I Love Coupons! You probably know that if you have Followed my site for very long, there’s a coupon for just about everything at one point or another (Yes even Organic Products, Milk, Bread, Produce and More) They might be few and far between but they exist, I promise!
When people find out that I’m a “Couponer” they almost always feel like they need to justify themselves by saying “Oh I tried using coupons before and…” Insert the reason. I love these conversations because it gives me a chance to step up on my little soap box for a while which is:
You don’t have to use Coupons to Save Money!
Yes, you can save money using coupons, Yes, I love Coupons and use them all the time and Yes they have coupons for everything these days including Groupons and more for Haircuts, Massages and everything else but if you’re not a coupon person don’t stop and throw in the towel on saving money just because you don’t have time to clip coupons. There are so many more ways you can save money if you just determine that you are going to make it a priority!
So, putting my rant and soap box aside, here are 10 practical ways you can save money on your groceries and other items you buy without using coupons. I believe you can save 3.0-50% depending on the items by using these methods, In my world the coupons are the icing on the cake, not the starting point. These tips and tricks below are the strategies that most successful couponers apply before they add on the coupon savings!
- Be Willing to Substitute – This is the first place most people get stuck. Just because you have always bought Tide, or Bounty or another brand does not mean you have to continue to buy those items in the future. Being willing to try new products that are on sale will help you save so much money!
- Start a Stockpile – When you find an item on sale, especially an item you buy a lot make sure you buy enough to last you to the next sale. Typically that’s 8-10 weeks in most areas. So plan on having enough to last you for 3 months.
- Use a Menu Plan – So many people run into the store and buy what they “Need” without even making a list or looking at what they have. Start by making a menu plan based on what you have on hand.
- Always shop with a list & Use Cash – Whew, that’s 2 hard ones all at once but the reality is a list and cash set boundaries and force you to stick to a plan. This reduces the urge to walk into a store and just start adding things to your cart and research shows you can save a lot of money by using cash and shopping with a list.
- Watch for Sales – Most if not all items go on sale at one point or another, One of the first things you need to do is determine that you aren’t going to pay full price for anything. Try to always buy when the item is on sale and purchase enough to get you to the next sale, that’s just one of the ways to ensure you aren’t ever paying full price!
- Utilize Rewards and Gift Card Deals – I know that when people first think of “Extreme Couponing” they think of coupons, but personally I think of sales! Buying an item on a B1G1 Free Sale will save you 50% if the Item is priced at $4 you would need a $2 Coupon (Which is rare) to save that same amount. If you are a Tide Fan, buying when there is a Buy 2 Get a $5 Target Gift Card Deal going on will save you $2.50 per bottle! That’s more than most Tide Coupons.
- Shop In Season – This goes without saying for most people, but some items are cheaper at different times of the year. If you eat a lot of Fresh Produce then try only buying the items on sale and in season each week. You will be surprised at all the creative ways you can use these items, it might even force you to try a few new recipes.
- Buy on Clearance – You can find some great deals on clearance items. Especially at the end of the seasons so buy Christmas Baking Supplies after Thanksgiving, or stock up on Hot Dogs at the end of Summer and put them in the Freezer! Buying ahead and shopping the Clearance Sections are great ways to save!
- Price Match Other Stores – A lot of stores have great price matching policies including Walmart and Target. Using these policies correctly can save you not just money but also the time required to drive around town picking up deals! Oh and I didn’t even mention the gas that you can save.
- Shop Less. If you can plan a Shopping trip every 2 weeks instead of every week, or you can do major shopping once a month and minor shopping in between you can save more money! If you aren’t in the store you can’t make impluse purchases which typically are a higher out of pocket cost than items that are on sale that you planed to buy.
Over the next few days we’ll talk more in depth about some of my favorite strategies! What are your favorite ways to save money without using coupons???