How to use coupons to reach your financial goals

1. Get More of Them 

Start off by purchasing an extra copy or two of the Sunday paper. Clip everything you buy, and then do some swapping with your friends on the products you each use. Sign up for loyalty programs at your local grocers to get additional savings mailed to you. 

Join (for free) any of the many online coupon aggregators, which often have specials on things you won't find in the paper. For certain brand names, coupons can be difficult to come by, so go directly to the manufacturer's website and you just might find printable deals. Or better yet, don't be afraid to shop atdiscount grocers or try generic - often, you won't even notice a difference. 

2. Organize Them
 

Develop a system for keeping track of your coupons, so they don't expire. I always put mine in a binder organized by date, but you can choose whatever filing system works best. Some people even store them by the date of the the entire Sunday insert to cut down on managing individual coupons. If you're going to dive into this, do it strategically. 

3. Know When to Use Them
 

If you have great coupons burning a hole in your wallet, this may take a little willpower. To get the most for your money, wait for "double days" - the one time of the week your favorite grocers double manufacturer coupons. Problem is, it may be different days for different markets. But it's worth the wait. Sometimes it pays to hold on to a coupon for a while until you can partner it up with a sale price. And if you want more money in your pocket at the end of the day, remember to stick to the program. 

If you have awesome discounts on things you really don't use, avoid the urge to buy them. Purchasing something just because you can get it at a great price is wasting money rather than saving it. And lastly, learn from the pros, and read up on how the best couponers make timing-is-everything work for them. You're sure to pick up some tips. 

Final Thoughts
 

Once your couponing program is in place, track your costs to see what you saved for the month. Then reallocate the money before you spend it elsewhere. Beef up your traditional or Roth IRA, or put some money into the kids' 529 college savings plan. To further the process, set up automatic payments to a new savings account devoted to something specific, like holiday presents. 

Coupons represent a huge savings opportunity both for families and single people. Do it right, and you'll meet those financial goals that much quicker. 

How have coupons helped you reach your financial goals? 

David Bakke writes about couponing and strategies for saving at Money Crashers Personal Finance.

(Original article: Savings.com)

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