In honor of National Coupon Month, I would like to take this week to remind readers about how easy it is to start couponing. Don’t be intimidated – those reality TV shows about couponing have very little basis in the reality of actual couponing. Really, all you need to buy or have access to is the local daily newspaper, a means of organizing your coupons, and if you’re so inclined, a smartphone or computer. From there, I will explain the rules of couponing. Trust me, it is worth it.
Divide and Conquer
To begin, you’ll want to establish a way to organize your coupons. Some people prefer a binder http://thekrazycouponlady.com/2010/09/24/how-to-start-your-coupon-binder-this-ones-for-you-kathie-lee/, while others have found that a file folder or accordion file better suits their style. If you choose to use a three-ring binder, plastic baseball card divider sheets are a great (and inexpensive) way to organize coupons by type or expiration date. You can even buy dividers made especially for coupons. http://www.amazon.com/Coupon-Binder-Pages-Assortment-Sleeve/dp/B005ELP9KQ
One of the best resources I’ve found for coupons gets tossed on my driveway every Sunday. That’s right, the newspaper is still one of the best ways to collect money-saving coupons for your next shopping trip. Here, you’ll find both local and national sales circulars. http://www.redplum.com/ If you’re more tech-savvy and have access to a computer or smartphone, you can access coupons without having to bust out the scissors.
Many grocers, such as Hy-Vee, have digitally connected coupons to their customer loyalty cards. https://www.hy-vee.com/perks/about.aspx. Others, like Target, have developed apps that allow you to scan items to see if they’re on sale. It even informs you if similar items are available at a discount! http://cartwheel.target.com/
There are also many apps, such as Favado http://www.savings.com/favado/ or Ibotta https://ibotta.com/ that make collecting and cashing in coupons with your phone as easy as the click of a button. Find one that that works best for you and your habits and you’re sure to start saving money. http://bargainbriana.com/september-is-national-coupon-month-digital-apps-to-save-vzwbuzz/#_a5y_p=2454233
Know Before You Go
With so many avenues for collecting coupons, many retailers and grocery stores have tightened up their store policies regarding coupon usage. For instance, I know that Wal-Mart will price-match items from other places but will not accept competitors’ coupons.
Since strategy is such a big aspect of couponing, you’ll want to check these policies before you head to the store so you can get the best deals. http://www.allyou.com/coupons-deals/coupon-policy By planning ahead (don’t forget to check expiration dates!) and charting your coupon course, you can save an impressive amount of money.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com