Making Coupons Work for You
"Money is of no value; it cannot spend itself. All depends on the skill of the spender." – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Today most everyone clips or saves a coupon from time to time. Who can resist? When you know you can save more than the next guy just by having a piece of paper or coupon code, it's a great feeling.
However, the drawback of coupons is that they can become just good intentions and not real savings when you forget them or let them expire. Also, if you have ever cut out the grocery coupons from the Sunday paper, you quickly realize that you wind up with piles of paper that clutter your kitchen desk. Then that pile takes time to manage in order to achieve measurable savings at the grocery store and this is where most people give up.
Did you know that $336 billion in coupons were distributed in 2002 and $3.8 billion were redeemed for a total savings to consumers of $3 billion? This is according to the Promotion Marketing Association's (PMA) Coupon Council. According to the PMA, 79 percent of consumers use coupons. So gone is the image that coupons make you look cheap. Coupons have changed – using coupons is smart and anyone can learn to get in on these savings.
Here are a few things you can do to create a new routine that sets you up for successful savings with coupons:
- Treat coupons like cash. Most everyone has a wallet to organize their cash and credit cards – it would be silly not to return your cash and coins to the same place time and time again. The same is true with coupons.
- Have the right tools for organizing, storing and accessing coupons. Any job is easier when you have the right tool for the job and, let's face it, coupons can be kind of a job. The way you make the job pay off is in the tools.
- Success is in planning. Impulse purchasing whether it is at the grocery store or the mall can kill any attempts to build up savings. When you take time to create, carry out and reap the rewards of a plan, you are more motivated to continue doing it and get better results as time goes by.
- Use online resources to scout out deals before you shop. If you wait to get in the store to look at the deals, you open yourself up to veering off your shopping plan.
- Use online sources to achieve additional coupon savings. Some grocery stores link their shopper card with a paperless coupon system where you select items you might purchase online. Then that information is uploaded to your shopper card and when you purchase these items and your shopper card is swiped, you received additional savings.
- When the price is right, stock up. Many times grocery items go on sale or are buy one get one free, and this is the time to combine your coupon with the store savings for maximum savings. Many times an item can end up being free!
Keeping the household stocked with food and supplies is an ongoing challenge that has to be done. Staying on a budget is a continual process that requires sharp spending skills.