Extreme Couponing Strategy #13 – When to Use Coupons
One of the most important aspects of Extreme Couponing is timing. You have to know when to use your coupons in order to get the largest savings.
I always like to talk about the ways we can “Rock the Normal” when it comes to marketing, sales, and coupons. Most marketing teams know the “norms” in consumer behavior and they target coupons, promotions and sales towards the traditional tendencies of shoppers. The goal of marketing teams is to get you to Buy More, or Buy Products you wouldn’t normally buy. So we want to figure out what they expect of us and do the opposite to save the most money.
One of the “Norms” in consumer behavior revolving around couponing is the tendency to Cut Coupons out of the Newspaper and then head to the store to use them. Most coupons are redeemed the week they are in the inserts. Retailers and Manufacturers know that this is the tendency of consumers so they will often issue coupons when products are at their highest prices (This isn’t always the case, but it is something to be aware of).
Often we see the best sales on items a few weeks after the coupons are released when most people have forgotten about those coupons.
Remember our Savings Equation… Sales + Coupons + Rewards = BIG SAVINGSThe first thing you want to look for before using your coupons is a sale. Most items go on sale around ever 8-10 weeks if you can pay attention to the prices on items you use you will start to see highs and lows in the pricing and you’ll quickly become more aware of a good price for each item. You can also Download the Stockpiling Price Sheet for a list of guidelines on prices on items in my area. Remember this isn’t brand specific so if you’re loyal to a brand then you may need to increase the prices.
When you find an item on sale, it’s a good idea to Look and See if there are any coupons available for that product. You can typically find the sales for each store in your local newspaper, and most stores offer the weekly ads online so that you can still access the sales flyers even if you don’t get a copy of your local paper.
On PassionForSavings.com we post weekly lists of Coupons Matched with Sale prices. This will help you spot the best deals quickly! You can find all the Grocery Stores we Cover listed here.
When you find an item on Sale and you have a Coupon for the item that’s the time to buy! Typically I recommend buying enough at that Lowest Price to last you until the next sale, so if you are seeing items go on sale every 8 weeks you only need enough to last you about 2 months before you will be able to find this same item on sale again.
By Purchasing items when they are on sale and you have a coupon you are using the timing to your advantage. Instead of walking into the store and using the coupons in your hands you are letting something else guide your purchases, the sales are guiding the timing.
Most items in a grocery store go on sale for around 30-50% off. Most Coupons are for around $0.30-$1 per item. Considering the average value of items in a grocery store you would have to have a $10 Item and a $1 coupon in order to have a 10% savings. However, when you combine the already great sale prices with the coupons on the same items you get even bigger savings than just using the coupon alone.
Don’t Forget: You can Download the Stockpiling Price Sheet to see all of the estimated prices you could expect to pay for the basic items we buy each month. There is also a place to compare unit pricing. This is just a guide, but a great way to help you learn the prices of each item.
Tomorrow we will be talking about another strategy for getting the most out of your coupons!
View all the posts in the Extreme Couponing Strategies series.