If you do not use coupons when shopping, you may be spending a lot more than you need to spend. Those who excel at using coupons routinely save 50 percent or more off their grocery bills. However, coupons may entice you to spend more by spurring you to buy additional products — which you would not have otherwise purchased — just because you have a coupon. Use smart tactics to save the most money when using coupons.
Comparison of Store Coupon Policies
All stores have different coupon policies, which can make a big difference in your pocketbook. For example, some stores will double coupons, meaning that your 50-cent coupon will be worth a dollar. Rules for doubling may vary; one store may double only coupons up to 50 cents, while another doubles up to a dollar. Some stores accept coupons printed from the Internet, but others do not. If several grocery stores are in your area, know which store has the most customer-friendly coupon policies and do the bulk of your shopping there.
In the couponing world, an overage occurs when a store applies any additional money saved to the rest of your grocery bill. For example, if you have a dollar-off coupon for an item that is on sale for 89 cents, some stores will adjust the coupon redemption value down to 89 cents; other stores will apply the additional 11 cents to your bill, reducing the total amount that you pay. Find a store that allows overages and use your coupons when items go on sale below the value of the coupon. A smart way to do this is to use coupons that allow for “any size” and purchase trial-size versions of the product.
The more coupons you can use, the more you can save. The two major types of coupons are manufacturer’s coupons, found online or in Sunday newspapers, and store coupons. You can use only one manufacturer’s coupon per item, but if the store also offers a coupon for that product, you can “stack” the two coupons — getting the product for much less.
If you cannot find your coupons, you cannot use them properly. Cut out the coupons that you will need and organize them by type of product. Each week, as you make out your grocery list, look through your coupons to find the ones that fit with the things that you need. Another organization method is to file the full coupon flier by date. Certain websites can help you match coupons with store sales to get the best deals; these sites will list the needed coupons by flier date.