Rachel Achmad

Does Couponing Save You the Most? — Supermarket Savvy

how to coupon


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!



2 Responses to “Does Couponing Save You the Most? — Supermarket Savvy”

  • Mike says:

    I coupon, but I really save when I am using the store discount card by watching what items they are offering at a deal each week that I can use that card on. And I never buy non store brands unless the sale price is cheaper than the store brand. And yes, I will compare before I buy.

    Much of what I eat is what was on sale that week, unless I have stocked up on some really good deals before that.

  • Naomi says:

    Excellent point. Part of the point of building a (reasonably sized) stockpile is that you can wait to buy a product until you can get the best possible price on it — and then stock up until the next time you get a great price. The experiment Consumer Reports ran didn’t account for that.

    In my experience, combining coupons and sales saves the most, although it does take some time to organize your system and build up a stockpile. Once you do, though, it’s great!

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