Personal Finance

How To Coupon

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 15 minute read

More than $8,000 was spent on food and personal care goods by the average American household in 2019. For many families, that’s a sizable chunk of their annual income. With food prices growing and inflation on the rise, it’s unlikely that expenses will ever go down.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of options for cutting costs on food and other necessities. Shopping at lower-priced grocery stores and purchasing seasonal vegetables are two good examples of cost-saving strategies.

Couponing, on the other hand, is the ideal way to maximize your savings. You may save a lot of money on groceries and other necessities if you know how to extreme-coupon and make the most of every dollar you spend.

Extreme couponing, on the other hand, does not need to take over your life. Extreme couponing systems and game plans may help you turn coupons into one of your most potent money-saving weapons.

How to Save Big on Groceries by Using Extreme Couponing

Using a manufacturer’s coupon with a retailer’s coupon on the same item is possible, as you may have heard.

A buy-one-get-one-free promotion also allows you to utilize two coupons. An extreme couponed works hard to find the best discounts possible. If you can obtain three or four deals at once, why not?

However, extreme couponing does not necessitate magic, but it does demand a lot of patience and practice. You’ll be able to save more money without having to make couponing a full-time career if you use these methods to improve your talents.

  1. Gather Coupons and Deals

You’ll need a lot of coupons, but you don’t have to go overboard. Getting many copies of the same coupon allows you to optimize your savings if you come across a deal.

You may also collect coupons of various forms, such as percent-off coupons, cash rebates, and manufacturer coupons. Then, when shopping, you may mix and match them to optimize your discounts.

Consider coupons to be currency; you’ll be using them like cash, so collect as many as you can. You can look in numerous areas.

Watch the Sales Ads

On regular-priced goods, couponing saves money. However, if you want to save the most money possible, you need to keep an eye out for retail bargains and sales.

The weekly fliers from your local grocery shop are your greatest source for finding out about sales. It’s easy to make a grocery list and a menu based on what’s currently on offer thanks to flyers.

Online grocery shop flyers can be found by visiting the websites of particular grocery retailers. A piece of the weekly flier can also be found in certain grocery retailers’ mobile applications.

You may also use the Flipp app to aggregate weekly flyers from over 2,000 retailers. Shoppers may use Flipp to check out the weekly advertising from a variety of different retail outlets to discover the best deals.

If you find a good offer, keep it in Flipp’s app and present it to the cashier when you check out in-store. To price-match a better bargain, you can utilize Flipp because it allows access to other retailers’ fliers.

Join Loyalty Programs

Joining retailer loyalty programs is another way to discover discounts and store promos. Numerous shops provide loyalty programs to encourage customers to return. Food markets are hardly an exception. Some major supermarkets with customer loyalty programs include:

  • Albertsons
  • Food Lion
  • Hannaford
  • H-E-B
  • Kroger
  • Meijer
  • Publix
  • Stop & Shop
  • Wegmans

Additionally, you may open a debit or credit card with some firms in order to receive benefits. You may save 2% on Kroger products and receive additional fuel rewards with Kroger’s rewards debit card, for example.

The Capital One Walmart Rewards card, on the other hand, allows you to receive 5% cash back on all purchases made on Walmart.com and the Walmart app, as well as 2% cash back on all in-store purchases.

So, see whether any loyalty programs or rewards cards are offered by the businesses where you do the majority of your shopping. The more coupons and cash-back benefits you can locate, the more successful your extreme-couponing goal becomes.

The Sunday Paper

You may start collecting coupons quickly by using coupon inserts like SmartSource and Procter & Gamble as well as local advertisements. In order to obtain the best deal, buy as many copies as possible.

There are some extreme couponers who spend money on several newspaper subscriptions in order to collect even more coupons. Alternatively, if you’re resourceful, you can typically find additional copies of newspapers for nothing.

Cafes and dollar shops, for example, sometimes have discounted Sunday newspapers for sale on Monday. The added step of calling a recycling facility in your town and asking whether you may pick up newspapers there is also an option.

Coupon Sites

There are a plethora of online coupon services that have databases of printable coupons for anything from grocery to household necessities. Among the most popular coupon websites are:

  • Coupons.com (also has an app)
  • RetailMeNot (also has an app)
  • Lozo
  • Kellogg’s Family Rewards
  • SmartSource
  • Betty Crocker
  • Pillsbury
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Valpak 

Coupon Apps

Instead of wasting time and money printing out paper coupons, mobile coupon applications allow you to store digital coupons on your phone. Using digital coupons at the grocery store is as simple as showing your receipt to the cashier.

Coupon Sherpa is one popular couponing app with a free database of thousands of coupons at any given time. With Coupon Sherpa on Android or iOS, you’ll be able to search through hundreds of retailers for discounts and locate coupons depending on your current location. 

You don’t have to worry about forgetting coupons when you go shopping because you can save them directly to your smartphone.

Like many coupon-printing websites, Coupons.com also has a mobile app that provides access to cash-back offers, digital coupons, and online promo codes for dozens of retailers.

In addition, there isn’t a minimum cash-out amount. Once you’ve accrued shopping points, you’ll be able to pay them out using PayPal. Store loyalty cards like Kroger and Meijer, for example, may be linked so that qualified purchases result in cash back incentives being automatically accrued.

SnipSnap, a free coupon app, also contains a database of coupons. Using the app, you won’t miss out on local specials or expiration coupons because the app sends you reminders.

The best part is that SnipSnap lets you scan a paper coupon and submit it to its database, allowing you to use the digital version right from your smartphone or tablet.

Grocery Pal and The Coupons App are both popular coupon applications. Some retailers, like Target, also have a deals section in their mobile app where you can find coupons and store promotions.

Grocery Rebate Apps

Rebate applications, like mobile coupon apps, allow you to earn cash incentives. As a result, the finest rebate applications are linked to shop loyalty cards, which means that when you buy a product that qualifies, you’ll receive a rebate.

Ibotta is one of the top rebate applications. Thousands of merchants participate in Ibotta’s cash back program, including:

  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Family Dollar
  • Fred Meyer
  • H-E-B
  • Kroger
  • Meijer
  • Sam’s Club
  • Walmart
  • Wegmans

For the majority of merchants, you’ll need to discover a rebate on the app, add it to your shopping list, and then head to the store to redeem it. Your receipt is then photographed and uploaded to Ibotta’s app so that you may get cash back.

With Ibotta, you have the option of linking your loyalty cards from over 100 different businesses, including Meijer and Wegmans. You don’t need to upload receipts to Ibotta after you attach a loyalty card since the app automatically identifies when your transactions are eligible for cash back.

Automated couponing is basically what it is. For example, Meijer currently has Ibotta deals like $1.25 cash back on Maxwell House coffee and $1.50 back on Gillette Invisible Solid antiperspirant. You’ll save money when you use Ibotta to make your purchases.

Ibotta has a $20 cash back threshold. Venmo and Venmo Cash are two of the ways to redeem your points.

Manufacturer Coupons

Sending a thank-you note to the makers of your favorite items frequently results in coupons and free samples of new products you haven’t tried before.

When you receive an unanswered letter, don’t let it bring you down. Occasionally, firms will offer you coupons with a larger value than what you’d find in a traditional location, but this is rare.

Your Neighbors

In order to obtain additional free coupons, get to know your neighbors and ask them for their coupon magazines. Many individuals buy the newspaper and then throw away the coupons. However, salvaging deals and putting them to use are preferable to just recycling.

Look for local couponing clubs on Facebook or organize a coupon exchange club in your town instead. Another way to vary your coupon supply is to post a request for leftover coupon inserts on Nextdoor.

2. Get Organized on a Budget

If you don’t get your act together with all of these tools, everything will fall apart.
Successful coupon organization begins with a plan you can live with and stick to. There is a need to be aware of the products that you have collaborated on.

Coupon Binder

A-to-Z dividers and baseball card protector sheets are commonplace in a coupon binder. Individual coupons are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the product’s name in this large binder.

Pocket pages can also be used for coupons that expire fast (within a day or two after finding them) or coupons that are only applicable at a certain retailer.

If you often use paper coupons, a coupon binder is a wise investment. Since coupons are constantly in your purse, you may add to your list on the spot if you see an unadvertised discount.

On Amazon, you can buy coupon binders for as little as $7. There are often 80 to 120 pockets in the smaller, more affordable volumes. At least 200 to 300 pockets may be found in more costly binders that cost approximately $17.

Keep in mind that carrying around a huge coupon binder will make your shopping experience more difficult, especially if you’re planning on spending many hours at the store. Expandable file folders are a better option for coupon management for shorter travels because they are less in weight.

For $6.99 on Amazon, you can get wallet-sized file folders with twelve expandable pockets and colored tabs to help you sort coupons into various groupings. Amazon wallet-sized file folders.

The biggest drawback of smaller coupon binders is that you have to leave more coupons at home, limiting your couponing options when out and about. As a compromise, simply carry a huge coupon binder in a backpack while shopping. When you don’t need it, it’s out of the way.

As a final option, you may always try to do it yourself. Organizing your coupons may be as simple as purchasing a $1 binder from Dollar Tree and adding additional sheets with pockets or colored dividers.

Digital Coupon Storage

There is no better way to store your digital coupons than on your phone.

First, you can always save printable coupons as PDF files and print them whenever you need. Just be sure to keep an eye out for expiration dates to save ink.

When it comes to saving money, SnipSnap is an excellent alternative. Using the SnipSnap app, you can keep track of all of your digital coupons. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about remembering when things expire. As a bonus, SnipSnap is free, so you won’t have to pay to keep track of your coupons.

The only drawback is that if you’re making a large purchase, you’ll have to spend a little more time searching and scanning many coupons from your phone.

Reviews on the Google Play Store also complain that digital discounts don’t always process correctly and the app might become unstable. As a result, always have paper copies on hand in case your software fails.

3. Go Grocery Shopping & Save

The real test of your extreme couponing skills will come after you have all of your coupons ready for a shopping excursion.

If you’re new to extreme couponing, limit yourself to one offer on your first shopping excursion. Make yourself at ease at the cash register by keeping things simple. Greater bargains and more of them are within your reach after you’ve mastered the technique.

A few things, however, must be done in advance, which become more crucial as the number of deals you get increases.

Check Store Coupon Policies

They may have changed recently, so keep an eye on them. In many cases, cashiers are uninformed of policy changes, and so they may let you use your coupons today but refuse to accept them the next day when a different cashier comes around. Expired coupons aren’t always taken seriously by certain people.

A copy of each store’s policy should always be kept on hand in case a staff member is unfamiliar with them. Searching for “coupon policy” together with the shop name on the internet yields a plethora of results. If you don’t already have a copy of the policy, print it out or store a link to it on your phone.

Getting to know the store’s management and a few of the employees may also be beneficial, as they may be more ready to deal with a client they are certain will adhere to the store’s policies.

Set Price Limits

Extreme couponing necessitates figuring out what each thing is really worth at the end of the day. Extensive expertise as a couponed is necessary in order to properly define these boundaries, though. As a novice extreme couponed, you may be able to save more money than you would as a seasoned master.

Many extreme couponers, for example, never pay for toothpaste, razors, deodorant, body wash, or shampoo since coupons may reduce the cost to zero..

Set a limit on the pricing you’re willing to accept. Wait for a better offer if a sale-coupon combination doesn’t work. Keep track of the greatest bargains you’ve found on popular goods in a notebook or smartphone app so you can easily access your goal pricing.

Stacking Coupons

Next up, coupon stacking, the most important money-saver of all. If you want to save the most money possible, coupon stacking is your best bet.

  • Basic Sale & Coupon Stacking

If you are an extreme couponed, you would often begin by stacking manufacturer coupons on items that are already on sale.

Because manufacturers pay for manufacturer coupons, many retailers don’t mind if you use them in conjunction with already-discounted merchandise. You’ll be able to get even bigger discounts on already-discounted items this way.

  • Stacking Manufacturer and Store Coupons for Higher Savings

Try combining store coupons with manufacturer coupons to save even more money. Incentives to shop at a retailer’s location are provided in the form of coupons.

Many retailers allow you to combine a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon since they don’t pay for the expense of manufacturer coupons. If you can combine both of these coupons with a discount item, the savings are much greater.

For example, if your local grocery shop is offering a 20% discount on a 105-fluid-ounce bottle of Gain laundry detergent, you’ll pay just $10.80 for it. Using a $2 coupon from Procter & Gamble, you can get Gain for $8.80, down from $11.80.

A $1-off coupon from the shop may bring the final price down to $7.80, a savings of nearly half.

  • Advanced BOGO Stacking for Free or Almost-Free Buys

If you locate a BOGO bargain, you may be able to use coupon stacking to get free merchandise.

In the case of a grocery store’s BOGO promotion on 16-ounce Barilla angel hair pasta packets priced at $1.39 apiece, we may use this example to illustrate the point. You may get two boxes of Barilla goods of 12 ounces or more for a total of $0.39 if you have a coupon for $1 off two Barilla products of 12 ounces or more.

In other words, you’re spending less than $0.20 each box, a savings of 86%. You can purchase 20 boxes of pasta for $3.90 if you have 10 coupons.

  • Stacking Cash Back and Discount Gift Cards

Store loyalty programs and rebate applications might help you save even more money. When you use a loyalty card to shop, you earn points that may be used for future savings. 

Similarly, you may use a cash-back credit card, such as the Citi Double Cash, to save between 1% and 2% on supermarket purchases. However, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card gives 6% cash back at US supermarkets on the first $6,000 spend each year (1 percent after that).

If you can discover an Ibotta or Fetch Rewards offer to claim after you purchase, that’s more money in your pocket on top of the savings from stacking coupons.

Shop using discount gift cards for the ultimate type of coupon stacking. Websites like Raise allow users to sell their unused gift cards for a small fee.

For example, Raise offers Kroger gift cards for up to 3.10 percent off, so you may buy Kroger gift cards ahead of time and use them to pay for your complete transaction. Raise also sells gift cards for Hannaford, Meijer, and Winn-Dixie, however gift card availability is subject to supply and demand.

  • Stacking for Overages

When the total discount you receive from your coupon plus current shop sales surpasses the purchase price of the item you’re purchasing, you’ve overpaid. Can happen in many ways, including but not limited to

  • To get the best price, use a manufacturer coupon in addition to a shop coupon.
  • Taking advantage of a discount item in order to save money
    combining coupons with special offers, such as a three-for-one deal
  • Adding coupons for Catalina
  • Limitations of Coupon Stacking

Keep in mind that the sequence in which you stack your coupons is critical. For instance, utilizing a manufacturer’s 10% off coupon first might bring your total under $15 if you have a coupon that provides $5 off for spending $15 on a certain brand.

This means that while you save $10, you really spend $5 less. In order to get better at couponing, attempt to keep track of which coupons you give to the cashier first.

Your coupon supply and shop restrictions are the two primary impediments to your coupon stacking attempts. Stacking coupons is easier if you keep a close eye on weekly offers and gather coupons on a regular basis. Before making a purchase, make sure to familiarize yourself with the terms of the retailer’s coupon program.

Some retailers limit the number of coupons you may stack per purchase, so it’s important to know your restrictions before you head to the register.

4. Storing Your Finds on a Budget

Stocking up on goods becomes a lot easier when you’re doing extreme couponing. By taking advantage of bargains as soon as they become available, rather than waiting until you need something, you may save the most money possible. So you’ll need a lot of storage space.

However, the cost of a slew of expensive storage systems and chic Crate & Barrel boxes quickly mounts. In addition, you’ll need to buy freezer space to keep the dozens of pounds of meat and other frozen goods you buy at a discount.

There are a number of low-cost storage options to consider, including :

  • Acquiring a Used Freestanding Freezer. You may store meat and other frozen foods in a secondhand stand-alone freezer if you have room in your garage or spare room. It’s also possible to wait until a new one goes on sale before purchasing one. Avoid overspending on a project that only you and your family will be able to appreciate.
  • Building Make Your Own Shelving. Your extreme-couponing haul doesn’t need you to fork over a fortune on storage. How-to tutorials on how to build an affordable bookshelf may be found on Pinterest. If you must purchase shelves, Ikea and other low-cost merchants are good options. Rustic furniture made of raw wood, such as the Ivar and Hejne, is both strong and reasonably priced. You may also ask around on Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace, where you can find friends and family.
  • Repurposing an Extra Space. The extra room can be used to keep your extreme-couponing items if you don’t have any guests around very often.
    Keeping things in order. Couponing to the hilt is pointless if you let things go bad or neglect to utilize them. The first-in, first-out strategy might help you stay on top of your stash’s expiration date by putting your oldest purchases at the front of the pile. Aside from saving money, grouping items together helps you avoid purchasing extras you don’t need.

Extreme couponing may make your house look like a supermarket, so if you’re always forgetting which things you have, take a break and get organized.

Make sure you have a strategy in place before you start couponing solely for the sake of saving money.

Bottom Line

Extreme couponing is a skill that can only be honed through time. However, you may make excellent use of the money you save by paying down debt, staying home more, and beginning an investment portfolio.

In addition, severe couponing typically results in a stockpile of everyday necessities and food items. This implies that you may give back to the community by giving to non-profit organizations like food banks, shelters for women and children in need, and animal shelters using the money you’ve saved via extreme couponing.

If you’re shopping for diapers or menstruation products, keep an eye out for free or discounted items you may give because these items are constantly in high demand.

You have the last say on how far you go with extreme couponing. In order to save even more money while also contributing to your local community, extreme couponing is a worthwhile endeavor.

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