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How to Use Coupons Effectively

Extreme couponing is, well, extreme. But there is a way to trim that down so that the more casual couponer can still reap some benefits from this opportunity for discounts. If you are a fan of finding any way to save money, then you should get familiar with what coupons can do for your overall budget. Utilizing discounts to save cash can help you save for other financial goals such as debt reduction, a major life events, travel, or simply just to add to your nest egg. Regardless, who does not love saving money? Before you dive into this arena of money savings though, it would be beneficial to identify areas that will benefit from the cost savings you will experience. Having a plan for your saved funds will maximize the benefits associated with your efforts.

Budget

Comb through your existing budget and identify where you can afford to trim down spending, and how seeking out discounts to create extra cash can best be achieved. Areas like groceries, and other purchased goods are the most obvious choices here. But what might be less obvious are areas where you have outstanding debts, like credit card bills. You can get credit card debt under control by allocating extra funds each month towards paying down the balances on high interest cards. Interest rates are important to consider because that is what will really cripple your overall debt and repayment plans.

Depending on what your debt and credit card terms look like, taking out a personal loan to pay off a high interest credit card, then using the saved cash you acquire each month from your couponing to pay off that loan might be a good way to go. Keeping interest rates in mind, it is quite simple. You are lowering the total amount that you will pay back to a lender, because you are not paying as much interest. Getting your credit card debt under control will give you an opportunity to then build some true savings from all your efforts finding discounts and applying coupons to your normal purchases.

Casual Couponing

This term basically refers to beginners, or people who are not looking to create a stockpile because of their couponing. Causal couponing is more intentional and specific towards the needs of you and your household. The term also applies to seeking out and using coupons on products that offer you the most savings, although they may be less everyday than other products. The time commitment for this is light, but can yield significant savings, and once you have your own habits established, the time spent will naturally decrease. Before you really get into it, start by simply paying attention to the prices associated with the items you frequently purchase, and the places you purchase them from. This will highlight for you the difference between a good price, and a great one, which will help determine how to best allocate your time when you truly begin this process.

Try to create some boundaries for yourself regarding casual couponing. For example, spending money, even at a discount, on an item, or a quantity of items, that you simply do not need, is not money saved, it is money spent. Getting into a hole of discount shopping can end up costing you money if you do not pay attention, thus getting your further away from your goals of creating extra funds for yourself.

Use Technology

If you want to attack this plan with even less effort, look no further than your smartphone. You may already use and be familiar with apps that help you budget, and pay bills, but you likely did not know that there are also apps dedicated to providing consumers with discounts and coupons. Some of the more advanced ones can also become interactive in the way of you inputting information specific to your area, and frequently purchased items, and the app will teach you how to work these transactions to maximize your savings, this is perfect for beginners, or people who simply want to save the funds but not spend the time.

Technology can also give you as a consumer access to coupons that do not exist in paper form. Money saving opportunities in the form of rebates can also be available to you digitally that you might not even be aware of if you are simply clipping coupons from your mailers. Be sure to always read the fine print for any restriction, but online savings can also give you the freedom to shop online and be able to avoid having to even go to the store just to use the coupon. Another new addition to the world of coupons and discounts is websites that are designed to offer you items at a discount, or that help you earn points towards discounts simply by shopping through their website instead of a store directly. As you explore all these technological options, continue to keep in mind your personal bottom line though. Pay respect to your wallet, your budget, and your ultimate goals instead of getting caught up and potentially negating your original motivation for starting in the first place.

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About the Author

Lillie Byrd

Lillie Byrd is a saving expert for CouponKirin. He has been a newspaper reporter and editor, authored a personal finance book in 2012. She previously was a reporter at Digital Journal, covering consumer products, society, and other business topics. She also has a certificate in finance from Boston University.