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When you are new to using coupons, nearly everything is new. You’re learning store policies, you’re learning what kind of coupons are available, you’re learning new lingo…..new, new, new!
It’s easy to get roped in and think, “Oh! I have a coupon for that – it must be a great deal!”, but sometimes a coupon does not equal a great deal.
So, how do you know when you should stock up?
1. Keep a Price Book
This is a little intricate, but some swear by this method.If you have an item you purchase all the time (probably more than once a month), start keeping track of the price of that item in the stores.
You could use a spreadsheet to track, or just a notebook. Whatever works for you! This is a great tool to have to look back at historical data, but not the best if you’re just getting started.
2. Look at how much percentage off the item is
With coupon deals (minus meat and produce), I typically try to hit savings of at least 75%. When you’re combining a store sale AND a coupon, this is where you’re going to hit this percentage.
Plus, with the dawn of digital rebates, be sure to watch for CHECKOUT 51, IBOTTA, SHRINK, SNAP, SAVINGSTAR, and MobiSave to save even more on TOP of that.
For meat and produce, I look for around 50% savings off of the usual price. If I can find meat on sale for a couple of dollars per pound, I stock up (a lot!). Produce is generally around $1 per pound as well – except for Bananas. I look for $0.30 per pound or less to stock up on Bananas.
3. Consider the number of items you would normally get for the price of one.
If you would normally spend $10 on Household Cleaners each week and they are on sale for $2.50 this week – buy 4. That allows you to get ahead. This is just another version of the percentage rule.
Once you have been using coupons for awhile, you’ll start to easily recognize stock up prices. Most stores cycle through sales about every 12 weeks, so generally once during each three months, the item you are looking for will hit rock bottom price.
Stock up for as much as your family can use during that three month period.If you don’t want to have to do all the tracking yourself, consider our list of Holiday clearance items that you can stock up on.