MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

April 15, 2014

How do you plan your shopping trips?

When it’s time to head to the grocery store, how do you plan your shopping trips?

Do you go through your store’s circulars? Do you go online to look for coupons for items you plan to buy? Or do you rely on someone else to help plan your shopping trip?

A 2014 study from WomensForum.com notes that more than 37 percent of coupon shoppers surveyed utilize coupon blogs to plan their shopping trips. What’s so alluring about coupon blogs, and why are they such a popular source of shopping information?

As the writer of a coupon blog myself (I blog coupon deals daily at JillCataldo.com), I can shed some light on this phenomenon. When I began blogging back in 2008, I wanted to create a how-to blog for beginners that would explain the basics of couponing, step by step. I began writing deal matchup lists explaining all of the items that were free or inexpensive with coupons at a variety of local and national retailers. I’d provide links to printable coupons and reference where newspaper insert coupons were located.

My goal was to create a tool for new coupon users where they could simply show up, read about the sales and print a customized shopping list detailing the prices they’d pay and which coupons to use. Now, after more than five years of blogging coupon deals, my site has become a community, too. New coupon users can ask questions (and there are no “dumb” or beginner questions – I happily answer them all!) and more experienced couponers share their own deals with the group.

Just as there are websites devoted to every topic under the sun, coupon blogs fill a niche. They’re a source of real-time information on breaking sales, new coupons and offers and general coupon news. Coupons as news? Absolutely! Understand that blog readers treat the announcement of a new coupon or a sale as newsworthy. Just as someone might follow everything their favorite sports team or celebrity does, coupon enthusiasts avidly follow sales and coupon campaigns. Think of your favorite coupon blogger as a news reporter dedicated to writing about your favorite brands and retailers every day, week after week. Our readers are devoted to shopping, couponing and moneysaving in general.

Coupon bloggers are a diverse group, and with the exception of some of the larger, national blogs, many focus on a specific city, area or geographic region. Finding a localized blogger can be extremely helpful in that the person writing the blog may be shopping at the same stores and chains that you do. Your blogger may include unadvertised sales that he or she spotted in store, and these are the kinds of deals that keep readers coming back for more.

My readers also love to share photos of their stock-ups and receipts, and they enjoy helping each other put together deals. I love signing onto my blog each day to see what scenarios my readers have put together and what great deals they’ve found.

If you’re one of the 63 percent of people not utilizing a coupon blog to help plan shopping trips, why not give it a try? Many of my blog readers feel that it’s much faster to scan through a list of deals that someone’s already prepared for them versus putting deals together on their own. They can be great tools when learning to coupon, simply because you have a virtual “friend” to hold your hand through the process and help you put shopping trips together.

Smart Living Tip: What’s the best way to find a local coupon blogger? Use a web search engine and search for a coupon blog in your city or general metropolitan area. If you live near a large city, you may find a variety of blogs to choose from. Everyone writes with her own style, so read a few and see which blog (or blogs!) appeal to you. And, of course, I’m always happy to have you on my blog as well, JillCataldo.com.

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