Many readers of Wichita on the Cheap are interested in learning more about saving money with grocery coupons. I’d like to give an outline of the basic concept and address a few common questions here.
Stacking, Matching, and Stockpiling
Stockpiling is buying more of an item when it is really cheap. Experienced couponers think ahead and try to purchase a quantity that will last their families until that item goes on sale again (usually about 3 months). That does not mean you have to buy 800 bottles of sports drinks, unless your family all plays for an NFL team. You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to stockpile, and you don’t want to try to accumulate a stockpile all in one grocery shopping trip. You’ll go broke! The point is to save money with coupons.
Matching and stacking The best way to save with coupons is to match coupons with a sale. Sometimes buying a name-brand product with a 35¢ coupon is still more expensive than just picking up the generic version. But if that name-brand product is on sale AND you have a coupon, you could be getting a great deal. Keep an eye on the store ads to see what’s on sale each week, and browse the printable coupons here at Wichita on the Cheap to see if you can find a coupon to match.
Stacking means using two different coupons on one product–for example, combining a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon–to get the best price. The opportunities to stack coupons seem to be decreasing, but keep your eyes open. They do come around once in a while! It’s important to remember that just because you get a coupon from a store doesn’t mean it’s a store coupon. Some of the ones that print out at the register will say “Manufacturer’s Coupon” along the top. That’s not a store coupon, sadly.
Couponing requires a time investment. I’ve experienced seasons of my life where I’ve had to sacrifice some savings at the grocery store just to get everything done in a day. However, I’ve also met single moms who have 3 kids and 2 jobs and still find time to clip and organize and shop, so I know it can be done.