A Coupon is Now Worth ~ $1

Articles
September 26, 2008

A Coupon is Now Worth ~ $1

Industry experts estimate a whopping 400 billion coupons will be distributed this year ... and this comes just in time! As more of us struggle to keep up with the rising food prices, using coupons is a quick and easy way to save big bucks. Since January of this year, more than $173 billion in coupons have been delivered just in those newspaper supplements and mailings alone. With the average face value of food coupons now at 91 cents each and non-food coupons worth an average $1.61 the savings can add up quickly. Tom Lemke, a talk-show guest on "Oprah", explained years ago how he bought more than $400 of groceries for less than $100 using coupons. And, while Lemke's level of success is rare, coupons can easily shave 15-20 percent from every grocery bill. That's an annual savings of over a $1,000 for a family of four.

Industry experts estimate a whopping 400 billion coupons will be distributed this year ... and this comes just in time!

As more of us struggle to keep up with the rising food prices, using coupons is a quick and easy way to save big bucks. Since January of this year, more than $173 billion in coupons have been delivered just in those newspaper supplements and mailings alone.

With the average face value of food coupons now at 91 cents each and non-food coupons worth an average $1.61 the savings can add up quickly.

Tom Lemke, a talk-show guest on "Oprah", explained years ago how he bought more than $400 of groceries for less than $100 using coupons. And, while Lemke's level of success is rare, coupons can easily shave 15-20 percent from every grocery bill. That's an annual savings of over a $1,000 for a family of four.

Check your supermarket couponing rules carefully – these days many who used to double coupon value are limiting the doubling value to those coupons under $1. For even more savings look for coupons that can be redeemed on products that your store have put on sale and offer additional savings with their frequent shopper card program. But here's the catch – many shoppers have to give up their favorite brands in order to go with what's on sale. With a little preplanning you wont have to: stock up on your favorite brands when they are on sale and you wont have to sacrifice the quality you are used to. Follow these five simple strategies, and you'll be surprised how much you can save:

#1 Collect coupons from as many sources as possible.
You may find them in your newspaper, newspaper supplements, magazines, mailbox, mail-in rebates, in-store samplings, circulars, on-shelf tear pads, coupon dispensers and on-line services. NCH reports that 96 percent of coupons are never used - get your fair share!

#2 Discard coupons for products you don't use.
If it's the wrong product, wrong flavor, whatever, toss the coupon. Check expiration dates, too. If you don't expect to redeem the coupon by that date, throw it out. Don't feel guilty discarding coupons. The object is to save money on products you want and use.

#3 Keep your coupons organized.
Don't just throw coupons in a drawer. Divide them by product type (cereals, frozen dinners, salad dressings, etc.) and then put them in order of descending value, keeping the highest-value coupons in front. Note the expiration dates and put those expiring soonest up front. Put those with the "no expiration date" last.

#4 Experiment with new brands and new products.
This is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to discover new pleasures. Be open to new brands (including store brands) or new package sizes. Most supermarkets insist that manufacturers distribute high-value coupons when they introduce new products.

#5 Put your kids in charge
Give your kids your shopping list and the pile of inserts, newspapers and magazines and let them search out the offers. Give them a percentage of what you save as their allowance – you'll be teaching them a valuable lesson on savings and the whole family will reap the benefits.