The approximately 300 billion coupons distributed in the U.S. every year offer $3 billion in savings. With all that savings floating around, you'd think that we would all have more money in our pockets, but only 1.26% of all those coupons are actually redeemed according ICOM Information and Communications.
If you have read articles about “Coupon Queens” who are able to save 50% or more on their groceries using coupons, you may have wondered if these results are possible for the average person. If you have tried to use coupons in the past, you likely failed to get the savings that these people are able to accomplish. The reason that most people fail is because they are conditioned to use coupons the way that the manufacturers want rather than to their advantage. Here is a rundown on the way that Coupon Queens are able to get such huge savings and how you can as well if you adopt these methods.
Most people use a coupon soon after they find it. To get the most out of it, however, you often have to wait a bit so it's possible to save more than the discount on the coupon. The strategy is called “stacking coupons” where the coupon is used in coordination with other discounts that are available.The average consumer uses a 50-cent coupon when he or she happens to be in the store, has the coupon and needs the item the coupon is for. If that item costs $2, then the shopper would use the coupon and buy the item for $1.50. While that is better than getting no savings, it's not the best way to use the coupon.The best option is to wait until there are multiple discounts that can be combined for huge savings. For example, waiting until that $2 item is on sale for $1.50 and shopping on a day when the grocery store is doubling coupons to get the item for only $0.50. There may also be a store coupon that can also be used making the item free or even a rebate which might mean that you can make money buying it.
Look beyond Sunday
Newspaper inserts account for 82% of coupons, but newspapers aren't necessarily the best place to find them. The problem with many Sunday newspaper coupons is that the coupons are usually for new products and probably not for brands that you already buy. There are a large number of other places that coupons can be found, including eBay, the Internet, the grocery store, magazines and junk mail. You can even contact the manufacturers directly to find savings.
Stick to what you know
A simple shopping rule when using coupons is to only use coupons for things that you usually buy, unless it's something that you can get for free. If it isn't something that you use, it's usually wasted money no matter how much you save. Instead, use any coupons for products that you don't use to trade with others who do want them.One of the biggest mistakes that people who first begin to use coupons make is buying products that they would not normally purchase just because they have a coupon for it. This is exactly what the manufacturers want you to do, but it's not the way to get large savings since you are buying extra items beyond what you would normally buy.
Create a price book
A price book is a book you create where you keep a list of the lowest prices you paid for all the items you usually purchase. This will allow you to know the best price of the products you frequently purchase so you know when a good price is available. Grocery stores use numerous tricks to make you believe you are getting a good deal when you really aren't. By knowing what price is a good deal on everything you regularly purchase, you can ignore all the “sale” and “bargain” advertising and seek out the true deals by simply looking in your price book.
One of the greatest secrets of those who save a lot with coupons is that they know there are coupons for groceries that you may have never though would have coupons available. For example, most people aren't aware that there are coupons for meat and fresh seafood. Many beer and wine companies, however, have special coupon offers on meats and seafood to encourage you to buy their product and try it with such foods. Another example is that cookie companies sometimes have promotions where they give away coupons for milk. By learning that these coupons are out there if you keep your eyes open, you can reap savings on grocery items you never realized had coupons available.