Today I’ll be wrapping up the Trim your Grocery Bill series (sorry it disappeared for a while!) by giving you some secrets to getting the most bang for your coupon buck!
There really is a technique to using coupons if you want to get the items you need, for free or really cheap. It takes a bit of practice, but I’m sure you’ll have fun trying! Saving money is fun!
Let’s get going on the secrets that will make you a savvy coupon user, shall we?
Start Slow – You’re most likely itching to start using coupons right now on as many items as you possibly can to see how much you can save . If you start this way, you’re going to overwhelm yourself and quite possibly, not see any significant savings on your grocery bill! Not to mention, you’ll most likely purchase items you never intended on buying in the first place only because you had coupons to use. This is not savvy couponing because you’re most likely spending more money on items you’ll never use since you’re just so excited to use those coupons.
Start out by gathering only a couple of newspaper inserts (SmartSource and Redplum)or ordering the coupons that interest you from Save.ca, Websaver.ca and Brandsaver.ca. Organize them into a small coupon organizer, so you can easily find the coupons you need, when you need them.
Using Coupons takes Planning – Are you ready for my number one secret to maximizing your coupon savings? Use your coupons when an item hits a rock bottom sale price. You want to be looking for items that are a good price before coupons even come into play and, of course, items that are also liked by you and your family.
How do you find the sales? Check out your weekly store flyers that come in your local newspaper or find the store flyers online. Start making a shopping list with the deals you can use your coupons on.
Every Saturday, I highlight the best coupon deals in the Sales + Coupon deals for Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Zellers and Real Canadian Superstore (West). I try to make it as easy as possible for you to save your money and use your coupons! For those of you reading the Simply Frugal updates by email, you won’t receive the coupon matchups until Sunday. But know that you can check for the matchups directly on the website on Saturdays.
Once you’ve become more comfortable with matching your coupons with deals, start collecting more coupons from some of the coupon websites I’ve outlined in this post.
Remember There Will Always be Another Sale – Stores run sales in a cyclical manner. The cycles last anywhere from 6 – 12 weeks. Sometime during the sale cycle, any particular item will be at its highest price and at its lowest price. You’ll want to use your coupons when an item is priced at its lowest.
I would recommend you start a price book to track your store cycles. Use a small notebook to record the prices of things you buy most often each week for 6 – 12 weeks. You’ll start to see when you should stock up on the items you need.
It’s Okay to Not Hit Every Deal – Couponing takes a lot of time if you’re going to hit up every possible deal you can muster. Time is money. Instead, I recommend that you focus on the best deals that week for the items you need. For example, if you already have 10 sticks of deodorant but are nearly out of laundry detergent, prioritize the laundry deals over the deodorant deals.
How Much You Spend Matters More than How Much you Save – I’ve said this many times, but what you spend is definitely way more important than how much you save. A 55% savings might be impressive, but the 45% you actually spent is what matters the most, since what you spend comes out of your pocket!
If you’re consistently going over your grocery budget every week, by trying to save money on items you may not necessarily need, you’re pushing yourself farther away from any financial goals you have set for yourself. Stick to your grocery budget, even when that means passing up good deals, and you’ll see your bank account grow and your debt get smaller!
Have you had any great coupon shopping trips? Do you have any question about couponing? Is there anything in the Trim your Grocery Bill series that I never touched on that you would like to see in a later post?