This might be the shortest blog post in my "I Should Do The Coupon Thing, But..." series. But I had to make sure to include it because probably this one lesson I've learned has saved me the most money in the two years I've been couponing. Here it is:
Match coupons with sales.
That's it. I know, rocket-science... This might seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but when I started realizing how much could be saved by matching coupons with sales, it was like suddenly a light went on for me. I started pouring over the weekly ads that came in my Sunday newspaper or by mail.
I discovered that stores really do mark items down a considerable amount (10%-30%) during their weekly sales. So as I followed various blogs to learn the ropes about using coupons, I realized products I bought on a regularly went on sale on a regular basis (usually a 1-2 month cycle).
Here's an example:
I like coffee. And over the last couple of years, I like good coffee. I brew my own at home, and have transitioned to preferring brands like Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Gevalia, etc... But these bags run $7-$8 a bag. When I find a coupon for $1.50-$2 off a bag, I stash it away because I KNOW they will go on sale somewhere for around $6 during the lifetime of that coupon. So I patiently wait.
And it pays off. Without fail, it goes on sale, I use my coupons, and I get my yummy coffee for around $4 a bag (that has become my "target" price to stock up on). So I get my delicious coffee for the same price I would buy generic ground coffee for.
So watch your weekly ads*. Save those coupons. And it WILL pay off!
*If you live near a Walmart, have you tried price-matching products yet? Did you know you can price-match an item AND then use a coupon on it? Yep. You sure can!