Save Money Shopping: When to Use Coupons, Rebates and Buy Bulk

You read in the paper or see on TV that a woman has bought $500 worth of groceries and by using coupons, rebates and store sales she only actually spent 2 cents. Maybe an exaggeration here but you get the idea. I’ve tried hard over the years faithfully clipping coupons and scurrying to every sale while saving box tops and labels from cereal boxes. This is no easy task when actually trying to perform the tasks of daily life like eating sleeping and working. I’ve never had much luck myself but have come up with the following tips to help you save money and not come home with items you don’t really like or need.

Coupons:

Make sure the coupon you are going to use will really save you money. If you usually buy Charmin bathroom tissue and the coupon is for 40 cents off on a 12 pack then you have saved 40 cents but if you usually buy Angel soft and it is on sale this week for $1 less then Charmin you will pay 60 cents more to use the same coupon for Charmin.

A lot of coupons are for newly released products and if the product is something that actually sounds good to your family then by all means try it.

Pay attention to the coupons do you need to buy two boxes of cake mix to get one frosting free? If you don’t need two cake mixes then compare the cost of one cake mix and one frosting to the cost of two cake mixes to see which is the best price..?

Shopping the sales:

Does it really pay to dash from store to store buying only items that are on sale? That depends on your needs if you can get half your groceries at one store and half at another it will be worth the trip but if everything but one item is on sale at the first store then driving 2 miles to save 20 cents isn’t worth the trip.

Don’t buy things just because they are on sale unless it’s something you use often. Soda, canned vegetables and pasta are things that most people use often, but you probably don’t need to dash out and by 5 cans of coconut milk when you only make that special cake once a year.

Wholesale warehouses:

If you have a large family these places will save you quite a bit. A family of 6 will use a case of paper towel, or a giant can of corn and the 144 bags of lunch sized chips with no problem. Now check to see if those chips are priced less then they would be to buy them on sale at a supermarket or discount store. It all comes down to comparison shopping, that and it is very easy to get carried away in a wholesale or Bulk food store.

Beware the giant bag of chocolate chip cookies! I know you love them and they are so cheap but honestly do you need 4 pounds of them?

They will probably become stale before you eat that many and even if you freeze part of them you might just decide you never want to see another chocolate a chip again as long as you live.

Bulk food is for some reason very tempting to me. I always wanted to buy a giant bag of rice, or a bag of marshmallows you could use for a pillow. I personally avoid bulk food stores as I would never use that much of anything.

Another problem with Bulk food shopping is that it will cut down on your variety. If for example you go into this store and spend $300 you might come out with 15 or 20 really good deals on items but what about things that you need to have to complete these dishes? Are you going to have enough remaining in your wallet to buy sauce to go with the 10 pounds of pasta and brown sugar and milk to go with the 9 pounds of oatmeal?

Do you really want 10 pounds of pasta dishes? And how many oatmeal breakfasts can you stand? OK, so cookies and candy and meatloaf and bread and lots of other tasty items can be made with oatmeal. We’ll keep the oatmeal for now, but what I’m really trying to say here is think about your purchases.

Rebates:

Rebates will get a few bucks in the mail once in a while but I won’t buy a specific product just because of the rebate. I find filling out the paperwork and sending in the receipts and box parts is too much trouble for the couple of bucks you get in return. If buying a larger item such as a computer or stereo be sure that you can afford to spend the extra cash and wait for the rebate. This can sometimes take quite a while. 6 to 8 weeks might really make a difference when your car needs repaired and you are waiting on your rebate to pay for it.

Helpful Hints:

> Use coupons if you need the product.

> Only buy items on sale if you need them.

> Think about bulk purchases long and hard before you have a mass of something that goes bad or that you just plain don’t use.

> Don’t run all over town for 3 items this isn’t going to save you any time or money.

> Rebates are OK if you buy an item regularly don’t buy 5 boxes of Fruity Pebbles just to get a $2 rebate if you don’t really like pebbles.

> Use a list, make menus and be realistic when making your choices and you will come out of the store saving money.

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