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Tips on where to find coupons:
· Check the Sunday newspaper, magazines, and coupon mailer packs. If you just happen to be sitting around on a Sunday afternoon, it is well worth your time to skim through these sources to find what you like!
· Check the grocery store itself! Many stores either have a section that has coupons just sitting there to be taken, or have coupons strategically placed throughout the store near the products that they represent. Even if you are in a hurry and don’t have time to look at the coupons right then; it is worth your time to at least grab and save the coupons for later use.
· Check the Internet! Despite the ease and the widespread use of the Internet, online coupons only represent about 1% of the coupons that are actually used in the marketplace. There are a couple of sites that offer coupons but one that I have found to be useful is www.coupons.com. They work with over 300 well-known companies such as General Mills, L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson & 3M products to offer over 65 local in-store coupons. I like using the Internet to print out coupons because you can more quickly search for and choose just the coupons that you plan on using, rather than searching through multiple ads. Think of it as legitimately printing your own money!
· Call the toll free number of the manufacturers that produce your favorite products and ask for coupons. It is reported that up to 35% of these manufacturers only distribute coupons upon request.
Tips for using coupons:
· Keep a coupon organizer to sort your coupons in. My wife purchased a portable business card sorter to keep her coupons in—and she has learned to use it quite well! It’s about the size of a wallet so she just keeps it in her purse, just in case she needs to make a quick stop at a store.
· Maximize your coupon savings by using your coupons on double/triple coupon days. If your store doesn’t do this, then make sure that you are using coupons when the item that you are buying goes on sale.
· Plan your family meals around coupons. If you’re able to save just 50 cents on every meal; then over a period of a month, you’re actually saving between $20 and $30. However, make sure that you’re buying foods that you and your family like to eat. You’re not really saving money if the food gets thrown out!
· Don’t be scared to use more than one of the same coupon! Many people misread the “Limit One Coupon Per Purchase” as meaning that you can only use one of those coupons per shopping trip. However, this isn’t the case. If you have more than one of the same coupon, then as long as you are actually buying more than one of the same item, stores will accept the additional coupons. For example, if you have three coupons for 20 cents off Campbell’s soup, you can buy three cans of Campbell’s soup and use all three coupons. And trust me, the store doesn’t mind at all! Not only is the manufacturer of the product reimbursing the store for the face value of the coupon, they also get paid an additional 8 cents, or so, for accepting the coupon. In other words, the store actually makes MORE money when you use manufacturer’s coupons!
To conclude this article, I think that it is important for all consumers to understand that coupons really are money! In reality, a $1.00 off coupon in my wallet is just as good as a $1.00 bill! They’re both paper, they both take up the same amount of space in my wallet and they both achieve the same purpose. The only difference between the two is that I didn’t actually have to work to get the $1.00 off coupon. It was there—so I took it!
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