Tricks Extreme Couponers Use to Save on Groceries

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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These days, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money. However, it can be difficult to cut back on one of the most essential household needs – your groceries.

Fortunately, extreme couponers have some tricks you can use to save big in the supermarket.

Make Time to Clip Coupons

The first step is to acquire coupons. Scan the inserts of Sunday papers, search online for printable coupons, and look for coupons before throwing out your junk mail.

You’ll have to make time to go through all of these and clip out or print the ones you can use, but your effort will be rewarded.

Plan Ahead

When you know what coupons you have to work with, start planning your grocery list.

Create a meal plan for the coming week based on the ingredients you can get at a discount, and decide what other household items you’ll be getting.

You should always know exactly what you’re buying and how much you’re going to spend before you leave the house.

Organize Your Shopping Trip

Good organization is the key to any successful couponing venture, so be sure to have all your coupons sorted and ready for use on your shopping trip.

Putting them in an envelope or organizer that you can easily whip out at the cash register will save you a lot of time.

If you’re planning to hit several stores at once, keep the coupons for each one in separate, labeled compartments.

Sign Up for Rewards Cards

Many stores offer rewards cards for loyal customers. These are usually free, and they’ll give you access to limited discounts, freebies, and other advantages. Using coupons on top of these benefits will definitely boost your savings.

Wait for Sales and Combine Coupons

To get the most out of your coupons, learn to wait for sales and combine coupons.

For example, you’ll save a lot more money if you wait for a buy-one-get-one-free sale on a certain type of cereal, then use a store coupon to get a discount on top of that. You can also use a different brand-related coupon on the same purchase so you end up paying even less.

With this strategy, it’s actually possible for the discounts to exceed purchase price, and the store may end up paying you for taking items off their shelves. Just make sure that your grocery store’s coupon policy allows you to pull this off before trying it out.

Use Your Common Sense

The best extreme couponers make use of common sense.

For instance, they know that huge discounts are great, but that they won’t do you much good if you never use the stuff you buy. Another sensible tip is to take the size of your storage space into account.

Buying in bulk to get more savings is all well and good, but when you have to start storing boxes of laundry detergent in your hallway, you’re going too far.

Have Fun!

Couponing can be challenging, but it shouldn’t be stressful. Don’t fret about missing out on good deals. Set realistic goals for yourself, and count every dollar saved as a triumph.

With such a mindset, you’ll look forward to every trip to the grocery store, and find that you’re saving more each time.

Most Common Mistakes Made by New Couponers

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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With the possibility of huge savings to spur you on, it’s easy to get caught up in couponing. When you’re just starting out, however, it’s equally easy to commit errors that cost you money or cause you some embarrassment in the checkout line.

These are the mistakes most commonly made by new couponers, and how you can avoid them.

Not Doing the Math

A lot of new couponers don’t do their math before heading to the store, and end up having to pay hundreds of dollars more than they expected.

Always take the time to do the math so you know how much your total will be before and after the savings from coupons.

Failing to Read the Fine Print

Coupons come with a lot of fine print, and you ignore this at your peril. Make sure to read it carefully so that you know the exact specifications of the item a coupon is for.

That way, you won’t end up with the wrong product in your shopping cart. You should also pay attention to a coupon’s expiration date.

Buying Things Just Because They’re On Sale

Many new couponers fall into the trap of buying things they don’t like simply because they’re on sale. No matter how big the discount is, doing this will waste your money.

Don’t pick up items your family won’t use unless you intend to give them away as donations or gifts.

Refusing to Buy Products Without Coupons

Another extreme is refusing to buy the products you need unless you have coupons for them.

Don’t put your family through a shortage of shampoo, cereal, or other necessities just because you’re waiting for a good deal. It’s alright to buy something at regular price if you need it immediately.

Chasing Down Every Deal Available

Couponing is hard work, and you’ll burn yourself out if you chase down every deal available in your area.

Learn to pick and choose the sales that will be most useful to you, and don’t get frustrated if you miss one. After all, sales always come around again.

Using Coupons Immediately

Another strategic error common among new couponers is using a coupon immediately after finding it.

Unless you need the product right away, you’ll save more if you wait for sales or mix and match coupons to get the best deals.

Clearing Shelves

There’s nothing more frustrating than preparing your coupons, driving to the store, and finding out that somebody else has cleared the shelves of the products you wanted. Don’t be the person who does that! Leaving some items behind for other customers is basic couponing etiquette.

Losing Patience with the Cashier

Couponing can be tough work for cashiers as well, and you won’t be doing anyone any favors if you lose patience with the person who’s ringing up your shopping.

Don’t hold up lines by arguing with them about the store’s coupon policies. If you think the cashier has made a mistake, ask to be moved to customer service with the bare minimum of fuss.

Top 5 Ways To Save At The Grocery Store

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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Shopping for groceries is a must for any household. When such times arise, there is also a need to review your budget and how much you’re allotting for your groceries. Buying groceries shouldn’t cut a great deal from your regular budget. There are certain ways to save when you’re shopping, and these tips could help you take home a portion of your budget.

Scan weekly advertisements in newspapers. Though they don’t have coupons for discounts, these print advertisements usually tell you which supermarkets will be holding a great sale. You can actually save up to 50 percent if you quickly head to grocery stores with such discounts. It would also help if you shop at night or nearly closing time. There are supermarkets that sell their products at great discounts during these periods. This is especially true for produce and bread, which are perishable goods.

Buy generic brands instead of name brands. Some supermarkets sell their own brands and these are cheaper than name brands. According to experts, you could save up to 25 percent just by buying store brands. You get the same product for the same size and quality, plus you keep a few pennies for yourself.

Use cash instead of your debit or credit card. You know how easy it is to spend using your card. You will also have to pay the interest in doing so. One trick is to plan ahead and determine how much you’d be paying for your groceries. Purchase them using cash so that it is easy for you to discard items which may seem unimportant and out of the budget. Paying by cash also keeps you from overspending. Stick to your list and avoid aisles that contain your “favorite items.” These favorite items may be items of luxury, and thus are not needed at the moment. If you are easily distracted by new products, avoid them, too, unless you can save more by buying them instead.

Use simple ingredients for your recipes. Unless you want each meal to be a model of the one served in a fine dining restaurant, keep your ingredients simple so you could buy them at a cheaper cost. You don’t have to buy wine for your steak if spices and other condiments would do. There is nothing wrong with buying these stuff for preparing delectable meals, but if you’re on a tight budget, you could save those meals for special occasions instead.

Take advantage of store coupons. Some stores stock up on coupons which you could use to buy your grocery items at a more budget-friendly price. Some coupons would award you with 25 to 50% off the original cost. If you have enough shopping coupons, you could save as much as half of the original budget you allotted. Another tip is to wait until an item is on sale and then buy it using the manufacturer’s coupon. However, some supermarkets may be strict about this. But if you’re lucky, you could try pairing items with a few coupons. Take note, though, that you may use only one coupon per product.

Top Five Extreme Couponing Tips

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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Stacking up on coupons is one of the ways to save when you are buying or shopping for groceries.

While coupons entail a lot of cutting (which means it’s a lot or work!), you can save a great deal if you have enough coupons to take with you as you shop.

Imagine saving up to 50 percent of your allotted budget for an item.

For newbies, here are top five extreme tips on using shopping coupons to get your started:

1. Spend your weekends cutting out coupons

This activity is not for the lazy. If you’re bent on saving a lot during your next trip to the supermarket, make time for cutting out coupons. One newspaper is not enough to search for coupons. Ask your colleagues, family, and friends for other issues of dailies and magazines and start your hunt for these coupons. You would find a lot in Sunday newspapers and you could even get unused copies. More copies would mean you could get more coupons. There are also online resources and raffle draws for promo codes.

2. Identify what kind of couponer you are: casual, skilled, or extreme.

If you’re an extreme couponer, you are ready to get hold of coupons and not just pair them with discounted items, but also to stockpile them. The extreme couponer keeps two kinds of coupons: the manufacturer’s coupons and the store coupons. If you want to save a lot on your next purchase, get as many coupons as you can and bring them with you during your next visit to the supermarket.

3. Use a spreadsheet for your coupons

This really does sound extreme, but nothing beats organizational skills in identifying the purpose of the coupon, when it’s going to be used, any terms and/or conditions, in which supermarket or product it is applicable, and other details relevant to the use of the coupon. This is a great practice for beginners, especially of you want to be careful with the spending of your coupons. It will also help you recall when the coupons would be expiring. Using a spreadsheet will help you save time.

4. Plan your purpose when shopping

To ensure that you won’t overspend your coupons on items that you don’t really need, have a clear purpose of what you want to buy. Stay away from marketing ploys and stick to your budget list. Get inside the supermarket, get the deals using your coupons, and get out of the establishment — FAST.

5. Identify your price points

These price points are the maximum price, which means it is the highest price that an item costs; the average price, which is normal price point for an item; the stock-up price, which is also known as the rock-bottom price; and the deal price, which means that the item is on sale. If you know your price points, you can easily organize your coupons and you would know which coupon to use for a certain price point. It’s called strategic shopping and being a wise consumer!