Times are tough. Everywhere you look, there’s economic downturn, contentious geopolitical trade relationships, and a growing sense of helplessness amongst the economically immobile. Despite this, ingenuity often grows from the rubble of uncertainty. Those who are smart know that they need to adapt, and for the willing few, coupons can be a lucrative way to take back control over your finances.
Coupons offer mutual benefits for both consumers and commercial entities. They get more people through the door, while you shave money off of your bill, simultaneously boosting their revenue and stretching your funds further. Unbeknownst to many, coupons are more versatile than the average shopper would think. Read on for a variety of hacks to get the most out of your coupons.
1. Advance your coupon acquisition techniques
Coupons are everywhere, you just need to know how to find them. Two of the most common places to find them include online and in print publications.
When it comes to finding them online, look for sites with a good reputation and varied offerings, like CouponDad.net. Coupons have been moving online and to mobile devices since the turn of the millennium, though with this change has come unmanageable levels of spam. A good coupon website functions like a database, cutting through the fat of illegitimacy, and bringing agency back to the consumer by giving them the ability to search for specific coupons.
Print publications can also be a treasure trove of savings. Establish which publications have the most lucrative coupons and make a habit of buying them, or get a subscription (provided their coupons are worth the subscription costs). Further, some businesses may let you have unsold Sunday newspapers, giving you access to multiple coupons.
2. Familiarize yourself with the coupon subculture
Much like the art of learning how to save, you need to learn the vernacular and the underground subculture of couponing. Some terminology and acronyms include:
- BOGO: Buy One, Get One Free
- FPC: Free Product Coupon
- Peelie: A coupon attached to packaging to be peeled off
- C/O: Cents off coupon
- OYNO: On Your Next Order
With this knowledge under your belt, you will feel more confident connecting with other couponers online. In these communities, you can share coupon leads, give tip-offs about coupon-friendly retailers, and brag about your savings. Support and competition are a healthy way to drive your savings even further, and contribute to a sense of empowerment in the community.
3. Fight for your rights
Every couponer has experienced a reluctant business that refuses to accept a coupon. There could be an acceptable reason for it, or it might be possible that they are genuinely unfamiliar with the promotion, but most of the time, you’re the victim of a cashier’s belligerent power trip.
How to deal with this is to ensure you always have the business’s coupon policy printed and kept with you in a binder. Make sure that you also have the link on hand to prove that it reflects the latest, up-to-date version online.
Two important pointers: Firstly, always plan to be met with resistance, this way you will plan accordingly and won’t be caught off-guard. And secondly, always remain polite and respectful. Losing face will only damage your cause.
4. Pick your times
Purchasing items with coupons is inevitably going to take longer than a regular purchase. You have to present and explain the coupon to the cashier. As most consumers actually prefer to pay full price rather than navigate more complex price structures like that of coupons, they likely won’t have a lot of sympathy for your time-consuming payment methods.
With this in mind, peak shopping hours are a terrible time to redeem your coupons. While you navigate your myriad discounts, the people behind you probably just want a few light groceries after a long day at work. Pick a quiet time, ideally during the day, and if a situation gets difficult, take it upon yourself to keep the mood upbeat.
5. Buy in bulk
Coupons incentivize you to spend, and often to spend more than you normally would. This is not inherently a bad thing, so long as you understand your consumption habits. As a smart, savvy couponer, you need to play this game to your advantage. Don’t buy things when you need them, buy them when they are cheap. This works best with essential items like toiletries or non-perishable food items.
6. Only buy what you need
You are going to come across many great discounts as a couponer, sometimes for things that you don’t actually need. Even in the face of great savings, be careful only to buy it if you truly need it. Consumers are tempted by lower prices even in the event of reduced quality or lack of necessity, so it is best to avoid that trap to refrain from diminishing your hard-earned savings.
For some, coupons have become an economic necessity. For others, they have developed into a fun pastime or hobby. Regardless, it’s almost a certainty you could be using coupons more efficiently. From learning how to collect them, to immersing yourself in the culture, knowing your rights, and making smart consumer choices, you can maximize your savings while getting as much as you can out of the system.