Couponing sounds so appealing to so many of us but many women don’t start because they have no idea where or how to start. Using coupons can save a significant amount of money on your monthly food shopping- money you could put towards other things.
So, where do you begin? Take a look below to learn all about couponing, budgeting, and planning your shopping for easy ways to save money every time you walk into a grocery store.
Know Your Budget
Just as you would normally when shopping, couponing requires you to have a budget. Without a budget in place, it’s easy to get excited and spend more than you should. As a beginner to couponing, you’ll probably notice that you still spend more on your needs than you do on stockpiling with coupons.
It can take a while to build up a stockpile of items you’ll use frequently. With that in mind, it’s important to know how much money to set aside for your shopping needs and how much to allow yourself to spend with coupons. For example, if your budget is $100, you may allocate $75 to your needs and $25 to stockpiling.
As you become used to couponing, your budget allowances will adjust accordingly.
Match-Up Your Coupons
Now it’s time to find those ever so important coupons. You can search online and find online coupons for your chosen store. Most stores change their offers every week so keep an eye on the start and expiry dates.
You may even find coupons that entitle you to free items but it’s not worth picking up free items if you feel you won’t ever use them. Some coupons you’ll be able to use online but some you may need to print and clip, so check out the stores’ digital coupon tips first.
Once you have the coupons you’re interested in, calculate how much you will spend using them. If you go above the stockpiling budget you’ve set, prioritize the more useful coupons and only use those.
Plan Your Meals
Couponing isn’t just about collecting as many coupons as you can and using them religiously every time you visit a store. There’s an art to couponing that people don’t often understand and that involves time, effort, and planning. Planning your meals is part of saving your money, whether you use coupons or not.
When you’ve found the promo codes that will be useful to you, you can start to plan your meals around those offers. Remember to consider breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for all members of the family. For example, if you have a coupon for bacon, you could pick up some pancake mix and treat everyone to pancakes and bacon one morning.
Knowing what your coupons can get you will allow you to think about dishes you can cook and what extra ingredients you’ll need to add to your ‘needs’ shopping list.
This is sometimes the part where people think it’s too much work to put in just to save a little money. However, once you get into the swing of things, it isn’t as much of a job as it seems.
Additionally, planning your meals often means you save a lot of time during the week and you know you can feed your family healthy meals every day. Rather than coming home from a long day and wondering what you’re going to put in front of everyone, you know exactly what’s there.
Using Your Coupons
You’ll be surprised by how many mistakes can be made when you first start to coupon. From misreading the small print to the lady at the checkout forgetting to scan a coupon. So, once you’ve planned your meals, it’s time to get those coupons ready.
Double-check you have the correct coupons and you’ll get exactly what you’re expecting. Calculate what you’ll spend on your coupons and what you’ll spend on your needs ingredients to make sure it’s within your budget.
Stack your coupons in a pile and number them so you can be sure that all of your coupons have been scanned when you get your receipt. You should also be aware that some items that are couponed aren’t always available, so you may have to slightly adjust your plan while you’re in the store.
If it’s a store you’ve never been to before or you’re unsure of what to do, it’s worth asking staff members if they can suggest any alternatives or point you in the direction of a similar offer on another product.
If the coupons won’t scan or you’re told they can’t be used, ask to speak to a manager about honoring the offer or taking the same amount of money off your bill.
Couponing: Fun and Frugal
Although couponing is great for planning your shopping, it can also be exhilarating. There’s nothing like feeding your family while saving enough money to treat your children after school or on the weekend.
Couponing isn’t just a means to an end; it’s a way of life that can afford you luxuries you may not have had otherwise. Why not take a look at the latest deals from the likes of Walmart and Amazon and start a couponing addiction that you’ll never regret?