If you are serious about saving money by couponing, you must have access to the right amount of coupons.
When you use coupons at your grocery store, you have to understand that one coupon equals one discount. So, if you want to buy four items, you need four coupons to get the discount on each product.
“Savvy” or “extreme” couponing requires multiple coupons to work. It is impossible to get the big discounts without access to multiple copies of each coupon so you can stock up on sale items while they are at their lowest price. Your goal is to combine a store sale with an additional discount of a coupon to score items at their lowest possible price points.
The largest source for coupons is your local newspaper. The exact number of newspapers you need depends on household size, but I recommend a minimum of one Sunday newspaper for every member of your household. If you live by yourself, I recommend two for stockpiling. But for the best deals, I suggest four weekly copies of the paper for your coupon inserts.
Here is why I suggest four newspapers. CVS often has an offer that states “Spend $20 on Nyquil Products and receive $10 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) good off your next purchase.” During that sale, Nyquil is at a special sale price of $5 a bottle. If I purchase four bottles of Nyquil, then I spend the required amount to get the rebate. Since Nyquil is a Procter & Gamble product, I know that there is usually a coupon for $1.50 off Nyquil in the monthly P&G coupon flier found in the newspaper inserts.
Since I receive four Sunday newspapers each week, those four coupons will allow me to save $6 off my $20 purchase. That means that I will only have to pay $14 and taxes for the four bottles of Nyquil. After the purchase, I will get $10 of store credit back, which will allow me to purchase other things I need or to keep the savings going by using the ECB instead of cash to make future purchases. Because I got “money” back, my Nyquil cost me only $1 each.
I realize that buying four bottles of Nyquil at one time seems a little over the top, but because I bought those items in bulk, I was able to save 80 percent off the regular price by combining the store rebate (ECB), the sale and the coupons at the same time.
By stocking up now, we will not have to run out to a drugstore and pay $5.99 for one bottle of Nyquil the next time we get sick.
You must stock up while the item is on sale so you never have to pay full price for it again. This applies to most household goods such as pantry and boxed goods, pet foods, baby supplies, toiletries, personal care and cleaning supplies.
When I see a really good sale I get four of any item. If it’s something I think I might need more than four of, I also look and see if I can find any Internet printable coupons in addition to my newspaper coupons. For the majority of items that I purchase, four is usually plenty.
If the coupon says $1 off two, that means I can get eight items. My favorite two items to purchase with those types of coupons are cereal and juice.
I save at least 60 percent on any of the items that I stockpile. I usually have to pay regular sale prices on perishables such as dairy, produce and meats, so that lowers my total savings. My savings on meat and produce are usually 30 percent to 50 percent.
Sometimes, I do have to buy things without coupons. Pet items, sodas, milk, bread, cheese and sour cream never seem to have enough coupons out there, and I do have to buy those without coupons. However, I am content with saving an average of 50 percent to 60 percent off my grocery bill.
I challenge you to give it a try. Put aside your old way of thinking. Once you get the hang of it, you will realize you can never go back to paying full price again.