Wednesday, September 16, 2015

To Coupon or Not to Coupon (And How to Get the Ones You Want)

I admire those coupon queens who can go into a grocery store with a fistful of coupons and come out with a hundred dollars worth of groceries for twenty bucks. I sometimes think that would be nice, then I remember how scarce coupons are for store brand rice and generic salt.

Okay, I'm being extreme, but if you buy basic food and cook from scratch, many of those "money saving" coupons are worthless. Why buy a package of dried fruit "roll ups" with a coupon worth 50 cents off when you can make your own for free from found fruit? Or why buy three cans of cream of celery soup and save another 50 cents when you can make it for much, much less with the last bit of almost gone celery?

Sure, there are times when coupons are great. True confession: I will only use organic or raw milk. There are no coupons for raw milk since grocery stores aren't allowed to sell it here, but it's easy to find coupons for organic milk and other dairy products, and it really helps lower the cost of these items.

Go to the manufacturer's web site of whatever product you like to buy the brand name version. Many times the manufacturer will have coupons on their site. If they don't, sign up for their newsletter and you have a good chance of getting some through that. Another tactic is to simply email them and ask politely. If that doesn't produce a few coupons, email and praise their product (you do like it, don't you? Else why would you want to buy it?). That will often yield results. At the same time, put the word out that you are looking for those coupons and who knows? Maybe someone will remember you when they run across them.

Use the coupons that make sense, but really think about them before you use them. A
sk yourself if you could make the product cheaper than you could buy it with a coupon. You might be surprised at how often the answer is yes.

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