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Is it at the top of your list to start saving money? Some folks have high hopes to start couponing, but never get around to learning. The truth is: it’s not hard at all! It doesn’t matter what your family needs are, there are ways to save on them with coupons! You can even save money on your produce.
Here are 5 simple ways to start using coupons:
1. Understand the Sale Cycle
Just about everything in a store will go on sale at some point, so why pay full price if you don’t have to? The cycle differs a little bit based on where you live: in the South, grocery sales run on 6-8 week cycles, and 12 weeks in other parts of the country.
To save the most, we want to watch for sales and only buy at the low price. An example is cereal, regularly it can cost $4+ for name brand cereal. When it is on a good sale though you’ll catch it for $1.50-$2. You’ve saved 50% and haven’t even used your coupon yet!
I go into sale cycles in some more detail in this Sale Cycles video.
2. Stockup at the Sale Price
Since we just learned that items are only on sale every 6-12 weeks, its important to buy enough at the low price to get from one sale to the next. For some products this only means 1 or 2, and for others a little more stocking up is required. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about hundreds of anything – it will all come on sale again soon (I promise!).
To get an idea of how much you need keep a list for two weeks of what you use then multiply by 3 to get an idea for 6 weeks or multiply by 6 for 12 weeks. (Learn what is a low price by using a Buy Price List).
3. Use Those Coupons
When you are shopping and see that great price, now is the time to use the coupon! You are allowed one coupon per item so that means if you want (5) boxes of cereal and have $1 off coupons you can use FIVE coupons!! (Note that a coupon for $1/2 is the only coupon allowed for both items you buy.) That means your sale cereal mentioned above would be $0.50 to $1 after the sale and coupon!!
To gather coupons:
Buy the Sunday paper each week or ask friends and family for their unused coupon inserts. You’d be amazed at how many people are willing to give up these money-saving gems! Keep an eye out while you are shopping for booklets of coupons in store and get familiar with printing coupons. Having more coupons at your disposal means more opportunities to save! (For more information, watch a short video on finding coupons)
4. Focus on A Favorite Store
Shopping with coupons can be overwhelming if you try to get every deal at every store. Focus on (1) favorite grocery store and (1) drugstore and start paying attention to their sales. Remember you want to use the coupons you’ve collected only when the item is on sale to get the lowest possible price. So each week go in and buy 6 weeks worth of what is on sale. For the first few weeks you’ll also have things you need that haven’t come on sale, so buy one week of those items. Soon though your pantry will become a wonderful little stockpile and you’ll be able to hold off and only buy items when they are on sale!
Southern Savers covers the all of the national drugstores and major grocery stores in the south so you can print out your shopping list and corresponding coupons each week.
Need some help navigating the drugstores? I’m here to help!
5. Get Coupons on Items You Need Now
Sometimes you really need something right now and waiting for a sale just isn’t going to work. This is where the item search feature comes to rescue. Enter the brand or even just the product (ex peanut butter or Jif peanut butter) and it will show you all of the sales right now. To find a coupon for something try using the coupon database. You’ll be amazed how many coupons are out there!
If you’re still a little lost or just looking for more information, I have an entire workshop full to advice to get you started in the form of a couponing video or you can take a look at a Beginner’s Guide to Saving video series on our Youtube channel.