Richmonder’s young and old are experiencing the rising costs of groceries these days. Everyone is looking for ideas on how to save money and still put a nutritious meal on their table. It can be done, and all it takes is a little of your time, plus a pair of scissors. If you have never tried ‘couponing’ then now is the perfect time to start. This month just happens to be National Coupon Clipping Month, and shoppers are being encouraged to use coupons, join coupon websites, start their own coupon clipping clubs and in turn, learn a lot of good information about what all that writing on the labels of our products really means. Senior citizens and families with children can benefit from coupon clipping, so here are some pointers to get you started.
Coupon clipping 101
Start off small. That way, you will not become overwhelmed and lose interest. Start off by finding coupons.
- Sunday newspaper
- Friends and family members
- Internet sites. There are hundreds of sites out there.
- In store. Look for coupon kiosks, on register tapes at check-out, on the shelves
OK, you have coupons. Step two is to organize all those pieces of paper you have laying about.
- Envelopes or a check file will do at first. Run by a dollar store. You can usually find something clever to put things like coupons in. They even have coupon files.
- Coupon binders are a great idea. A three ring binder and baseball card inserts are perfect. You can then file alphabetically or by date. You pick how best it will serve you.
- File by insert. By this, just use a different envelope for your different coupons and keep them all in a shoe-box.
Make your plan, then follow it
This is the fun part. Step three is where you get to actually see what you will be able to save at the grocery store. Some web sites will tell you to shop at several stores to get the best buys. You might want to try that, but only if the stores are fairly close to you and not out of the way. This is also where you will want to pay attention to the ‘price per unit’ listed with the item. For example; Cereal boxes (16 0z.) are 2 for $5.00. You have a coupon for $1.00 off of one box. Remember, if you have a customer loyalty card for that store, you will only have to buy one box, and it will only cost you $1.50 using your coupon. Always read the cost per unit.
- Every week, collect your coupons. Pick a day that is convenient for you and have a spot that you can use just for couponing. If you don’t have a newspaper, check with a family member or a neighbor/friend.
- Read the weekly store ads and using a notebook, write down the items you need and the price listed.
- Match them up. Match coupons you have with the items on your list.
- Don’t forget about the internet coupons. Just a friendly reminder!
Do not buy something that you would not usually buy. That is a waste of your money. If you don’t have a little customer loyalty card for the store where you shop, get one. They’re free and do come in handy. Have fun and save money!