Maximize Your Coupons Savings

Now that you’ve gotten a little practice using coupons, are you feeling the hunger for more? The voice in your head is saying “Save more! Save more!” If you’re like me you get a little rush from seeing just how much you saved off your final bill. I always aim to “save” more than I spend, and I love seeing just how far I can get that balance to tip.


  • Double up on deals

First way to increase your savings? Get more than one set of coupons. Buy a double paper or use a clipping service for the really great coupons. Or maybe you noticed your neighbor tosses their inserts, ask if they’ll give them to you! Now when you see those amazing deals, you can get them in double or triple.


  • Know your sales cycles

If you’re really going to maximize your savings you’re going to have to take a step further than just pulling out coupons on your regular purchases. You’re going to have to learn to really shop the sales. You see, sales run in cycles, and if you know what those cycles are you can plan in advance to take advantage of them.

Many sales run in approximately 6-8 week cycles. This means every 6-8 weeks the item will hit a “rock bottom” price. The price will then increase again. It may come down in between to an ok price, but it won’t hit that rock bottom price again until the end of the cycle. What’s great for us is that many manufacturers put out great coupons that correspond to the sales cycle.

By using multiple coupons you can stock up on items while they are at the rock bottom price so that you don’t have to purchase while they’re at the higher price.

How will I know when an item is at the rock bottom price?

By using your online resources! Look for sites that show “percent off” listings - items at 70% off or more are considered rock bottom. Other sites will show rock bottom or stockpile price with a check mark, “stockpile”, or possibly a color-coded system.

You can also make a price book. Keep a small notebook with you when you shop and make note of the price of items you commonly buy. Monitor those prices over the next few months.


  • Seasonal sales

Items are also priced based on season. Consider seasonal fruits – during the off-season you’ll pay up to 5 times the seasonal amount. Why not stock up while they’re at the lowest price and freeze or preserve them to enjoy them in the off-season?

Here are some general guidelines for seasonal sales:

January – cold remedies, weight loss products, home storage, Super Bowl items, holiday and winter gear

February – Chinese foods (Chinese New Year), seafood and fish

March – Eggs and baking supplies, Passover specific foods, gardening supplies

April - Organic foods and cleaners, olive oil

May - Mexican foods, allergy medicines

June - Diary items

July - Picnic items (condiments, charcoal, marinades), back to school promotions begin

August - Back to school foods, summer clearance

September - Late season crops (apples, tomatoes, etc.)

October - baking items, candy, batteries

November - Thanksgiving foods, soups

December - Holiday/entertaining foods, Fall clearance


  • Buy on clearance

Food goes on clearance? It sure does! Doesn’t that mean it’s old or expired? Nope! Grocery stores are not allowed to sell expired or spoiled foods. There are times, though, when they need to deeply discount foods to clear the shelves:


Discontinued products or packaging

Some products are limited time items, which means the manufacturer doesn’t normally produce the items and will only offer so many units. You’ll see this a lot around sporting events and holidays. When the product’s time is up the grocer needs to free up that space for another product. They may discount any remaining units for quick sale.

Same goes for the release of new packaging. Lets say Doritos changes their chip packaging to a newer, flashier design. Once those new chips arrive everyone instinctively goes for them rather than the old design. Why? Because we subconsciously think the older packaging signals and old product. Reality is the original design chips are just as fresh, but the grocery will probably discount them to get them out of there.


Manager’s Special

Next time you’re strolling through your grocery store keep an eye out for a section that says “Manager’s Special” or something similar. Also, you may notice some items have a big, bright sticker on them with similar wording and a discounted price. This is found most frequently in the diary and meat section, as these items must be moved the most quickly.

Since stores can not sell foods beyond the “sell by” date it’s in their best interest to move items before they must be thrown out, even if that means selling for well below normal price. Well a meat or dairy item is a day or two out from its sell by date it will often be marked down for quick sale. This does not mean the item is no good – remember the sell by date is just the date it should be purchased by. Of course you’ll want to take a look and make sure there’s no indication of spoilage, just as with any other meat.

Manager’s special is a great way to get deeply discounted meats and cuts of meat you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Just remember to use right away or freeze quickly so it doesn’t end up in the trash.



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