Couponing is the best way to save money and end up saving hundreds of dollars as you go along. (Contributed photo)

Saipan Tribune is bringing back coupons or couponing to help you find the best deals and discounts on products, goods and services available in the CNMI—whether about items that you already buy or ones where you are waiting for it to go on sale. Couponing is the best way to save money and end up saving hundreds of dollars as you go along.

What is a coupon?

A coupon is a piece of paper that states the kind of discount that the bearer is entitled to. Cut it off then present it to the store when purchasing the product. It is an extension of your money to a degree.

Why resort to couponing?

It’s a simple and easy way to save money, especially during this time of the pandemic. At time when many are getting their works hours cut, are furloughed, or even let go from their jobs, saving money is equally important as staying safe and healthy to avoid getting infected with the COVID-19 virus. Couponing is a practical way to make your money—whether it’s your salary, your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds, or stimulus check—go the extra mile.

“Before the pandemic, I have been into couponing to save a dollar or two so that we can go on family trips and vacations. But now, my goal has changed. The savings that I get from coupons allows me to have money to spend on other items that are also important in our household,” said Gene Dineros, a wife and mother from Torrance, California.

“Couponing also takes away the ‘guilt’ when you are shopping. Whenever I go to the store with coupons on hand, it doesn’t feel like I am spending an arm and a leg to buy a product that I want or need,” she added.

Couponing is also a good way to encourage people to spend money and fuel the economy. “When people spend money, business owners benefit from it. They are able to pay for their operations and keep employees. Since we do not have tourists because of the pandemic, our economy solely depends on local residents,” said businessman Edgar Camacho of San Antonio.

For Cristy Burham of Denver, Colorado, she uses coupons to buy products for her family’s consumption and collect products and food items that they can donate. “Our favorite charities are Global Orphan Foundation and John Austin Cheley Foundation, both in Denver, and we use coupons to purchase items for our home and for donation. …One advantage of couponing that my family and I maximize is it allows us to help the community by buying items on discounts and give for donation,” she said.

“This is one of the best benefits of couponing, I think. Helping yourself and others. It also prevents hoarding. Just because an item is on sale does not mean you have to buy it and keep it until you are ready to use it. You can also share the blessing with others,” she added.

How to make coupons work for you

1 Get a copy Saipan Tribune regularly to score the best deals, especially if you have a product or item that you have been wanting to purchase. Try to hold out for discounts as coupons will be published once a month starting today.

2 Read clearly what is written on the coupon so you know what you are entitled to and how much discount the product is offering to avoid confusion when you check out at the cashier.

3 Know the market price of the product, goods and services you frequently buy or use so when one of those brands and company come out with a coupon, you will know that you are getting a good deal.

4 Coupons are not life-savers so do not depend on them to get savings. Stick to your monthly budget so that when a coupon for an item you use becomes available, that coupon will be considered like a bonus.

5 You do not need to use the coupons right away. You can hold on to them until you really need those items or wait until it is offered at a much lower price. Keep watch on the expiration date on the coupon though.

6 Make a shopping list so you can limit your shopping and use of coupons based on that list so you do not spend extra money on items that are not your priority.

7 Couponing can be a family activity. Ask other members of the family to join you in cutting off coupons. This means a good bonding time and interaction can be had by everyone.

8 Organize your coupons. Once you cut them off, categorize them by, say, a chore—like laundry where you will need laundry soap, bleach, fabric scent, or a fabric softener. You can also categorize the coupons by a recipe that you intend to make for lunch or dinner. This way, you will know you are getting maximum discount in one or two aspect in your life.

9 Take a note of the savings you get from the coupons. The $1 or $2 off may be small but when you add them all together after a time of couponing, you might be amazed at the hundreds of dollars you have saved. This is for your own personal satisfaction and assurance that you are doing the right thing.

10 Use the coupons that you need and, for those that you don’t, try sharing or giving them away to someone who you think will use it. You do not only save for your own household, but you help others as well.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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