I’ll admit it, I’m a coupon clipper. I’m the woman in the grocery store that you see frazzled and gripping a fistful of coupons in one hand and a child (or two) in the other. My constant goal? To save more and spend less. I hear the financial experts saying that we should have nine months of emergency expenses in savings and I think to myself, “Well, maybe we have nine days…but nine months?!” It’s enough to make me want to throw my coupons up in the air and succumb to dollar saving defeat.
Times are tight and although everybody wants to spend less, coupon clipping can be overwhelming. Just the phrase “coupon clipping” makes me start to sweat, but seriously, it has come a long way. I’ve scoured the internet, talked to friends, read numerous articles and spoken with store managers to come up with the best ways to become a better shopper. You want in? Here goes:
1. Check out online coupon sites such as SmartSource.com, Coupons.com, RedPlum.com and Eversave.com where you can select and print only the coupons you want.
2. Go retro and grab a newspaper. The Sunday newspaper is chock full of coupon inserts. Grab a pair of scissors, a few helpers and get to work.
3. Buy on Ebay. People sell lots of coupons for as little as .99 for a quantity of 200. It’s a great way to get some deals on coupons—just don’t get into a bidding war and end up paying $20 bucks for a handful of savings on stuff you don’t want.
4. Swap coupons. A group of my neighbors actually get together and trade their coupons for the ones they’ll use. Another option is to pass around an envelope between neighbors, colleagues or relatives where you take the coupons that you’ll use and contribute the ones you won’t.
5. Go directly to the source. Manufacturers are smart when it comes to their customers. For example, if you know you are interested in a particular yogurt, go to that company’s website and request product coupons. Typically they’ll mail you a stack of coupons or often times you can print them directly from their website.
6. Sign up for TheGroceryGame.com or CouponMom.com. Both of these sites track sales and coupons so you can maximize your savings. Also, check the KrazyCouponLady.com which organizes coupons and deals by store. She also puts the direct link to the printable coupon associated with the deal so you can just kick back and collect your extra dollars.
7. Timing is everything. It’s better to buy certain items at certain times of the year. Obviously it’s great to buy wrapping paper after the holidays, but do you know what day of the week is best to purchase clothing? It’s Wednesday, after the weekend sales data has been collected and prices will be marked down. Here are some other seasonal deals:
- Winter is the time to have a wedding if you are looking to save big. It’s also a great time to buy a computer, digital camera or linens.
- Spring is the time to buy coats, used cars, frozen food and book vacations.
- Summer is a great time to grab a new gym membership after those New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten. It’s also a great time to get new furniture as stores are getting ready for new inventory and slashing prices 20-50%.
- Fall the perfect time to pick up landscaping plants, a new car or a new grill.
Doing a little research before hitting the store is key. And, if possible, try to check online prior to making a purchase to ensure you are getting the best deal.
8. Check the internet for coupon codes prior to buying online. Sites like RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com reflect the coupons that have worked for buyers to get free shipping or product discounts.
Go ahead, join the movement, become a Couponer—your Grandma will be so proud!
About the author: Jessica Lane is a penny pinching mama of two living on the Seacoast. She runs a blog www.barefootbysea.blogspot.com, where she discusses the trials of motherhood.