Coupon shopping doesn't have to be as intense as you see on TV. Shows like Extreme Couponing give an example of people who have taken their coupons seriously, stocking up on 50 rolls of toilet paper at once because they were on sale. While there's nothing wrong with this lifestyle, it's also not feasible for everyone.
However, there are ways to get the most from your coupons without ending up with too much stuff!
1. Write A List
This sounds SO simple, but find the coupons you want to use in advance, write a list, and then make it a quick trip. The longer you're in the store, the more likely it is you'll fall victim to more "deals" that will end up costing you more money than you would have saved.
2. Know Your Price Points
Just because you can save $2 on something, doesn't mean you're saving money. Weird, right? Often times, companies will hike up the prices of a product and then offer a "deal" which isn't a deal at all. For example, your normal yogurt may cost $5 on an average day. However, slowly, the prices will start to increase and the price could go up to $7.50. When the company then comes out and offers $2 off, you're still paying $5.50 for yogurt.
Money Crashers has a list of the price points everyone should know:
- The Average Price: how much do certain items cost on any given day? What's the lowest you've seen the price without a coupon? Knowing these prices for pantry staples will help make sure you're not ripped off.
- The Maximum Price: this is for personal knowledge. What is the most you will ever pay for a certain item, without a coupon? Knowing this will stop you from buying it when the price is too high.
- The Deal Price: what price do you want to pay for an item when you have a coupon? If the price and coupon add up to your deal price, then buy enough to last until the next sale.
- The Stock-Up Price: this price means it's the lowest you've ever seen an item at, and you should probably stock up on it. Buy as many as you can and take advantage of the deal!
3. Use Your Overage
When your coupons end up being for more than the item is on sale for, it produces an overage. Most stores won't give you cash back for the overage, but will allow you to apply it towards other items in your cart. You're basically giving yourself mini coupons for the items that were not on sale.
4. Order Matters
When you're giving the cashier your coupons, make sure you present them in the proper order. Price minimum coupons ($5 over a purchase of $20, etc.) should be presented first, as the other coupons in your order may end up negating the price minimum because of the deals. A lot of stores will apply the coupons correctly, regardless of the order, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.