In the world of market research, marketing, and product development, businesses strive to better-communicate with their target demographic. Long story short, businesses want to know their audience because happy customers keep profits alive. Logically speaking, businesses will strive to keep as many people as happy as possible. (Use coupons strategically to score big savings on everyday purchases. See Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)
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So, what does this mean for consumers?
At any given point, the retail market overflows with deals, promotions, and bargains. There are so many options for coupon-clipping and personal finance that it's tough to narrow down your strategic choices. For this reason, it's important that you know yourself. Understand your personality and why certain products, promotions, and services appeal to you. Don't use a deal or coupon for the sake of using a deal or coupon because ultimately, shopping isn't a race for who can save the most money. Instead, embrace your personality and style to make the most out of what you already have.
What is your couponing style, and how do you make the most of it?
The laid-back and casual bargain hunter
Ultimately, you care about saving money, but you may not have the time or energy to spend your free time tracking bargains. You have a demanding full-time job, a family, and you might even be in school. Basically, you're financially comfortable, but you understand that you could be saving more. At the same time, you're not really motivated to sit down and clip coupons. If this sounds like you, you're in luck because the Internet will make your coupon search a lot easier. Whenever you make an online purchase, do a quick search for a coupon at the retailer at your choice, or, visit the websites that have helped bring you results in the past. Diversify your options by consulting a few different websites.
The coupon-code novice
If you're new to online shopping, you would probably benefit from some help. If you're wondering where to start, realize that you can really leverage social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to get some of your basic questions answered. For instance, Coupon Mountain's social media team strives to answer users' questions, no matter what they are. Consult more than one resource, and follow a few blogs. If you ask enough questions, you'll find the answers that you need. (Reducing the amount you spend is the easiest way to make your money grow. Check out 5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips.)
You clip coupons like it's a competition. You've mastered your savings strategy, and you continuously find ways to improve. More often than not, people are wowed by your ability to save. What you need is to immerse yourself is a community of people who are creative shoppers like you. Online forums and in-person groups like MeetUp.com can help push you to your next couponing plateau.
The pen and paper clipper
Start with a collection of blogs and websites that feature printable offers. Make sure to keep a diverse portfolio, and use a service like Google Reader to streamline the services into one place. Only print coupons that you know you will use so that you keep printing costs down, and remember that the price of ink will impact the value of your deal. You might want to see if your local copy center or library offers less expensive printing costs. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a highly efficient printer, be vigilant about conserving color, use low-quality paper, and buy after-market ink.
You like to shop where you can negotiate, and you like to negotiate as much as you can, especially when you're spending money on car maintenance and personal service. Unfortunately, online, prices are seemingly fixed. Not true! When you're planning to buy online, you should shop around for the best prices, and call customer service if you're ever in a position where price-matching may be an option. Shop on eBay where you can control your price, and remember to contact sellers to see if you can bargain-down prices.
The always-on-the-go mobile shopper
You're always on your feet, and your smartphone helps you make the most out of your down time. You work hard and you play hard, and there are never any in-between moments to sit in front of a computer. At the very least, you need a barcode scanner that will help you compare prices between retailers online. You also need an app to organize your shopping lists. On your phone, use an app like CardStar to organize your loyalty cards and club membership cards. If you like to shop on your phone, remember that you can still use online coupon codes.
The Bottom Line
No matter who you are, there's a couponing strategy for your personality. If you're limited on time, you can still save, and if you have a lot of time, you can save even more. Embrace who you are to find the promotions that complement your personality and lifestyle. There's something out there for you, and even five minutes of searching can help you find something worthwhile. (These common mistakes occur when you allow your emotions to take over. Refer to Top 8 House-Hunting Mistakes.