Pssst! Have you heard about the new superhero on the block? He’s called Captain Coupon and his mission is to ensure that you never pay full price for anything ever again.
Of course, Captain Coupon doesn’t really exist and you certainly don’t have to squeeze yourself into a neon suit to be like him. Yet, no matter how much Captain Coupon tries to save the day, debt can, unfortunately, be a reality for those who live beyond their means.
In Australia, an increasing number of people are realising that money-off coupons are a small but smart way to make genuine savings on groceries, household necessities, and even luxury goods. Coupons have really come a long way, and they’re starting to deserve a lot of attention.
Up until a few years ago, discount coupons were something that you would associate with elderly relatives, scrabbling around in their purse for a coupon giving them five cents off a can of beetroot. There is even a show on US TV called “Extreme Couponing”, which shows real people saving thousands of dollars just by using coupons. While some of the tactics on the show have been openly criticised in the media, here are some smart, everyday tips for using discount coupons that will leave you with more money in your wallet every week.
Organise Your Discount Coupons
One of the most overwhelming parts about getting started with coupons is staying organised. If you watch any episodes of “Extreme Couponing,” you’ll quickly see organisation is what sets these money-savers apart. The more experienced discount shoppers have binders, folders, and entire systems for organising their discount coupons.
While you don’t need to dedicate a whole section of your home to organising your coupons, it does pay to stay on top of things. Why? Most discount coupons have an expiry date. If you don’t use them in time, they just go to waste. In addition, if you’re just sticking them in a drawer or out of sight, you’re not likely to actually remember to bring them to the store. Organising your coupons, whether you use a binder, a folder, or an app on your phone, will help you keep track of all of your savings.
Check Your Shopping List
Once you have an organisational method that works for you, you need to get in the habit of looking at your coupons before heading to the store. Take stock of your coupons on a regular basis, and pay attention to the ones that are expiring first.
When you create your weekly shopping list, compare it to your stock of coupons. Is there anything you can get at a discounted price? Also, plan ahead for your grocery shop. While food often needs to be used right away, things like toiletries, beauty products, pet food, and so on can be purchased in advance. Stock up when the savings are high!
Ask for Your Favourite Coupons
Did you know you can actually ask brands for coupons? Brands and manufacturers love to hear of ways they can improve their products and consequently make more sales. If you have a favourite product which could be improved, let them know via social media. Your opinions may earn you rewards.
Similarly, if you have a product you love, don’t be afraid to let the company know. Tag them on social media or simply write in on their website. If you share why you love the product, many manufacturers will send you either free samples or coupons. Score!
Buy in Bulk
While you might not be able to find everything on your shopping list at a discount, you can still land big savings by buying in bulk. This mostly applies to non-perishable items. Stockpile that washing powder or must-have toiletries when you notice they are on special.
Costly items, such as toothpaste and shampoo, can really add up in the long term, unless bought as part of a promotion. If you buy more than you need, consider sharing with your friends or family or even donating to charity.
Find Coupons Online
In the past, most coupons were found in newspapers, catalogs, and retail stores. Today, you can find hundreds of sites dedicated to helping smart consumers find the best deals. They do the hard work for you so you can reap the savings!
The way discount coupon sites like Oz Bargain and Buckscoop work is by having a search engine which compares prices across retailers. Shoppers can then choose the reward they want, such as discounts or cashback. Some of them also offer commission for referring friends and allow you to set alerts on your smartphone for the bargains you are most interested in. This also comes in handy during the holiday season when you’re shopping for gifts.
Use Discount Coupons When Eating Out
Eating out can be a big drain on your monthly budget. For many years, the Entertainment Book has been helping Australians eat out in a more cost-effective manner. This platform shares the best deals on dining, entertainment, and travel.
Another option is to join your local restaurants’ mailing lists. Many places will offer specials like free meals on your birthday or kids eat free nights. Don’t forget you can also use The Entertainment book to buy discounted wine, which you can then take along to BYO restaurants. Captain Coupon is bound to approve of this!
Invest in Home Storage
There is no point in coming home with so many groceries you can feed your whole suburb unless you have a large enough freezer to hold it all. Ensure that you know exactly what you have in the pantry, as excessive buying may mean you end up spending more money than you would have saved with discount coupons.
Since coupons can be addicting, it’s easy to buy more than you need. It’s important to avoid food waste as much as possible, so make sure you’re being realistic with your discount shopping.
Always Check Your Receipt
Many large supermarket chains will have fantastic offers marked at the shelves, but may not have updated their point-of-sale software to reflect the discounts. Always be vigilant and check your receipt before leaving the store. You may even notice items, which have been charged twice to your account.
It pays to be aware of how much you’re spending. Keep a mental note (or use a calculator on your phone) of just how much you’re spending while shopping. Double-check at the register if you’re not sure whether a discount went through. These little actions will really make a difference.
Make the Most of Discount Coupons
We all know that shopping habits have changed over the last ten years. One of the major retail disruptions was the arrival of cheaper supermarket chains who have challenged the presence of some of the major names. People are also becoming more conscious of supporting local traders or farmers who can offer some great discounts by dealing with the consumers directly.
Despite what you see on TV, discount coupons do not have to be used excessively. However, if you take 15 minutes every week to seek out one or two bargains, this could result in you making some genuine savings from your household budget.
A surge in the cost of living has affected a great deal of people in Australia. Shopping blindly with your credit card without looking at the price can lead to long-term issues with debt. Even small things like grocery shopping can add up over time.
If you find yourself dealing with unmanageable debt, speak with us today. We’re here to help! Our consultations are free and a member of our friendly and professional debt solutions team will explore all your options with you and help you find the best one to suit your needs. Give us a call now on 1300 368 322, chat with us online or fill in the enquiry form below to arrange a call.