons for things you need and coupons that will just get you to buy stuff you don’t need. In addition, you should learn to save coupons for when you need them.
The best way to keep your coupons organized is to clip out coupons that you will use and throw them into an envelope or shoebox. Then, each time you go shopping, pull out the box and find any coupons for items on your list. Of course, coupons expire, so don’t forget to toss out expired coupons every time you dig through your stash.
Do you use coupons regularly? Where do you get them? How much do you think they save you?