Thursday, March 20, 2014

Realistic Couponing - Step 1: Changing your mindset

I love saving money. If I could steal a slogan for myself from a tire store, it would be name brand at discount prices. Couponing makes good sense, apart from the extremists who buy rooms full of cat food and have no cats. I think that's just silly. But when my friends come over and see my shelf full of detergent, they always say, "I should start couponing, but I don't really have the time." or "I don't know where to start." or "You can't get good deals on good food." To which I say BLASPHEMY! All those things are untrue, which is why I am adding this to my blog, because let's face it, a writer's life doesn't pay that much.

Step 1 - Changing your mind set
To start your savings, throw brand loyalty right out the window. You are now loyal to the products that are the cheapest. You are no longer buying Coca Cola. You are buying soda. You are no longer buying Pantene ProV you are buying shampoo. Understand? The benefit of this is you get to try new products, and some of them you might like better than the ones you used to buy. Others, not so much. And this my friends, is why we stockpile.

If you really have to have your Coke, wait for it to become the cheapest soda, and then buy the maximum the store will allow. The next day, go back and do it again and the next, until the sale ends, or you have amassed enough Coke to carry you to the next sale.

Now this is where the coupon naysayers will say, "But I don't have room to store it."

Of course you do.

Your rent. Your mortgage. These are bills that will not change. (unless you refinance, take on a roommate, whatever, but for the most part, they are static.) So let's say your rent is $1000 a month, and in your apartment, you have two closets that roughly make-up 5% of the living space. You are paying $50 a month for those closets. Now what is on the bottom of those closets? Junk? Old clothes? Do you really want to pay $50 a month to keep old clothes around? Because that's exactly what you're doing.

Now as I said, there is nothing you can do about getting that $50 back, unless you sublet your closets to very small people, but you can make better use of it. The best deal I've gotten on soda is 4 12-packs for $10. Regular price for soda is at least $4.00 per 12-pack, so...

Sale Sodas = $2.50/12-pack or $.21/soda
Full Price Sodas = $4/12-pack or $.33/soda
Savings: $1.50 or $.12/soda

If you buy 34 12-packs of soda at the sale price, you have saved $51.00. If you can fit those in the bottom of your closets, you've just made those closets profitable. Got it? Take a second look around your house. Now do you have some extra space?

If maximizing living space isn't doing it for you, think about this. You and I drink the same exact soda, but mine is $.12 less. Every delicious ounce you drink is a penny more than mine, and I didn't do anything special to get it. I haven't spent any extra time. Haven't clipped a coupon, I just bought more when it was on sale.

That should get you started. Next, we'll talk about the weekly flyer: the couponer's second best friend.

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