Five Questions to Ask Before Using Grocery Coupons
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Five Questions to Ask Before Using Grocery Coupons

Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 11:53 am
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Smart Coupon Lady

Using coupons the right way can save you money

Over the years, using grocery coupons has saved my family thousands of dollars. But, coupons can also cost you money, too, if you aren’t careful. Here are five questions that you should ask yourself before you use that coupon.

1. Even after using the coupon, will your usual brand or the store brand be less expensive?
Check the unit prices and bring a calculator if you aren’t great at doing quick sums in your head (I used to be before having three distracting kids). Many times the store brand is cheaper, even after applying a coupon to another brand.

2. Is the item likely to go on sale soon?

There is nothing better than combining a coupon with a loss leader sale. Sales on grocery items tend to come around on a regular basis, depending on the item. If you keep a price book, you should no if a product is likely to go on sale before your coupon expires.

3. Can you use the item or items before they go bad?

Some coupons require you to purchase multiple copies of the same product or products in combination. If you live alone, do your really need three large jars of mayonnaise, for example?

4. Does the deal require a lot of driving or effort on your part to use the coupon?

If the coupon is only good at Target, but the nearest Target is a 20 minute drive, it might be better to pay a few extra cents at the store just around the corner. If you spend more money in gas than the coupon is worth, then you have lost out.

5. Are there any special promotions coming up when the coupon might be worth more?

Some examples of coupons being worth more later include double or triple coupon days, or in combination with other coupons (buy three General Mills products and get an extra $4 off)? There may also be clearance deals coming up. Have a coupon for plastic wrap? Use it right after Christmas when Red and green plastic wrap gets put on the clearance rack.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.