Couponing's Best-Kept Secrets:

This week's Super-Couponing secret may surprise you because it goes against just about everything shoppers believe about saving money and shopping. Are you ready for a head-scratcher?

Secret #5: Smaller-Size Items are Often a Better Value

Yes, you read that right. Buying the smaller size of a product, with coupons, is often a better deal than buying a larger size of the same item. When I teach my coupon classes, this statement is almost always met with disbelief. I completely understand why, because it runs contrary to just about everything shoppers believe. To get the lowest price, we are very conditioned to buy the largest size of something - the "family size" cereals, the "value-pack" of refills or just the largest package we can find. It does seem that you'll need to buy that item less often if you buy a larger size - but you're also likely to spend much more than you need to.

When we have a fairly high-value coupon, applying it to the relatively lower price of a smaller-sized item will often result in a significantly lower per-ounce cost. I know that this surprises many people. It surprised me, too, as I became a more experienced shopper. Over time, I noticed that many of the items I was able to bring home for free or for pennies were usually in smaller-sized packages than their so-called "value" or larger counterparts. Adding to the confusion, the larger packages often tout in big, bold letters that they are the better buy!

A few examples will help you understand why this works. A certain brand of aluminum foil is on sale at my local store. The 70-square-foot box is $3.79 and the 20-square-foot box is 99 cents. With a coupon that states "$1 off any aluminum foil," I have my choice as to which size box I'd like, the larger or the smaller. While my dollar coupon will, indeed, give me a discount on the larger box, the smaller box will be free. And I prefer free any day.

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