A few years ago, one of my friends told me she thought my enthusiasm for clipping coupons to use whenever I went shopping was a waste of time. Today, she has joined my quest and her enthusiasm easily matches mine.
Coupons have become a real blessing to modern families that find themselves caught between higher prices for necessities, and an ever-shrinking, or in some cases, non-existent paycheck.
You don’t have to turn into a fanatical shopper who refuses to buy a single item unless he or she has a “cents-off” coupon for the purchase, but you can, by spending just a few minutes a day, end up saving yourself many dollars at the super-market checkout counter.
If you are among those for whom the economy is not looking so good these days, why not start a coupon club in your neighborhood, church group, or school?
Your group will have fun visiting togetheras they thumb through piles of newspapers, magazines, and mail advertisements, clipping those coupons they want for themselves along with some to share with others in the group. Soon group members will learn what members of the group are looking for and pass along coupons for those items to them. Left-over coupons can be filed in a community box that any member can pick coupons from before and after the meetings. One member may volunteer for the job of keeping the surplus coupons filed in good order, or all members may serve as the filer for a month at a time. It is really helpful if the filer is able to use a highlighter to mark the expiration date on each coupon, to make expired coupons easier to spot and discard.
Group participants may also agree to take turns being responsible for simple refreshments if your group meets in the evening, but having each person bring their own drink and a sack lunch may work better for daytime meetings.
Keeping track of the savings made by the group for a month at a time is a great activity, and will remind the members of how much coupons really add up to in real cash savings.
In our family, we use a lot of “buy one, get one free” coupons, especially for vitamins and restaurants. “Cents off” coupons are also favorites, and some supermarkets offer to double the value of cents off coupons, making your savings even better.
In addition to reaping great benefits for themselves, members of your group may come up with new ideas on how to help others through their coupon clipping. Some groups I have heard of have packaged left over coupons after each meeting to be delivered to a local mission or day care group. You might even call ahead to see if there are particular types of coupons they can use. Coupons for dog and cat food, and litter are a real help for elderly persons who own pets while struggling to get by on fixed incomes.
And don’t overlook entertainment coupons where one free admission is often offered with one paid one, or where free popcorn or soda is offered with each movie pass purchased. If someone offers you a free coupon deal, take it even if the item on the coupon is not something you would normally use. Just look around you, and you will probably find someone who can benefit from your unused coupons. Spread the word about the savings offered by using coupons. You might even want to supervise a group of teens who would like to start their own coupon club. Coupons abound for clothing, make-up items, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Teach kids to be thrifty with what money they do have, whether it comes from an allowance or from a part-time job. Believe me, they will thank you for it when they become self-supporting adults.
As you can see, the opportunities are endless. Get your group up and going, and by this time next month, you should all be sharing stories of exceptional bargains you have found. And, in addition, you should be noticing that the money you do have seems to be going a little further than it did before.