The Dos and Don’ts of Coupons

Everyone wants to save money on groceries, and they go about it in different ways. Some people pay with cash so they don’t overspend while others reduce the amount of one item in order to purchase another. The most common thing young families do to save money is use coupons. A trademark of grocery shopping for decades, the utilization of coupons has increased since the days of the Great Recession.

In the past, the only place one could find these small pieces of paper gold was in the Sunday newspaper circulars. Today, shoppers can pull coupons from online sites, manufacturers, and even the supermarkets themselves. It’s true that they can still save a consumer during a shopping trip; however, there are some things young families should look out for. Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider.

DO Use Coupons — True, they don’t save as much, and many of them want consumers to buy more than one item, but coupons are still useful to shoppers. This is especially true when they’re used in coordination with a sale. Those experienced in the study of coupon economics understand that the release of manufacturer’s coupons normally means a sale of the product in the not too distant future.

DON’T be an Extreme Couponer — First, it’s harder for a person to be an extreme couponer these days. After the popularity of reality shows based on the practice, many grocery chains began to set limits on the amount of coupons one could use to purchase numerous products of the same type. Second, if you are working toward a healthier lifestyle for your young family, extreme couponing will probably not work since it focuses on many preprocessed foods and meals.

DO Use Online Sites — Places like Coupons.com and Redplum.com allow consumers to select the coupons they want and print them out, sometimes more than once. In addition, these type of sites may allow shoppers to add these coupons to the loyalty cards for their respective grocery stores. And speaking about supermarkets — many of their websites offer customers a chance to print coupons as well.

DON’T Pay for Coupons at Online Sites — There are some sites on the Internet that won’t let you print coupons, let alone view them, without paying a fee to do so. Avoid these locations, unless payment is connected to some sort of newsletter that provides additional grocery-saving options. And even then, look for a sample of the newsletter to determine if it’s the way to go. Many of these pay-for-coupon sites will take the money and not give anything back in return.

DO Look for Double and Triple Coupon Opportunities — There are still supermarket chains out there that offer continuous doubling and even tripling of manufacturer’s coupons. Best recommendation is to ask the manager of the local location or view the company’s website for additional information. Some chains, like Albertson’s, offer certain periods of time where coupons are multiplied. Other stores, like Wal-Mart, do not double coupons.

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