Couponing: What Is It And How It Works From Harlem To Hawaii

When it comes to saving money, shopping is one of the most notorious daily activities that we find ourselves struggling to keep up with. You need to buy a lot of essentials, like groceries, rent/mortgage, and gas, but there are also plenty of non-essentials you can find yourself impulse buying, like entertainment, clothing, and things of that nature.

You can’t stop yourself from paying for the essentials because you need them to live a comfortable life, but you can cut down on the spending to help alleviate some of your budget concerns. You might think you need to cut out spending entirely, but that’s not exactly true. While it does help to slow down and reconsider that new coat, you can be frugal in other ways, and being frugal isn’t bad either.

What you need to do is start couponing. If you don’t know what couponing is, you’re about to learn a very important lesson in how to be a much more savvy shopper and your bank account is going to thank you endlessly for easing up on the spending.

What is Couponing?

The first question is what is couponing? In short, it is the practice of using coupons in a regular manner to help save money on products. The art of couponing is a lot more serious to some people and some people find coupons just a convenient way to save on one or two products. You don’t have to start out as an expert, because no one does, but it’s good to start collecting coupons for things you would find yourself regularly buying, like groceries and gas, and start to compile a record of how much you are saving. This is usually most peoples foray into the world of couponing, and from there, you can develop better strategies for saving money.

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Where Do You Find Coupons?

You likely know that coupons are found most commonly in newspapers or grocery store/retailer flyers, but that’s not the only place you can find them. There are plenty of websites that will allow you to collect coupons and there are even services that can connect with your web browser and search engine to hunt down coupons for easy use. You can still use physical coupons, but many people find this incredibly cumbersome to have to carry around cut out flyer paper to present to cashiers, not to mention that it can take a while to process. Your phone even has the ability to use QR code coupons or scannable bar codes that you can present which saves time and space.

Do Coupons Work Online?

100% yes your coupons can work online. As mentioned, there is an entire subset of couponing that is meant for online transactions and they work in similar, and often better ways than traditional coupons at the store. Again, there are plenty of sites dedicated to coupons and coupon codes, and this shein coupon code shows you how they differ online. Often referred to as a promo code, the alphanumeric code can be entered automatically or by typing it out at checkout, and they can provide easy to find deals and cashback rewards, among other benefits. So again, 100% coupons work online if you find them on sites that cater to couponers.

What Types of Coupons Are Available?

There are generally three types but they are broad ranges of coupons. They are:

  • Public
  • Private
  • Restricted

Public coupons are ones you would find in flyers online that are meant to attract as many customers as possible, while private codes are meant for existing customers, usually, as part of some kind of loyalty rewards program, to keep them around and using the coupons as a way of saying thank you. The restricted coupons are often a one-time-only use that is special for various reasons, like a surprise thank you or a limited run coupon. Within those three different types of coupons, they can range in BOGO (buy one, get one free), cashback rewards, rewards points, and stackable coupons.

As you can see, there are a lot of different ways you can save. The many different types of coupons allow for a much more flexible shopping experience, which helps provide you with a lot more options to get deals. 

How Much Can You Save With Coupons?

This depends on the types of coupons, the retailer, and the cost of the products in question. Most coupons will tell you something along the lines of “Get $4 off” or “Save 15% off” on them which helps indicate their value. This varies on the product, like $4 a $15 product will be less in total savings than 15% off of a $50 purchase. It’s all a matter of how much the product is worth and how good of a deal the coupon purports to be. This comes down to how well you can determine the actual value, but in most cases, you will be saving at least something.

It’s also important to note that the overall savings you can get from coupons depend on how many you are using. Stackable coupons can help add on to existing deals from other coupons, as well as stacking them on to products or items that are already on sale. If you have laundry detergent that’s on sale for $1 less than usual, combined with a 10% and a 15% coupon, you’re going to be saving a whole lot more than just the sale price. This works really well for expensive products too, as the savings get larger when the percent of the coupon is against a higher dollar value. All in all, saving money with coupons is about knowing how to use them, which means using them frequently, stacking them with other coupons, and finding deals to take advantage of. 

Being a frugal shopper shouldn’t be a bad thing, and in fact, many people who are millionaires have been found to use coupons and savings deals more often than the average person. Being frugal means using the resources available to make your shopping better for your bottom line, and that is why you need to consider couponing as soon as possible.

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"Dr. Harry Delany is a renowned Harlem born and raised surgeon, the son of the great jurist and civil rights leader, Hubert Delany...." This monthly post is made in partnership with Harlem Cultural Archives.

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