Using a coupon to save money is a good thing. But using a coupon to its full potential is how you snag the really big savings.
Here are my top ideas for making your coupons work for you:
Stack those coupons. Most stores allow you to combine a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for even more savings. Wait until a sale and save even more.
Timing is everything. Most products run on a sales cycle of 4-8 weeks. You want to make sure to time your purchases so you’re buying products at their lowest cost, and buy enough of them to get you to the next sale.
Pay attention to sizes. Read the fine print on your coupons to know exactly what products and sizes you need to buy. If a coupon says $1 off one item, find the smallest size, and purchase it with the coupon. You may end up getting the item for free or nearly free. Bring a calculator to help you figure out the unit prices of an item. Sometimes using a coupon on a bulk package results in a smaller price per item than using a coupon on a small package, so do the math.
Avoid brand loyalty. When you’re willing to bend on what brands you’re willing to try, you open yourself up the possibility of being able to score free or cheap groceries with coupons. And you may even find that you can beat the cost of store brand items with your namebrand coupons.
Make the most of “Buy One Get One Free” coupons. Most stores will let you use a coupon to get a discount on the first item you are buying. Then use the “Buy One Get One Free” coupon to get the second one for free. You’ve instantly lowered the cost of the two items. Some stores will offer a store coupon for “Buy One Get One Free” and will allow you to match it with a manufacturer “Buy One Get One Free” coupon so that you get two free items! Check with the stores in your area to determine what their coupon policies are.
Trade your coupons. If you’re not going to use them, trade them for ones you will! Trade them with friends, family, or visit A Full Cup or Hot Coupon World and you’ll find many online coupon trading groups.
Use your coupons to stockpile. When you see a great sale on something, fill your pantry. Many items go on a 4-8 week sale rotation. If you buy enough during a great sale, you’ll have enough to make it to the next great sale and will never pay full price. I’ve noticed the coupons usually follow the same cycles.
Use the internet to plan your shopping trips. The internet is your best friend when trying to save money with coupons. There are many fabulous websites and blogs that do all the work of matching the coupons to the store sales to help you save the most money. I’ll be sharing some of these resources in an upcoming post in the Coupons 101 series.