Playing the supermarket coupon game conjures up images of endlessly flicking through newspapers and magazines, and scrolling through websites and emails to try and find the best possible deals. The coupon game has a reputation for taking up much time, energy, and attention, without leading to a significant saving. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
The first rule of making significant grocery savings is to only buy the products you need. Just because there’s a discount on a specific item, doesn’t mean you should buy it, unless you really need it. Don’t be tempted to spend money where you don’t need to, even if there is a big discount on the product.
Similarly, make sure that you’re not brand or store loyal. If you pledge allegiance to a certain brand, you could be missing out on big discounts. It’s likely that you won’t be able to tell the difference between the brands anyway: Your stubborn brand loyalty is costing you a lot. You should apply the same rule to stores too. Different supermarkets have different offers and discounts throughout the year, so by only ever going to one store, you’re missing out on discounts at others.
You should also not be a victim of the coupon or discount sign. Before you add the products to your basket, make sure the saving is a good one. If the original price was $5.99, but the offer is 2 for $10, you’re not making as big a saving as you imagine. You also need to also ensure that you’re not using coupons just because you have them. If they’re for items you don’t need, throw them away. However, if a coupon offers a good saving on a product you rely on, use it multiple times: Don’t miss out when a good offer strikes.
To make the most of coupons, you need to be a savvy shopper — you need to know the prices of your products. By knowing a product’s average price, you’ll be able to spot a great deal when you see one, and can then stock up and make the most of the sale.
Finally, make sure you use the overage. If coupons exceed the item’s price, most stores will take the remaining discount off the price of your other items: One coupon can help you save on more than just the product it’s intended for. And make sure you do double up on coupons at every opportunity, using brand coupons and store coupons together to get your groceries practically free.