Regular readers of my blog will know that I am always on the hunt for a great coupon deal. But I do remember when I started out using coupons that the whole experience was kind of overwhelming. There is literally coupons for everything and anything, I didn’t know where to start looking, and it seemed like the amount of work involved to get a few dollars off a product just wasn’t worth the time.
That said, once you understand how the world of coupons works, things get a lot easier. And the simple fact is that if you don’t know how to find, use, and work with coupons, you are missing out on the chance to save a lot of money for your family. With this in mind, I’ve put together a little guide for anyone new to the coupon process – read on to find out more.
The Coupon Basics
OK, so first of all, what type of coupons can you expect to find? There are three basic types that we’re going to take a look at. The first is the manufacturer coupon. You will often find these in individual adverts inside magazines or newspapers, or even on the back of products – you might hear them referred to as ‘peelies,’ and they are a direct promotion from the manufacturer. There are store coupons, too, which you pick up from many of the big retailers that offer you money off your next purchase. Finally, there are printable coupons, such as the ones you find online on websites such as DontPayFull.com. These coupons can be for a broad range of products, and you often find money off deals from the likes of Amazon and Best Buy.
Read the Small Print
The art of couponing is all about knowing the rules – and that involves reading the small print. The vast majority o coupons will have restrictions on them, such as time-limited deals or limiting the number of coupons you can use in one shopping trip. If you want to avoid embarrassment at the checkouts or a potential rejection, make sure you understand how the coupon works.
Arranging Your Coupons
From the day you start collecting coupons, things are going to get messy. It’s important to have somewhere to keep them, order them, and ensure that they are readily available for shopping trips. According to moneycrashers.com, most coupon experts have a folder or file that they keep coupons in, sometimes in date order, at times in category order, and sometimes a mixture of both. Bear in mind that setting up a system that works for you is entirely personal – and also that it can be time-consuming in the early stages.
The golden rule
Finally, make sure you follow the coupon golden rule – never use coupons for products you wouldn’t ordinarily buy. The idea here is to save money, not spend more on things you don’t need. By all means, try a coupon product instead of your usual brand, but try and avoid getting sucked into buying things purely because you think you are getting a good deal.
Any coupon tips to add? Share all in the comments section below!