Yesterday’s post introduced my Making Money Matter feature I’m going to discuss over the next few days here on my blog. I also gave you your first New Year’s Resolution to get started for 2013 which was to open a savings account. In some of my upcoming posts, I’m going to show you how to save money to put into that savings account. Today I’m going to discuss coupon clipping.
MAKE TIME TO MAKE MONEY!
Yeah, I know, the biggest excuse I hear for people to NOT clip coupons is that they just don’t have time. That used to be my excuse too until I finally made it a resolution to just do it. I even joined a coupon clipping group last year to keep me motivated. We met once a month to share our coupon inserts and savings stories. It was fun! But saving money definitely takes work! In 2011, I set a goal to try to save at least one thousand dollars from coupon clipping. I ended up at $1200!
However, there was one drawback – I ended up spending more in groceries than I had the year before! That was because I’d clip coupons for items that I didn’t normally use. The coupon made it a good deal, but I still ended up spending more just so I could use the coupons I clipped. It’s a tricky game that could have paid off better for me in the end had I just been a smarter shopper.
That’s why this year I decided not to focus on the total amount of savings. I still decided to clip coupons this year, but only for items I actually use! For the year, so far I’ve saved $441.78 from coupons. Over $200 of that is from groceries alone at my local grocery store and at Walgreens. And guess what, for the year so far I’ve spent about $1K less in total groceries!
Let’s add that coupon savings to my total from yesterday which was $462. That brings my total savings for the year to $903.78.
So, again, you might be asking, “Where do I start?” Here are some helpful hints to start a wise coupon clipping venture:
- Only clip coupons for products you actually use on a regular basis.
- Don’t be brand loyal. Just because you have a coupon for a particular product, if it’s not a product you normally use, don’t be afraid to shop around. A good example is bread – I used to always clip coupons to save .25 to .50 cents off name brand bread. However, my local grocery store brand was half the price without a coupon. I tried it out and we liked it even better – and we later found out that the grocery store brand was made by the same bakery that makes the name brand bread anyway.
- Shop around! I often prefer to do all my shopping in one place, but I don’t mind making a second or third stop if Walgreens or my dollar store is having a good sale on an item I have a coupon for.
- Shop at grocery stores that double coupons.
- Sign up for rewards programs and email eblasts from your favorite stores. I really like Walgreens because its a fast, convenient stop and they run great sales. I’ve saved over $100 at Walgreens this year from coupons alone. They recently started a rewards program which was free to sign up. You earn rewards by having your rewards keychain card scanned when you check out and the total points equal savings off your next trip once you reach a certain balance. They also run special sales on items just for rewards members.
- Check Facebook for brand pages of companies you buy from. They often run special coupons and offers if you like their Facebook page.
- Look for special coupons often printed at the bottom of your shopping receipt or on the back. Example: Dollar General stores in my area frequently print a $5 coupon at the bottom of your receipt which is good off a $25 purchase the following weekend. I’ve been known to wait a week just to use that coupon if I had a lot on my shopping list. And my hair salon I visit for a hair cut often runs coupons on the back of local grocery store receipts. My favorite grocery store has a gas station in their parking lot and gas coupons print with your grocery receipt when you buy a certain amount. I’ve saved almost $20 this year from using these gas coupons.
- Speaking of my hair salon, they run a discount for men if you get your hair cut on Tuesday. So, seek out special shopping days and frequent shopper offers at your local area businesses.
- Use restaurant coupons! I’ve frequently Googled restaurant coupon offers or checked restaurant websites for deals before eating there.
- Use sites like Groupon to take advantage of special offers. Earlier this year I bought a great $50 worth of product for $25 deal for a local bookstore and just recently bought a $10 off $25 coupon for a restaurant I like.
- Don’t have time to buy a newspaper for coupon inserts? Use sites like SmartSource to get your coupons online.
- Lastly, keep track of your progress. I use an Excel spreadsheet and try to log every coupon I use. The savings will add up and if you keep track, it’s fun to see how much you save and where.
MAKE IT A RESOLUTION!
So, that’s it for today’s post about clipping coupons. Let’s review your 2013 New Year’s Resolution List again:
#1 Open a savings account.
#2 Clip coupons and keep track of your savings!
Tomorrow I’m going to talk about paying yourself. Yep, pay yourself first! It’s just another tip on making money matter!