Adjusting your buying strategy can help you save

Adjusting your buying strategy can help you save


With America in a recession, we all should be looking for ways to cut costs. Clipping coupons is one of the easiest ways to save money. “You can reduce your shopping bills by as much as 30 to 50 percent with a few, simple strategies,” said Coupon Mom founder Stephanie Nelson. “Overall, a family of four can enjoy a healthy diet for $100 per week or less with some simple changes in their buying habits. … I like to say, ‘Clipping coupons is only for people who don’t like to throw away money.’” Here are some tips:


Use strategy

Use a shopping strategy, Nelson advises. Plan your meals and shopping list around what’s already on sale. “Most people go the other way, but you should plan your meals after you’ve sat down with the circulars. That way you can use your coupon on top of the sale,” a practice called stacking coupons, said Jeffery Strain, founder of Make sure your list is comprehensive, and don’t be tempted to buy on impulse.


Search deals

About 80 percent of coupons come from the Sunday paper, but don’t stop there, said Strain. Use the Internet to your advantage. Sign up online for manufacturers’ newsletters to get coupons for the products you know you will use. E-mail customer service departments to request additional coupons. Use Web sites like and that offer free services to help you find the best deals. Ask friends and family to save coupons for you.


Buy bulk

Purchase household staples like chicken broth, spaghetti sauce and rice in bulk when you find these items at rock-bottom prices. With a few weeks’ supply in the pantry, you’ll have enough on hand until the next sale. “This way you’ll never have to pay full price,” Nelson said.


Organize, organize

Learn to organize your coupons, Strain said. “If you don’t have a method to organize and find coupons easily, you’ll miss out on a lot of savings,” he said. A coupon organizer will help you know what coupons you have, when they expire and what stores have a good deal this week. Use whatever works best for you. Some common coupon organizers are plastic organizers with different compartments, recipe boxes, coupon binders that look like day planners, shoeboxes and envelopes.


Sign up

Utilize your grocery store’s loyalty card and fill out the mailing information so the store can send coupons based on what you already buy. “Understand the coupon policies for the stores in your area,” Strain said. “Coupon policies vary, and a store that has a good coupon policy can save you money even if their prices appear a bit higher.” You can register your store loyalty card at and coupons will be electronically downloaded to it.


Stack ’em 

Learn to “stack” coupons, Strain said. Shop for items that are already on sale, and use a coupon at the same time. Even better, combine the sale and coupons with a mail-in rebate for maximum savings. “If you’re a wise shopper, you can get things practically for free,” Nelson said.


Double check

Check the register to be sure you are not overcharged. Speak up immediately if the price isn’t right. Check your receipts for accuracy. If you’re already home, call the store, get the name of the person you spoke with and have the total readjusted next time you shop.