Thursday, December 3, 2009

Couponning 101 - part three!!!

When is a deal not a deal?

Couponning is addictive... I think that the rush you get when you save more than you spend can be pretty heady, but is every deal really a deal?  And is it the best deal for you?

My top four tips in this instance are questions to ask yourself...

1) Is it free or does it make me money?
         If it's free or makes you money, its probably worth it if you don't need to make a special trip, and you either have space to store it or somewhere to donate it.

2) Do I need it and will I use it in the appropriate time?
         If it's not free, you are spending both your money and your pantry/fridge/freezer space on something - if you always use it, occasionally use it or have wanted to try it - its worth it.. if you're not sure, its probably a bad deal... its taking money out of your pocket and its not a deal

3) Can I get it cheaper at a future point or at a different store?
        If its a NEED IT NOW, this question doesn't pertain, but as you coupon you will learn the cycles that happen with products you buy regularly, stores will have a sale on some sort of cereal almost every week and that means your cereal will probably come up on special every 4-6 weeks- can you wait and stock up at the 'best' deal - which is usually a BOGO or at least a 40% off on most groceries
        As an illustration of good couponning I will give you an example from a few weeks ago... It was Harris Teeter triples week and I had a Betty Crocker $0.40 coupon which would triple to $1.20 making the $1.19 pouch of instant potatoes free - which would be a good deal... but I knew that at Publix, the same week they had the boxes (2 pouches) of BC instant potatoes and their Scalloped potatoes on BOGO from $1.59 so when you double the coupon to $.80 its also free, but you get more product for that non-expenditure

        So how do you know whether you are getting an OK deal, a GOOD deal or a GREAT deal?  It's all about becoming more aware of your shopping and purchasing habits - and a Price Book is a good way to make yourself more aware... it will also help you find your favorite stores rhythm for their sales...

4)     Related to the last question... am I buying the best value item?  Sometimes you have an open ended coupon that lets you buy any size of one item and many people would automatically look to either the largest or smallest item, but sometimes neither is the best deal.  That's where your price book and calculator can come in handy...

Read on for How to make a Price Book:

comparing apples to apples…

To really have a sense of what items cost you per store, create yourself a price book per store. This can help you determine trends in sales as well as cost per unit.

A handy way to keep a price book is in Excel if you have it. Take your grocery receipt and start entering! Most stores offer online shopping anymore and you can also use that for pricing the items you buy most. Include the following information on your price sheet:

Unit Price
(To figure Cost per Unit - Cost of Item divided by number of Units. For Example: $ 1.99/18 (ounces) =11 cents per ounce)

Most stores have a cost/unit price on their shelf price tags but it doesn’t hurt to double check new products with a calculator.

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