Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 11:53 am
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.