Many people are able to save 50% or more off their grocery bills by shopping with coupons. But it takes more than just cutting the coupons out of the newspaper or stashing them in a file box when they come in the mail. In order to get maximum savings from your coupons, you have to be organized, and you have to know what you need and what you will use.
First, get organized. Remove circulars from the newspapers and put them in a separate place. Same thing with coupons that come in the mail or that you have printed out from online. Designate a specific time once or twice a week to do your coupons. When that time comes, they’ll all be in the same place. Clip the ones you need and will use, toss the ones you won’t, like pet food if you don’t have pets, or brands that your family doesn’t like. Saving money on something is useless if your family won’t eat it and it will end up in the trash anyway. Then sort them by category. It is best to do this in order of the way things appear in the store you go to for the bulk of your shopping. There are a million and one coupon organizers and file caddies out there. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just find one that works for you.
Most people will plan their shopping in this order. First they plan their meals, then they look through the circulars for items on sale, then they pull their coupons. If you want to use coupons more efficiently, go backwards. If chicken breasts and stuffing are on sale and you have a coupon for stuffing, chicken breasts and stuffing should be one of your meals that week. Plan your meals according to the savings available. Of course, for things that are nonperishable or can be frozen and you have the space for them, you can stock up on extras anytime. For these items, buy when they are on sale and you have a coupon for double savings.
Start a price book comparing the regular per unit price at different stores of items that you buy on a regular basis so you can be sure you are getting the best deal. This may take some time, but will save you big bucks in the long run. One misconception that many people have is that buying in bulk is cheaper. When bulk items and warehouse stores first started, this was often true. Manufacturers and retailers have realized that most people have this mindset and now price smaller size items for less per unit, making a larger profit of people blindly buying the bulk size. Using coupons for these smaller sizes can end up saving you more per unit.