Buying on a Budget


Many families struggle to make ends meet during America’s current economic crisis. This doesn’t just included mortgages, car payments, insurance, and medical bills, but also other necessities such as food and toiletries. One way to help stretch your dollar is to use coupons. The key is to know when and when not to use them.

First off, never use a coupon just because you have it if you will never use the product you are buying or it isn’t a necessity. That’s just a waste of money. Also, if the coupon is for a name brand product, check the price of the generic brand. If the generic brand is still cheaper than the name brand after the coupon is applied, then buy generic. Some coupons can be used together, such as manufacturers’ and stores’ coupons. Make sure you check the store’s website you will be shopping at because sometimes coupons can be found there. If not, in some places like Family Dollar, there is a little newspaper in the front of the store promoting their current sales that usually has coupons in them too. The best way to use coupons is to find something that is already on sale that you have a coupon for. Just be sure to read the fine print on the coupons and to ask the cashier for a copy of their store’s coupon policy so that you can avoid problems at the register.

Second, you don’t have to buy a subscription to the Sunday paper or coupon websites to get coupons. Some products even have coupons on them, such as: “Get $1 off now”. Again, make sure that you are receiving the product at a lower price then the generic brand, and if so, get it. You can even check the inside of boxes of items that you have already purchased because some have coupons inside or printed on them. For instance, I received some Febreeze coupons in the box my vacuum came in. Another way is go to newspaper vendors on Monday and see if they have any leftover Sunday papers. Sometimes they will give them to you for free, which means free coupons! Keep scissors handy in your purse when you know you will be waiting in lobbies, such as the doctor’s office. There are usually magazines for you to look through, and if you ask, they will most likely let you have the coupons in them. Also, there are many coupon websites that do not require you to pay to register and receive coupons. I will list a few at the bottom of this blog. You will need a printer though, but if you do not have one, check your local library. See how much printing costs, and if you have to spend a lot less to print the coupons than what they are worth, go ahead and do it. If not, wait until you can find enough online coupons you can use that will save you much more than the printed pages you are paying for.

Lastly, although going out to eat is more expensive, sometimes it is necessary when you are in a hurry, or just a nice something to splurge on since you need food for nourishment anyway. In this case, keep those coupons you get it the mail for fast food restaurants. Usually, they come in the weekend mail and are from fast food joints close to your area. For instance, I get ones from Pizza Hut, Burger King, Hardee’s, and CiCi’s Pizza. Just remember that you do not need to use all the coupons before they expire. Once they do, a new set of coupons will arrive at your door in a week or two. I would also suggest that you use the coupons that have the best deal for the amount of people you need to feed. Since you can only use one coupon per order, go for the one that will feed your entire family, or have one person order with one coupon, and another family member order the rest with another.

Speaking of food, if you buy your groceries at Kroger, always check the back of your receipt for coupons. I have found discounts for oil changes and 10-15% off my favorite restaurants, and there are much more. Also, the cashier will hand you coupons if you spend enough money, so look through them and keep the ones that will help you save on items that you buy/need. Other stores print discounts on the back of their receipts, so always ask for your receipt and check the back.

All in all, these are some of the best tips that I know to find coupons and use them. If you know of any more, please feel free to comment and share the information with everyone else!

Coupon Websites:

About Nicole Kramer

Nicole Kramer is a student at WVU, majoring in English and planning to continue her education to receive her master's in Public Administration. Her hometown is in Webster County, West Virginia, where she grew up in poverty, as many from the county do. She is concerned with issues in the state such as poverty, welfare, and assistance awareness and money-saving information for the public.

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One Response
  1. Nicole Kramer says:

    Just a new thing to let you know: Kroger gives you 10 cents off gas for every $100 you spend, but Giant Eagle is 10 cents off per $50 spent. They also have coupons that print out at the register, but they are separate and there are not coupons on the back of your receipt.