I rarely buy anything full price. From kicks to whole fits, name brand or second-hand, everything I own has been discounted in some way. I enjoy saving money for things that go in my closet, but I also apply the same philosophy to what goes in my fridge and pantry. So what’s in my fridge? A six-pack of generic soda? 99 cent processed cheese? How about the pantry? Store label frosted cereal? Top Ramen noodles? Nope, of course not…I’ve got the good stuff to eat, and I got it cheap. Whole grain breads and cereals, organic vegetables, 100% juice. Cheap food does not always equate to poor nutrition. While it’s usually true that healthy food is more expensive in comparison to junk food, there are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget. One of my favorite ways to save a few bucks and get some good grub is to clip coupons. Yes, I clip coupons, and you should, too, especially since it’s National Coupon Month! There are only a few days left in September, but why stop then? Clip coupons all year long and you could save hundreds of dollars, which could add up to a new purse to carry all your extra dough!
One of the reasons why folks pass up healthy foods is because of the insanely cheap costs of unhealthy food. If you’re penny-pinching, it may seem more reasonable and convenient to buy a $2 bag of chips instead of a $3 bag of brown rice. But if you can get wholesome, nutritious food at the same cost as junk food, go for the healthy choice and spend the extra time clipping coupons away.
Yes, saving money comes at the cost of spending time. To use coupons, you have to do a bit of research. You have to find the coupon and cut it out, read the fine print, check the expiration date, and make sure you bring it to the store. All that time spent is well worth it, because you’ll be saving dough instead of impulsively buying what you and your body doesn’t need.
To find coupons, the old-fashioned way is to check the Sunday paper. A whole section is devoted to coupons of all kinds. And if you didn’t stop the junk mail service to your mail box, then you probably get coupons weekly. You can’t forget about the handy coupon dispensers that pop out of the shelves at supermarkets. Aside from those, coupons have evolved to much more than the dotted lines and fine print. Stores have savings cards, requiring no clipping, just carrying a card around. And sometimes, a coupon isn’t even needed if there’s a big sale or reduced price! But where else can you find coupons if they don’t come to you? Where you find everything else, of course…the internet! Many sites are money-saving coupon generators, giving you a chance to look for what you need, rather than just find what comes to you in the mail. Looking for a certain brand? Search for it and print it out. A penny saved is a penny earned.
No matter how you clip your coupons, try these tips to get a healthy bang for your buck:
- Sign up for savings. Sometimes, all it takes is a name and a phone number, and you’ll have a plastic card that magically reduces prices for you. You may even get special coupons mailed to you!
- Check your junk mail. Local grocery stores usually send out weekly ads with coupons, so browse over them before they hit the recycling bin.
- Toss out the junk. Unfortunately, many junk foods also offer coupons. Toss those to the trash so you’ll definitely stay away from the junk at the store.
- Tell them how you feel. Some stores offer a coupon for filling out an online survey about your shopping experience. 5 minutes of your time and you can save $5
- Buy your savings. It may seem contradictory, but investing in a $40 coupon book can save you money. The Entertainment coupon book has hundreds of coupons for different regions of the country. Save money at grocery stores and more! I just purchased one for $30 and I’m going to be using the $20 in grocery coupons right away…and then some.
- Get a coupon file. These handy accordion-style organizers just get cuter and cuter. Some even have labeled compartments for easy shopping. Keep all your coupons in one place and keep it in your purse or your car and you won’t forget to save some money.
- Take inventory. Look through your coupons to make sure they haven’t expired and to remember what you do have. It also helps to take inventory of what’s in your fridge so that you know what you need before you hit the store.
- Search for what you’re missing. Don’t have a coupon for that pasta brand? Search for it on the internet. Some sites require signing up for a membership, while some just require a printer connection. Another great thing about these coupon sites- you can also find coupons for more than just food! Try Retail Me Not, Coupon Shack, Coupon Cabin, and Coupons.com.
- Download an app. If you have a smartphone, be smart and download a coupon app. Search for coupons and use them at the store- no clipping required. Try Yowza, it’s free! Not only is this so technologically-advanced, it’s also way cooler than paper coupons.
- Upload savings. Cellfire requires no physical coupons. Either upload deals to your store savings card, or have coupons texted to you and redeem at check-out.
If you have a coupon tip, please share the wealth with us! Wishing you happy and healthy shopping!
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