Though you may get most of your news online, having a subscription to a newspaper can come in handy. Every Sunday, newspapers are full of ads and coupons ripe for the picking – they’re a veritable treasure trove of savings!
Just think of it: By going through those pages and pages of coupons, you could end up saving money, and a lot of it too. The key is to read each coupon carefully and apply it before it expires.
If you’re ready to join the ranks of savvy shoppers everywhere, take a look at these tips for making your newspaper coupons (and your wallet) go a long way:
Just Buy the Sunday Paper
Most newspapers allow you to sign up for Sunday service exclusively. If you’re only buying the paper to get coupons, then this is the best option for you– paying for everyday news you don’t read is a total waste of money. Besides, the Internet has plenty of free news outlets.
Be sure to pick it up in the morning. Living in an apartment complex, it’s easy for a neighbor to accidentally think the paper is theirs and pick it up. You don’t want to miss out on savings because the guy next door woke up before you!
Whenever you get your paper, go through the coupons to see what’s there. Some you simply won’t use because they’re for products you don’t buy. In this initial sorting process, divide the coupons into three groups: those you’ll totally use (yeah I want buy-one-get-one lipstick!), those you may be persuaded to use (I guess that shampoo brand is OK) and those you’ll never use (sorry Flaming Hot Cheetos, I’m just not that into you).
Get rid of the ones you won’t redeem and start rethinking the maybes. Are you willing to switch brands or scents of your body wash? Could you buy frozen instead of fresh peas this time? If making the switch will cut down the total cost of groceries, it’s likely worth it.
Of course, if you have to buy a certain brand for some reason (you’re gluten intolerant or are allergic to other lotions), then stick those coupons in the toss-it pile.
Hold Your Horses
I totally get it: Seeing all those newspaper coupons is exciting. I mean, $2 off seltzer water, awesome! But really, some items you just don’t need. Retailers know that– that’s why they make the coupons. Those clever marketers are banking on you buying just because you have a discount.
Don’t let them play you for a sucker! Before you grab something off the grocery store shelf, make sure it’s something you actually need and will use. Should you get whole grain bread? Sure! Do you need jalapeno poppers? Not so much (though there are some exceptions).
Be Wary of Fake Deals
Coupons can be tricky because they may not actually offer a deal. What? Say it ain’t so! Unfortunately, you may see something like “$5 for a 6 pack of toilet paper.” If a 24 pack is usually $14, you’re better off not using the coupon and going with the larger pack, even if the $5 is cheaper than usual. (Buying 24 rolls of the coupon toilet paper would cost $20).
Always check the unit pricing of items before you decide to use a coupon. You may be surprised to see how many “deals” trick you into spending more money in the long run. Seriously though, buying in bulk typically is more cost-effective.
Always read the fine print. You might only get to use a coupon at certain times and under specific conditions.
Every couponer has their own method of organizing the money-saving clippings, and so should you! Growing up, my mom had a mini accordion folder she kept coupons in, divided up by category (such as toiletries or breakfast foods). You don’t have to do it this way, but categorizing makes finding the right coupons at the store way easier.
Also, make sure you use the oldest coupons first. That way, they’re much less likely to expire – and as you know, an expired coupon is a waste of money! Consider putting the oldest coupons at the front of your coupon book.
Pick up the Scraps
One man’s recycling is another man’s treasure! Some of the other tenants in your apartment aren’t as savvy as you, which is their loss (literally). Instead of going through the Sunday paper for deals, they immediately recycle those heavenly inserts.
You can make the most of their non-thriftiness by picking up the coupons. Pass by your building’s recycle bin (if it has one) every Sunday to see if you can find coupons. Then go through them, keeping the ones you’ll use, as you would your own coupons.
You never know– you might end up saving another several dollars doing this– every penny counts!