Papa KyKy's guide to using coupons

Papa KyKy By Papa KyKy, 14th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/27xboeeh/
Posted in Wikinut>Money>Shopping

Using coupons can save quite a bit of money, but it can also be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Here is my guide on using coupons effectively.

Sources of coupons

There are several sources of coupons available, but the most common and easily accessible is in the Sunday Newspaper. The two main providers of coupons circulars in the Sunday paper are Smartsource and Redplum. Another source of coupons is to get them online and print them off of your printer. You can get coupons at various websites, such as coupons.com. Be aware that some sites may require additional software to be installed on your computer. Some stores will have coupons on their own website for printing as well, such as Target.com. Other stores will have coupons that you can load to your loyalty card, such as Kroger.com. Increasingly, coupons are being made to download directly to your smartphone as well, although I have yet to attempt this method. Smartphone (and smartwatch) use is clearly the future of coupon use.

Organizing coupons

I like to use a coupon organizer, which separates coupons into common categories such as frozen food, paper products, cleaning items, etc. These coupon organizers can be found in dollar stores, as well as through various mail order catalogs.

Purge coupons regularly

After you have organized your coupons, you should be regularly going thru your coupons for 2 purposes: 1. To verify if you have any coupons that correspond with any weekly sales. 2. To purge expired coupons. Expired coupons have no purpose, unless you know someone that lives on a military base, where they are still honored.
I like to make sure that I have purged my coupons prior to putting new coupons in my coupon organizer.

Digital coupons

For coupons that you are going to print out, I would strongly suggest only printing them out if you are very certain that you are going to use it. Otherwise you are just wasting precious printer ink. For other digital coupons that load to your loyalty card, I would suggest occasionally printing out a list of your digital coupons, so that it is a bit easier to keep track of. You can keep track on your phone, but it is difficult to see them all at once in that way. Keep in mind that unless the digital coupon specifically states that it is a store coupon (as opposed to a manufacturer coupon), you will not be able to combine the digital coupons with your paper coupons.

Get the smallest version of the item with a coupon (usually)

It can be tempting to combine the sale of an item with a coupon, but it may not maximize the coupon in the best way. It is usually more effective (or at least almost equally effective) to get a smaller version of an item to maximize the value of the coupon. Here is an example of what I mean. You see a 12 pack of Pop Tarts on sale for $2.50 (regular price $2.99), and you see the 8 pack of Pop Tarts at the regular price of $1.99 each, and you have a coupon for $1.00 off of 3 packages of Pop Tarts at any size. If you get 3 12 packs of Pop-Tarts at the sale price of $2.50, and then use the $1.00 coupon, you will pay a final total of $6.50 for 36 Pop Tarts, for a per unit cost of about .18 cents per Pop Tart. However; if you get purchase 3 8 packs of Pop-Tarts at the regular price of $1.99 each, and use the same $1.00 coupon, you will pay a total of $4.97 for 24 Pop Tarts, for a per unit cost of about 21 cents per Pop Tart. The additional savings of about 3 cents per Pop Tart by purchasing the larger number of Pop-Tarts are negligible, when you factor in that you are also paying slightly more in food tax (where applicable) for the larger number of Pop Tarts. You may see other examples where you are actually ahead when getting the smaller items that are not on sale with a coupon. You have to view the coupon as a percentage off of the item that you are buying. If you are buying a smaller size, the coupon will be a bigger percentage off of the item(s) that you are purchasing. The rule of thumb that I also use in these scenarios, is that if you have a coupon, get the smaller version of the item. If you don’t have a coupon, look for the lowest per unit cost available. Also keep in mind that just because an item is on sale does not mean that you are getting the lowest per unit cost of that item available in the store. Of course the best scenario is to have the smaller version of the item go on sale at the same time that the coupon is available.

I hope that these tips will be helpful for you in using coupons. Happy couponing!

Tags

Cost Cutting, Coupon Savings, Coupon Tips, Coupons, Grocery Shopping, Organizing, Saving Money, Saving Money Tips, Saving More Money, Saving Tips, Savings

Meet the author

author avatar Papa KyKy
I enjoy talking about videogames, technology, and different ways to save money.

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Comments

author avatar brendamarie
22nd Jun 2015 (#)

Great article, coupons are getting harder to come by though, I have been using them for years and I have notice there are less of them in the papers theses days.

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author avatar Papa KyKy
22nd Jun 2015 (#)

Thanks brendamarie. The trend is that more coupons are moving online and uploadable to loyalty cards.

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author avatar peachpurple
5th Jul 2015 (#)

clever idea. I usually cut out coupons and slip them into my wallet. Then I can remember to use them or else they will be laying around at home

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author avatar writestuff
9th Jul 2015 (#)

Thanks for this timely and informative post. Great tips.

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author avatar Papa KyKy
15th Jul 2015 (#)

Thank you peachpurple and writestuff for your feedback!

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