From ‘old school’ newspaper clippings to discount codes and apps, coupons come in many forms these days. And so do shoppers – they range from coupon extremists to the avoiders.
Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall, couponing is still very much a thing.
But is it worth the work? Well, that depends on how you work it. When used wisely, coupons can be an excellent way to save money without a lot of compromise.
In a perfect world, before a shopping trip, you’d do a quick search and find coupons for items already on your list. But it doesn’t always work out so perfectly.
Some shoppers find that they spend countless hours searching for, cutting and sorting coupons (for products or services they may or may not ever use) just to save a few dollars.
On the other hand, some shoppers completely ignore coupons altogether, which likely equates to unnecessary overspending.
If mastering your money is the goal, discount shopping should be on your radar. The good news is: there is a happy medium in the world of couponing. If done right, you can maximize your time and budget, while finding great deals on the products and services you actually use.
Here are a few of our favorite couponing tips:
1. Count the cost. Your time inevitably equals money. So, be sure the savings is worth the time you spend couponing. Track your time vs. savings for a month and adjust accordingly.
2. Go digital. Use couponing apps that you can quickly download to your smartphone and rack potential savings on each shopping trip.
3. Meal plan based on coupons. Look for weekly discounts from your favorite grocery stores and plan your meals based on those deals.
4. Plan your purchases. Especially important for more expensive items. Save up and plan to shop when promos and deals are abundant (think: Black Friday, change of season and/or holiday sales).
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Unless you’re looking to try a product for the first time, don’t get caught up in the hype of “It’s on sale, so it’s a great deal!”
A sale is only a deal if you actually need the item – otherwise, it’s a waste of money!
Couponing doesn’t have to be rocket science – just a little basic math. Take your time, count the cost, and master your money!