Today, families are looking for more ways to save and live the “value lifestyle.” This new behavior is evidenced by the record high coupon redemption rates (9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and sixth consecutive quarter of increased usage, according to NCH Marketing Services, Inc. 1Q 2010 Coupon Market Quarterly Update) and savings trends noted across multiple industry studies and surveys. There is a new norm which includes a permanent shift in how we shop and how we save. Today’s shopper has a keen eye on value that is here to stay.
The average family can save at least $1,000 per year by spending just twenty minutes a week seeking coupons, savings, and deals from a variety of sources. As I meet shoppers and savers across the country, I am impressed by their great savings and ingenuity. How much you save depends on you. Consider these practical tips to spend less and get more:
1. Share savings with a friend: People are passionate about scoring great deals and word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find deals. What better source than a trusted friend?
2. Seek savings in print and online: Those achieving the greatest savings are clipping print coupons and clicking and printing online coupons. While grocery is the number one category for coupons, they are available across categories from dining to home improvement and everything in between. And be sure to search for coupon codes or free shipping offers for all of your online purchases.
3. Organize your coupons: Organize coupons the way in which you walk through the store—putting those expiring soonest in the front. The average expiration of a coupon in 2009 was 10.6 weeks, according to NCH Marketing Services, Inc. 2009 Coupon Marketplace Facts
4. Stock up on sale items: When you see an item on special that you use regularly, or a savings is featured with your loyalty card and you have a coupon, stock up— 66 percent of coupon shoppers say they are often able to combine coupons with other in-store specials, sales or frequent shopper discounts.
5. Easy access: Create a coupon envelope that lives in—and is always returned to—the car of the family’s main shopper allowing even the unexpected shopping trip be one in which you save.
6. Plan meals around savings: If you find a fantastic coupon, don’t dismiss it simply because the item is not usually on your list. Planning your meals at the same time as reviewing coupon offers and store circulars lets you take advantage of really great deals—and try new recipes. Many savvy cooks create meal plans based on what the stores advertise that week.
7. Double your savings: If your favorite retailer offers double or triple coupon values, shop on the days when you can get even more savings. Also, look out for daily deals at your favorite local grocer or restaurant.
8. Do your savings homework: Consumer research indicates big-ticket purchases require research. The Internet can help. Electronics, appliances, furniture, autos, and trips top the list of more expensive items that require planning.
9. Call manufacturer 800 numbers: Up to 35 percent of manufacturers only send coupons upon request.
10. Eating for free: Kids eat free (our three favorite words)! Many chain establishments have proven the old adage of no free lunch (or dinner) wrong, especially if you have kids. Full service chain restaurants continue to offer some pretty sweet deals in the form of kids-eat-free promotions.
Live the value lifestyle and you’ll rarely need to buy anything that’s not on sale. For more tips to stretch your budget, visit redplum.com.
By: Lisa Reynolds, “Mom Saver-in-Chief” for RedPlum