Mentor Library kicked off Money Smart Week with advice from Joe “The Coupon Guy” Daugirdas on how to save money.
1. Discount stores don’t always have the best deals.
Yes, the Marc’s and Walmarts of the world tend to have lower starting prices, but they also tend to have fewer sales and stingier coupon policies, Daugirdas said. Sharp shoppers can save just as much money (if not more) by using coupons at Giant Eagle and Dave’s Supermarkets.
2. Know a store’s coupon policies.
Not every store has the same coupon policies. Some allow double coupons. Some (like most warehouse stores) barely allow coupons at all. If you know a store’s policies, you can better plan your shopping trips and save. You can find most stores’ coupon policies on their website. And there’s another reason to visit department store or pharmacy sites. Many of them (like Rite-Aid) offer coupons or deals online.
3. Don’t let brand or store loyalty cost you more.
No one store is going to have the cheapest everything, Daugirdas said. And the difference between the expensive and inexpensive brand is not always obvious. Take Smokey Robinson’s advice and shop around.
4. Combine your coupons.
This tip falls under “check a store’s policy first,” because it doesn’t always work. However, you can often combine different types of coupons and sales to save more money. For example, if you have a store coupon and manufacturer’s coupon for the same item, use them both simultaneously. Some stores also have their own rewards programs (like CVS’s Extra Bucks.) You can use those too and save even more!
5. Keep your coupons in the car.
It will happen. You will see something that you want or need on sale. You even have a coupon for it, but you didn’t know it would be on sale so you left the coupon at home. Daugirdas recommends keeping your coupons in the car, so you never cost yourself money.
6. You don’t have to be an extreme couponer.
Daugirdas said he clips every coupon, just in case he needs it. But you don’t have to do that, he added. You can just cut the coupons you need. It’s still saving you money.
7. Get the most out of your gas discounts.
If you’re going to use your GetGo discount, use as much of it as possible. You can fill up to 30 gallons. Don’t have a 30-gallon tank in your car? Bring a gas can. (And use gasbuddy.com to find the least expensive gas station in your area.)
8. Follow Joe’s Facebook page and website for specific deals.
9. Here are some more sites that Joe recommends:
- restaurant.com (Go at the beginning of the month for the best deals)
- coupons.com (Get manufacturers’ coupons for hundreds of items)
- LivingSocial and Groupon (Discounts on everything from vacations to restaurants)
- VacationsToGo and MouseSavers (Vacations to Go helps you find less expensive cruises, while Mouse Savers searches for Disney discounts)
- KidsEat4Free (A website that helps you find restaurants that offer free meals for kids, usually with the purchase of an adult entree)
- OrganicDeals (Great site for finding discounts for organic foods)
- SavingStar (Lets you save money while shopping online or at the grocery store)
- IDine (Earn benefits when you dine out)
- GoTime (Specifically helps you find happy-hour deals)