COUPONING 101: WHAT IS COUPONING AND WHY SHOULD YOU DO IT?
Couponing. The word itself has the power to strike fear into the hearts of frugal-minded women everywhere. But here’s the good news: It’s really not that scary! That’s why I’ve decided to demystify this penny-pinching craft with a series called, quite simply, “Couponing 101.” So grab your scissors, because the lesson starts right now.
So, what is couponing? Quite simply, it’s any organized effort to find and save offers designed to help you save money on thing you might buy. These offers can exist in paper form (i.e. the traditional coupons your mother used to clip in the Sunday paper) or electronically. Electronic coupons, many of which can be printed, are the modern form of coupons found online or via the many smartphone apps at your disposal (more on apps in a future Couponing 101 entry).
What isn’t couponing? Good question. Couponing isn’t simply taking advantage of store sales – for example, a buy-one-get-one deal on Kleenex. Those are offers that any shopper can take advantage of (and you should, too), but it doesn’t require any forethought or effort on your part. Good couponing is hard work. I’m talking paper cuts, surfing the web for offers, and spending several hours scouring the Sunday circulars for deals. That’s couponing.
Alright, now that we know what couponing is and a little bit about what it isn’t, you’re probably wondering why you should even enter into the sometimes maddening world of clipping. The most basic answer to that question is to save money. How much money you save depends upon how much time you put into couponing. The more time you invest, the more money you’ll save. It’s that simple.
But it’s not all about saving money. Some of the most devoted couponers I know are what most people might call “rich.” In other words, they don’t need to save 25 cents on a can Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, but they do it anyways. Why? Because of the intangible emotional rewards that come with couponing. I’m talking about the thrill of finding a great coupon on something your family loves. I’m talking about the mini-adrenaline rush you get with each coupon the cashier scans at the end of your weekly grocery shopping trip. And, of course, I’m talking about the big adrenaline rush you get when you look at your grocery receipt and see that you saved $47.50 all thanks your hard work and determinate.
That’s why you coupon and, over the course of the Couponing 101 blog entries, I hope to arm you with all the skills you need to start experiencing those adrenaline rushes for yourself.