Clipping coupons can shave dollars off your grocery bill. While it might see like more trouble than it’s worth, you can save serious money if you develop a plan and stick to it.
Start by checking the Sunday newspaper each week. Add up the value of the coupons you’ll actually use and determine if it’s worthwhile buying additional newspapers just for the ads. If products you regularly use have coupons, take that as an opportunity to stock up. Many stores run sales at the same time that coupons appear in newspapers, increasing your savings.
If you have a computer and a printer, a whole world of potential savings opens up, as there are dozens of websites devoted to couponing. As a starting point on the Internet, check these websites to see if they appeal to you: www.coupons.com (click on Deals by State), www.dealseekingmom.com, www.redplum.com and www.fatwallet.com.
Many sites insist that you sign up with an email address, so create a separate email account just for couponing. You might need to sign up for a weekly or monthly newsletter that will include printable coupons. In other cases, once you sign in, you’ll be able to print coupons immediately. Some ask for your ZIP code so the coupons can be targeted to stores in your area.
Set a goal for your couponing. Do just want to shave dollars off your weekly grocery bill? Do you want to concentrate only on the high-dollar items in your grocery bill, such as diapers or pet food? Will you use the extra cash for family fun, or put the money in a savings account, or use it to pay off credit-card debt? Knowing what your specific goals are can help you stay consistent.
Unless you find over time that you’re extremely serious about saving money with coupons, don’t fall for the DVD workshops and CDs that will teach you how clip coupons. You’ll net plenty of savings with a modest effort that doesn’t cost you anything. If you save $5 a week, that’s $5 that stays in your wallet.
To decide if couponing is for you, spend an hour a few days a week searching online for coupons and clipping them from the newspaper. Try it for three weeks. Then add up your savings. Decide if a regular effort is a potentially significant money saver for you.