Coupons are an essential part of saving money, but it's important to look beyond the transaction to the end result. When you do, each individual savings decision becomes an exciting and necessary piece of your journey. In honor of National Coupon Month, the Savings.com DealPros share 10 simple strategies that will help make the process more fulfilling and, ultimately, successful!
Set tangible goals
- It's been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It's difficult to achieve your money-saving goals if you don't define what you are saving for and why it matters to you.
- Make a tangible reminder of your goal. Whether it's cutting out pictures for the fridge, placing a countdown on your smartphone or creating a spreadsheet to track progress, it's important to keep a visual reminder of exactly what you're working toward.
Have a family meeting
- Saving money should never be a solo project, if you can help it. Get together as a family (even if it's just you and your spouse) to clarify what you're saving for and to define how everyone can take part in reaching your goal!
- If your goal is a large purchase or a family vacation that may take a while to attain, be intentional and celebrate small successes along the way. Perhaps have a frozen yogurt night once a month! This will help everyone stay focused, keep little ones excited and prevent savings burnout.
- Find the best time of year to travel. If your destination is New York City, you might want to avoid going during the holidays. Instead, opt for the value season at the end of summer or after the New Year — you'll save 50 percent (or more) off hotel rooms. Going to Disney World? Travel in September, and you can often get the park's Dining Plan for free (and take advantage of much shorter lines).
- Find the best time of year to shop. Every category of goods has a "prime time" to buy. For example, shop for large-screen TVs in October, not in late January (right before the Super Bowl). In the market for a new car? Wait until the end of the calendar year, when dealers are not only trying to clear the lot of last year's models but may also be more inclined to slash prices in an effort to reach their sales goals.
Where you shop makes a difference
- Don't just look for deals on what you buy — consider add-ons. Whether it's an extended warranty or a room upgrade, researching where you shop can make a big difference in the overall value of your purchase.
- You might not think to look for travel deals from your warehouse club membership or theme park discounts through your home insurance, but those deals are out there! Ask for a membership benefits book from groups you may already be a part of, including insurance, health care, credit cards, cultural organizations and AAA.
Use available tools and resources to get started
- Today, there's a variety of ways to coupon, and the key is to find the tools and resources that best fit with your lifestyle. If you're always on the go, take advantage of mobile coupon apps like the one from Valpak — which shares discounts on local restaurants, businesses and entertainment. Before purchasing bigger-ticket items, seek online coupon codes, which offer deals on everything from electronics to travel.
- There's no better time than now to start saving. Beginning today, visit www.ReasonsToSave.com for money-saving tips and information on a "10,000 Reasons to Save" contest that will award one winner $10,000 to jump-start his or her savings efforts.
More on saving money
The art and science of couponing
Frugal families: 15 Ways to save
How to raise money-smart kids