I think couponing gets a bad rap. Whenever I thought of coupon-hunters in the past, I thought of tense, grabby women in grocery stores pushing carts loaded down with fifteen boxes of off-brand detergent and a fistful of sweaty coupons.
I always imagined them in front of me at the grocery line, waiting to inflict their numerous “75 cents off” vouchers on some hapless sixteen year old manning the cash register. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
However, I changed my mind after I needed to save some money and decided to start couponing. I did a lot of research and learned how to streamline the process so it worked best for me – no gallon of mustard purchases required.
Here are the steps I took to becoming a crazy coupon saver with minimal fuss and bother:
Try Out Different Coupon Delivery Systems (Sorta like missiles but without the explosions)
There’s a few different ways you can plumb the depths of the couponing waters. Try clipping coupons out of the Sunday newspaper, checking out a coupon site like ChameleonJohn, or downloading an app like RetailMeNot to your Smartphone.
Personally, I’m a fan of online shopping so ChameleonJohn is the perfect choice for me. It’s awesome for American and Canadian shopping and they work directly with the retailers to get the best deals out there. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Once you get a feel for what kind of couponing is your favourite, you can start developing a strategy for making it work for you.
Learn the Lay of the Couponing Land
Whether you’re doing your groceries or a little bit of Christmas shopping, organization and planning are key. For instance, you can organize your grocery shopping coupons by category using a file box or binder. In this case, you’ll want to meal plan with store sales in mind and grocery shop all those great prices to your heart’s content.
If you’re Christmas shopping, do some brainstorming and list your people and proposed presents ahead of time. Do this early and hawk eye your favourite sites for those discounted deals. Buy as you go along and the festive season will end up costing you next to nothing.
Make the Coupon Stars Align
Timing is everything with couponing, you can save a bundle if you’re willing to be a little strategic. For instance, you can watch for promotions and pair a manufacturer’s coupon with a store sale for mucho savings. This is where your trusty coupon binder/file box will come in, flip through the flyers and match them with your vouchers and you’re off to the races.
You can also “stack” coupons by pairing a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon for twice the savings. This takes some time to get the hang of since many manufacturers and retailers are limiting use through restrictive wording. Proctor & Gamble coupons, for example, are notoriously “unstackable” since they’ve changed their policies.
Know Your Favourite Store’s Coupon Policies
When you’re practicing your couponing art, you’ll find that some stores are more amenable to your discount hunter ways than others. For instance, London Drugs and Shopper’s Drug Mart have welcoming coupon policies whereas others, like Superstore, can be more challenging.
The best way to familiarize yourself is to read couponing forums like smartcanucks.com for our Canadian friends and hotcouponworld.com for our American buddies. While you want to Google your favourite store name and “coupon policy” to get your own copy of the details, the forums will tell you how they are interpreting their policies.
Stockpile Your Coupon Finds Responsibly
If you’ve ever bought a winter jacket off a sales rack in the middle of spring, you are familiar with stockpiling. This can be a great way to save money but you don’t want to go crazy. It’s important to remember that sales come in cycles so while you might see something at a great price; you can always get it next time it’s on sale if you can’t make it this time around.
Stalking deals like the might coupon predator you are can get addictive. Remember to take it slow and remember to save responsibly.
So there you have it! Your guide to saving like a coupon superstar. Happy shopping, friends.
How do you save money on your everyday stuff?