How good is your grocery coupon knowledge? Let’s find out.

1. What is the purpose of coupons?
A. To advertise a product.
B. To save you money.

2. There’s a coupon on 2 for 1 single serve candy bars. At what store do you use that coupon?
A. The store that has candy bars for 50 cents each.
B. The store that has candy bars for 88 cents each.

3. The store is having super double coupon sale up to $2 value. You have a 75 cents off coupon for a product that has a retail price of $1.25. How much will you pay for that product?
A. You will get a refund of 25 cents.
B. The product will be free.

4. If you prefer or need to cook from scratch or use homemade mixes, don’t bother with coupons. It’s all junk food.

A. True.
B. False.

5. Generic products are always cheaper than brand-name products.
A. False.
B. True.

6. You live in a market where some stores double coupons up to 50 cents and some stores take all coupons at face value. Where will you use the $1 off coupon?
A. At the double coupon store.
B. At the store that does not double coupons.

7. There’s a product you normally never buy because you think the cost is outrageous. Do you save the coupon for that product?
A. Yes.
B. No.

8. You have a coupon for $1 off a product. The smaller package costs $3, the bigger package costs $5. Which is the better one to use with your coupon?
A. The bigger package. Buying in bulk is always smarter.
B. The smaller package. The percentage off works in your favor.

9. Meat products such as hamburger, steak, pork chops, ham, turkey and chicken rarely have coupon deals available. How do you handle the cost of meat?
A. Use coupons for buns and condiments.
B. Buy your meat in “family packs” and split the product up into meal-sized portions when you get home.
C. Watch for the butcher’s specials and holiday promotions.
D. Purchase meat from the “grocery by the box” programs such as Angel Food Ministries.
E. Make friends with a hunter.
F. All of the above.

10. You’re finding a really good bargain on cereal. You have all the right coupons, the sale price is good, and you can even trade in some receipts or UPC codes for a rebate. How much cereal do you buy?
A. As much as the store will let you carry out the door in one transaction.
B. A three-month supply so you can start on an emergency stockpile plan.
C. Only as much cereal as your family will eat before the expiration dates come up.

Answer key:

  1. A. The purpose is advertising. The food companies and supermarket chains don’t care if you save money or not, although the fact you are saving money can result in good public relations for their company. They want their products off the shelves and into shopping carts.
  2. A. You only “saved” 50 cents instead of 88 cents. But the bottom line is that you bought those two candy bars for 25 cents each instead of 44 cents each.
  3. B. In most cases, stores double or accept at face value coupons only up to the cost of the product. If you want to get money back for buying products, you need to be adding other money-saving tactics such as rebates into the mix.
  4. B. The coupon mix depends on the season of the year. You will find “cook from scratch” products such as flour, sugar and spices promoted during the weeks just before Thanksgiving  / Christmas and Easter. Besides, the year-round coupon mix includes pet food, vitamins, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, toothpaste and pain relievers – products that most families use regardless of their taste in food.
  5. A. If you don’t use coupons or pay attention to the sales fliers, generic products will be better priced than the name-brand products. But save that trick for when you are caught off-guard by a necessary purchase. There have been many times when I purchased name-brand products for free or very huge discounts compared to the cost of generic products. But in order to do that, I am often making those purchases in advance of actual “need”.
  6. B. In most cases, you are better off saving the higher-value coupons for use at the stores that do not double coupons.
  7. A. If the only reason you don’t buy the product is the price, save the coupon. There may be a sale that will surprise you during the coupon run. Now, if it’s a product you would never use because you don’t like the taste or the results, then put the coupon in your giveaway box.
  8. B. Do the math per unit, ounce, serving size, etc. But in most cases, the smaller package is the one you want to put a coupon on. This is why warehouse-sized packages are not necessarily the best choice for a product that frequently has coupons in circulation.
  9. F. You want to use as many of those tactics as possible. All of the above tricks can work, but it depends on the week or time of year. Pay attention to what and how much meat you use on a monthly basis, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what meats to purchase and freeze for future use on when deals are available.
  10. C. Regardless of whatever the product is, do not buy more than your family will eat or use before the expiration date. The only exception is when you are intending to make a food pantry donation and will be donating that food or personal care product long before the expiration date.

What’s your score?

1 to 3 right answers: Is there a bargain-loving friend or relative you can “job shadow” on a couple of her grocery shopping trips?

4 to 6 right answers: You are on the right track. Make the effort to fine-tune your grocery acquisition skills and you’ll see the savings that the coupon queens brag about. I’m spending less per person on groceries, cleaning products and personal care items than I was five or six years ago – and I thought I was doing a good job then.

7 to 10 right answers: Oh, enlightened one. You probably have your own blog.

(P.S. Hello to the MSN Smart Spending readers!)

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