Monday, January 24, 2011

Savings 101-Part 1

I've been wanting to do a series of posts on the basics of couponing for those of you with questions on how to get started.  I'm going to call this series Savings 101 and plan on updating it with the various questions that others have asked me or that I had when I first began.

So for tonight let's answer just a few questions.

Why should I use coupons? 

This answer is easy!  To save you and your family money!  To have fun and to get an emotional boost when you see the percentage saved on your receipt!

What exactly is couponing? 

This is the art of clipping, saving, and matching coupons with the sales ads from your local stores.  Your ultimate goal is to only use a coupon on an item that is already on sale.  This will guarantee the lowest price possible on that item.

Can I really save money if the store brand is cheaper? 

This was one of my main hang ups before I started using coupons.  I would keep a coupon, take it to the store, look at the regular price and decide the store brand was cheaper.  I thought it was useless to coupon.  That was until I actually got started and read others testimonials to how much money they were saving. 

                  Let's look at an example:  Let's say that I have a coupon for $1/1 box of Cheerios.  If you take this coupon to a store and see that the Cheerios are over $3 and you only get $1 off, then, yes, the store brand is probably cheaper.  BUT, if you take this coupon to a store where the Cheerios are on sale for let's say $2.50.  Then you use your $1 coupon and your box of Cheerios is then just $1.50 making them cheaper then the store brand.  However, IF your store doubles (such as Homeland, Nichols Dollar Saver, Apple Market, etc) then this deal would be even sweeter.  That same $1/1 coupon would end up getting you $2 off the box of Cheerios making you only pay $.50!  Now, that's a way better deal than the store brand!

So, don't get caught up in thinking store brand is always cheaper, because the whole idea of using a coupon is to use it when the item is on sale!  When I caught on to this concept I was so excited to see how many products I was able to get for such a low price.  Shopping  became so much fun!

All the coupons are for products I don't buy, should I clip them anyway?

Yes!  If you're going to use coupons you can't be brand loyal.  You just have to be aiming to get whatever item it is at the lowest price possible.  This was another hurdle for me.  I was so used to buying the store brand to save money that I thought all coupons were for products that I didn't buy.  Boy, was I wrong!  If you use toothepaste, soaps, deodorant (which we all hope you do!), or if you eat anything at all there are coupons for items that you use.  You just have to know where to get the coupons. 

Stay tuned for the next segment of Couponing 101 where I will address more questions about the basics of using coupons!

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