As soon as nomads settled and started trading with their neighbors, people have been trying to get the best deals possible. Even the Mayan people were well known for trading chocolate, a desirable product, for as much produce as they could acquire. For centuries, families have been searching for ways to make their money stretch. There is something very satisfying about being able to take items out of a store for less than the retail price.
Unfortunately, some negative attention has been given lately to people that choose to use coupons to bring down their grocery budget. Here is where the savvy shopper enters the scene. Instead of a cape and shield, the savvy shopper is armed with knowledge and tips to help save the day, or the budget. The following three tips for savvy shoppers will help anyone that wishes to transform themselves into the guru of savings.
The most important tip for a savvy shopper is to understand the types of coupons available. There are two basic types of coupons. These two types are referred to as manufacturer coupons and store coupons. Manufacturer coupons are released from the company that produces the product. These are the kind of coupons that most people are familiar with. They are found in the Sunday newspaper in glossy inserts. Becoming more popular are manufacturer coupons that are printed from the Internet. Web sites such as Coupons.com, RedPlum, SmartSource, and even Facebook offer manufacturer coupons that can be printed off at home.
Store coupons are released from the store for products that they carry. Target, Walgreens, and CVS are the three most popular national stores that offer coupons. That does not mean that local stores are exempt. Local grocery stores, automotive stores, and even florists frequently offer coupons for their businesses. Many times store coupons can even be added to that store's loyalty card, saving both ink and paper. The Internet has really brought savings to the consumer's fingertips with only a few strokes of the keyboard.
The importance in knowing about the two different kinds of coupons is instrumental in the second tip for the savvy shopper. In many instances, the two types of coupons can be combined to increase savings. This process is known as stacking. Target, Walgreens, and CVS all allow stacking. The savvy shopper knows how to pair a manufacturer coupon, a store coupon, and a sale to get the best price of an item that they are purchasing.
For example, a savvy shopper goes into the grocery store to buy orange juice. The Sunday newspaper had a coupon for $0.75 off of the brand that the shopper wanted to buy. That is a manufacturer coupon. The store's web site had a store coupon for $0.50 off of that same orange juice. By stacking the manufacturer coupon and store coupon, the savvy shopper just saved $1.25 for the juice she purchased. By using those coupons when the juice is on sale, additional savings are achieved.
Effective coupon usage is only possible when the savvy shopper knows the store's coupon policies. Items like stacking, doubling coupons, and using expired coupons are often detailed in the store's coupon policy. The policy can be found on the store’s web site or by stopping by the customer service desk. The savvy shopper always remembers that store policies change often. Getting into the habit of regularly checking the policy for updates and revisions is the best way to ensure that the coupons are being used in the correct manner. Printing a copy of the policy also helps if a cashier questions the coupons or the way in which they are being used.
The last tip for the savvy shopper is the best because it requires no coupons, no cutting, and no additional time spent organizing or planning. This tip simply requires a little knowledge and a storage pantry. The savvy shopper understands that grocery stores operate on a twelve week cycle. The prices of the items on the shelf will fluctuate up and down during that cycle. At some point in the cycle every product will be at its lowest price.
To better illustrate how the savvy shopper uses this to her advantage, please consider this example. The savvy shopper needs to buy cereal for her family. Cereal is on sale this week at the grocery store and she knows that the price is about fifty percent lower than what the cereal was selling for last week. That means that the cereal has hit its lowest point and will not be priced that low again for approximately twelve weeks. The savvy shopper knows that her children eat about a half a box of cereal per week, so she needs to buy six boxes of cereal to last until the price is that low again. The savvy shopper has just managed to save a considerable amount of money because the price of that cereal will continue to rise over the remainder of the cycle. While other people are paying higher prices for cereal, the savvy shopper is feeding her family items from the pantry that she purchased at rock-bottom prices.
Being a savvy shopper may take a little time, a bit of planning, and a little knowledge, but the rewards are tremendous. There are lots of ways to save money. These three tips for savvy shoppers are ones that can be used frequently to trim the budget, give back to the community, and plan for the future.