Spokane Prime Magazine Article – Coupon Crazy
Using coupons might be the latest fad, but saving money never goes out of style
In today’s downturned economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money. Carpooling to save gas, turning down the heat a few degrees in winter and doing small home improvement projects yourself. But one of the latest trends to come back in to fashion so to speak, is couponing. Using coupons to save money on everything from groceries to clothing and even trips. Whether your goal is to save $50 a month or $1000 a month, there are lots of easy and simple ways that you, too, can jump on the coupon bandwagon.
It was about three years ago that Tammilee Tillison found out her job would be ending, leaving she and her soon-to-be husband that she was marrying that very week, with the prospect of only one income.
We came back from our honeymoon and had to figure out how we were going to save money and live the life we wanted, says Tammilee. That’s when I went on the internet to do research and discovered how much money could be saved by using coupons.
What started with one paper and a sale at the grocery store, has now grown in to a full time job and the launch of Tammilee Tips, a website dedicated to helping people save money on their own. Because of her success, she was even featured on a recent episode of TLC’s Extreme Coupons. While Tammilee managed to save well over $10,000 using coupons last year, she believes everyone can save money using coupons with just a few simple tips and tricks.
As with virtually anything, you’re going to experience the most success couponing if you first arm yourself with knowledge. Avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls by doing some research and getting to know your stores and the products you use the most.
When I started, I made all of the mistakes beginners make, explains Tammilee. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not understanding prices.
She goes on to explain that knowing the price of the goods you most want to buy before they go on sale will help you avoid spending more money on something that only appears to be on sale.
Stores have different tiers of sales, and what might appear to be a sale, often times isn’t she says.
When you go to a store and see a sale thats 3 for $5.00 or 10 for $10.00, sometimes the store has increased the base price of the item to make up for the â€œlossâ€ in the sale. You might end up paying more per individual item than if you had purchased it last week when it wasn’t on sale. Thatss why you need to know the everyday price of your items that you intend to buy on a regular basis.
To get the most out of your coupon, pair them with a regular sale of the item you want to buy. If the item you want to buy is normally $1.00, but is on sale for 75 cents and you have a coupon for another 25 cents off, then you get the item for 50 cents. Even better if you find your item on clearance or marked down for quick sale.
Most sales are on a 12 or 16 week cycle, says Tammilee. What you want to do then is use your coupons when those items are on sale, buy enough to get you through to the next cycle, and you save just that much more.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit of time on the internet, explains Tammilee, You’re going to be amazed at what you can get for 95% off or free with rebates.
She goes on to say that you can often times write to a product manufacturer and they will send you numerous coupons. All you have to do is ask. Same thing goes for your local store. Many grocery stores make coupons available to their customers if you simply ask.
Even with all of the benefits of using coupons, the misconceptions about it still linger. Tammilee thinks the biggest misconception is the amount of time people think they have to dedicate to it.
A lot of people think you have to spend 20 to 30 hours a week to save with coupons,she explains. You can sit down with your Sunday paper, go through the flyers and save a significant amount just by doing that.
While it seems like common sense, another tip from Tammilee is to go to the store with a list in hand and not stray from that list. Don’t be wooed by the fancy store displays or buying things that you really don’t need.
Before I started doing this, I would go to the store four or five times a week without really having a plan, Tammilee continues. I can’t tell you how much time, money and gas was wasted because I never really knew what I needed, and I really never knew what I bought.
According to Tammilee, organization is going to help you realize the most success when it comes to shopping and saving money with coupons.
Saving money immediately with your purchase doesn’t necessarily have to be your ultimate goal when using coupons. Many people are using them to help fund travel plans, pay off debt and many other things they want to achieve in their daily lives.
Through my blog I’ve gotten to know a lady that used coupons to help set aside money for her grandchildren’s college education, she says. She knows she was going to spend the money anyway, so she takes the money she saves by using the coupons, and puts it in an account set aside for the college fund.
Because of the money I’ve learned to save, I’ve been able to save enough for my husband and I to travel which we dearly love to do.
You also don’t have to have those huge stockpiles that you hear about people having when they use coupons. Thats another negative connotation of couponing. You don’t have to have 100 bottles of laundry detergent or 700 rolls of toilet paper. Using your coupons wisely and on a regular basis, you can buy the items you need at a deep discount without having to build a storage room at your house to keep all of the goods you saved money buying.
Along with that, there is some couponing etiquette that people should adhere to as well. Just because you can get 50 flavor packets for free doesn’t mean you should and clear the shelf of that product. It’s basic etiquette to get only what you need and will use, and leave the rest for the other people that need that product as well. Same goes for the coupons that you might see made available by the manufacturer in the aisle at the store or affixed to the product. Take only what you need, don’t take them all.
Using coupons isn’t just a passing fad. Coupons are a legitimate way to help you and your family save on the products you use every day. Whether you’re trying to cut back on your weekly or monthly grocery bill or trying to save money for a special event, use coupons to help you reach your goal. With a little time and a little effort, you can also get in on the saving money craze!