Before I conclude my Coupon series, I need to say a world on ethical couponing. As the world of coupons has changed, there is a scrutiny by the stores on the use of coupons. Do not be afraid to use coupons. Simply be aware. Coupons are a completely legal way to save money. Internet coupons are perfectly legal – as long as they always have a barcode on them. If you print directly from Red Plum and Coupons.com, you will not have a problem. The problem comes when some well-intentioned (I hope) person circulates a coupon that is altered. How do you know? If it is missing a barcode or an address or does not have an expiration date, the coupon is likely fake. It is not ethical to use a coupon that is a fake. Obviously, we want to save money, but we need to be committed to doing so in an ethical fashion.
Using Your Coupons
It’s time to get back to the good stuff so we can see how we save money with our coupons. By now, you should have all your coupons clipped and organized. You have coupons loaded onto your loyalty cards and you’re ready to go shopping. Here are a couple of my coupon do’s and don’ts.
- Do match sales and coupons. This is how you save the most money!
- Don’t buy a product just because you have a coupon – especially if a different brand of the same product is cheaper. Shop smart with your coupons.
- Do shop at stores that double coupons, if at all possible. This allows you to get extra savings out of your coupons. Alas, like Sunday inserts, this practice is not in effect in all states. I know that in San Antonio, where my Mom shops, stores do not double coupons. In Ohio, where I used to live, coupons were doubled to a dollar. In Fort Wayne, coupons are doubled, but there are different policies at Meijer and at Kroger. Know the policies of the stores where you shop.
- Don’t forget to go shopping without your coupons! This is wasting your time and energy if you don’t take your coupons with you. You’ve got the coupons and the skills – now use them!
- Do have fun saving money with your coupons. I love reading the end of my receipts and seeing how much money I have saved.
I hope you’ve learned a lot in this couponing series. For beginners, I hope you now have a grasp on what it means to coupon. For those with advanced coupon skills, I hope you’ve learned some new tricks of the trade. We’ll be talking more about coupons on a regular basis now that we all have the same coupon background. If you still have questions or there are more topics you’d like to cover, let me know in the comments. I’m here (among other things) to be a coupon resource for you!