Photo Credit: StockMonkeys
If you’re willing to spend the time, clipping coupons is one of the best ways to reduce your grocery bill. Thanks to popular blogs like the Krazy Coupon Lady, the stereotypes of couponing have long disappeared. I’m not ashamed to pull out a coupon organizer mid-grocery trip or present my (sometimes hefty) stack of coupons to the cashier – I may have held up the line a time or two. In fact, I’m proud. Taking the time to clip coupons means you know the value of your dollar, care about saving money, and find pleasure in the simple things (like a subtotal rapidly shrinking before your eyes).
A recent Google search for “coupon tips” generated over 41 million results. That’s million, folks. The trend is growing, and people want to know how to maximize their savings. It’s no surprise that shoppers are looking to the experts – cutting coupons without a plan can result in frustration, wasted time, and unnecessary purchases. No thanks!
Over the past decade, I’ve learned a thing or two about these magic pieces of paper (hey, I started young!). In my experience, there’s one trick that’s made the biggest difference.
Stack Manufacturer and Store Coupons
Combining a store coupon (whether clipped, or loaded on your store card) with a manufacturer’s coupon seems so simple, yet it’s an often overlooked strategy. Let’s say your favorite grocery store has a coupon for 50 cents off toothpaste. Hey, we all need it, right? 50 cents is great – it means you can throw an extra cucumber or lemon in your grocery cart. But I’m willing to bet that your local newspaper, or even a website like Coupons.com is offering savings for the very same product. Bingo! By using this couponing method, it’s not uncommon to bring in savings of a dollar or more. In fact, you can often get items for (nearly) free this way.
Always research your grocery store’s coupon policy to make sure they’re cool with this sort of thing, but most are. Don’t be shy about asking customer service for clarification, either. Tell them I sent you! If you’re lucky enough to live near a store that frequently offers buy one, get one free items (Here’s to you, Publix – I miss you.), this simple tip can save you big bucks in the long run. It’s always a good idea to combine coupons with sales, anyway, so keep an eye out for price cuts to maximize your savings.
Ready to take this one step further? Check to see if your grocery store accepts competitor’s coupons. Is your Kroger next to a Super Target? It might be a match made in heaven. Having competitor’s coupons in your arsenal means a larger world of savings at your fingertips! Note: competitor coupons are treated the same as a store coupon – sorry, I haven’t yet shopped at a store that allowed the triple stack! I’ll keep dreaming, though.
What’s the best coupon match-up you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments!