The Tipping List
Become a Coupon Queen and Enjoy the Savings
Where to find them and how to use them
-Laura Weber Rossman
Suddenly coupons are cool. After all, how enticing is it to be able to shop and save at the same time? So if you’re thinking coupons and discounts are just for Grandma, wake up. Shopping with coupons is smart and fashionable.
Where do you find coupons? Almost everywhere these days.
Internet coupon usage is up 83 percent, according to Scarborough Research. However, Sunday newspapers remain the number one place for acquiring coupons. Other places to look?
• Coupon packs in the mail
• In-store coupons
• Preferred customer/loyalty cards
• In-store circulars
• Daily and weekly newspapers
• Product packages
You can get cents to dollars off on almost anything including groceries, meals, clothes, housewares and services.
If you live in Milwaukee, WI or Rochester, NY you’ll find many around you using grocery coupons. Those two areas lead the market in grocery store coupon usage. And coupons are used by people of all incomes – in fact, those with higher household incomes tend to be slightly more likely to clip grocery coupons, according to Scarborough.
So before you head out shopping, check for coupons. It’s easy online. Here are some sites to try: coupons.com; promotionalcodes.com; couponwinner.com; redplum.com; and dazzlingdeals.com. And don’t forget to check with Betty where there are often advertisers offering special coupon savings.
If you have shops you frequent online, make sure you sign up for their newsletters or deals. After all if you’re going to buy there, why not save as well?
It’s no secret that the stores are using the coupons to lure you in to shop. And those grocery coupons are usually trying to get you to switch brands, stick with your favorite brands, or up your purchase quantity. And therein lies the danger with coupons and dollar-off deals.
We have a funny way of keeping mental track of our spending. Behavioral economists tell us that we are not particularly rational when it comes to our money. We tend to put things in buckets without necessarily relating one thing to another. So here’s what can happen with those wonderful coupons.
You save $20 on a $50 sweater – a great deal. Now, you take your $20.00 “savings” and buy that pair of earrings you had no intention of buying when you walked in and really don’t need. Total savings – zero.
You have a two-for-one coupon off a new brand of frozen meals. You buy two, find out you don’t like it at all, toss the second. So you paid full price for the one you tried. Total savings – zero.
You get the idea. Probably been there, done that. Don’t get lured in to spending your savings or buying more than you intended. So be in fashion and use your coupons wisely. Pack them into a little-used wallet or purse (please no torn-up envelopes) and have them ready to hand to the cashier. Grandma would be proud!