Ever wondered how a coupon, this single piece of paper with some discounts on it can become a lifestyle activity that can cut costs on something that we all pay for every month. Yes, we are talking about groceries. Couponing is a practice of systematically collecting coupons from newspapers, online ads, product packaging, product flyers or e-coupons on coupon websites and coupon apps and using them effectively to save money on groceries and other regular purchases[i].
How to Start Couponing
Following is a step by step guide to starting Couponing:
- Setting aside time: To begin with, the most critical aspect is Time. You should be committed to spare enough time, say about 1-2 hours per week to be able to gather coupons.
- Finding Coupons: Coupons can be obtained mainly from the following sources:
- Local Newspapers– it is advisable to take up a subscription to be able to take full advantage of coupons sent as inserts. Sunday newspapers usually have the most variety of coupons to choose from
- Store Flyers
- Coupon Websites– Groupon, Coupons, Couponic, Save.ca, Checkout51, etc.
- Coupon Apps– Checkout 51, ReceiptPal, CartSmart, Snap, to name a few.
- The important thing is to match your coupons[ii]with the minimum sales to ensure that you end up saving money. Do not just collect and leave. Organize them by products, date, or even the minimum purchasing. You can allow one type of coupon to particular days in a week to avoid forgetting about it.
- Be open to stockpiling as couponing is used to create a stockpile at home. Not that you start stuffing your home. So, pick up items that would last 4-6 weeks before that item goes on sale.
- Organize the coupons in a plastic binder sorting and dividing the coupons in such a way that the coupons that expire soon are kept on top.
- Understand Overage to save more – Overage means utilizing the coupons in such a way that there is a credit amount towards your bill. The best way to do this is by either picking up items that are already on clearance sale so that you can enjoy the benefit of discount from the coupons as well as the existing discount at the store or by combining manufacturer and store coupons to get extra discounts.
Finally, you can benefit from offers that allow savings on the next purchase. Big stores offer savings of a certain amount on your next bill known as Catalina coupons. These coupons also help save you money.
Now that you have learned how to start couponing, it is essential to understand Extreme Couponing. While you might just be thinking that you have become a good couponer and have mastered the art of couponing, you might be in for a surprise when you realize that this has become an addiction and you have subjected yourself to extreme couponing[iii]. The drive to get a deal and be at almost every sale pushes a compulsive couponer to make a trip to the store nearly every day. So, while you might get an excellent discount and save the right amount on the product at the store, it might not match up to the expenses that you incur in reaching that store every day! So, be wise and enjoy the benefits of couponing keeping in mind the economies of scale.