Depending on your age, you might remember the line from that old Bob Dylan song, “you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.” Well, you don’t have to be a Harvard-trained economist to know that our economy is in a bad shape and that food just keeps getting more expensive every month. And, as another song has it, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” The drought that the Midwest suffered this past summer is bound to drive prices even higher, especially those that involve corn.
Are you couponing?
Searching for coupons the old-fashioned way by combing through newspaper ads, supplements and local flyers can be kind of disheartening. It can take a lot of time and patience and the rewards may not be that large. Or you might find that the best deals are at stores where you never shop or that they are for products you rarely by. You could find good deals on necessities such as toilet paper or laundry detergent but do you really want to buy a 10 weeks’ supply and if so where would you store all those items?
Internet to the rescue
I read an article recently about a strategy you could use that would take most of the time and effort out of couponing. It’s to use a search-and-find system on the Internet and compile all of the coupons you need into one handy computer printout – before you go to the grocery store. While it may take you some time to develop such a system, it would be well worth it in terms of the time and money you would save. This article profiled one woman who applied extreme couponing along with a search-and-find system to trim $1000 in groceries down to less than $100.
The heart of the system
According to this article, the heart of the system is to apply manufacturer coupons to products when they are on sale and stock up. However, there are some other tricks you could apply. If you concentrate on finding coupons in electronic form, you can store them in a searchable database then use them when you want to instead of having to use them immediately. The fact is, once you open your eyes to potential savings, you will see there are products all over on which you could save money. One woman reported that she had been spending between $1100 and $1200 a month on groceries. When she became savvier about couponing, she was able to cut that nearly in half.
Good sources for coupons
There are an amazing number of sites where you can get coupons. And many of them are electronic, meaning that there is no clipping and sorting. Some of the best sites for coupons are www.retailmenot.com, www.coupons.com, www.smartsource.com, and www.couponcabin.com. RetailmeNot is different in that it is a community where couponers report if a discount code did or did not work for them so that you can quickly filter out bad deals.
Let other do the hard work
You don’t even have to hunt through these sites to find the best deals. You can let others do the research for you. For example, there is the Penny Pincher Gazette, which offers free membership and where you can quickly review the best deals –including even the best ones from your local circulars. The website www.couponmom.com is one of the most comprehensive available for grocery deals and other hard-to-find offers.
Not that tough
Couponing today is really not that difficult – thanks to the Internet and to electronic coupons. There are many online resources available that can do the work for you. Consider the fact that you could maybe free up as much as $500 from your family’s budget by couponing. And given this, is there any reason not to?