Using coupons as often as you can when you’re shopping can help you reduce your everyday spending, and make it easier to stick to your grocery budget.
And you don’t have to become an “extreme couponer” to start saving significant cash at the supermarket, drug store and other retailers.
Simply taking a few minutes to leaf through the Sunday paper inserts, checking out some coupon sites, and/or using a coupon app is all you need to get started. It also helps to know a few tricks for bumping up coupon savings.
Here are some easy tips for how to find, use, and seriously save with coupons.
Where to Find Coupons
A great way to begin couponing is to scan your kitchen pantry and bathroom cabinet and make a list of the products and brands that you purchase regularly.
You can then start looking specifically for coupons for as many of those items as you can. Here are some key places to look.
Even in today’s digital world, it’s still worthwhile to go old-school and check out the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts.
What makes newspapers such a rich source of savings is the fact that they offer a wide variety of different types of coupons, including product coupons, manufacturer coupons and competitor’s coupons.
If this week’s paper has a lot of good coupons, consider buying extra copies. Dollar stores often sell papers at a discount and can be a good place to stock up. But even if you have to pay full price it could still be worth it.
Magazines are still around, and can be a great source of coupons, particularly manufacturer coupons. You may want to flip through some of the magazines stocked at the checkout aisle next time you’re waiting in line at the supermarket.
Some women’s magazines even put together an index of all the coupons that each issue includes.
To up the odds of finding coupons for products you enjoy, consider browsing magazines that represent your lifestyle.
Based on what you find, you might decide that getting a subscription (usually low cost, and a better deal than buying single issues) could be worthwhile.
If clipping isn’t your cup of tea, you can print coupons from websites that aggregate coupons, such as coupons.com , retailmenot , and valpak . These sites make it easy to search for and find deals.
Another online resource is P&G Everyday . This site offers printable coupons exclusively for Proctor & Gamble brands (e.g., Crest, Pampers, Tide). You will need to create an account before you can print coupons.
You may also want to look at the list of items you typically stock in your home and head to the manufacturers’ websites.
Many companies have coupons you can print from their site. Some also reward you with coupons if you sign up for their e-newsletter.
Store sites are also worth checking out. Many grocery and drug store websites offer both manufacturer and store-specific coupons.
You may even be able to download these coupons directly to your store loyalty card, and redeem them simply by presenting your store card at checkout.
Some department store sites also offer printable coupons and savings passes you can use that same day in store, and you may also be able to sign up to have coupons emailed to you directly.
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Many grocery stores, drug stores and supercenters provide coupons in circulars and flyers available inside the store. These can be a great place to find coupons that you’ll actually use.
You can also often find printable coupons in the red kiosks situated through the store, as well as coupons on the products themselves (which you can clip at home and use next time). You may also want to check for coupons at the bottom or back of your receipts.
You can use your cellphone to save even more at the store
Coupon apps, such as Vons , Yowza , and Coupon Sherpa , can make it easy to snag coupons for things you’d buy anyway. You can then simply have the cashier swipe your phone to redeem your coupons.
Some stores, such as Target, have their own app that you can download to your phone and then show at checkout for discounts on items you are buying that day. These offers can often be combined with manufacturer and store coupons to create really good deals.
There are also cashback apps, such as ibotta and Checkout51 , which allow you to earn cash back on many of the products you buy.
All you have to do is link your loyalty card to the app or snap a picture of your receipts. Once you earn a certain amount (such as $20) you can redeem your cash back.
Keeping Coupons Organized
Coupons aren’t worth anything if you don’t have them on you, or you can’t find them, when you need them.
Whether you clip all the coupons you come across, snip only the ones you are certain you will use, or keep coupon inserts intact, you’ll want to come with an organizational system that works for you.
A good first step is to find a way to contain the chaos, such as using zip lock bags, a binder, a coupon wallet, a recipe box or any other storage container.
The idea is to simply have a single landing spot for all coupons. If possible, it’s wise to file them away as you get them, so you don’t have a big mess to deal with all at once.
You may also want to come up with a filing system, such as grouping coupons by grocery category (e..g, dairy, produce, frozen foods), or by aisle, or by coupon expiration date.
It’s also a good idea to go through and edit your collection periodically. Stores typically don’t take expired coupons, so it’s best not to let them eat up space in your filing system. Consider setting a certain day each or month to go through and purge.
Maximizing Your Coupon Savings
Shaving off just a little here and a little can be nice, but may not make a major change in your buying habits, but the real savings that comes with couponing is when you combine coupons with other coupons, as well as other sales offers.
Here are some tricks:
Matching Coupons to Sales
In order to really save money with coupons, you ideally only want to use them on sale items that are not over budget.
You can hold onto a coupon until the item goes on sale, or if you see that a store is having a sale on something you buy regularly, you can then check the store circular, manufacturer’s websites, or your app to see if you can find a manufacturer’s coupon for it.
This means using more than one coupon for the same item. For example, you can significantly increase your savings by combining a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for the same item. You might be able to then amp up savings even more by using a cashback app.
Keep in mind that not all stores allow coupon stacking. You may want to review each store’s coupon policy to see where you can employ this trick.
Using Competitor’s Coupons
Lots of stores accept competitor coupons. It’s a good idea to find out which ones in your area do, and then work those coupons and sales to your advantage.
Using coupons can be a great way to save money on the products you love, and help keep your everyday spending in line with your budget.
You can often find useful coupons in Sunday newspaper circulars, magazines, coupon websites, as well as store and manufacturers’ websites. Coupon apps can also help you find coupons for your favorite products quickly.
To really rack up savings with couponing, it pays to go beyond just using a coupon here and there. Consider combining a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon, a sale, and a cashback or coupon app.
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