Extreme couponing? Not for me. When it comes to grocery shopping, most of our foods are from the produce section, and I’ve never seen a coupon for 2 for 1 celery stalks. (Oh, to see the day!) I do, however, use coupons for certain items like books, craft supplies, and office products. So, what to do? Getting a paper, creating a coupon notebook, and traveling to 5 stores for discounts seemed like a waste—too much time and money for too little return—but I still wanted to save.
Thus began these lean, but not extreme, couponing methods:
Use Your Phone – You can sign up for coupons from your favorite stores via email or text. If you have email on a smartphone, create a Coupons folder within your email. Put all coupons within that folder. No need to print out the coupon then throw it away if you don’t use it. Cashiers can scan the barcode right off your phone, or you can read them the discount code. Added benefits: You may find you’re less likely to buy something you don’t need with a virtual coupon. Periodically you can delete the emails with expired coupons knowing another one will be in your mailbox soon. Also, you’ll always have your coupons. Most people don’t leave home without their cell phones
Receive Coupons from Your Newspaper for Free—Newspapers make their money from advertisers. The higher a paper’s circulation, the more it can charge for an ad. To increase circulation numbers, some newspapers have started delivering their Sunday coupon sections for free. Check with your local newspaper to learn if they have a similar program. Your coupon use may not justify buying a paper, but it may be worth your time to review the circulars. Added benefits: Weekly sales for local grocery stores are frequently included. If a group of sales are good enough, you can change you buy groceries for that week.
Get Credit Card Benefits—Okay Dave Ramsey fans, don’t hurt me. If you don’t have a credit card, there’s no need to get one for this. However, if you do already have one, does it have benefits you use? My credit card gives me gift cards for spending a certain amount. This is money I would spend anyway. (It’s part of my budget.) The gift card is a bonus. Added benefits: You can use your gift cards to control impulse shopping. I love books and could easily spend too much on them. Unless I need a book for my business, I don’t purchase new ones without a gift card. No gift card=no spending. Also, the extra gift cards make great gifts.
Consider the Balance—All methods to increase your wealth come down to two things: make more or spend less. If you are spending a lot of time trying to save money, consider if your time could be better spent on activities that increase your income. How you determine that balance is up to you.
How do you coupon? Do you go to extremes or keep it simple? Besides saving money, what other benefits have you found in your way of couponing?
Practical Living Tip of the Day: Other people’s ideas for how to do something are just that—their ideas. Consider them. Tweak them. Use them or lose them, but do what works best for you.