Die-hard couponers know all of the tips and tricks to saving money that most shoppers overlook. Many think bigger is better, but that’s not necessarily true. When you use a coupon, the smartest move financially may be to buy the smallest size possible. The savings are in the numbers: Using a $1 off coupon on a $2 box of crackers is a greater discount at 50% off than using the same coupon on a $4 box of crackers for a savings of just 25% off.
Still, how do so many couponers get items for free? It’s all in the fine print. Many coupons state “…off any product,” which often means there’s no size restriction. (Although, to avoid any confusion or frustration at checkout, it’s important to always double-check coupons for any size or variety limitations.) In this case, go for the smallest size allowable (often with the smallest price, too) and you could end up with a free item at checkout.
Of course, the best savings always come from combining a sale price with a coupon, which can also lead to a shopping basket full of free or greatly reduced items. For example, once every month or two, grocery stores put a handful of basic items on sale for 99¢. These usually include toiletries, such as toothpaste, shaving cream, liquid hand soap and toothbrushes. Find coupons that are a match, especially if your retailer doubles coupons, and you could walk away paying only sales tax on a cart full of household staples.
It’s also important to consider what you’re paying “price per unit.” Basically, what you’re paying per ounce. Retailers are required to post on price tags — usually in small print in the left-hand corner. The bigger the box, the less you’re paying per ounce, typically. The savings can often be quite significant. As a result, you might consider using your coupon on a bigger size. Yes, you might pay a bit more, but you’re, in reality, getting the best value. Check the “price per unit” on anything with multiple sizes, before you toss it into your cart.
Next time, you’re at the grocery store, become a shopping sleuth with notepad in hand: Review tags for sale prices, snoop every shelf for different sizes and pull out a calculator to ensure maximum savings. You can always find a great source of manufacturer’s coupons right here on Living on the Cheap. At the start of the month, there are always plenty of new savings to be found.
More tips from The Coupon Insider:
- The Coupon Insider: What’s Stacking?
- The Coupon Insider: Digital vs. Paper Coupons
- The Coupon Insider: No newspaper, no coupons?