by: S. L. Simmons
Coupons, used wisely and selectively, can be a great way to save money from your food budget. Here are some tips to start you on your way to becoming a coupon guru.
1. This is a big mistake made by couponing for beginners. Don’t use coupons just because they are a “good deal”. Try to limit coupon use to products you would normally buy anyway. Coupons are most often offered to entice shoppers to buy high priced, highly processed convenience foods, so in some cases it may be cheaper and healthier to make your own home made version of the product from scratch.
2. Keep your coupons organized in a binder or special coupon holder and sorted by category. Go through your coupons every week or so and throw out any that have expired.
3. Look for coupons that come in packs in the mail, in magazines, or with in the inserts with the Sunday papers. Ask your coworkers, friends and neighbors to save their ad packs from the mail and Sunday newspaper inserts for you.
4. Use your favorite search engine to find printable coupon sites online.
5. If your family has some favorite products that are pricey, then take the time to bookmark the manufacturers’ web sites and check weekly or so for any product coupons or specials.
6. If the coupons you have are for foods that are not healthy for your family, then they may not be a good deal, even if you get the products for free. Products like soda that are high in sugar and devoid of any nutrients may be best left at the store.
7. Watch out for people selling coupon books. It may be a scam. Generally it is not necessary to pay for something you can clip for free from the newspaper or download from manufacturers’ web sites.
8. Don’t forget to look for coupons when you are at the grocery store. Some stores have machines set up that dispense coupons near selected products.
9. Consider participating in online forums where people exchange their unused coupons for ones that they need. You could also find sites like Deals4Boomers being talked about on these forums. This could save you some more money online.
10. Find out if your local stores offer double coupon days.
11. To save time at the check out line, have your coupons sorted, organized and ready to hand to the cashier.
12. Keep a price book of the best prices you’ve found for food and other products, so you will know if you are getting a good deal using a coupon. Sometimes generic store brands may offer cheaper alternatives to national brands that have high advertising costs already built into the price.
|About The Author
S. L. Simmons is the editor at Always Frugal. Visit her site at http://www.alwaysfrugal.com/household_budget for tips on making a home budget and more to read more money saving articles.