We’re all about saving money – after all, not only is it good for our bank balances; it gives us a real kick when we make a bargain even better. One of the best ways to do this is by dedicating yourself to the humble store coupons.
These are the 5 best tips to master, so you can become a hard-core couponer, couponing your way to mega-bucks savings.
Know what coupon user you are
Do you just want to save a few pounds on your regular purchases? Get a significant discount on a big shop? Or weeks’ of food in one hit for pennies? This difference determines whether you want to dedicate yourself to so-called ‘extreme couponing’, or simply take up couponing as a casual hobby. Whatever you decide is fine, but if you want to take up the noble art of extreme couponing, you’ll want to dedicate a fair amount of time to researching, budgeting and collecting money-off vouchers. Sure, you’ll save a lot more money in the long term by doing so, but it also requires a fair amount of work.
There’s certainly no shortage of places to get your paws on coupons. Start by looking in newspapers and magazines – including the in-store magazines offered by many supermarkets. You’ll also want to check out genuine money-saving websites, which typically offer a plethora of savings. Just print out your coupons at home and take them to the shops. Don’t forget to check the labels of certain goods. Finally, sign up for supermarket loyalty and reward cards – when you use these, you’ll also get sent coupons for products you usually buy anyway. Win-win.
Organise an effective system
If you’re intending on becoming a proper coupon user, you’ll want to complementing that by setting up a proper system. You don’t want to miss out on some super savings because your coupons got lost in the bottom of your bag or chucked out with the junk mail. For the very best couponing, you want to grab a binder and some plastic wallets, then categorise your coupons by type (food, household necessities, so-called ‘luxury items’, and so on) – and them order those by expiry dates to maximise savings. This means you can always lay your hands on the coupons you need.
One of the best ways to make serious savings is to stack your coupons wherever possible. For instance, you may be able to use coupons for individual items – but then also use, for instance, £10 off for every £100 spent. Of course, you’ll want to check whether it’s allowed, so study that small print on your vouchers. You should also take a look at the store’s terms and conditions to ensure you can make the most of any coupons you have.
This is the big one – the one you want to avoid, even when you’re tempted. When it comes to couponing, ‘downshifting’ is purchasing cheap items at a discount; ‘upshifting’ is the reverse. Many times you’ll be in possession of coupons for name-brand products. However, even with a voucher, you’ll often end up spending more when buying name brands. It’s tempting to use these coupons, because your brain’s telling you you’re making a saving, but don’t be fooled. Instead, try downshifting – using coupons for own-brand goods that you might not typically buy; it’ll save you tons in the long run.