Coupons are a great way to save money — if you use them correctly. The first obstacle to overcome is forgetting to use them. Keep them in a handy spot, like in your wallet. If you have dry-cleaning coupons, pin them to the dirty-laundry bag. If you have one for a restaurant, tack it onto the fridge or in your restaurant guidebook. Here are some other tips:
Use them only for items that you normally would buy.
Otherwise, you’re going to start spending more money. If you usually go with a generic brand of corn flakes, don’t buy a name-brand box just because you can save 35 cents—unless the reduced price of the name brand will be less than the price of the generic (for the same size of product).
Don’t buy more than you intended.
Coupons are there to promote certain products and services. If you get a coupon for an oil change, don’t let salespeople pressure you into getting a tune-up and a front-end alignment, too.
Always read the fine print.
Make sure you know all the terms at the beginning. Keep an eye out for things like, “Not valid with other offers,” or “Mention the ad when placing an order.”