College students at Globe University need to know the importance of saving money, especially during and after college when expenses can add up quickly. Here our four easy ways you can save a few bucks even when you are not an “extreme couponer.”
1) Know Your Needs- Before going to the store, create a list of needs. This will help guide your shopping experience and hopefully prevent you from impulse shopping. As we run out of products at home, I place those items on a list. Also, before I go shopping I go through the cupboards to see if I missed anything on my list. Figure out what works best for you and your family.
2) Shop the Sales– One thing that saves me a lot of money is that I typically only buy something if it is on sale or clearance. On Sunday, many stores release a weekly ad you can view in the Sunday paper or on the company website. I recommend purchasing the Sunday paper as there are often coupons in the paper ads that are not available online. Wednesdays are also good days to get the paper due to again paper coupons that are not available online. Stores that typically have paper coupons or discounts include Target, Copps, JoAnns, Menards, FleetFarm, Michaels, Festival, and more!
3) Coupons– I am not a crazy coupon lady or an extreme couponer, but I am looking to pay no more than half of full price. This means when I go shopping I want to have saved more than I spent. I could probably dedicate a whole article to the art of couponing alone but I will try to make it short. There are manufacturer coupons and store coupons. I clip all the coupons from the newspaper regardless if I think I will use them and organize them into my handy coupon organizer. This is where knowing your needs comes in handy. I cross reference my needs with what is on sale and my coupons. If something is not an immediate need and not on sale I won’t purchase it. After you have your list of needs and manufacturer coupons, check out the store websites and ads for store coupons. You can pair store coupons with manufacturer coupons to save more money. The stores that I save the most at are Copps and Target as they both offer great sales and store coupons. Also, on Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays Copps will double the first five manufacturer coupons, occasionally they double the first 10.
4) Store Credit Cards or Membership Cards– If you are someone that is able to control their spending, store credit cards can be a great idea. Kohl’s for example is a great store credit card to have as you are at times eligible for special coupons. Target offers a debit card that withdraws from your checking account (no fees, no credit check) which allows you to save 5% of every purchase. Other stores, such as Copps, CVS, and Footlocker, have membership cards which can give you access to coupons and big savings. Check your favorite stores to see if they offer some sort of membership savings.
I will give a great example that brings all these steps together. At my house we eat a lot of cereal, particularly Kellogg’s. Last week Copps had a sale of $1.99 per Kellogg product (not just cereal but Pop Tarts, Nutri Grain Bars, etc.) but you had to buy six products and use the Copps membership card. Well I just happened to have a variety of Kellogg’s manufacturer coupons for $1 off two boxes of cereal. I also went on a Wednesday which means double coupons. The average cost for a box of Kellogg’s cereal is $3-4; however, I bought six boxes of cereal for about $.99 per box!
By Ashley Scott, Lead Global Citizenship Instructor, Globe University-Green Bay