You can’t get far on a savings journey before you run into someone advocating for the use of coupons. So, couponing to be debt free- is it possible? Yes! But it does take practice and can’t be the sole thing you are doing on your financial journey. Being financially fit means changing your life in many areas. Luckily, reducing what you spend is a big category that can help you save money and get you closer to your goals.
See related: 7 Financial Goals to grow your wealth
Let’s dive in to couponing to see how it can help you.
What is couponing
Couponing is getting products for less than their retail price by using coupons or discount codes. It is the process of applying the discounts at checkout to reduce what you pay for an item. You can find coupons almost anywhere, whether they be physical or online coupons or discount codes.
When people think of couponing they think of stacks of paper full of coupons. This is not the case anymore in the digital age where we have computer, phones and online resources. In fact, sometimes stores will even send out emails with coupon codes or discount codes for their store- you just have to sign up!
Best places to find coupons and discounts
Some of the best places to find online discount codes and cash back rebates include:
Benefits of couponing
The benefits of couponing are numerous.
First, you are looking for deals, so you will be less likely to spend money on things you don’t need. Now, this can also backfire as you may be tempted to buy items just because you find a coupon for them, so beware.
Second, it is a way to get your products for less, which means more money in your pocket! It also gives you an opportunity to try new brands and products without the risk of buying them at full price.
Third, you can also find coupons for things like restaurant and movie tickets, travel and more! Just make sure whatever you are purchasing fits into your budget and financial goals.
Couponing to be debt free can be a great way to reduce your spending. It is a great way to cut costs on groceries, household items and other items you are already buying each month. While couponing can be time consuming it can also help contribute to being financially fit.
Drawbacks of couponing
Couponing can certainly be a valuable tool on your financial journey, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, some coupons come with restrictions that may mean you’re not really saving money after all. For example, some stores offer ‘buy one get one free’ coupons for their products which means in order to get the deal you may have to buy more than you intended. This isn’t really an issue if you’re buying non perishable items you will eventually use like household products, etc. But if you’re buying two pairs of jeans when you only need one then you may fall into this trap.
Second, you are only getting the value of the coupon- often times this isn’t a lot. Especially when applying couponing to grocery shopping, you may find that a lot of coupons aren’t for a high value.
For example, you may get a coupon in your email for 20% off one product when the item is often only ~$5-10. This means if you are getting 4 products from this brand it can add up to be a good savings, but not enough to pay your grocery bill. However, if all you have to do is show the coupon at time of checkout or apply a discount code- those 5 seconds of effort are worth any savings you can get.
The biggest takeaway from couponing to be weary of is not to spend just because you have a coupon or code. Stores offer these for a reason, to draw customers in and have them spend money at their store. Pair couponing with your budget to keep yourself on track.
Related: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Something
Different types of coupons
There are many different types of coupons and here is a brief run down:
Store Coupons: these are the coupons that you receive in your Sunday paper or online. These include manufacturer’s coupons, which can be used to buy almost anything at any store but they must be for an unopened product.
In-store display coupons: These are coupons that the store has posted usually next to the product and they sometimes require a minimum purchase to use them. These can make products seems like a good deal but make sure you aren’t buying more than you intended.
Online codes: These are codes that you can enter into your online shopping cart to receive a discount. You may have received these as promotional codes from the company via email which you should only use if you were already going to make a purchase and wanted to save money on it.
Rebate sites and apps: These are sites/apps that allow you to get money back as a rebate after you’ve already made the purchase. Sites like Rakuten are very popular as you can make money off of items you already purchased.
How to start couponing to be debt free
Research what’s out there
As you begin your coupon journey, start by reading coupon blogs or watching YouTube videos which will give you ideas on the best places to get coupons and how to use them.
Grab your Sunday paper
Most of these sources are found in your local Sunday paper. Get creative, read through the ads and match items together that go well with each other for an even bigger savings. You may also find coupons online that you can print and use in stores.
Save your receipts and remember to check for manufacturer’s and store coupons
Make a habit of saving all your receipts, this way if you do come across coupon codes on the site or on social media you will be able to enter them into your account.
Be organized with your coupons
Stay organized when couponing so you don’t lose the coupons you have on hand and so you can find them easily. You can create a coupon binder or book, or download an app on your phone to organize your coupons digitally.
Know when to use which type of coupon
Make sure that store coupons aren’t expired and that online codes are for items that you were already planning on purchasing. Also, know that making a return of an item you bought can void your coupon code so make sure to keep your receipts just in case.
Seek out coupons that you actually use or will need
One of the main considerations when couponing is to make sure you’re using it for an item you will actually use. For example, if you do not bake often, hunting down coupons to buy baking utensils is essentially useless.
Be willing to try new things
Beware of brand loyalty with couponing. You may find that you can save more money or get better quality by purchasing something different than what you usually buy.
Track your progress
Tracking your progress is a good way to see how much you are saving so you’ll have a more accurate budget. You can do this digitally or on paper, just make sure to write down what the item is and how much it costs before using your coupons.
Couponing to be debt free: your financial goals
Couponing can be a great tool to help you with your financial goals if done correctly. Whether that be paying off debt or saving up for a vacation, using coupons to purchase items that you need can save a lot of money. Couponing is a time-consuming process but it can be well worth the effort especially when you see how much money you are saving.
Remember that couponing is just one tool, and combining it with smart spending and good money management will help you reach your financial goals.
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