Okay Savvy Shopper Wannabes! It is time to attack that word that for some reason strikes fear in the hearts of so many regular shoppers: coupons.
While I know that in recent years people have begun to get more used to the idea of using coupons there are still some people out there who equate coupon use with either being old, poor, or annoying. Yes, coupons have been around for a really long time, and yes, my grandmother regularly uses them (but for the sake of my life I’m not calling her old because she reads my blog), and yes, coupons can be annoying at times, but that is no reason to use them!
Repeat after me: I work hard for my money. Did you say it? Seriously? Now repeat this: I want my money to work hard for me.
Coupon shopping does not have to be overly exhausting or difficult. In fact, I’m going to break it down for you into several blog posts to help you with the coupon transition. Here are some things to think about when talking about coupons…
Fact: Coupons save you money. Duh!
Fiction: Coupons cost grocery stores revenue. Actually, coupon redemption includes a premium of up to eight cents for processing a coupon from the manufacturer. Think about it – the grocer is getting you to buy things off the shelf and getting additional money from the manufacturer to take your coupons. This is not a losing thing for the grocers: they want your coupons!
Fiction: Coupon clipping is time consuming. Today we are just going to go over some basic coupon clipping concepts…say that three times fast.
1. Subscribe to a Sunday newspaper that includes coupons: But Chrissy I hate the newspaper! So do I. Most of the time I glance at the front page while I’m preparing to pull out all the coupons and then into the trash it goes. I’m not buying the paper for the articles…much to their dismay…I want coupons! I only subscribe to the paper for Sundays which averages out to about $20 a quarter and since I use about $20 in coupons a week is more than pays for itself. There are several newspapers in our area I could subscribe to, but I have found that The Plain Dealer offers a wider selection of coupons than the Akron Beacon Journal and the Canton Repository. Before you commit to a newspaper subscription pick up a few different papers at the gas station or grocery store and go through the coupon savers. You might find that some newspapers have more manufacturer coupons than others. This has to do with a lot of fancy marketing concepts, but all you need to know is that papers with higher circulation tend to have more coupons.
2. Get a Coupon Organizer: It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a basic organizer from the office supply store. I use a Couponizer, but that is after lots of research and because I use a lot of coupons. I’ll talk more about my couponizer in another post. Basically, you need something to put your clipped coupons in that is small and easy enough to always have with you whenever you are shopping.
3. Know what you buy: If you are just going to be a casual coupon shopper I recommend using your organizer and the newspapers to organize the coupons for brands and items that you know you are going to use. But Chrissy, do I have to clip that coupon for beef jerky? Let me ask you, are you ever going to eat beef jerky? If the answer is no, then why would you waste your time. Clip the things you know you are always going to buy: toilet paper, lunchmeat, juice, cereal, etc. If you are feeling adventurous join me for my next post when I’ll talk about being a grocery store guerilla…no camo necessary.