So….you think you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, right? Well think again! You have to re-learn Coupon Math! When it comes to couponing and saving money you have to learn basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and percentages all over again!
I was left scratching my head and wondering how I had never understood the concept of coupon math until it was blatantly pointed out to me. We all have this idea that the way we shop and use coupons is how everyone else does it…unless you know how to coupon! And that’s what I am about to teach you!
Luckily Coupon Math is nothing like this mysterious math equation! And it is nowhere near this complicated or hard to understand. I just added this graphic to help us all keep the right perspective. It’s not easy to learn something new and I had a hard time with it until I practiced enough times to do it naturally. Now I can do Coupon Math on the fly while shopping and it feels like I always knew how to do it! So let’s get on with learning this new math!
Manufacturers put out coupons all the time but the key to saving the most money is to hold on to your coupon until a killer sale comes along and then use your coupon math and score some really hot deals.
I hardly ever use my coupons the same week I get them in the newspaper. I usually wait until the store has a sale on the item I want or need and then I use the coupon and I get the items at a savings of 50-80%. Sometimes the items will even be free or almost free with coupons! Imagine that….bringing home items from the store and all you used were coupons and you paid the sales tax!
Once you begin to coupon you will no doubt start scanning the store ads every week and after a month or two you will begin to notice a pattern to the sales cycles with each store. Let’s take two of my favorite coupon items to illustrate:
I purchase jars of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce and cans of Bumblebee Solid Albacore Tuna packed in water during the sales cycles at CVS. These items usually cycle every 6-8 weeks.
Let’s say that this week the Bertolli Alfredo Sauce is on sale for 3/$5.00. You can get three jars of the pasta sauce for $5.00 with the Extra Care card. And I also have coupons for this item…..a $1.00/2 coupon from the manufacturer.
The pasta sauce is already an incredible price during this sale and if I didn’t have a coupon I would definitely still purchase the items. But the deal is even better now that I have coupons so I can actually afford to purchase more or save more….however you decide to it.
I have a planned budget of what I will spend at the store and I prefer to purchase more items if possible but some of you may prefer to come in under budget and pocket the savings.
So let’s break it down:
I purchase (6) jars of sauce for a total of $10.00
I use (3) $1.00/2 coupons for a total savings of $3.00
I get (6) jars of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce for only $7.00. (We don’t pay tax on food items in Texas)
So I ended up paying only $1.17 per jar of sauce. One jar at normal retail price is usually $2.00 per jar so I saved 41.5% by using the coupons and waiting for a sale.
Sometimes you can find these items on clearance and so your savings would be even greater if each jar were marked down to only $0.95.
Before I learned how to coupon I would see the coupon and then check my pantry to see if I needed to purchase any pasta sauce. If I needed some this week then I would clip the coupon and use it without checking for a sale so I would have only saved pennies….which is better than nothing saved at all. But our goal is to maximize those savings so waiting to use my coupons with a sale is ideal.
Next example…let’s talk about that premium tuna. My local grocery store sells cans of the Bumblebee Solid Albacore Tuna for about $1.89 per can. Usually every eight weeks CVS will price these down to $0.99 per can with a limit of ten cans. You must use the Extra Care card to get this price and you can only purchase a total of ten cans during this sale.
You can easily sign up for the Extra Care card in the store and immediately use it. Be sure to stop by the coupon machine to get your store coupons and keep scanning your card until the reader says you’re all done and come back another day.
Without coupons this sale is already one heck of a deal at almost 50% off! But then let’s pair it with a coupon that is $0.30 off per can. I hardly ever see coupons for this product but I have run across a few and when I do have them we stock up like nobody’s business!
Back to the coupon math at hand here….I place ten cans of tuna in my cart and I am armed with 10 coupons for $0.30 off per can. Most manufacturers will only allow you to use four of the same coupons in one transaction so you might have to enlist the help of a family member to check out with you or make three separate purchases.
Bumblebee Solid Albacore Tuna (10) cans at $0.99 – 10 X $0.99 = $9.90
Manufacturer Coupon for $0.30 off per can – 10 X $0.30 = $3.00
So you pay a grand total of $6.90 for ten cans of premium tuna…or $0.69 per can! You can buy the regular chunk light tuna for that price but this is the premium stuff….the caviar of tuna!! And you literally paid less than half price for it!
That is savings of 64% for an item that you can rarely get for free. You will find that some items will never be free even with coupons so maximizing those savings is ideal.
Now you should begin watching for sales and checking out the coupon previews for the next week and if you see a coupon for this item or any item you want then you should stock up and stockpile it away!
Why stockpile you ask? Well…..let’s see…..if I purchase ten cans of this premium stuff for the same price as the chunk light tuna then I save a bundle of money. I also end up using less cans when making my tuna salad because the solid albacore tuna is so dense that I only use one can versus using three cans of the chunk light tuna. So my savings is even greater!
If I purchase ten cans at a time when the sales cycle comes around then I have enough tuna to last until the next sales cycle or even until I come across another great coupon paired with a sale.
Keep in mind that learning to shop in this way is a new process for most of us….but once you learn the technique you will end up applying it to all areas of your life that concern money. You will never pay retail prices again and you will learn to wait for the right moment to maximize your savings.
I offer paid Coupon Coaching sessions for anyone interested in getting some one-on-one coaching. I offer sessions on how to organize your coupons, match up deals with the store sales flyers, coupon stacking and we can take shopping trips together.
There are also many coupon groups on social media offering free classes and I highly recommend attending one. You can search them out online in your local community and they are a wonderful resource to utilize! Usually the only thing they cost you is your time or a donation item.
So what’s the difference between the free services and my paid services you ask? I am so glad you asked! I am a Certified Professional Life Coach and my training is intense and personal. It’s one-on-one, so you won’t get any interruptions from others or someone who might monopolize the class, (that’s happened a few times, right) and I am yours for the entire session.
You can pick my brain about anything you want to know about couponing or related to life coaching. I will share my tips and secrets and tag along with you on a shopping trip so you have an expert right there to guide you or answer any questions you might have.
I also coach on budgeting, finances, saving money, Money Saving Coupon Recipes or creative financing just to name a few. Click here if you’d like to read more in depth about my Coupon Coaching Services.
This post contains affiliates links to various advertisers. I may/will receive compensation from purchases made through my links or clicks to the ads. The opinions and recommendations to these products are my own. To see my full disclosure policy click here.