One of the keys to financial sustainability is to cut your expenses until they are less than your income. Anyone can save a few dollars by using coupons. But the big savings requires a few tricks. None of these tricks are especially difficult. Most just require a little patience and organization.
Try something new
If you only use XYZ brand then you are locked into having to find very specific coupons. On the other hand, trying something similar that you have a coupon for could save you some money and give you a new experience. This is especially good if you are switching from an unsustainable product (such as something made from petroleum) to a sustainable product.
Obtain multiple copies of coupons
Make an effort to get as many coupons as you can once you have found products that you like (hopefully sustainable products!). This might require asking friends and family to save them for you. You can get friends and family to sign up at various websites and print them out for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask and maybe you can help them out too. There are also many online coupon-trading groups that you can sign up with.
Create a stockpile
Hold on to your coupons until you see the item is on sale (unless they are about to expire). Then unleash your coupons. Many items seem to be on a 4-8 week sale rotation. Take your coupons with you each time you go to the store. There’s a good chance the item will eventually go on sale and you can stock up enough to get you through until the next sale. Be aware though that many stores will not allow you to use coupons on some sale items.
Double or triple the power of your coupons
There are times when a particular store will double or triple the value of your coupons. While this tip usually applies to grocery stores, any store could potentially do this. The trick is to find out when these events occur. Visiting the stores’ website or talking with the staff are two ways to find out about upcoming double or triple days.
Use multiple coupons on the same item
Many stores will allow you to use a manufacturer’s coupon with their store coupon. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. Combining two coupons with a store sale can net you even more savings.
Another way to use multiple coupons on the same item is to combine a “buy one get one free” coupon with discount coupon for the same item. This isn’t always allowed but when it is you can get two similar items for a lot less than the regular cost of just one. Sometimes you can even combine two “buy one get one free” coupons and end up getting two items for free!
Watch the register
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if the cashier swipes the coupon before the item. Other times it does. It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on the register to make sure your coupon was accepted. Or you can check the receipt too.
The key point to remember when trying to squeeze the most out of your coupons is that you still have to actually want the item for it to save you money. Saving money on a purchase you don’t really want is actually a waste of your hard earned money. And it’s hard to achieve financial sustainability with that kind of drain.
Be sure to also check out my other articles regarding coupons.