By Natalie Marusin
Everyone loves a great deal, and, with so many ways save, keeping more money in your wallet has never been easier. But, whether you’re planning an online shopping spree or headed out to the grocery store, being on top of your savings game is a must.
So, what are the best ways to guarantee you get the most bang for your buck? Here are five couponing strategies sure to leave you with more money in the bank. You know, so you can buy more stuff.
1. Have a plan
It’s a lesson many of us have learned the hard way: If you start your shopping trip without a list, odds are you’re going to come home with more than you initially intended. Creating a list – and, here’s the really hard, yet important part, sticking to it -- is one of the easiest ways to embark on the road to savings. Take a few minutes to jot down your essentials (or use a shopping list app – there are plenty free versions available) and don’t stray from it, no matter how tempting those Twinkies may be. If you have your list and your coupons on hand, you’ll start saving immediately.
2. Be organized
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of using coupons, staying organized is key. Some shoppers prefer storing their clippings in binders, while others use a wallet or even just an envelope. When you head to your favorite store, know which deals you plan to cash in on and, whatever your method, have your coupons ready and know the fine print. Is the coupon stackable? Is there a purchasing limit? Is it expired? Being organized will save you time and, eventually, money at the store.
3. Sign up for rewards programs
We get that many folks are hesitant to sign up for retailer email lists or to start “liking” lots of pages on Facebook, but joining the rewards programs of your favorite shops, restaurants and grocery stores can mean you’ll receive exclusive offers, notifications of special events including flash sales and deals. And, as most rewards programs are free to join, signing up and interacting is a no brainer. In fact, with many companies, the more you interact, the more deals you’ll receive. Hint: Create a free email account for these emails. Not only will it keep all your savings messages in one place, it’ll keep your regular in-box from getting clogged up.
4. Be courteous
One of the most important things to remember when you are trying to get a good deal is to be courteous while shopping. Many retailers are now used to the “Extreme Couponing” culture, but, remember, the next time you have a giant stack of coupons to hand to a cashier remember to be patient. Keeping your cool ultimately is going to be the easiest way to get the customer service you need in order to get the best deals.
5. Buy what you need
We know when you see a great deal on something it’s tempting to go all-in and load those items into your cart. But, in the long run, spending money on items you don’t need will end up losing you money. Not exactly what a savvy shopper is interested in, right? So, don’t forget: Just because it’s a great deal, doesn’t mean it will be great savings for you and your family. Stick to the items you need (for most people, having three extra bottles of ketchup is perfectly fine – but there’s no need to make that 30).