For years, coupons have been the most popular means to finding great deals on items ranging from food to cinema tickets. Sometimes however, the time spent on clipping coupons just isn’t worth the few cents you save at the store. In order to make the most effective use of your time and stretch your budget, the following are several helpful tips to simplify the coupon clipping process.
Surf For Coupons
The days of getting all of your coupons from the local paper are slowly diminishing, with companies looking to save on print advertising costs by simply slapping their coupons online and having customers print them off themselves. This saves paper and money for them, while it can potentially save a lot of time for you.
The best five websites for finding great coupon deals are:
- RetailMeNot.com: This site offers coupon codes from other users from hundreds of different companies, allowing you to save money on clothes, food, travel, and even cut down on your movie expenses. This site has the most online codes out of the other coupon deals sites, and it even shows a success percentage, allowing you to gauge whether or not the coupon code will be legitimate or not.
- ShopADocket.com.au: This is one of the best coupon sites online, with a very user-friendly search engine and many good deals available. The menu on the homepage allows you to pick and choose deals you’d like to browse from the twelve options available, ranging from automobiles to restaurants to health/beauty services. It even allows you to add coupon deals to your “docket” and print everything out at once when you’re finished browsing.
- Magnus Free Vouchers: This site is just getting started, but it is still organized and bound to have good deals popping up more down the road.
- Simply Best Coupons: This site is extremely well organized and has great new deals nearly everyday. There are many categories to chose from, however not many deals as a whole.
- OZBargain.com.au: This site has very good deals in everything from food to travel, but the formatting isn’t user-friendly and it’s easy to get lost in the muddle of coupon deals and users comments.
Daily Deals Sites
Daily deals sites can help you save a lot of money, because these are heavily discounted items (beyond what a mere coupon could offer). These operate on a popularity-based model: there needs to be a minimum number of people opting into the deal before the deal is activated. So, while there may be times where you miss out on a deal due to lack of participation from others, this is still a fantastic way to snag some hefty discounts on the daily offerings (usually restaurants, travel, and entertainment).
Don’t Buy Something Just Because You Have a Coupon
A major problem in today’s society is impulsive buying. Although something may look like a great deal, if you don’t think you’ll use the item, then why buy it? Many companies put out coupons because they want consumers to perceive huge savings, but it’s really your loss if you don’t end up using it. Thus, stick to coupon clipping for items you already use or know you’d definitely like to try.
Learn to Stack Coupons
In order to really save money, stacking coupons is a great way to compound your savings or even get items for free. Stacking is essentially where you use a coupon on an already-discounted item. Keeping your coupon handy until the item is on sale is a popular way for many frugal shoppers to gain an edge over those who are just using the coupon or those who are just getting the in-store discount.
Let Coupons Determine Your Meals
Many families write out a meal plan for the week and shop for groceries according to that. To save money and eat well, however, you need to switch that formula around: collect all your coupons, then plan out the week’s meal schedule. This will allow you to specifically shop for only the discounted items. This practice alone has enabled families to cut their grocery bills in half, when done properly.
Buy in Bulk
Last, but not least, the obvious option for frugal grocery shoppers: buy things in bulk! If there is no limit on the amount of items you can buy with that coupon (this only applies to non-perishable foodstuffs) and you know you eat or drink this on a regular basis, then buy it in bulk while the price is low. Since you’re going to need more of this item later on down the road, it’s better to stock up now and enjoy your long term savings from doing so.
Ultimately, using coupons can be a very wise move for thrifty families. Going beyond just clipping newspapers, however, you can see that there are many more options available, allowing you to save much more than shoppers who are content with paying the regular price for everything.