What is Couponing?


Yesterday, I told you I am beginning a series on couponing. Well, I’m really excited about it because I love helping people learn how to save that hard-earned money. So, here we go.

First, let’s talk about what real couponing is NOT. Couponing is not simply collecting a few coupons throughout the week and running to the store and using them immediately, maybe saving only a few bucks in the process.

If you’re like I use to be, I hardly ever bothered to deal with coupons because overall it just wasn’t worth my time. I’d grab the few coupons I had run across during the week and take them with me to do my shopping. I almost always ran into the same problem.

Here is a what I mean…

  1. I’d have a coupon for a name brand product.
  2. I’d stand comparing the regular priced name brand product and the store brand product.
  3. Then after all that work, I’d conclude that even after using the coupon on the name brand product, I would still be paying more than just getting the store brand.

It was very frustrating and quite frankly a waste of time!

Thankfully though, about a year ago, I learned how to really use coupons and I now get name brand products for a fraction of the cost of store brands. As a matter of fact, I now get almost everything cheap and sometimes even free, and I’ll tell you how I do it.

Couponing is composed of two main components:

  • Combining Coupons with Sales
  • Stockpiling

Component #1: Combining Coupons with Sales

The best way to get rock bottom prices on almost anything is by using coupons when items go on sale. This means holding onto coupons when you get them and waiting for the items to go on sale instead of running out and purchasing those products right away, which is the tendency, especially for items you use regularly.

Sales usually run in cycles (four, six, eight, twelve weeks, etc), which does vary by product and store. Also many times when a manufacturer releases a coupon for a specific product, you will see that item go on sale somewhere before the coupon expires. This is not a definite, but much of the time this is the case. It is at that time you want to use your coupon because that is when you’ll be able to get that product at it’s lowest price.

It is also important that you not be too brand loyal. Sure there are always going to be certain items that you only buy a particular brand and that’s okay, but the best way to really save on name brand products is to be flexible.

Component #2: Stockpiling

The purpose of stockpiling is to build a stash of items you will use between sales/coupon cycles. Since you are buying products at their lowest price, you want to buy enough to last you until that item goes on sale again and you have more coupons for it. This way you never have to pay full price for that particular item.

Basic Illustration:

Let’s say toothpaste regular price is $2 per tube and you use four tubes in a four month period. At regular price you would pay $8 for four tubes of toothpaste over the course of the four months.

However, let’s say that same toothpaste is on sale for $1.50 per tube and you have four 50 cent coupons. Now if you go ahead and purchase four tubes and use the four coupons, you’ve just got that same four tubes of toothpaste for only $4, or at 50% off.

You’ve stocked up on the extra three tubes while they were on sale. Now you have enough to last you until toothpaste goes on sale again and you have more coupons.

Combining coupons with sales and stockpiling is basically what couponing is all about. Be sure to check back tomorrow. We’ll be looking at the types of coupons and proper usage.

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Posted on March 23rd, 2010 in Money Matters | One Comment

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