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In a perfect world, we could walk into a store and walk out with anything we want for free. Aside from the obvious flaws in that plan, it's a nice concept to think about. After all, I'm sure you've heard the story of the family that bought $400 worth of groceries and only paid about half for it. Seem farfetched and impossible? It's not. Follow this crash course on couponing and start making those big savings right away!
Where can I find coupons?
Coupons come in the paper, can be found online, and are given out at some stores whenever you make a purchase. You should save these coupons so that you can always have them when you come back. Make sure that you don't throw them away with the rest of the trash or forget about them -- that would be the same as literally throwing out money.
Stores use coupons to draw people in because they hope that the people will buy more things at inflated prices once they are in the store. You can shop smarter using coupons if you make sure that you don't get drawn into this trick; just buy the things that are on sale, and the things that you have coupons for.
With the explosion of the Internet in the last decade, online printable coupons have shifted from a scam operation to a legitimate means to save money on products across almost all industries. When you're printing off coupons, try to always take them from the official website of the product you intend to buy. While online coupons have become more respectable in recent years, retailers train their cashiers to look out for bogus coupons. The last thing you want to do is get into an argument over the legitimacy of a coupon.
On a similar vein, bif you're shopping exclusively online, be on the lookout for coupon codes. By entering these at the time of purchase, you can often defer the costs of shipping along with the final costs of your purchases. Official product websites often have weekly deals and change out their codes, so you may have to be on the ball to find the best deals. Free shipping is nothing to scoff at though, as any seasoned online shopper can attest, so it's well worth the effort.
Don't Get Suckered by the Savings
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because you have a coupon means you have to buy the item, though! There are always different coupons each week, but be sure that you really need that bag of chips or extra pack of soda. If you drive out to the store the moment you find a "great deal," you'll soon find your wallet emptier than ever!
On the other hand, keep an eye on the expiration dates on the coupons. You don't want to hold out on purchasing an item for so long that the cashier shrugs and points at your coupon's well past date of expiration. Most coupons expire within a couple of weeks to a few months, while others are limited weeklong or even single day sales. Read the fine print if you don't want to look silly and flustered in line.
Coupon expiration dates will somewhat dictate what you buy and when you buy it. However, it is well worth it to let them do this. The small inconvenience that they provide by forcing you to buy certain items at a time is far outweighed by all of the money that you will be saving on your shopping each week!