Make Coupons Work For You

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Coupons can help save you money on things you already planned on buying. However, if you are not careful clipping, you may spend more money than you intended. Some retailers design coupons as a way to encourage you to buy items that aren't on your shopping list or to buy more than you need.

How You Spend More

There are many reasons why you may spend more with coupons.

  • Stores often raise their prices for coupon items. You notice a few coupons on some items you would like to get. You think you are going to save big time. Unfortunately, the retailer just increased the price on those items to full-retail value just before they released the coupons to the public.
  • Coupons are advertisements. Some coupons are nothing more than advertisements, enticing you to buy products that you have a coupon for when there are potentially less expensive options available, such as generic brands.
  • Coupons may lead to unhealthy choices. Although you may find some deals on organic vegetables or fruits, it is not likely you will find coupons for them. Instead, once you have them in hand, you might buy the less healthy processed food instead of fresh just to save money.

Coupon Benefits

You can benefit from clipping coupons in many ways, including:

  • Trying new products. Coupons are a great way for you to take advantage of trying new items. With coupons, you can try new foods without having to pay full price for things you later decide you do not like. So, if you find a coupon for that expensive box of cereal you always wanted to buy but couldn't afford, you just scored. Before you go shopping, decide on what new foods you would like to try, and check to see if there are any coupons for them. Do not forget to check out the manufacturers' website as well to see if they are offering coupons for the things you are looking for.
  • Stocking up. Coupons help you stock up on foods or other products you buy regularly. Boxed and canned foods have long shelf lives and, therefore, would be great options to use coupons with and stock up on.
  • Getting satisfaction. When you use coupons, you can feel like you are using your money wisely and responsibly. You get satisfaction knowing that you are saving money for a vacation, home remodeling, retirement, college education, or a growing family.

Finding a Balance

There is a happy balance to couponing.

  • Stick to your budget. Regardless of whether you have coupons or not, it is essential that when you shop, you stick to your budget. If you continue spending money on things simply because they seem like a good deal, you may not be saving money. Before you shop, check the sale flyers and go through your coupons to help you stock up, but don't go over your budget.
  • Don't buy crazy amounts of items. Just because you have 15 coupons, doesn't mean you have to buy all 15 items. So, in addition to sticking to your budget, you also want to ensure you are not buying more things than you need.
  • Only buy things you need. That goes hand-in-hand with not buying crazy amounts of items just because you have coupons for them. Only buy products you need and regularly use, such as paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, juice, and coffee.

Although coupons can be an excellent way to save money on a few items here and there, they are only good if you planned on buying them in the first place. If you are spending money on things you hardly use just because you have coupons for it, you will end up spending more money than you planned. Buying things you do not need isn't a bargain.

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