From watching sales fliers and clipping coupons, to buying the often cheaper generic versions of my favorite products, I’ve tried every method out there to shave a few dollars off my weekly grocery store trips.
Prior to January 2014, I was an extreme couponer in training.
I watched every episode of the TLC show to try and find the best way to utilize coupons with the least amount of time invested. I asked other couponers in my hometown for tips. I scoured websites and coupon blogs for little known tricks.
But much to my dismay, there weren’t many things I hadn’t yet tried to cut down on the time invested to get the biggest and best deals. You also have to buy in large quantities to get the lowest price, which also requires a large upfront cost and the ability to store the items you bought in bulk.
With my grocery and household goods budget slashed down to a small percentage when compared to my pre-budget days, I had to get more creative with ways to make couponing worth it because I could no longer afford to pay for huge quantities of items all at once.
Here are a few tips of how I made coupons work for me without buying in bulk:
- Make a mini-stock pile. Instead of buying huge quantities of non-perishable foods and household goods, now I create mini-stockpiles of only a few most used items. Things like pet food, deodorant, and hairspray are my go-to items.
- Use coupons that are easy to find. Now that I don’t have the financial means to buy in huge bulk quantities, I no longer have to look for a large number of identical coupons. This means that the one or two from my newspaper and magazine subscriptions are usually enough to satisfy the need I have for a particular food item or household product.
- Only buy items you need. Because my funds are limited, I no longer have the option of spending the equivalent of my whole monthly grocery budget on things like pasta noodles and cereal. If I do, I will have to sustain myself on only these products until the next month’s grocery budget becomes available.
- Keep your eyes open for sales. In my opinion, sales are an easier way to save on groceries than by using coupons. Sales are available for everyone to take advantage of with little effort, while coupons require you to do some additional work, like collecting, clipping, organizing, and remembering to use them at the register.
Coupons are still a good way to save, and even though I might be saving less based on the “dollars saved” tally on my receipt, I can still save around the same percentage on my chosen items.
The time I invest in couponing has decreased now that I don’t need a bulk number of items. With these factors considered, I still believe coupons are a good way to cut a few dollars out of your monthly budget.
Do you use coupons?