Many consumers are facing serious debt problems, where their day to day expenses simply can not be met, without cutting corners. Interest rates on credit cards from basic purchases, such as kids clothing, and weekly trips to the supermarket and basic medication as well as an inability to meet basic heating, electric and phone bills are forcing many people into filing for bankruptcy. Many consumers in debt have found a possible alternative to filing a bankruptcy is to cut costs, and doing so without cutting essential life necessities, such as you might be able to do at the grocery store, and drug store, through the use of a new concept called, “extreme couponing”.
There are no shortages of alleged “experts” out there who will tell you how to use coupons. The concept of cutting coupons has really hit the main stream. There is the Learning Channel’s Extreme Couponing show. Recently, I was even watching CBS’s “Two Broke Girls” television show and they were making a joke about getting “free money” by using coupons. However, the real trick seems to be not to buy things that you would not normally need or purchase, but to do so, when you have a coupon that makes it less expensive or even at no cost, which your family can actually use.
There are many ways that coupons can stretch disposable income. For example, locating the highest savings and combining those discounts with in-store promotions. Additionally, consumers who are using credit cards may want to consider limiting the use of certain cards and increasing the use of others with great rewards programs. By combining these various saving strategies, a consumer can drastically reduce their monthly expenses and make their money go further.
The best way to learn to coupon effectively is to start perusing the Sunday news papers advertisement section for coupons, as well as reviewing a few of the many websites out there that allow you to print coupons for free. However, you must go into it with realistic expectations. It is unreasonable to expect to save 95% on your each coupon shopping trip, or even more absurd is expecting to make money while getting your food and other products for free. However, you can get some great buys. For example, let’s say you go to your local food market and they have a deal, buy two cans of soup normally $2.50 per can for the price of one. You also have two coupons each for $1 off a can of soup. You now can buy both cans of soup, normally for $5.00, but only spend $0.50 for both. Taking this example even further, if the store has a double coupon policy, that could make your $1 off coupon worth $2. In this rare example, you could actually get your soup, and then have enough money back to eat some cake too.
Finally, in order to save the most money and cut your spending as much as possible, you must be diligent and very detail oriented. What I mean by this is, if a product rings up higher than advertised or the cashier misses one of your coupons, let them know, and make sure you get your deal.
By taking these and other cost cutting steps, it may even be possible to avoid having to file a bankruptcy, or at least put yourself in a better position once you come out of bankruptcy to stretch your income further then before.
The foregoing article was written by Michael Goldstein, aMassachusettsattorney who helps consumers with debt relief.