Does Clipping Free Coupons Make Sense?

It’s probably no surprise that more shoppers are using free coupons. We redeemed some 3.3 billion coupons in 2009 – a remarkable 27 percent leap from 2008, and the first year-on-year increase in 17 years, according to a report issued at the end of January by Inmar, a coupon-processing agent. Many people associate coupons with saving money. Yes, when used properly they can result in savings, however, there are 3 things to consider before you start clipping away.

First, ask yourself if this a product that you will use? By that I mean, just because you have a coupon for something doesn’t mean that you have to buy that product. Don’t get caught up in buying something just because you have a coupon for it. Using a coupon for a product that you don’t end up using will only waste your money.

Next, figure out if you can buy the product cheaper without the coupon? Manufacturers offer coupons for their name-brand products, as a way to get you to buy from them. Pay attention to what the product will cost after the coupon savings is subtracted from the price. Then compare this “after coupon” price to other similar products, especially generic or store brands. Many times, the discounted name-brand item will not be cheaper. Bottom Line - Using a coupon doesn’t guarantee the lowest price, or the best product.

Lastly, if you are going to use coupons, keep them organized in something like a coupon binder. This way, you will always have them with you, when you find a sale.

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