As a cashier, I have seen people save ridiculous amounts of money on their food bills using coupons. As the primary shopper in my home, I have saved a fair amount myself. So, why aren’t more people doing it?
Some claim they don’t have the time. Well, they don’t need to go through the same regime as the Extremist Couponers. I don’t. The longest it has ever taken me to get the coupons I want and need is maybe a half an hour… usually, it takes less than ten minutes. The secret? If it isn’t an item you use, or want to try, DON’T BOTHER CLIPPING IT! Not only does it take you more time, it just doesn’t make sense to spend money you normally wouldn’t to save a buck or two. Most prepped foods and canned soups are loaded with things I can’t eat, so I don’t bother clipping those coupons. My exception to this rule are pet food coupons… if Mom can’t use them for the Beagle, I sometimes use them when there are pet food drives going on for local shelters. And most of the cat food coupons go to my friend Donna, who has cats, fosters cats, and supports two local cat-specific rescue groups. To get the best value for my coupons, I also look for the items in my weekly sales flyer. This is especially true for new items I want to try. Why pay 6 or 7 bucks just to try something you aren’t sure you’ll even like? If it is on dale for a dollar or a dollar-fifty cheaper, and you have a coupon for fifty cents to a dollar-fifty off… THAT is when you try it. If you have the space to stock up on non-perishables or long-shelf-life items, by all means do so, but DON’T GO CRAZY. As my daughter once said to me, the only reason to buy 100 sticks of deodorant over the course of a week is if you’re sending it to a unit on deployment over-seas, or donating it to a homeless shelter.
KNOW YOUR STORE’S POLICY. My store will accept most competitor coupons, which means I don’t have to shop three or four different places. Find one store where you consistently save on the majority of things you buy every week, and stick to it. With gas prices the way they are, you really are NOT saving if you are going to half a dozen different stores just to catch “big” sales.