No shopper in his or her right mind would say no to the prospect of saving money when shopping. But in today’s extremely commercialized world, how exactly can this be done? Is there actually a way for you to save money or even get small percentages as discounts for your purchases? Definitely! With the help of coupons – online or actual coupons – you can get discounts, price slash-offs and other perks when doing your shopping. Read on to find out which these facts about coupons are!
Important Facts About Coupons
First, let’s take a quick look at how coupons work. As you may already know, these are actual or online coupons that you can use when buying items from a store that entitles you to discounts or freebies.
There are actually two kinds of coupons that you can use: store or manufacturer’s coupons. As the name indicates, a store coupon is issues by a store and can only be used at a specific store – or any of its branches. If you received a $2 coupon for a pack of chocolates and the coupon says that it is “Good at Walgreen’s”, it means that you can only use the coupon at that store.
A manufacturer’s coupon, on the other hand, is issued by a general manufacturer. This coupon has a wider scope than a store coupon because it can be used at any store that accepts them. Using the previous example, if the $2 was issued by Hershey’s which manufacturers chocolate products, you can use the coupon at any store which sells Hershey’s products. The company therefore agrees to reimburse the store for giving you the $2 discount.
Coupons are often found at the Sunday paper, magazines and other printed material. There are online coupons that buyers can also use, which are available at coupon websites or at the official store websites. Now, in order for you to maximize the use of coupons, it is highly recommended that you only use them for products which you do buy in the first place.
Even if it says on the coupon that you will save $10 by purchasing Item A, you will end up wasting that amount of money if you find out that you don’t like it in the end. As such, it is very important to know which coupons to use and which ones to leave for others to use.
Another facts about coupons is that you need to read the fine print. Check on the dates that the coupons are active which are called the ‘good through dates’. If the date has passed and you have not used the coupon yet, it will be considered expired.
There are some coupons which allow you to buy more than one item, although some have limited. You also cannot interchange store coupons with manufacturer coupons, and vice-versa. In most cases, they can be used as a cash substitute upon online checkout or while proceeding to the cash register to pay your bill.
Lastly, remember that manufacturers and store owners put out coupons to entice you to buy – so use them wisely and not haphazardly.
Ways to Save Money Through Coupons & Other Shopping Tips
Next, what are the individual ways that you can save money when using coupons, and when doing your shopping in general? Take a look at the following list of facts about coupons:
Familiarize yourself with coupons – be it in-store or online
Above, we briefly touched on how coupons work. Those who are already familiar with the process of using coupons would know that they are usually handed over to the cashier upon reaching the check-out counter. Once the coupon is scanned, it is virtually considered as cash and placed into the cash drawer. The next steps depend on the store but typically, the coupons are sent by the store to the corporate headquarters of the store or the manufacturer.
They are typically sent on a weekly basis, then a month-long process of sorting the coupons occurs before a clearing house sorting the coupon, or the store gets paid by the manufacturer. This benefits consumers in the end because they qualify for discounts which would not have been available otherwise, but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes for just one little coupon offering a few cents or a few dollars’ worth of discounts. Get your facts about coupons straight!
Learn about the different levels of couponing
Next, what are the different levels of couponing? They can be typically divided into four categories: the casual coupon users, the generic brand store couponers, the coupon deal shoppers and the extreme couponers.
With the average American family spending anywhere between $500 to more than $1,000 on groceries per month, using these tiny bits of paper or online coupon codes will definitely help slash that amount off. Depending on how dedicated you can be towards couponing, each level increases your chances of enjoying bigger savings.
If you’re a casual couponer, you can save a few dollars for a trip to the grocery that involves buying snacks for a movie night.
If you’re a generic brand store couponer or a coupon deal shopper, you can save a good amount of money when doing your monthly groceries – especially if you only purchase items which are on sale.
If you’re an extreme couponer, you can save $5 off a purchase totaling $20 – which adds up to a lot if you are buying weekly supplies.
For the last category, it does take a tremendous amount of time and organization to pay a small amount out of a grocery cart that adds up to a few hundred dollars, so make sure that you have the time and patience for it. For more facts about coupons, keep reading!
Know about the process of gathering coupons
Whether you end up being a casual or an extreme couponer, it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with the process of gathering coupons. Expert couponers recommend getting multiple copies of the same coupon so that you can maximize your savings if you stumble upon deals for products that you really patronize.
Some of the best sources of coupons are magazines, the Sunday newspaper, grocery stores, that area near the entrance of local markets and even your friendly neighbors. Online, you can sign up for the official newsletters of retailers, visit couponing websites or e-mail manufacturers to ask them to send you coupons or free product samples.
Organizing and piling up your coupons
You need some facts about coupons, don’t you? You cannot graduate from being a casual couponer to an extreme couponer just to enjoy big savings – because it takes some familiarity with the process, as well as a lot of patience.
Again, you need to read the fine print to make sure that you are using the coupons right. You also need to determine what your couponing goals are. Do you simply want to have an endless stash of detergent soap which are bought at very cheap price using coupons? Or do you really need to slash your budget because you are saving up for something more important?
With these goals in mind, you can create a system by which you can gather, organize and pile up those coupons – without the task taking up too much of your time. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way but as long as you are having fun and enjoying the process, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!
Fortunately, we have a list of 15 most popular couponing websites that will help you out:
The number of unique monthly visitors for these sites range from 3.5 to 30 million, which goes to show how popular couponing is.
Additional Ways to Save Money When Shopping
What other ways are there for you to save money when shopping? Whether you are buying the items that you need from online or brick-and-mortar shops, it’s a good idea to make a list of the things that you actually need. Do not feel the need to fill your shopping cart to the brim – they are made large by supermarket owners for a reason.
Once you stick to your list, you can stay on track with your budget. When buying meat or a loaf of bread, don’t be afraid to ask for complimentary add-ons like tenderizing the meat or slicing the bread for free. Aren’t these facts about coupons interesting?
Instead of buying cheese from the deli counter, choose boxed ones from the dairy case so that you can enjoy lower rates. Don’t be afraid to change your mind about buying an item even if you are already at the check-out counter and before buying in bulk, check if you will really save by calculating for the unit price.
Be wary about buy one – get one deals and always go comparison shopping. There are plenty of other things that you can do to save money when shopping. With the help of coupons and by sticking with the list that you have, you can cross out items from your grocery list without having to spend too much. Did you know all these facts about coupons before?