This article was written by Timothy Ng who is a regular personal finance writer and part of the team at Credit Card Finder, a 100% free Australian credit card comparison and application service. Visit the Credit Card Finder website for more information on how to get shopping discounts.
Everybody loves to save money! In today’s world where money is tighter than ever, and we are all having to make cut backs wherever we can, coupons provide the perfect way to save some regular cash.
If you have never heard of, or used coupons before then read on and learn how to get the best from the coupon saving world!
What Are Coupons?
For those who have never come across coupons before, a brief explanation. Coupons are special promotional slips made by particular brands or stores, that entitle the user to money off a particular item, or spend in store.
For example you can get a “buy one get on free coupon” or a “$1 dollar of washing powder” type coupon. Then when you take these coupons in store you will save the amount that corresponds to your coupon.
The idea behind the scheme from a business point of view is that it is a good form of marketing and promotion. It encourages consumers to try out, or use a brand they may not normally buy.
By doing this they may end up generating a repeat customer who begins regularly buying the product they were discounted from. It does not cost companies much in profit and is a relatively cheap way of generating new business.
However there are a massive amount of consumers who do not take advantage of coupons. Some of the reasons given by consumers when asked why they do not use coupons were:
1. Too time consuming collecting them
2. They keep losing the coupons
3. Do not see the point or value in it.
It seems bizarre that during a time when any form of saving is helpful that anybody would simply turn their nose up at free cash. Especially when that free cash is coming from big corporations who can easily afford to give some of their profits back to the consumer!
So let’s find out more about finding and using these money savers!
Where Can I Find These Coupons?
There are many places to find and collect coupons, and some of them are explained below:
Newspapers/Magazines – Keep your eye out for coupons in your national and local papers. Many newspapers (especially weekend editions) are normally full of them. Even if you don’t normally buy the paper, for the money you will save in coupons it is worth spending a dollar on it.
Internet – The Internet is now a great portal for coupons. Not only can you find coupons on brand websites themselves, but there are now many websites that are specifically built for companies to advertise their coupons.
As well as this there are other websites whose job it is to alert members whenever a new offer, or coupon becomes available. Some of these websites charge a fee for membership whilst others are totally free to use.
Product packaging – Many products actually have coupons on the packet themselves. For instance a very popular coupon normally available is a “x off your next purchase of this product”.
This works well for the consumer if they are a regular user of the product anyway, and for someone who is just trying the product out, they may well decide to begin using the product regularly based on the saving they will make with the coupon.
You need to keep your eyes peeled for these kinds of coupons as they can often be very discreetly placed on the packaging so they are easy to miss.
Coupon gangs – Saving coupons has also become social with various coupon groups popping up locally and online. People can swap, and tell fellow members about new coupons and offers available.
This is very useful as it with more eyes looking out for coupons everybody benefits more.
Grocery coupons – Some local stores give coupons that come on your store receipt. These coupons are normally money off your net purchase type offers and are very easy to miss. Have a look at any receipts you have in your wallet just in case.
OK, so now you know where to pick your coupons how are you going to use them? The first thing you need to do is get a little organised. I did used to have a coupon drawer myself but it was a total mess, impossible to find anything, and in the end a complete waste of time.
Now what I do is separate all of my coupons into sections, and then keep them in envelopes. I have an envelope for grocery type coupons, one for restaurant and leisure coupons, and finally one for general money off coupons.
By keeping them separate it makes things easier to find, and ensures that you do not end up with tons of coupons that are no longer any use as they have passed their use by date.
Now you have the coupons in a safe place you need to decide when to use them. As a personal preference I like to use them as and when I have them. I just find it easier to administrate, however something many coupon users like to do is to save their coupons for when they have a week where they are a little short on cash.
Using coupons in this way can give some much needed respite when things are a little tighter than normal.
Do be aware that most coupons have some sort of expiry date, and you should make sure you use your coupons before this as they are useless to you after.
Like I mentioned earlier there are some people that don’t bother saving coupons, or don’t think that the savings you can make are worth it. If you save coupons from all the various sources we discussed you can quite easily save yourself in the region of at least $500 a year, if not more in some cases.
Why would anyone turn down free money for the sake of cutting out, or printing off a few coupons? If you are not yet a coupon saver, then pick up your nearest newspaper, get online, and start making those savings!
You will be amazed at how much you can save, and how much fun you can have in the process!