An article in the Orange County Register (www.ocregister.com) this Saturday caught my eye. A group of women spends each Saturday night together, first eating dinner and then heading over to the local Ralphs (grocery store, for those of you not familiar with the name) to shop.
They don´t spend an hour there, or two or three, but up to five, browsing the aisles and using the massive amounts of coupons that they have collected to purchase items way below value. One lady in the article noted that her largest coupon savings was $900.00 during a triple-coupon promotion.
I´ve written about the coupon clipping adventure in a previous post, as I am an avid coupon clipper. I tend to look at coupon clipping and savings as a game, though I don´t have the time to invest in it as some of the ladies mentioned in the articles do. I love coupon clipping, but it does require time, particularly if you are interested in purchasing items only when they are on sale and you have a coupon for them.
If you do invest some time in it, though, the payoffs are definitely worth the effort. If you live in an area with double coupons you can easily purchase "free items´ when you shop during sales and with coupons.
Christina, one of the ladies in the article, was able to buy a Lexus with personalized plates using part of the savings that she amassed during coupon clipping.
Some statistics for the article included that there was a total savings of $3 billion in coupon using during 2005 and 46% of retailers offer coupons in the same year. According to the Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council, those who have an income of $25,000-$50,000 are the most likely to use coupons as are those that range in age from 45-54 and 65 and up.
The article also listed the website www.grocerygame.com. I´ve mentioned this site before. When I first started collecting coupons and creating menus, I subscribed to the site and it was a great way to learn how to effectively use coupons (yes, there is a how!). The website helps you match your coupons to store items that are on sale, so that your savings are even more than they would be if you just used coupons. The idea behind the game is that you stockpile what you need so you never run out of certain items.
For instance, you buy toothpaste when it is on sale and you have a coupon-not when you run out-so you always have toothpaste in the hall closet and you never pay more than a few cents for it (I always get my toothpaste, toothbrushes, and oftentimes condiments for free-this week it was ketchup and spaghetti sauce). The grocery game is a great site for people who are just starting or who don´t have enough time to sit down with their own coupons and sales flyers each week and create a custom menu. The lady who runs the site does all of this for you for only a few dollars a week, which you will make up in savings.
Just a few coupon tips from someone who has been doing this for a while:
Â§ Be organized! That´s the only way you can make it through the store in an adequate amount of time. Put all coupons in a coupon organizer and divide it into categories so you can easily find them
Â§ Throw out all old coupons at the end of each month, so you don´t think that you have something when you really don´t
Â§ Make a list. Always shop with a list. Use your sale flyers and coupons to create the list so you can double your savings
Â§ Expect to spend some time. Coupon clipping will get you the savings but you have to be willing to invest some time into it.