Is Coupon Use Declining?

Is Coupon Use Declining?


Is coupon use declining? Ever wonder whether coupon use is up or down? Whether you really do have to purchase more than one item to redeem most coupons? Are coupon values higher or lower than 5 years ago? And how are most coupons delivered into consumer hands? Where are most coupons redeemed? Which store redeems the most coupons in the United States?

This fascinating report answers those questions and many more: NCH Annual Topline US CPG Coupon Facts for Year End 2013.

Is Coupon Use Declining? Report
Couponing Acronyms & Abbreviations
Store Coupon Policies
2014 Sunday Insert Schedule (FSI)
More Library Topics (learn about saving money)


What Coupons Should I Clip?

What Coupons Should I Clip?


Following up on How To Begin Couponing, a commonly asked question is What Coupons Should I Clip?

My response depends on what the goal is for the person asking: hardcore couponing or reducing your food bill 20-25% while still being brand loyal, or just learning to coupon.

Why the difference? Well someone hardcore couponing is not going to care about brand loyalty at all. The main goal of a hardcore couponer is “If it is free, it’s for me!” And they want the stockpile to prove it. The goal is to never have to purchase anything for more than pennies again. While this goal is not always achievable (we all have to work with local market/retailer constraints), it is the goal. Many hardcore couponers will clip every single coupon in the inserts and file them for later under the heading “hey, you never know”. Printable coupons, due to ink costs, are done more judiciously.

If you are just looking to save a decent amount but are brand loyal, the task is actually more difficult. If you love, love, LOVE Jif peanut butter and will only buy that brand, you may have a difficult time of it. Jif seldom puts out coupons. On the other hand, Skippy puts out frequent coupons, is frequently on sale, and will have Catalina or mail in rebate offers. Unless you absolutely hate the taste of Skippy peanut butter, clipping that coupon and using it in conjunction with a sale might be a smarter buy than JIF without a coupon.

So until you have the chance to build you own Price Book and recognize reoccurring sales, what coupons should you clip or print if you do not have the time nor inclination to clip and sort every coupon in the inserts?

B1G1 Coupons

B1G1 coupons are great to use at the three major drugstores as they all run B1G1 sales and they all have a policy of accepting B1G1 coupons when only bringing two B1G1 items to the register. This results in two free!

High Value Coupons

High value is relative. A Glory 90¢ coupon is high value if you have double coupons to 99¢. This makes it $1.80 off each item. Others consider $1 coupons high value, or $5, or $10 coupons. Depending on your area store coupon policy, a high value coupon means different things to different people. Get to know your local store coupon policies!

Frequently Purchased Items Coupons

By frequently purchased I mean this: Your family seems to go through a ton of laundry detergent. Purex or Wisk or All may not be your favorite detergents, but they have $3 coupons so you clip them. Laundry soap is laundry soap (barring allergies), so clip those frequently used product coupons.

Many of the frequently used product coupons overlap the high value or B1G1 coupons category.

It will become much easier to decide what to clip as your price book becomes larger and you get a “feel” for what frequently goes on sale or sells at a low price. If you are concerned about throwing something away before that feel develops, well you can always use the lazy method of coupons organization and keep your inserts whole.

What coupons do you regularly clip?

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Price Books

Price Books


I was asked recently how someone could know what coupons to save and what goes on sale when? Good question.

To save the most money timing sales with coupons and stocking up until the next round of sales is the best way to shop. But how to you know when something will go on sale? And when it is on sale, how do you know the price won’t go lower next week? Well, you don’t unless you work for a grocer marketing or manufacturer marketing department. But you can make an educated guess by tracking previous sales with a price book.

What exactly is a price book? A price book was always a binder or book filled with the date, store, sale item, regular price (and/or regular price per pound), the sale price (and/or the sale price per pound) and the unit price per ounce. Here is a great example of a price book page from houseworksbook.com (which no longer exists). Today, many folks will keep track in an excel spreadsheet. Here is a great excel spreadsheet sample from cheapcooking.com. The excel spreadsheet can calculate unit cost for you (if you know how to use excel).

Some folks price book only items they use frequently or semi-frequently. Some post everything from a sale ad, and some post everything they purchase from their register receipts.

The negative to a price book is it can take years to notice a pattern, although you are hoping for results in a 3-6 month period. That is a long time to dedicate to a project. The payoff is huge, however. Imagine knowing exactly what and when something will be on sale in your area and determining if the price really is “a sale” with just a glance.

General Sales:

January is National Soup Month

February is Canned Food Month and National Snack Food Month, this ties in well with all the Super Bowl promotions and sales

January or February – Chinese New Year, Chinese foods

March is Frozen Food Month and National Noodle Month

Easter – ham, eggs
Passover – traditional Passover Seder foods

May is National Beef Month, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican foods and Memorial day, beverages, picnic items

June is National Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month

July is National Ice Cream Month, Independence day, beverages, picnic items

September is National Chicken Month, Labor day, beverages, picnic items

October is National Seafood Month and National Pork Month

November – baking holiday needs, turkeys

December – baking holiday needs

You can track national sales but it is always best to know what is on sale in your market and when. Some items will never be a great price for you. The ability to know what to buy and when is one of the best money saving tools you can develop.

Price book

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