Are You Really Saving Money with Coupons?

Coupons are supposed to save you money — so why isn’t it working?

Coupons are a good thing. If used properly, they can save you money. If used incorrectly; however, they may just end up costing you money. Here are a few ideas to help you take advantage of coupons and save money.

Availability

Let’s just start with the obvious — you can’t use coupons if you don’t have them with you. How many times have you arrived at the grocery store, picked up an item and realized you left your grocery coupons at home? I’m thinking I’m not the only person who has done this…am I right? Yep.

To put an end to this frustration, keep your coupon folder in the car at all times. The only time your coupon folder should come out of the car is when you sit down to do major coupon clippings — then immediately put it back.

Why the car? Chances are you drive the same vehicle every day. Even if you have multiple vehicles, you probably drive the same one to grocery shop because of storage or convenience.

You don’t carry the same purse every day but if you leave the coupons in the car, they’ll always be there when you need them.

When you keep your coupon folder in the car, they’re out of your way. How many times do you get irritated with your coupon wallet in your purse? If you keep them in the car, quickly flip through your folder and get just the ones you need.

With this method, the coupons will always be in the vehicle you drive to buy groceries.

Coupon folders

Okay, we just learned you should keep your coupon folder in the car. If you’re saying, ‘What coupon folder?’ you need to learn a thing or two. A coupon folder is handy for several reasons but mainly organization. With a folder, sort your coupons and know exactly what’s available.

You may be extremely detailed and sort according to each type of coupon. But I’ve found it best to sort to the major type of coupon like ‘restaurant coupons’ or ‘grocery coupons’. This way, you don’t waste a lot of time sorting or procrastinate clipping coupons because you don’t want to sort.

When you go to a restaurant, just quickly look through the restaurant section for quick savings.

Coupon warnings

Be honest with your coupon usage — are you really saving money or just spending ‘less’ money? It doesn’t look like it at first, but there’s a big difference. Think about it. If you buy something just because you have a coupon, you’re spending money you probably wouldn’t have spent.

For example, what do you do when you get Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million coupons in the mail? You immediately start thinking about what book you could buy. Would you have wanted to buy this book if you never saw the coupon in the first place? If not, skip the coupon.

What this coupon prompts you to do is spend money you may not have spent in the first place. Or it’s money to save by going to the library and getting the book for free. The same concept works with ‘name brand’ food at the grocery store. You never buy a certain item, but hey, since you have the coupon… see what I mean?

Beware of spending money on newspapers simply to get coupons. Sometimes this works and you hit the mother lode of coupons. Other times, you’ve just wasted $2.00 on the Sunday paper. A good alternative to newspaper coupons is using printable coupons that are available online.

Search what type of coupons you need and find many you can print and use. Join some of your favorite brand name websites too items you know you will purchase in bulk. For example, your newborn baby requires diapers and baby food. By signing up for their email or mailing lists you could save money on baby stuff!

Keep these coupon tips in mind. Coupons are not a bad thing when used properly. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking the only way you can save money is with coupons.