Using coupons has become a specialized skill in recent years. For some, coupons are just a simple way to save a couple dollars here or there. For others, “couponing” is a lifestyle that provides food, cleaning supplies, and other household items for a fraction of their normal price. In either case, utilizing all the cost saving resources at your disposal is a great way to stretch your budget and do some extra debt reduction each month.
Using coupons is one of the easiest ways to keep spending down. Yes, it requires a little extra effort before each trip to the store, but not using coupons is like rejecting free money. Don’t let laziness cause you to miss an opportunity to eliminate debt a little quicker. Here are a few easy tips that can help upgrade your couponing skills.
- Coupon Sources – Not all junk mail is worthless. Those glossy pages in the paper aren’t just garbage. There are easy sources of savings on things we buy every week all around us. Be on the lookout for coupons relevant to your purchasing needs.
- Dates Matter – Coupons are only good for a limited time. As your stockpile of coupons grows, organize them by expiration date in order to take advantage while they’re still valid.
- Go High-Tech – Search the Android and iTunes app stores for coupon smartphone apps. No smartphone? Go online to find printable coupons for the items on your list. (Bonus Tip: Most online coupons can be printed twice per user.)
- In-Store Coupon Books – Lots of stores have racks of coupon books or sale item catalogs right inside the front door. Just because you forgot to bring coupons doesn’t mean you can’t still save.
- Competitor Deals – Lots of stores nowadays will accept competitor coupons as a way to get you in the door. Keep track of which retailers in your area cater to couponing shoppers.
Depending on your desire to save or need to reduce credit card debt, there are more rigorous techniques for couponing. Some shoppers even practice “extreme couponing.” Essentially, all this means is completely basing the products you’ll buy each week on the coupons that are available. There are also advanced tricks like using multiple coupons on a single product. If you want to explore more ways to take your coupon use to the next level, check out this detailed article from Money Crashers.