Unless you’re one of those rare coupon users that can get their hands on as many coupons as they want, there will come a time when you wonder if a deal is one you should use your coupons on, or if it you should pass it up in case an even better deal comes along.
When this happens, there are a few questions to ask yourself:
Are there preview ads? You can often see the ads for upcoming sales online. The forums for specific stores at A Full Cup are a great place to start. Check the ads to see if there’s a better sale around the corner.
Will the coupon make the item free or a moneymaker? My general rule of thumb is to go ahead and use the coupon if it makes an item free or a moneymaker. Maybe a bigger moneymaker deal is around the corner, but unless I know that for sure, I’d rather grab the sure thing while it’s available.
What’s my target price? I recommend everyone have some kind of price book, which is a record of the lowest prices you’ve paid. A price book makes it easy to determine whether a sale price is a “stock up” price that you should take advantage of. If the answer is yes, then consider:
How long until the coupon expires? If it expires soon, say within a couple of weeks, then you might want to go ahead and use the coupon now. On the other hand, if the coupon doesn’t expire for a long time, you might want to wait.
What is the sales cycle for this type of item? Some stores have predictable sales cycles. For example, there are grocery stores that have a great sale on pasta every six or eight weeks. Knowing the sales cycle can help you predict whether there’s a big sale coming up. Seasons and holidays also make for predictable sales. For example, if the coupon is for hot dogs and it’s May, you’ll know there will be upcoming sales for Memorial Day and Fourth of July barbeques.
How badly do I want/need the item? Most of the time, this is the deciding factor for me, especially if I will be going to the store primarily for the deal in question. Many times, even if the deal is a good one, I’ll decide that it isn’t worth the effort and time to go to the store. On the other hand, if the deal is for something I’m running low on, I’ll sometimes make a special trip to use my coupons.
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