Many people resist the notion of couponing when it comes to frugal living because they think it is too much work. I get that in some instances, it may not make any sense. For example, my mother lives in a rural area where her nearby supermarkets don’t double coupons. To her cutting coupons just isn’t worth the quarter she might save here or there.
However, where I live, both of my nearby supermarkets double coupons up to $.99 in value. Another supermarket that’s about 20 minutes farther up the road sometimes triples coupons. When you are able to match a handful of doubled coupons with a supermarket sale, couponing makes sense as far as I’m concerned.
That’s why the frugality tips on day three of the Year of Renewed Frugality is the suggestion to coupon when you can.
I had been doing a really good job of my own version of extreme couponing throughout 2012. While I wasn’t achieving the 90 percent savings you would see on the show “Extreme Couponing,” (which I think fudges the numbers to make for more dramatic savings) I was saving a good amount each time I went food shopping. Sometimes I could get 50 percent savings at the store.
Then Hurricane Sandy hit in October and threw a wrench in my home organization, including my weekly ritual of cutting and organizing coupons. It wasn’t until December when I got back into my couponing routine, and once I did, I quickly remembered the value in taking the time to cut coupons.
For example, on a recent trip to CVS, I was able to combine coupons with CVS Extra Bucks Rewards to get two mascaras for free. A few days later I was shopping for a holiday party, and managed to save $23 at the grocery store.
I’ve found that the best way to get the most coupons is to find them in multiple ways.
Like many Americans I start with the coupon inserts that you’ll find in the Sunday paper. If you don’t get a Sunday paper on a regular basis, you may want to check out this website called Sunday Coupon Preview, which does exactly what the name suggests–gives you a preview of the upcoming coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. That way if you see coupons that you think are worth getting, you can choose to buy the Sunday paper that day. I also subscribe to Free Coupon Alerts, which emails me daily with the latest coupon offers.
You can also find coupons in your favorite magazines–mostly women’s magazines, which seem to have a lot of coupons per issue. I do best with magazines like All You, Woman’s Day and Good Housekeeping.
Supermarkets themselves often have their own coupons available exclusively on their website. The A&P family of stores, for example, offers a way to load coupons onto your store loyalty card. Plus you can stack physical coupons with these offers, allowing you to save twice as much. And you can always find coupons on the shelves in those “blinkie” dispensers or the “peelies” on packages. Finally, don’t forget the catalina coupons that print at checkout.
Again, I realize that cutting coupons can be time consuming. But if you can work them into your supermarket trips in a way that saves you a reasonable amount of money on the groceries you were going to buy anyway, why wouldn’t you coupon when you can?
Please share your own frugality tips for couponing that show how they really do help you to save money on food shopping.