We all start couponing for one reason…SAVE MONEY! We continue because of addiction (LOL!), but that’s another article altogether!
Check out the top 10 ways to maximize your coupon savings below!
In no particular order…
1. Match your coupons to store sales.
If you only pick one rule to follow, this is it! Please, DO NOT use a coupon on its own! A coupon on its own will provide you with a minimal amount of savings. The key is to hold onto your coupon until the item goes on sale, then use the coupon in conjunction with the sale price. This way you are saving twice, and this will sometimes result in even getting the product for free:)
Save Big, Live Better! takes the guess work out of this process by posting the weekly matchups every week to the most popular stores FOR you! Here you will find the sales in that weeks flyer, which coupons to use to increase those savings, and even WHERE the coupon came from/can be found!
Especially when getting started, this is important to remember. Take your time! Don’t jump on every sale JUST because its on sale! If you end up buying things you maybe wouldn’t have without the coupons, or you don’t need, you will end up spending MORE than you probably would have to begin with!
Planning is important here in knowing if this item is at its lowest price it will reach, how many you should buy for your stockpile, and if you even need it at all!
When you first explore the world of couponing, it can be tempting to get everything you come across because really, EVERYTHING is a great deal compared to what you were spending before! But make sure you always have a plan and pace yourself so you dont end up missing out on the savings you could be enjoying:)
3.Build a working stockpile.
Eventually this is where the saving will really take place. Have you ever really sat down and looked at how many “last minute” purchases you’ve made for dinner? Or how many times you’ve eaten out/take out because you hadn’t had time to go grocery shopping and were too tired to do it today? If you have a stockpile, you eliminate not only the cost of eating out, but those last minute purchases that have you missing out on savings by paying full price.
I have had a fully functioning stockpile in place since 2010, and I absolutely LOVE it!!
There are a number of things to keep in mind when starting your stockpile, check out the 5 Tips To Successful Stockpiling article for more info. Just remember, again, to take your time. Your stockpile wont appear overnight, and you don’t want it to. In the end, you want to know that not only is your family fully provided for, but you did it for a fraction of the cost of what would’ve come out of your pocket otherwise!
4.Never pass up a coupon!
When you see a tear pad, or spot a coupon in a newspaper or magazine, DONT TURN IT DOWN!! There are a number of reasons for this.
First, later on that $0.50 coupon that doesn’t seem like much could result in awesome savings if the right sale comes along!
Second, it may not be a product your family uses, but if the coupon could give you overage later to use on things you do need, you dont want to pass that up! (Items you don’t need but will provide you with overage can always be donated to a local charity!)
Third, it puts you in the position to trade! You could not only help someone out who may be looking for that coupon, but they may have ones you would use that they are willing to trade! And it never hurts to help out a fellow couponer! What goes around comes around…its coupon karma;)
5.Look for overages to pay for your other needs.
An overage is what happens when you use a coupon that is worth more than the product costs. And, for those of you new to couponing, yes, this does happen!
This is key in covering the costs of items that rarely have coupons available for them like milk, fruits and vegetables. Right now in Ontario, the only stores that will provide you overage when you have a coupon valued higher than the item price are Walmart and Giant Tiger.
Giant Tiger allows you the overage to use toward the rest of your purchase, but if you end up with a negative balance when all is said and done, they will not give you that remainder in cash.
Walmart, however, will give you any remainder you have left on a gift card to use at a later date. So maybe you have an opportunity for overage but don’t need anything right away, go to Walmart so you can get it on a gift card and use it when you do need those non-coupon items!
Remember, if there’s ever an item you are purchasing specifically for the overage that you will not use, dont let it go to waste. Donate it to your local charity:)
6.Check forums for additional in store sales not listed in flyers.
Hearing about other couponer’s great finds is the best way to scope out the best deals! Not all sales a store has are going to be listed in the flyer, and you certainly wont have time to visit EVERYWHERE to see what you’re missing!
Be sure to check out the Shopping Trip Brags page! It’s just like it sounds too! Check out all the great shops people are DYING to brag about! That way if that find appeals to you, you can go out and do it too!
The easiest way to get ALL your saving info though is to “LIKE” Save Big, Live Better on Facebook to get real time updates as deals are posted!
If you have any great finds, contact me so I can share it with others looking to save!
Even with all the leg work I try to do for you, its useless if you’re unorganized. Imagine checking the weekly matchups and seeing an amazing deal that HAS to come home with you, then having to dig through a pile of coupons wondering if you have the one you need. I can tell you that would frustrate me so much I’d probably give up on it altogether!
Two main things are coming to mind in the realm of organization:
1-Organize your coupons! There is no right or wrong way of doing this, just whatever makes sense to you so you can find them when you need them. (For tips on organizing your coupons, see The Art Of Organizing Your Coupons!)
2-Set aside a certain time that works for you where you can check the matchups (generally new flyers begin Fridays, so the matchups are posted Thursday nights), pull your coupons, and have time to make your “plan of attack” based on which stores have what sales. This is easiest to do all in one shot to save lots of confusion, and multiple trips to the store.
**Deals and coupons are posted at all times of the day, so I recommend signing up for our daily email so you never miss a coupon or freebie!
8.No coupon, no sale!
Couponing, just like any other method of try to save money, takes a certain level of dicipline. Try to operate by a “no coupon, no sale” policy on MOST items, meaning if you dont have a coupon for that sale item, that sale item is not coming home with you!!
We all have our slips, but generally speaking, try and restrict your shopping to the BEST deals if you really want to maximize your savings.
Obviously items that dont typically have coupons are excluded from this like vegetables and fruit. But items like cleaning products and toiletries are a NO GO without an AMAZING deal!
I’m not going to lie to you and say its easy, but you’ll be glad you scaled back those purchases when you see your account balance at the end of the month;)
9.Plan your meals from your stockpile.
This is the whole purpose for your stockpile! We all see on Extreme Couponing on TLC these immaculate and organized stockpiles the shoppers are oh-so proud of, and while you may want to have that visual to show off your savings, keep in mind the main goals here:
1-Provide for your family
Planning your meals is a very important step to take when trying to save money as it helps you limit the last minute trips to the grocery store or eating out. Planning your meals around your stockpile ensures that not only will all the products be used before they expire, but that whatever it is you will be having for dinner, you know you already have all the ingredients right at home!
10.Have a plan before heading out to the store!
Why do all this research if you’re just going to go to the store and wing it right?! lol
Having a plan is really the final step before actually going to the store and picking up the items you are purchasing (or hopefully getting for free?!).
As stated in the tip on organization, planning a time to plan is key. Set aside that same time each week like you would for your fave TV show, and sit down to review the weekly matchups, see what you will be purchasing, pull your coupons, and write out a list.
Since the idea of building your stockpile is to get things at rock bottom prices, the main habit to break (since we ALL do it!) is make your list based on the weekly matchups and coupons you have, NOT based on what you think you need.
This is easier said than done at first, but once you have gotten a decent stockpile together, this will be a piece of cake!
I hope these tips were helpful in helping you make sense of saving money couponing. If you have any questions or feedback for me, please contact me, I’d love to hear from you!