Couponing: Why You Should NEVER Pay Full Price for Your Groceries!
Grocery shopping. We all do it. Some weekly, some bi-weekly, some even monthly. For some Americans, going grocery shopping means the electric bill or water bill won’t be getting paid that week. I know, I was there almost a year ago. My cupboards were literally bare before I would scrounge up enough money to go shopping. And even then, I barely had enough.
Then I discovered the world of couponing. I found out very quickly that there are literally hundreds of items that you could get free or just pennies when you combine sales and coupons together. First, you always want to make sure you have signed up for the store’s reward card if it’s available and make sure they have your information on file. These cards are extremely valuable when it comes to weekly sales. Some stores will even go as far as not giving you the sale price if you don’t have your card. So always, always keep your card handy. Store cards can also earn you other rewards such as coupons by mail or email, surprises on your birthday, or even enter you into store drawings or contests when you shop. Also, many stores will double the face value of your coupon if you are a member of their rewards program. Double couponing is where you will really start seeing your savings add up! In addition to all this, these coupon websites have Fresh deals posted every day so that you get coupons every time you for grocery shopping. Downloading these printable coupons will add more savings as well.
How do you know if your stores offer double coupons? You could call them, or email them and ask for a copy of their coupon policy. Lots of bigger chains double manufacturer’s coupons. It never hurts to ask!
Where do you obtain these coupons? Well, the most commonplace is the Sunday paper. You could also get coupons if you sign up for the company’s mailing lists, gift registries, or even in the store itself! Keep your eyes peeled for coupons in the grocery stores! You can find them on packages, on the shelves, or even hanging from a wine bottle! You never know!
I’m going to give you an example:
Let’s say salad dressing was on sale 2 for $3.00 ($1.50 each)
You had coupons that were good for $.75 off 1 bottle
And your store doubled coupons.
You could be stocking up on free salad dressing all week!
Now, say you spotted a heck of a deal and wish you had more coupons so you could stock up at the low price. There are many places that you could go to obtain the specific coupons you wanted. There are coupon trading sites, where couponers unite and trade the coupons they cannot use for ones they can. My favorite is www.couponforum.com. On trading sites, you would post which coupons you have and which ones you want. Other traders would look and see if there’s anything they need and anything you could use. You exchange names and addresses and mail the coupons out. Everyone wins!
There are also Coupon Clipping Services, where you can go and pick out exactly the coupons you need, how many you want, pay a small handling fee, and have the coupons sent to you. It is illegal to pay for coupons, so these services charge you a small fee that is in compensation for their time to clip and collect all the coupons. Remember, there is a real person doing all that work! My favorite clipping service is www.thecouponmaster.com. If you’re looking for a reliable service, give them a try. They have excellent customer service and fast shipping!
Counterfit coupons are happening more and more, so you need to be aware. If a coupon sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You’re probably never going to see a coupon for $5.00 off Ramen noodles. That’s just silly. If you’re trading, try and trade with people that you trust and on sites that you have become familiar with. If you submit a counterfeit coupon to a store, you could very well be the one getting in trouble, even if you got it from someone else, so keep that in mind. You do not need to end up behind bars over a coupon!
Ok, now that you have learned the couponing basics, you’re ready to break out the scissors and start clipping away! Remember to check your local store ads, and know what coupons you have. Also, if you have a particularly good coupon, hold onto it. The item may go on sale before it expires, saving you even more money! I wish you all the luck with your couponing!