by Sandra Venneri, B.Sc., P.H.Ec.
Consumers often feel at the mercy of retail price tags. With increasingly unpredictable pricing, household budgeting can be tough. Become a smart shopper - take advantage of coupons!
Tips for Smart Couponing
Ø Know where to look. Find coupons on store shelves, online (mailed and self-printed), in magazines, flyers, newspapers and attached to products and samples. Search online for codes to type-in at checkout. Take advantage of loyalty reward point redemptions that offer in-store discounts. Find discount gift card and group-buying sites. Read the fine print. Speak up to ask for student, senior and employee discounts;
Ø Keep coupons organized. Use a simple envelope or small plastic file folder to organize coupons into basic categories such as food, household and pets;
Ø Plan ahead. Make a list of ‘necessary’ purchases based on sale prices first. Pair sales with coupons you have and mark those listed items to avoid forgetting to use coupons at checkout;
Ø Save coupons. If you don’t need to use a coupon immediately, wait to pair it with a sale price for even greater savings. Monitor expiry dates and check for minimum purchase rules;
Ø Share coupons. Start a group and meet once a month to share coupons;
Ø Take advantage of price matching. Some stores will match the advertised lower price from another store. Have the competitor’s flyer with you for proof of price-to-match;
Ø Use coupon etiquette. Organize items with coupons for the cashier to speed up check out. Do not remove coupons affixed to product packages you are not purchasing at the time.
‘A penny saved is a penny earned’ has literally become a nickel-saved today! And it’s easy to make that ‘dollars-saved’ through wise couponing!
Sandra Venneri is a Professional Home Economist with a degree in Nutritional & Nutraceutical Sciences. She is currently working towards becoming a Registered Dietitian at Brescia University College. Her passion for a holistic life is evident on her social media sites. Twitter: @nutritionbites8, Facebook: nutritionbitescanada and Instagram: nutritionbites. Sandra is the winner of the 2014 Ontario Home Economics Association Student Media Release Competition.