Does Couponing Save You the Most? — Supermarket Savvy
There are many strategies for savings. Some people buy store brands, others go to warehouse clubs. I focus on combining sales and coupons. All these methods work, but which saves the most?
Last month, Consumer Reports put them all to the test. They conducted an experiment, buying the same list of items four times: first buying name brands regardless of price; then store brands when possible; shopping at a warehouse club; and finally, combining sales, coupons and loyalty cards.
The result? When buying store brands or shopping at warehouse clubs, they spent about 2.5 times less than when buying brand names. Using coupons and sales, they spent about 1.75 times less.
So does this mean I’m wrong when I preach about sales and coupons? Not exactly. You can usually beat store-brand prices if you coupon on a name-brand sale — but, of course, you’ll rarely find that you have coupons for everything on your list and that it’s all on sale! At the same time, it’s also rare that you’d be shopping completely from scratch, like the Consumer Reports folks did; that is, week to week, you’re not shopping to fill an empty pantry.
I maintain that the key to even bigger savings is to build a smart stockpile (for more on that, click here). When you come across a great deal, buy extra to stock up. This is a strategy that Consumer Reports didn’t include in their study, but it’s how you’ll spend less over time (as opposed to a one-time-only shopping experiment). Also keep in mind that some stores offer coupons for their store-brand items, and most warehouse clubs accept both store and manufacturer’s coupons, so keep your option open!
Shop smart and save! Check out more tips on couponing and savvy shopping!