12 Weeks to Extreme Couponing, Part 8: Matching coupons with sales

Finding, filing, cutting… there are so many things to do with coupons! Now, it’s time to use them!

Using coupons is easy! You clip it, buy the item it was intended for, and hand the coupon to the cashier when you check out. It’s simple! The next part is to decide when to best use it. You can run out as soon as you get a coupon and save the $.50 at Wal-Mart, who, if you’re lucky, may happen to have the best every-day price, but if you wait till it’s buy one get one free (or half price) at Publix, AND use the $.50 coupon, which doubles to $1.00 at Publix, then you’ll get it for next to nothing instead of just $.50 off the everyday price.

The first rule of using coupons is waiting for the right sale and/or the right store (one that may double your coupon to increase its value)! In the example I gave above, Wal-Mart happened to be the cheapest place to buy that item… on a normal day. When you wait for a sale, you’re knocking at least 25% off the ‘best’ price, but you should really try to wait for at least a 50% off sale. Unless it’s a specialty item, or something that doesn’t go on sale very often, you’ll find a half-off sale fairly often!

Let me use an example of something that I bought today… Go-Gurt! I want my kids to have yogurt every day, and the yogurt that they prefer is Go-Gurt, or really any squeezable tube of yogurt! Go-Gurt is a very bad deal in general because it has 8 tubes of slightly more than 2 ounces of actual yogurt in each tube. It generally sells for about $3, as a normal, every-day price. Now, $3 is ridiculous for 16 ounces of yogurt, so I wait for a sale, stock up, and stick them in the freezer! The Smart Source inserts frequently have coupons for Go-Gurt, usually $.75/2, which isn’t much, but it helps! That would make them about $2.63 for a box. Again, not a very good price, and Kroger has an in-house brand that’s usually about $2, so the Go-Gurt isn’t a deal! So… buy the Kroger brand for now and wait for a sale!

This week, Publix had them on BOGO sale for $2.89, which makes them $1.45 each (cheaper than Kroger’s brand!), BUT when I use the coupon now, it comes out to $1.07 a box, which is about 1/3 of the regular price. I don’t have to tell you that we’re stocking up! Waiting for a sale pays off, bigtime!

Something to mention about using coupons: don’t buy an item JUST because you have a coupon for it, or because the coupon’s expiring! That’s why people say that couponing doesn’t work, and they’re right in this example, because you end up buying something that’s more expensive in the first place just because you have a coupon and it’s STILL more expensive than buying the store-brand version. Couponing DOES work and it works WELL if you learn when, why and how to use the coupons.

Be sure to check out Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of 12 Weeks to Extreme Couponing to work on your couponing skills!

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