12 Tips to Save Money With Couponsby Katlyn Joy | December 31, 2011 9:59 AM
A growing family stretches the family budget. If you are feeling the strain on the pocketbook, consider couponing as one way to put some pennies back into the bank.
1. Time and money. Realize there is an inverse relation between time and money. You must spend on one to save on another and as a new mom, you are likely short on both. Therefore, extreme couponing may be a bit ambitious a goal to start with. Better to start small.
2. Be realistic and practical. Don't buy a five inch binder and empty the basement for your stockpiles just yet. Instead, focus on the things you know you need, products you regularly use, and stores you find convenient and are most likely to shop in.
3. Be informed. Get flyers for the stores you shop, find manufacturer's websites for your favorite and most purchased products, and find websites of coupons. (See list at end of page)
4. Print, clip out and organize your coupons promptly. If you wait, you may get frustrated and toss the papers out or forget to file the ones you printed and the little time you invested goes to waste. Have an organizer for your coupons with divided sections. You can buy a small ready-made one, or make a simple one yourself. Keep it handy on all shopping trips.
5. Purge old and expired coupons regularly. Save a time for this like during commutes where your husband is driving, or during appointments where you will just be sitting waiting for awhile anyway. If you let your coupon file burst, you'll be tempted to throw them all out.
6. If you never use the product, don't keep the coupon. Seems easy but seriously if it's a rather gourmet-like item that you've never used, does it really save you money to spend 25 cents less on it? Isn't it cheaper just to continue not buying the unnecessary item?
7. Share the wealth. If you don't need pet food coupons, share those from the Sunday paper with your elderly neighbor and they may then share the diaper ones with you.
8. Learn coupon policies at your favorite stores. For instance when do they double coupons, and what is the limit? Does the 10 for mean you actually have to buy 10 items to see savings? Understanding the policies at your regular places to shop will save you money.
9. Plan your menu around the sales and savings you have for the week. If your special finds for the week include ground beef, pasta and spaghetti sauce don't have pork chops and mashed potatoes.
10. Combine store sales and coupons for biggest savings. If your grocery has diapers on sale and you have a manufacturer's coupon too, use both savings to really reduce your spending. If they are items you use a lot of, get as many as you are allowed to.
11. Learn how often you need to purchase key staple items and toiletries. For instance, you don't really want to have a case of mouthwash on hand do you? Unless you have an empty room just waiting to look like a personal Costcos, limit shopping to amounts you can store and use or else you may stretch your budget beyond reason and your home beyond usable space. It may look cool on tv, but your spouse may object.
12. When you have free time online, do a quick search of products or manufacturers. Take a few moments every week to find new sources for deals on products you use most. Of course, baby products often have mailing lists that will reward you with extra savings. It can be worthwhile to get a bit of spam if you get some valuable coupons too.
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