You’ve probably all read magazine articles or seen TV talk shows with “Coupon Queens” who buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for pennies on the dollar, right? I’m proud to say that I consider myself a Coupon Princess and am doing my best to shop my way to Queen! With Lowes $100 coupon you can save a lot on your shopping. You can print these coupons and use them. It is really on of the most effective method of saving big on your shopping.
Let’s face it, most of us would like to save money at the grocery store. As a single mother to three growing children, I really need to stretch our budget as far as it will go. One way I save a lot of money is by using coupons and rebates to buy my groceries. Yes, I did say a lot of money. I routinely cut my grocery bill by 50% or better. My monthly grocery bill averages $200 for a family of 4-6 (the fluctuation is a whole other story…). This total includes food, paper items such as tin foil and toilet paper, personal care items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and laundry products.
The biggest key to consistently save a large amount is to get yourself and your coupons organized. There are many systems advocated on the web and other places. Some of these systems can cost you quite a bit. My opinion? KISS!
Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Whatever system makes it easy for you to keep and find your coupons will work! Any system that works for you is fine, but remember if you can’t find it, then you can’t use it. Personally, I have two flip top plastic boxes that I use. One is for personal use and the other is for trading with other couponers. Sometimes a particularly good sale will come along and I’ll dip into my trade file. My files are divided using large index cards with tabs cut into the tops. I mark each one with a category, such as Baby or Paper Products and file my coupons accordingly.
To build that great stock of coupons you will need to find them. There are coupons almost everywhere if you really look. Sunday papers tend to have one or two inserts of coupons. I asked my paperlady to give me her leftovers and also the store up the street lets me have any leftovers just before closing on Sundays. The store still receives credit back on the papers so it’s a win-win situation. Also watch for coupons printed right on packages, on hangtags on products, and even packed inside packages. I also trade with other couponers that I know, both locally and on the web. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, I suggest going to www.yahoogroups.com and do a search on “coupon trading”. There are many lists created for this purpose and you’re sure to find one that you will enjoy.
Tips and Strategies to Maximize Your Savings
The first big secret I can share with you is don’t be brand loyal! By that I mean, if you use paper towels then save all coupons for paper towels. Same for any product that is basically all the same. As long as it does the job, what difference does the brand make? I’ll admit that there are a very few products that I prefer one brand compared to the others but there a very few. Most of the time, whichever product is cheaper is the one that I use. For example, one week Scott paper towels go on sale for 2 for $1. I have coupons for .50 off a roll so the towels are free. The next week Viva might be on sale and thus be the cheapest. My family has used almost every brand of shampoo on the market and their hair is just fine! Most of the time, you’ll find that one company makes several brands of any given product and guess what? Most of them work exactly the same way…they just smell different or are a different color.
Another way I save a lot of money is by stocking up and buying only what’s on sale. In the above example with Scott towels, I would buy as many rolls of paper towels as I had coupons for. By stocking up when I get a deal, I usually don’t have to buy again until the next big sale. I have a tiny two bedroom apartment and still find places to store my extras. I have a box full of extra personal care items under my bed, toilet paper stashed in my storage unit, and canned goods stacked in a closet! Always look at your sales ads and compare to your coupon file. By using a coupon in conjunction with a sale price you really increase your savings. If you happen to have rebate/refund form that matches that product, many times you can actually make a profit!
With coupon savings, bigger is not always better, by the way. Many times the smallest size product purchased with a coupon saves the most per use/serving. For example, Cottonelle bathroom tissue was on sale recently for $2.99 per 12-roll package, but I didn’t buy it. With my .75 off 1 any size package (doubled since I’m fortunate enough to have a double coupon store), the 12-roll package would have been $1.50. This is a pretty good deal, however the 4-roll package was $1.50. With my coupon doubled I got this package free! Folger’s Coffee just came out with a $1 coupon good off any size. The 39 oz. size was $6.39 while the 13 oz. can was $2.38 each. Which is the better deal? The larger size would have been $5.39, but by buying three of the smaller cans and using three coupons (one for each product), I only paid $4.14 for the same amount of coffee.
Occasionally, I even make a profit by combining a coupon deal with a manufacturer’s rebate offer. Many times I find that I can purchase a product for a very low price and then send in for a rebate that rewards me with the original purchase price. This rebate “income” is counted as grocery money in my household, but I’ve heard several people say that since it is extra money, they put it in a separate account as a way to save for something special. I probably put in about two or three hours per week into my couponing, but it returns $20-30 dollars an hour in savings so I consider it time well spent. That’s a whole lot better than money spent! In conclusion, for anyone out there wondering if coupons are worth it, I give a resounding yes!!