Using Coupons 101: Some Insider Knowledge On How To Utilize Coupons

Written by: Lauren Topper

Using coupons to save your family money on essentials is one of the best things you can do for your wallet. Using coupons is simple, and you’re buying the essentials anyways so why not take a little extra time to get them for super cheap or even free? Using coupons can be a little intimidating at first and sometimes your shopping trip doesn’t quite go as expected. However, with a little patience and some insider knowledge you could be saving tons of money a year just by simply paying attention to sales and picking up your local news paper for their inserts!

First things first: Know your store policies
Knowing your local store policies is important so you can avoid any misunderstandings before hand. It’ll save you time so you can save money! Some stores don’t allow certain things involving coupons, or have limits. For example: some stores only allow you to use a certain number of coupons per transaction so you may need to compromise and separate transactions or get back in line. Most stores will have their coupon policies posted in the store, and you can always print them out and bring them with you so you can refer to them if a question comes up while you’re shopping.

Pay Attention to Sales In Your Area
A lot of stores have apps now so if you don’t get circulars in the mail just download the apps for popular stores around you! Pay attention to what’s on sale and match them up with coupons. By combining coupons with sales the store is having, you maximize your saving potential.

A lot of store apps also have their own coupons that are separate from manufacturer coupons. In addition to extra coupons and previewing sales, many stores have their rewards system through their app as well. Some rewards systems give you even more money off purchases or special coupons depending on what you buy.

Collecting Coupons
There are many ways to obtain manufacturer coupons. You can get inserts from newspapers or even print them off certain websites, or clip them online through store apps. However you obtain your coupons, put them away to use for later. You don’t always have to use coupons right away, unless they’re about to expire. A lot of coupons will last at least a couple months, so you can pay attention to sales and save your coupons to use in conjunction with sales.

Get Organized
Get a small binder or folder for your coupons and get organized! A lot of people use page protectors with pockets in them (like ones used for baseball cards) and alphabetize their coupons. That’ll keep you from having to go through your entire collection every time you think you might have a coupon that matches a local sale. This will also keep you from losing coupons. It’ll save you a lot of time in the long run!

Stacking Coupons
Stacking coupons is another way to save a lot of money! For instance if your store has a coupon for 50 cents off of an item and you have a manufacturer coupon for $1 off that same item, you can stack those coupons and save $1.50 total! If there’s a sale involved as well, many times you can get that item for ridiculously cheap, or even free. Freebies are the best and will have you hooked on coupons forever. Make sure you refer to your store’s coupon policy on stacking coupons.

Discounted Items
Some stores will let you use manufacturer coupons on discounted items as well, so always pay attention to their discounted section. A lot of times you can get items for free this way! Again, refer to your store’s policy.

Rebate Apps
There are a few different rebate apps that give you money back on certain items as well. Usually these apps require you to scan your receipts or take pictures of them, so start saving your receipts! Rebates usually involve cash back or a certain percentage off an item.

As a bonus, rebates are also separate from sales and coupons. So sometimes if you stack sales, coupons, and rebates, you end up making money on an item! This can happen outside of rebates as well. Your store’s coupon policy should have this scenario lined out in writing so you know what to expect if an overage happens during a transaction. For instance: if an item is on sale for $1.99 and you have a $3 off coupon, most of the time they will put the overage on a gift card, or apply it to other items in your transaction.

Join groups!
Joining Facebook groups or forums on using coupons can give you a lot of useful information and is an excellent way to study and find awesome deals. A lot of people feel really overwhelmed when starting to coupon, but by joining groups and having people by your side that have been there, you’ll start to feel more comfortable. The more you get into using coupons the more deals you’ll discover and be able to take advantage of without much homework.

Many groups post deal scenarios and take all the guesswork out of figuring everything out. You can also come up with your own scenarios and ask questions to make sure your transaction goes as smoothly as possible. It’s also helpful to discuss what may have went wrong if a shopping trip doesn’t go how you expected it to.

Not only are groups an excellent tool, they’re inspiring and encouraging. The coupon community is a strong one and they are always more than willing to help.

Have fun!
Coupons can not only get you out of tough situations if you’re in a financial bind, but it can be extremely fun! No matter what your situation or reasons for using coupons, have fun with them! When you make it fun, it seems like less work and it saves you so much money in the end.

Many people have stock piles to showcase their work over time. Having a stock pile can be an awesome thing for your family and can put you in situations where you can donate and give you back to your community. Saving money and being able to help other people is a win win for everyone.

Finally, don’t overwhelm yourself with coupons or finding deals! Start with small transactions on things you were going to buy anyways and work your way up to the bigger ones! Remember: coupons are meant to save you money, not stress you out!


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