Is Couponing Really Worth It?

Before the advent of the internet, I agree that the art of couponing was of questionable benefit. We all remember that time: Sitting with all of your (snail) junk-mail and a pair of scissors. Literally slicing and dicing little pieces of paper. Sticking these papers on your fridge with a magnet or two. Shoving a couple into your pocket, another couple into your wallet. Using the world-renowned “Entertainment Book” for their coupons. Looking through every page of the newspaper. It was a time-intensive matter! It would take an estimated 20 hours a month to cut, organize, compare, store and use the coupons in question. Not a heck of a lot of fun.

 

Enter the internet. In a moment’s time, you can find coupon codes for practically any online or offline retail you want. Perhaps it’s Free shipping? Perhaps it’s two for one deals. Or 10% off. With a click of a mouse you can get discounts for exactly the products you wanted to buy anyways. There are mailing lists, forums, comparison sites. The opportunities are endless. It’s quick to find, easily accessible and even simpler to build into your weekly routines. Suddenly twenty hours per month has turned into an average of 5 hours per month.

 

And then, enter smart phones and tablets. Now you don’t even need to be at home in front of your computer. Mobile-optimized sites and native apps allow you to easily search, get updated, share, and redeem coupons, vouchers and gift cards. You can prepare your coupons on your train ride to work, or your bus ride out. The effective time you use is essentially zero. Even when you’re in bed or watching TV you can fiddle with your tablet and coupon away.

 

With the average savings from coupons at 5% of a household’s budget, or $50 per week, the time you spend on couponing in this day in age is well worth the effort.

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5 Important Tips When Using Coupons

Couponing is an important part of keeping a balanced budget. Whether you’re single or supporting a household, coupons and discounts are the norm when it comes to making sure ends meet. But you have to make sure you do it right, and avoid traps.

1) Expiration dates are your enemy: How many times have you found yourself staring at a coupon that is way past its expiration date? It’s even worse when this happens when you’re at the store with the product in hand! Keep track of the coupons you’re thinking of using, and make sure they are organized in a reasonable fashion. This way, you’ll be sure not to forget about the important deals.

2) Don’t buy it just because of the coupon: If you weren’t thinking of buying the product(s) anyway, don’t fork out your hard-earned money just because you found a coupon. The best way to save is to reduce your consumption.

3) Mobile Coupons are the norm: Instead of carrying around wads of paper coupons with you, use one of the many online coupon sources / apps to carry them digitally, on your phone. Less chance you’ll loose the coupons, and it’s much more likely you won’t forget about the ones you really wanted to use.

4) Stock Up When You Can: Found a good discount on toothpaste, with no limit? Stock up! That stuff never goes bad. But only if you know you’re going to use the product. Don’t buy tons of stuff you’re never going to use just because of the deal.

5) Friends help friends save: Your family, neighbors, friends etc. are in this with you. Share the frugal love with each other. Keep each other in the loop when you find an interesting deal. For instance, I like to send a quick text to my buddies when I’m at a store and I see something on special we all use. And they reciprocate.