Using Coupons

Ok, so now you’ve found coupons and your organizer is bursting with coupons that are ready for use!

Here comes the fun part, using them!

As mentioned before, to maximize your savings it’s best to use your coupons in combination with buying items on sale. 

When using coupons it’s helpful to:

  • Make a grocery list
  • Match up coupons with your grocery list
  • Be organized at the checkout

Make a Grocery List

Consider Weekly Sales

If possible, when writing out your grocery list also check out what’s on sale at each store you shop at.  This can be done by scanning flyers that come in the mail, or by going online to the store’s website.

Include Needed Items and those on Sale at a Great Price

In addition to including items on your list that you absolutely need, also add the items on sale that you have coupons for.  This is a great way to save money now on items needed in the future.

However, in this context it takes money to save money.

If you are on an extremely tight budget there may not be extra money to spend on items that you don’t need yet.  

So buying more than you absolutely need may not work for you. 

The good news is that you can still save money when using coupons on the items you need now.

Consider Coupons that are about Ready to Expire

When writing out a grocery list, an option is to also include items with coupons that are about ready to expire.

Keep in mind that some items tend to regularly have coupons. 

So unless the coupon value is a relatively high dollar the amount, you my want to pass on using it because another coupon may be available in the near future.

A rule of thumb in this area is to take advantage of coupons that are about to expire if they are a higher dollar amount than usual. 

If not, and you really don’t need that item currently, you may want to pass on buying that item until a later date.

Match Up Coupons with your Grocery List

Pre-Store Planning

Once you have your grocery list, an option is to paper clip together all of the coupons that match the items on your list.

You can also store the coupons you intend to use in one of your organizer divider sections.

Make sure you’ve pulled out for use not only the manufacturers’ coupons that you have, but also the store coupons for the same items.

Generally, you should be able to use both coupons for the same product.

When Shopping Remember the Following Things

When shopping it’s a good idea to:

a) Make sure the item you choose is the same item on the coupon; and

b) Check the product pull date (expiration date).  If the pull date is close to the current
date, check the shelf for an item with a longer pull date.

When shopping, you may decide not to buy certain items on your list for various reasons. 

Maybe the price is just too high even when using a coupon and another brand is cheaper..  Or maybe the pull date is just too close to the current date.

If this happens, a tip is just to make sure you do the math.

Sometimes even if you have a coupon for an item, it may still be cheaper to buy another brand if it’s on sale.

Be Organized at the Checkout

At the Checkout

When at the checkout counter things seem to go fast and it’s easy to feel unorganized.

Just make sure before you get in line that you have your coupons in order rather than trying to do it while the checker is ringing up your groceries.

You’ll need to be proactive and make sure the checker does the following:

a) Scans in your rewards card

b) Scans in all of your coupons

c) Scans the proper price for coupons that say “free”  (the checker may need to manually look up the price for this product and give you credit)

d) Gives you credit for the number of bags you brought in  (some stores will take 5 cents per bag or more off your order if you bring your own bags, while others may give you additional reward points)

After Checkout

After checking out your groceries it’s a good idea to take a look at your receipt to make sure you received all of the credits noted in items (a) through (d) above. 

If not, it’s a good time to stop by the customer service desk to get the proper credit.

Also, if you happen to forget to use a coupon, it’s a good time to stop by the customer service desk to get a credit for the amount of the coupon.

Make sure to check the back of your receipt for additional coupons!

Happy Saving!