Coupons can save you money, but only if you use them wisely.
Here are six hot tips for using coupons to your advantage.
Don’t buy a product just because you have a coupon for it.
Check the price of the product and then discount the coupon, if the coupon-discounted price is cheaper than comparable products (including the generic brand). Then use the coupon. Otherwise, it is smarter to buy the generic product.
Avoid brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is a trap that encourages shoppers to spend more money than they otherwise would.
Most stores (even those that don’t double coupons) will allow you to stack coupons.
Stacking coupons means you can combine store coupons (from store flyers and from printables you receive at the register) with manufacturer’s coupons (those you clip from the Sunday paper, print from the internet, or cut out of magazines).
Use coupons to buy items that will generate store credits.
Many stores have incentive programs that will give you points for products that they advertise in their weekly flyer or in their monthly specials. Often they will run sales on the products as well. Use coupons to purchase sale products that earn store credits.
Use the store credits in combination with coupons to buy more items that are on sale and earn credits. When these systems are well-managed, the buyer can actually make money in these stores. One national chain that has a such a system is CVS who offers store credits in the form of ECB’s ().
Organize your coupons so that you know what you have.
Once you have an organizational system in place, make sure to go through your coupons regularly to weed out the expired ones. It will save you time and frustration if you maintain the system.
Use online coupon services.
Numerous sites on the internet offer great coupons. Some of the best sites are:
By using these sites and watching the circulars that come in the mail you can collect batches of coupons for products you like or use frequently. Then when the item goes on sale you can stock up using your coupons and save bundles of money.
Bonus Thought About Coupons
Coupons are a useful tool when managing your budget. As mentioned earlier, it is important to avoid brand loyalty as it will suck you into spending on more expensive products. However, if you or another member of the family are dedicated to a brand product, by all means, use coupons to defray the costs of that item.