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Many consumers have mastered the art of couponing; they manage to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year. Big retailers know that coupons can indeed drive human behavior, and therefore use this consumer magnet to pull consumers toward their brands. As smart shoppers know, this can create intense competition among those looking to promote their products in the marketplace, which can be a big win for those looking to save money.
According to a study done by Shop.org, 54% of online shoppers choose particular stores during the back to school spending season and make their purchases because of coupons. In fact, coupons can largely influence the way consumers view the brands they encounter in the marketplace, so much that couponing is a tool that retailers will be using for a long time.
Consumers will actively search for the coupons that suit their household needs. While there are big savings available, the art of couponing takes time and patience. Shoppers who collect coupons have methods that they use to collect them, being sure to organize them and track their expiration dates. For many shoppers who lead busy lives, this is too time consuming and not worth the effort. However, for some shoppers, the time that they spend clipping coupons is well worth it and, in fact, those that are good at it can save substantial dollars and have fun doing it. If you’re going to be successful at couponing, you’ll need the answer to three important questions.
1. Where Can I Find Coupons?
Great coupons are easy to find if you know where to look. Most smart shoppers utilize multiple sources to build their coupon arsenal. Let’s look at a few.
Perusing the coupon inserts of the Sunday paper has long been the standard way to get coupons. In fact, many consumers will purchase multiple papers on Sunday just to get the coupons they want. This may sound silly, but you’ll easily recover the cost of the papers on your first shopping trip. Additionally, if you’re willing to be flexible with the brands you buy, you’ll often find brands dueling for your business with enticing coupons each week.
Some magazines include coupons in their publications, many of which are for high-dollar items. If they’re for things you need, you can save some serious money.
By perusing the websites of your favorite brands, you can find great coupons to print off and use at your local grocery store. Additionally, there are entire sites dedicated to finding and making good deals available to site visitors. By spending a little time online and utilizing your printer, you can find good deals on the brands you love.
Have you ever been walking through the grocery store and seen a stack of coupons hanging from a shelf? This is a tear pad, and retailers will often place them right by the products they’re offering for sale in an attempt to get you to buy their items. Most shoppers pass them by without noticing them; however, those with a sharp eye can nab a great discount.
Similar to tear pads, automatic coupon dispensers are usually at eye level alongside particular products. Usually, they’ll have a little blinking light on them to try to catch your eye. Sometimes, they have motion sensors on them that activate when you walk by, and they’ll automatically dispense a coupon to you in hopes you take and use it.
The cash register prints these coupons, and you receive them alongside your receipt. The retailer chooses them based on your buying habits, so looking is well worth your time. Sometimes, they’ll offer you a few dollars off on your next visit to the store.
Many retailers email good coupons to those who’ve contacted the company and shared contact info in some way. You can increase your chances of receiving these coupons by visiting the websites of the brands you love and subscribing to their email lists and newsletters.
2. When Is the Best Time to Use Coupons?
In couponing, when you use the coupon can often make a big difference in how much you save. For instance, you may want to wait for a sale event before you use them, so you can get a further discount on your purchase. These sale events usually happen regularly, such as on holidays, so chances are strong that you won’t have to wait long to get the product you want or need.
3. How Do I Use Coupons Effectively?
Many grocery stores and other retail establishments will accept the coupons offered at their competitors. Just by asking, you may be able to get the benefit of a deal without having to travel to another store. This is a smart business practice, as retailers know it’s worth it to keep you shopping at their stores, thereby building brand loyalty.
You can also sometimes “stack” your coupons. This means using a store coupon in conjunction with a coupon from the manufacturer and save even more money. Alternatively, you can combine your coupon with a sale on a particular item to increase your discount. Many stores will offer double coupons on particular days of the week or month, during which the store doubles the face value of a coupon, and you get twice the savings.
The Benefits of Using Coupons
Coupons can effectively lower your household expenses, as many consumers discovered in the wake of the economic downturn beginning in 2008. According to a compilation of coupon statistics from Accessdevelopment.com, 89% of consumers became more resourceful when it comes to spending because of what happened to the economy. In addition, manufacturers know that coupons can encourage consumers to try their products. In fact, 83% of consumers make unplanned purchases because they have a coupon.
Couponing isn’t limited to those who come from low-income families. Studies have revealed that those with income of $100,000 or more prefer to use coupons for their purchases as well. They understand that it’s an effective way to spend less money and lower their overall household expenses. Many coupons are for basics, so you can surely find many coupons for the things you usually buy.
Using coupons can leave more money to reach other financial goals. As you lower your household spending, you can put more money toward resolving your debt. Or, you can put more money into your savings, retirement, or investment accounts and reach those goals faster.
Coupons are also a great way to try out new products, especially ones that are expensive. You won’t feel so bad if you end up not liking a product if you were able to purchase it at a discount.
Organizing Your Coupons: The Key to Getting the Most Out of Them
Smart coupon users know that organizing coupons helps you get the most benefit out of them. Some use a binder and flip through to find the coupons they need easily. This helps shoppers keep track of the different brands and the expiration dates.
You can also use a wallet to store your coupons. This is especially useful if you’ve preplanned your shopping trip and know exactly which coupons you’ll need. Having your coupons ready to hand to the cashier will help keep the shoppers behind you happy.
Some shoppers use envelopes separated by category; this can be handy as you go through the aisles to identify which items you can get at a good discount. You can also use simple clips to clip similar coupons together.
Whatever method you use to find and organize your coupons, with a little time and patience, you can find great ways to save on your household expenses. Remember that a little savings each week can add up to big savings over the course of a year!