HOW AND WHEN TO USE COUPONS

Coupon Accordian

Image by bargainbri via Flickr

Now that you started to clip and organize your coupons, the next step is knowing when and how to use them. When I began clipping coupons, I couldn’t wait to use them. I wanted to see how it all worked and if any problems would arise in using them. I was very nervous as many people think it is embarrassing to use coupons. I have to admit I was one of those persons. I went to the supermarket after 10PM, to make sure the least amount of people would be looking at me using the coupons. I only saved $10.00 on a $200.00 shopping order but I kept using the coupons. I was not discouraged by the low number in savings. As the weeks went on, my savings increased until I now get many products for free.

My first trip with coupons was a trial run but I learned a lot from it. One of my mistakes was using the coupons when the items I was purchasing were not on sale. Knowing when to use the coupons is crucial in maximizing your savings. Sales tend to run in cycles and according to promotions being held that month. Holding off using a coupon until a better deal comes along ensures that you pay rock bottom prices for the items purchased.

Loyalty cards and store programs are very important. Many stores have policies that the sale prices are only for those that take part in their program(s). In order to make sure I am ready for all sales, I signed up for every program and loyalty card for all stores in a 100 mile radius from my home. I am liable to be in any one of these areas at any time so I rather be ready for everything. Loyalty cards and the store programs are free, so it does not hurt to sign up for them all. Another thing is that signing up can have bonuses like special sales only announced to members, and coupons mailed to you, usually high-value and not available to non-members!

Double and triple coupon policies help maximize savings. We are fortunate to live in an area where many stores double your coupons. For the  most part, there is a limit of four (4) like coupons doubled per transaction but this changes from store to store. Many stores in New York City will double your coupons up to $0.99. Some stores even triple certain coupons, but I have yet to find a store here in New York that does so. There have been recent promotions in stores like Stop and Shop and K-Mart in which $1.00 coupons were also doubled. I have seen this only once at Stop and Shop and twice at K-Mart.

Stacking coupons is another way to save money. Stacking is when you use a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon on one item. Stacking two coupons on an item that is already on sale is one of the ways to get items for free re next to nothing. Stores that do not have a double coupon policy but located in areas where other retailers do, usually issue store coupons to compete with the local prices.

You should always have a copy of the stores coupon policy with you if any matter arises with your coupons. Every store is different even though you have shopped at that chain before. Do not assume the cashier knows the policy, it is your money (yes, coupons are money) and you have the right to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

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