For the past several years, the economy has been a hot topic for discussion. The news is filled with unemployment statistics, failing businesses and house foreclosures. The good news is; God promises believers that we’ll always have what we need.
That may be hard to see when you have past due notices piling up and paychecks are few and far between. However, a little reality check and a whole lot of resourcefulness will go a long way toward alleviating the strain in your personal economy.
Coupons are one such oft overlooked resource. In general, coupons are dismissed as a viable savings option due to one or more of the following myths:
I Don’t Have Time to Coupon
If your bills are all paid in full every month, you’re never late on your rent/mortgage, and your savings acct has a minimum of six months of expenses, then couponing may not be the best option since we’re also called to be good stewards of our time as well as our money. However, if you are always wondering how your paycheck is going to stretch to cover your basic needs, couponing is a resource that you cannot afford to overlook.
With the abundance of blogs, forums and entire websites devoted to teaching consumers how to get the best deals, couponing is no longer the time consuming endeavor it once was. Coupon newbies will find an abundance of help on every aspect of couponing from sample shopping scenarios to store coupon policies to sales ads weeks in advance.
I Tried Couponing, but I Never Have the Coupon When I Shop
This issue is a simple matter of organization. Part of the couponing learning curve is to discover the method of coupon organization that best works for you. Some people clip every coupon they get and file them in the portable coupon binder filled with trading card protectors. They carry the binder with them to the store.
Other people file their uncut inserts by date. When a sale comes up, they simply go into their files, clip the coupon they need, then go to the store. Others may use a method that’s a hybrid of the two. They just clip the coupons they’re sure they’ll use and keep the rest of the insert filed by date in case a deal that’s too good to pass up comes along.
Still others use a small coupon organizer in which they file clipped coupons. The methods can be as varied as couponers. The only wrong method is the one that has you forgetting your coupons at home while you’re shopping. If the problem persists even though you’re organized, try keeping your coupon files in your car. This way, they’ll at least make it to the store with you.
There Are Never Any Coupons for the Things I Use
The only way this myth can even creep up on true is if you never bathe, never brush your teeth, never wear clothes, never use toilet paper, never need a flashlight, never watch movies…The list can go on and on. This myth may have been true 20 years ago, but it’s not even close now.
Manufacturers are putting out coupons for more varied items all the time. Especially when they are trying to launch a new product. Even if you need an item that doesn’t have a specific coupon out, you still have an ace in the hole. It’s a little coupon called a Catalina. These are the coupons that print out at the register after you pay for your items. Lots of these are coupons good on anything in the store, including organic products.
Coupons Make People Buy Things They Don’t Need
Coupons can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. This all boils down to discipline. If you have no use for the product, there’s no reason to buy it. Simple as that. In fact, a better use of that coupon is to go on the forums and trade it for a coupon you can use.
That said, there are legitimate times when you will want to buy an item that you won’t use. These are the times that you can get overage from the coupon. This means that the item is priced lower than the coupon value creating an overage. You use that overage to lessen the price of the rest of your transaction creating additional savings. This is what’s also known as a moneymaker.
Buying items that are free after manufacturer coupons are especially valuable when you have a store coupon that is for a certain dollar amount off a total dollar amount. You use the free after coupon items to reach the total dollar amount threshold and add in the more expensive item that you need to get a free store discount.
I Won’t Save Enough with Coupons to Make Buying a Newspaper Worthwhile
So don’t buy one. There are many places to get coupons from the inserts. You can find tons of coupon sellers on Ebay which will also allow you to be more selective in the coupons you get if you’re truly worried about spending money on things you don’t need. There are also independent sellers who make uncut or cut inserts available.
If you don’t want to spend money upfront, check out websites like Cellfire and Shortcuts. They offer electronic coupons that you simply load to your shopper’s card. The savings will automatically deduct at checkout.
Websites like Smartsource.com and RedPlum.com offer printable coupons. Coupons.com offers both loadable and printable coupons.
While you’re shopping look for little boxes hanging off the shelves that offer coupons called blinkies. You can also find peelies on the products themselves. Look Safeway offers coupon booklets monthly. In general, they’re manufacturer coupons that can be used anywhere so grab a stack.
Store Brands are Cheaper Than Brand Names Even with a Coupon
Only at first glance. By combining a coupon with a sale on a brand name item, you’re almost always guaranteed to get it for cheaper than the store brand. The key is to buy the item when it’s on sale. Or better yet, when the manufacturer is offering a Catalina deal on the item.
There are also times when the store will offer a coupon on the brand name item that can be stacked with the manufacturer coupon. Use both of these together when the item goes on sale and you can bet that brand name will be cheaper than the store brand if not free.
It’s Cheaper to Buy in Bulk at Warehouse Stores
This is true only if you are not using a coupon stacked with sales. Consider this true scenario: a 24 pack of flour tortillas costs $3.99 at Smart and Final. You have 4 coupons for $0.55 off 1 pack.
Now you’re down to $3.49. Not bad, right? Wrong. You still overpaid because Safeway that doubles to $1 has 10 packs of the same flour tortillas on sale for $0.99. You can now use all four of your coupons to get 40 tortillas and you’ve earned 4 cents instead of paying $3.49. Now that’s a good deal.
***A Sassy Bonus Myth***
I Save More Money at the Dollar Store
This is the flip side of buying in bulk. Dollar stores can save you money, but you have to be vigilant about checking packaging sizes. It has been my observation that the package sizes can be smaller in these kinds of stores. Even though you are paying less cash out of pocket, you’re also getting less product. Always, check the per unit price. You just might find that you are actually paying more instead of less.