If you’ve ever seen the show Extreme Couponing, then you know couponing is a great way to save money on your grocery bill. But knowing where to start can be tricky. The time and effort that it takes to clip, print, find, and use coupons often keeps people from reaping the huge savings provided by stores. With a few small additions to your normal grocery routine, you can start saving with little effort and maximum rewards. Here are ten great tips to get you motivated and ready to save:
1. Subscribe to your local papers
You have to get coupons to use coupons! The quickest way to get started is to subscribe to your local newspapers. Savvy coupon users find that getting a subscription for each member of the household helps to maximize coupon benefits by using the extra coupons to stockpile items that your family uses frequently.
2. Start a coupon circle
Tell a few friends, family, and coworkers that you’re going to start using coupons and ask if they’d like to join in. You can build a valuable buddy system and share coupons with one another. Invite everyone over for snacks and coupon clipping and share the benefits with those closest to you. You’ll stay motivated and you may even get a few extra coupons, which means extra savings.
3. Get organized
Maximizing the benefits of couponing means staying organized, like using a three-ring binder, envelopes in a shoebox, or paper clips. Whatever you choose to use, make sure it works for you and stick with it.
4. Print and save
Browse the web for great savings on coupons and sign up for manufacturer’s emails (which often include a coupon). Worried about spam? Get a free email account that you’ll use exclusively for couponing.
5. Plan ahead
Expert coupon users rarely run out of items because they plan ahead. Plan by using pen and paper, a computer spreadsheet, or a smartphone app. Consult your manufacturer coupons and your local stores circular to find out what items are on sale and use your coupons to maximize those savings. Planning your meals around store specials and what coupons you have can really save you money.
6. Get to know your local store
Most coupon users don’t shop at one store, but they do know their local stores very well. If your store has a website, they often post the weekly specials online which will make it easier for you to plan your trip. Speak with the manager about any coupon policies and get to know the clerks for hassle-free shopping. Also be sure to sign up for loyalty cards at the stores your frequent most.
7. Coupon courtesy
The first few times that you use coupons, it may seem like a hassle; but with a positive attitude, you can fly through the check-out with ease. If you have a lot of coupons, let the clerk know and ask if they would like for you to organize your items in a particular way.
8. Stock up
Stockpiling doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. Find an empty shelf or cabinet and begin filling it with items that you get for free or at a deep discount. This works particularly well for toiletries and household cleaners.
9. Forget warehouse clubs
You’ve started to stockpile your items and maximize the benefits of using coupons—so who needs megastores? Most warehouses charge a yearly membership fee, meaning you have to pay a hefty fee just to save money.
10. Be patient
You won’t save 80 percent on your groceries during your first trip; but you may save 5 or even 10 percent. Over time you’ll become more experienced and your savings will increase. Keep motivated by recording coupon savings and think of how you can use that money toward paying down debt, treating yourself to a dinner out, or even splurging on a fun vacation.