In a world where ignorance is at an all time high, it is time to bring things back in to perspective.

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Rules for Successful Savings When Using Coupons

5 Rules for Successful Savings When Using Coupons
By now we have all heard about the women on TLC’s Extreme Couponing who save thousands of dollars using coupons.  While I commend them for their efforts, I personally do not have 60 hours a week to devote to gathering coupons.  Nor do I wish or need to have 60 bottles of mustard in my home.  As I have said in previous post, there is money to be saved in couponing if you do it correctly.  So far this year I have saved about $450.  While this doesn’t seem like much compared to their massive hauls, if I save $100 a month I am pleased.  

Try these 5 simple rules and see if you can save some money.

     1.  Know what your coupon states.
This is VERY important.  I have learned from making this serious mistake too many times.  You must read the entire coupon to learn:
-Value of discount?
-What does the discount cover?
-When is it valid?
-What is excluded?
-Can it be combined with another coupon?

Knowing this information can prevent you not maximizing your savings or even worst you not being able to use the coupon.  E.g.  The coupon starts on Wednesday and you show up on Tuesday.  

2.  Know the stores coupon rules.
Every store has different rules for using coupons.  You cannot truly maximize your savings if you do not know the rules.  You should know:
-Does the store double coupons?
-Is there a limit on how many coupons you can use?
-Can you combine coupons?

To help you with this here are a few rules for stores I frequent.

Kroger doubles printed coupons up to 55¢.  It is important to know they do not double digital coupons loaded to Kroger card.
Walgreen’s will allow you to use a Walgreen’s coupon, which is in their weekly circular with a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.  Remember you must take the circular to the register and allow the cashier to scan coupon because it is not an automatic savings.

JoAnn’s Fabric accepts competitor’s coupons.  However, please note the same exclusions apply.  Therefore, you can take a Michael’s coupons to JoAnn’s and use it for anything except fabric because Michael’s coupons usually excludes fabric.

JCPenney will allow you to use the 15% survey coupon in addition to any other coupon.  If you look at the bottom of your receipt there is a code to complete a customer survey online.  Complete the survey and get a coupon for 15% off.  These can only be used once every 30 days.

3.  Know where to get the coupons.
As stated in previous post, you can use the Sunday paper to get coupons.  If that is not your cup of tea, you can also go online and print coupons.  Many of the same coupons that are in the weekly paper are available online.   Don’t only focus on grocery coupons.  There is much more savings to be made on coupons you can use in the mall or other stores.    

Great sites to visit:

4.  Comparison Shop
Again, I know most of us do not have several hours a week to devote to price comparisons.   However, if you go to  the site actually has a list of the deals for the week and how much you can save using coupons.  

5.  You’re not saving if you didn’t need or want it anyway. 
This is one of the biggest problems I have with the Extreme Couponing show.  There was a lady on the show who had 4000 diapers and did not have a baby yet.  Even if she got every one of these diapers for free she is wasting valuable time and energy for diapers she may never use or realize she does not like.  

My rule is I don’t buy things just because I have a coupon.  I am still brand loyal on many things.  Therefore, I only buy the things I would have purchased anyway.  Do not get caught into the trap of you have to spend $100 to save $10.  If you were not going to spend $100 anyway (or at least $90) don’t do it!  Don’t buy 10 of something to save 40¢ unless you were going to buy that much anyway either that day or in the near future.  If you are spending more than you would have then you are not saving money.

Hopefully these simple rules will help you.