We’ve talked about why you should use coupons, how to obtain coupons and how to organize coupons. However, those things alone won’t help you cut your grocery bill unless you know how to maximize your savings with coupons. So today, I want to help you take this new-found coupon knowledge and put it into practice — to your greatest advantage.
You hear me say this a lot. But I think it bears repeating: please take baby steps when you start couponing. Do not go buy 10 newspapers, get a big honkin’ coupon box, and spend 5 hours clipping coupons when you’ve never used coupons in your life. You’ll overwhelm yourself, take an enormous amount of time and probably end up exhausted and burnt out — before you’ve even saved a penny on your groceries!
Start with a few newspaper inserts and a small coupon organizer. Check out the deals at your local store (you can find weekly deals for almost all regional stores in the Store Deals section of our website). Pick a few of the best deals that you have coupons for and can use and work those into your grocery trip.
Once you’ve gotten accustomed to matching a few coupons with a few deals, take it step farther and start looking for more coupon sources and try planning a menu based upon what’s on sale at the store. Once you’re comfortable with that, start practicing the Buy Ahead Principle.
Learning things gradually will help you to stay sane, save money and time and really determine what works best for your own family.
Prioritize Your Bargain-Shopping Based Upon Your Family’s Needs
There are often many more savings opportunities than time and it’s easy to lose track of this when you get caught up in the excitement of saving! Time is money, too, so always remember that it’s okay to not hit every deal.
In fact, I encourage you to cherry pick: focus on the best deals that week for items you need. Meaning, if you already have 10 tubes of toothpaste but are almost out of shampoo, prioritize shampoo deals over toothpaste deals. If you have extra time and extra wiggle room in your grocery budget, than you can definitely stock up on other great deals, but focus on feeding your family first.
How Much You Spend Matters More Than How Much You Save
A 75% savings on your grocery bill may sound impressive, but the 25% spent is what matters most. Stick to your grocery budget — even when it means passing up good deals — and you’ll see much greater savings in the long run.
In addition, when you commit to not going over budget, you’ll find that you focus on only getting the best deals and you’ll more easily be able to pass up a nominal deal because it’s not in the budget.
What tricks and tips do you have for maximizing your savings when using coupons? I’d love to hear!