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Grocery Coupons: How to Save Money

Like every other money saving pursuit, maximizing your savings and realizing serious financial savings requires discipline and structure. If you have a system and truly understand the savings that coupon saving can yield, there is not one reason not to bank some serious cash.

Saving money through the use of coupons should not be a hap hazardous endeavor. There is just too much at stake. While savings can be made on foods, you can save more money with coupons for products other than food, like cosmetics and over-the-counter health products.

Susan Samtur is one of the most recognized advocates of coupon savings. Ms. Samtur is the author of the book, Supershop Like the Coupon Queen. The author says, "On a regular basis I save between 50 and 60 percent a week at the supermarket with coupons." 50 and 60 percent! Who would not want to do that?

Since the outset of the recession, Americans are more dedicated than ever in using coupons to reduce their expenditures for useful goods. A family does not have to cut back on the quantity of food enjoyed or the quality. Families can reduce their food expenditures by being disciplined and taking advantage of savings that are readily available. In many ways, using coupons is a valuable life lesson that children should understand. Parents should not hesitate from encouraging children to participate in helping save money through coupon redemption.

The very first thing the cost-conscious consumer should do is acquire loyalty cards from supermarkets where you usually shop. Most loyalty cards entitle the consumer to savings at any of the supermarket locations in the chain. You can often capture double savings with a coupon and your loyalty card.

Secondly, the informed shopper must understand what coupons the market accepts. There are now more than 150 websites that offer tremendous coupon savings. You should determine which supermarkets and pharmacies honor online coupons.

Of course, newspapers, direct mail circulars and Val Pak type offerings are sources of serious savings. In fact, the number of opportunities the average house has to save money on goods that the family enjoys is surprisingly large.

Steps to Maximizing Your Couponing Potential:

  • Think Percentage of Budget Savings - Samtur says it helps to think of coupon savings in terms of a percentage of the budget. First you should have a budget and second you should regard using coupon as a way to trim that budget by a certain percentage. Samtur suggests 50 percent is a respectable target. Keeping score will show you the results.
  • Buy National Brands – While there is a tendency to buy locally, most local businesses cannot afford to promote their products through coupons. Samtur says that, in the long run, you come out ahead financially by purchasing name brands that offer coupons than purchasing local, store brands.
  • Do Not Get Trapped With Brand-Loyal Goods – The Coupon Queen says that 70 percent of Americans get hung up on brand loyalty. The best savings come as a result of “playing the field.” If companies do not sense the need for coupons issuing, they will hold firm. By diversifying your brand use, you can influence pricing of brand names. Follow the coupons to bigger savings.
  • Look For Savings On Unprocessed Foods – We expect to see coupons for certain foods, health products, cereals and household goods, savings are more difficult to make on unprocessed foods. However, they are out there. Whenever these savings are available, buy in generous amounts.
  • Browse Aisles – Some coupon savers stay away from the aisles and just pick out the items for which you have coupons and check out. The inference is that you might succumb to store specials that are not real savings. Samtur disagrees. She recommends walking the aisles but knowing what good values are. If you see a special that entitles you to save via coupon or loyalty card, take advantage and choose the item.
  • Let Coupons Set The Weekly Meal Plan – Rather than plan meals according to taste, plan them according to goods that offer coupon savings. This will not prohibit a balanced diet but it will provide great savings. Just make sure the savings are real.

In terms of coupon management, have an open mind. Be disciplined and make coupon clipping a fun exercise. Encourage the kids to participate. Develop a filing system by date rather than by goods. Make sure to purchase prior to expiration date. It is cost-efficient to shop once a week but it can be impractical. Organizing your coupons by date allows you flexibility.

Coupon Redemption

Some coupon savers have to get comfortable with coupon clipping and presenting the coupons at checkout. Get over it. Supermarkets like coupon clippers. So do checkout personnel. Coupons move products and keep inventories from becoming stale. Coupons allow the market to capture savings by ordering in bulk. The market also is likely to collect a fee for each redeemed coupon from the manufacturer.

If you understand supply and demand, you can understand the reasoning behind coupons. Take the 50 percent savings you capture and use the money to help pay for education or that vacation you have always wanted. Yes, there are many benefits on trimming your household budget by 50 percent and you can do it.

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