I honestly believe that you can do a lot more with what you have than you think you can. I hardly ever go to the store without a coupon now because I realize how much I can save. When I end up without one it feels painful. Will you have to put in some work? Sure but I regularly save $100-$250 on each grocery shopping trip I make. To me a couple hours of research time is well worth it. That’s like getting paid a minimum of $50 an hour. I wish my other endeavors paid that much! So how can you coupon most effectively to save you lots of money each trip? Here are my top five suggestions.
#1: Apps my Friend!
When you buy groceries at the store use coupon apps. I am not saying you have to go extreme couponer and go find ways to get everything for free. Honestly I didn’t find it worth it to be running to the store that often. What I do suggest is getting some apps that will pay you back for groceries. A lot of grocery stores have their own apps with customer loyalty coupons. Target and Smiths are two store apps I use frequently. Depending on what you buy other apps can be helpful as well. I have Checkout 51, Berry Cart, Saving Star, Coupons.com, KCL, and Shopkick downloaded on my phone right now. I don’t use them all every shopping trip but they are nice to have.
The number one coupon app I use though Is Ibotta. It has a large selection of cash back offers and pretty good bonuses. Speaking of bonuses sign up using my referral code, etmuvex. You will automatically receive $10 upon redeeming any name brand in-store offer. You will need to purchase your groceries and then upload a copy of your receipt but the couple minutes it takes is well worth it. After that every time you redeem certain rebates or a certain number of rebates you can get bonuses from 50 cents to a few dollars.
#2: Print Coupons
I know someone who doesn’t want everyone else to know that they are tight on cash so they don’t use print coupons. If this is you please consider whether it is more important to save face or save money. I honestly would rather be saving money most of the time. I usually redeem a handful of print coupons on each shopping trip. I just go to coupons.com before each trip and pick out things that are in the ad. I also print out coupons directly from manufacturer sites. It never hurts to check if the manufacturer has loyalty coupons.
The one thing I would say about the downside of print coupons is that you should have a good printer. If you only have a color printer that you can’t turn off the color on you will waste some money printing out your coupons. I started out printing coupons on my 2009 HP Photosmart printer. I save a lot more money now that we have a black and white only Brother printer (that I got for 50% off thanks to Krazy Coupon Lady). You should also take advantage of penny paper when Staples runs their deals. I use that to print most of my coupons out on and I love it.
These are the best because they are little pockets of unexpected savings. I once found kale chips on clearance for $1 with peelies for $1 off on them making them free. Peelies are the little stickers manufacturers put on their products before it ships to the store. You can often find products of the same type on the shelf but only some have stickers. This usually means they came in different shipments but sometimes things get mixed up on the shelves so if you see a peelie feel free to dig for another. Oftentimes retailers make their sales independent of peelies and you can score some pretty good deals.
Make sure you read the fine print on the back before stocking up too much. Some coupons only allow for a certain number of similar coupons per shopping trip. The most common limit is 4 like coupons per shopping trip but not all manufacturers limit the use of their peelies. For example my Smiths had Pepperidge Farms buns 2/$4 for a few weeks. One shipment of buns included $1.50 off one coupons with no limit per shopping trip. Guess who hunted through the shelf for the ones with the stickers and put a whole bunch of 50 cent buns in her freezer? Yeah that would be me.
You can find anything on the internet these days thankfully. I frequently use a blog called Crazy 4 Smiths that lists all of the deals going on at my local Smith’s grocery store along with coupons that are currently out that match the deals. It’s wonderful because it takes a lot of the work out of finding deals myself and often finds me ones I might have missed. I used to use Price Match With Rachel when I shopped at Walmart frequently. The bottom line is, find your favorite retailer and then see if there is a good blog that puts out resources specific to that store. Us bloggers are crazy and love to put out free resources for you. Use them!
#5: Use Customer Service
This may seem out of place but I swear almost every other shopping trip I find an ecoupon didn’t come off right or I had a print coupon for a certain amount that didn’t actually scan in. After you check out pull out of the aisle and review your receipt. If your receipt and your list of coupons don’t match up, don’t just give up. Kindly explain the situation to the customer service manager. At every store I have done this they have been more than happy to right the wrong and usually give me cash back for the extra I had to pay due to the error. Sure you have to get over some of your fears of looking desperate and talking to someone outside of your comfort zone but you can do it!
Couponing takes time but it can save you so much money I am constantly amazed more people don’t do it. Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed but make coupons a new habit and you will be surprised how fast savings ad up!
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