How to Properly Shop with Coupons
Coupons are often touted as great money savers and the greatest way to save on groceries, household supplies, even clothing and home construction. Need some eyeglasses? There is certain to be a coupon for it. Whatever your needs, you can find a coupon for some supplier.
The way that coupons are touted by some finance and budget advisors, you would spend half of your Saturday scouring the internet and newspapers looking for the best deals and clipping coupons. This is a waste of your time! How much will you really save if you clip all of the coupons that you find for items you like or need?
Firstly, look at what the deals are that each coupon shows. Now ask yourself if you really need the items on the coupon. If the answer is “no” then you aren’t saving anything, since you are either wasting money on something you don’t need (so you are throwing money away), or you have just wasted your time with the coupon. Don’t clip it or give it a second glance. Coupons are really just advertisements that are used in order to get new sales or promote customer returns and loyalty. And they are effective advertising!
The key with coupons is to know ahead of time what you need and stick with that, only. Most people will use coupons for groceries, as these are the most common coupons that we see. And they are the easiest to find. They lure you from grocery store or brand to another. And sometimes they include special offers that entice a person to buy more than what would normally be needed or used. For example, the grocery store that I shop at often has a special marked down price on items if they are bought in certain quantities, such as $1.00 each if bought in groups of 3; $1.28 for a single item. If you don’t need 3 of the items, why would you buy 3? You’ve just spent $1.72 on something that you didn’t need, and are likely to throw at least one of those three away. This means that you would have spent $1.50 each for the two that you did use. So where are the savings? Of course if you were going to buy the 3 items in the first place, then you will save.
This same grocery store has a large bulletin board posted directly inside the entrance of the building filled with coupons that you can tear off and use for the trip you are going on that day. This is very clever of them, as all of these items are then advertised and the coupons often entice people to buy items that they wouldn’t otherwise. But you won’t fall for that, will you?
The point is to not use coupons except for items that you would already buy!
In order to do that you have to have certain strategies whenever you go shopping or even looking for coupons. The first thing is to make a list of what you need. Complete the list before you look for coupons. Then when you look for coupons seek only those items that are on your list! It doesn’t matter if you see a great deal on something that isn’t on your list that you might like. It isn’t on the list, so you don’t need it. Don’t buy it! Don’t even think about buying it.
Advertisers love coupons and special offers, because these things really do get people to buy things that they don’t need. Take a look around your house and the homes of your friends. Guaranteed that you will see many things there that are never used – probably aren’t even thought of – and serve no purpose. But they looked cool at the time, maybe they were a fad, the advertising for them was good, and they weren’t expensive. And that’s why they were bought. And how much money over the months and years is wasted on buying things that aren’t needed? Do you really want to keep following that pattern?
Coupons and special offers are useful. They allow you to try new brands that you wouldn’t normally buy. [We all already know about brand names being overpriced.] This really won’t make a difference to your pallet, but it can make a difference to your budget, if the special offer or coupon makes the brand name cheaper than what you normally buy. And that is always a good thing!
Remember, there are three steps that must be followed:
- Make a list
- Find any coupons that are on that list only.
- Cut your cost by using the coupons on items you would already buy.