Get more bang for your buck by avoiding these coupon pitfalls

Get more bang for your buck by avoiding these coupon pitfalls

(KFVS) - Clipping coupons can save you money, but beware of these common coupon pitfalls that can cut into your budget's bottom line. 

Coupons can cost you when you use them at the wrong time. Don't cash in your coupons as soon as they fall out of the Sunday paper. Experts say it's better to hold them, and wait for a sale. Stores generally work on a 12-week sales cycle, and coupons are  usually good an average of 9 1/2 weeks. So when all the stars align your coupons and store sales come together for the better deals.

Coupons can also cost you when you use them at the wrong place. Shopping experts say you need to comparison shop because sometimes the item you have a coupon for is cheaper at a different store. 

Also, watch out: sometimes the paper coupon for a product is worth more than the digital coupon, and some stores won't let you use the paper if you've already downloaded the digital version.

Coupons can also cost you when you buy the wrong brand. Sometimes you can get another brand of the same product for a better price without a coupon.
Another common pitfall: buying something just because you have a coupon, especially if it's for a product you don't usually buy. That's because these items may wind up going to waste. Coupons let try products you wouldn't have otherwise, sometimes for free. But be careful thinking that you must use every coupon. It's not a deal if it's going to sit in your pantry and no one in your family will touch it. If you have never bought cumin before and haven't had a strong desire to try it, don't buy it, coupon or no coupon. One way to avoid this pitfall is to plan your meals weekly, and look for stock-up deals that truly matter to you and your family.

Finally, coupons can save you money, but only if you mind your overall grocery budget. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's actually possible to spend more than you intend, even with coupons. Avoid this pitfall by making sure to set and stick to your grocery budget. Consider using apps like Savings tracker to see exactly how much you spend and save in a given month. Try to focus most, or all, of your shopping on one day a week, and limit the number of small deal gathering trips you do each week. Those quick trips can really add up if you don't pay attention.

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