Using 50-cent coupons will only get you so far, but if you’re aiming for big savings you will have to adopt a smarter and more effective coupon strategy.
Smart Coupon Strategy is about maximizing the coupons to save money. The trick is to get double and triple discounts on the same item, by matching the items already on sale with the coupons. This is known as discount stacking. It is the core of couponing and the only way to get groceries for free.
Here’s an example: Say you have a $1.00 manufacturer coupon for a shampoo bottle that’s normally priced at $3.50. So now that bottle costs you $2.50. Nice, but not enough…
If however you hang on to the coupon and wait patiently until that bottle goes on sale for $2.00 and only then use the coupon – you get that same shampoo bottle for only $1.00. Nice, but you can do even better…
O.K., so how to coupon smart?
What most people don’t know is that when the large companies start pushing certain product, it is usually done in two waves.
Initially – they’ll put out coupons to start bumping up sales. Later on in the promotion campaign, any time between 3-4 weeks later, they’ll move onto sale prices.
There are two reasons for this.
- They’d rather have a steady and long boost in sells rather than a spike.
- People who bought the product with coupons and liked it would probably buy it again on their next month’s shopping trip if it’s on sale.
Your Smart Coupon Strategy should be to hang on to the coupons and be patient. Don’t use them immediately. Instead – Keep them until the products come on sale. Only use them on top of the already reduced sale price.
What I do is this:
- I take out the coupon inserts from the Sunday paper and keep them.
- During the weekend, while having my coffee I leaf thru them and clip out grocery coupons or food coupons for all of the products I usually buy, regardless whether they’re on my shopping list for this week or not.
- I do the same with my favorite store’s magazine.
- I organize the coupons in my coupon organizer according to product type. In it I keep all of my various coupon types – my Sunday paper coupons, my grocery store coupons, coupons I’ve downloaded and printed online and coupons I’ve collected (blinkies, tearpads etc.) during my previous shopping trips
- Now comes the planning part. I go over my shopping list, my pantry and my coupons, and try to figure out whether I have enough coupons, or do I need to go online and search for some more.
- If needed, I log into my favorite grocery coupon websites (including this site!) and download a few more grocery coupons, or order a few more Sunday paper coupons from a coupon clipping service (eBay is also a good option).
- I wait for a double-coupon day/week (not a must, but it improves the savings).
- Before going to the store I leaf through my wad of coupons to remind myself what I have (most of them have been clipped 3-4 weeks ago).
Magically, most of the 3-4 week old coupons sync up very well with stuff that’s already on sale on the shelves.
- Sale price combined with coupons gets me products for less than half the usual price. And on double-coupon days/week I practically get many groceries for free.
- While at the store I pick up more coupons (blinkies, tearpads etc.) and see if they mach my shopping list. If they do – great. If not – they’ll wait in my coupon organizer for next week’s shopping trip.
Smart Coupon Strategy is the core of effective couponing. Double Coupons and Coupon Stacking are nice to have, and while they do improve the savings they are certainly not a must.
- How to Accumulate Grocery Coupons
- Sunday Paper Coupons
- Printable Grocery Coupons
- Double Coupons
- Stacking Coupons