Clipping coupons is great for shoppers who want to save money but don’t want to give up their favorite name brands. The idea of extreme couponing has been popularized by reality TV in the last few years, but not all coupon shopping needs to be quite so severe. Here are some ideas on how to get started on finding discounts without overloading your garage with surplus products.
Which comes first?
The answer to this question could come down to preference, but there are two schools of thought. One says that if you clip coupons first, you can let the deals dictate what you’ll buy. So, if you find a coupon for discounted cheese, you will have a cheesy dish for dinner at some point that week.
The other school of thought says that you should make your shopping list first, and then see what coupons line up with it. In this way, you’re not spending money you don’t need to. In the case of the cheese example, sure you could have saved some money — but possibly could save more if you planned for a cheaper dish in the first place.
Where to hunt for coupons
The classic couponing method calls for scissors and a Sunday paper. Find the colorful ads section in the middle and start browsing, clipping and organizing your coupons. The great benefit here is that the coupons will always be local.
However, just like everything else, there are digital ways to clip coupons. Using websites like Coupons.com, you can virtually clip what you need and then print the list. An account is required to see the list digitally, but printing the coupons is free.
Don’t forget sales and strategies
Some coupons aren’t mutually exclusive with sales, so you may be able to find an opportunity to shop sales and get an even bigger discount.
The best strategy for couponing with the ultimate goal of savings is to be intentional. Don’t buy anything just because you have a coupon. If you don’t need it, spending $0 on it will be better than any amount of money you could save.
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, visit http://communityamerica.com.