Even When I Spend, I Save – 10 Great Ways to Save with Coupons

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Saving money is a top priority for many, but stretching your dollar does not mean that you must sacrifice on quality. By spending as little as one hour per week analyzing store sales and available coupons, you can potentially save hundreds per year. Many stores accept coupons, from grocery stores and restaurants to clothing retailers. There are even coupons for car maintenance!

While some grocery stores run sales from Wednesday to Tuesday, most store sales run from Sunday to Saturday. There are apps available, such as Flipp, which house sale circulars for many stores. Get the most bang for your buck by combining stores sales with a coupon. If a box of cereal is normally $2.99, wait until it goes on sale for $2.49, and match it with a $.50 coupon, making it only $1.99.

My Ten Favorite “Couponing” Tips

  1. Getting a Sunday newspaper is a great way to begin couponing. Papers can be delivered to you and generally at lower cost than if you purchased them at the grocery store. Paper coupons are typically found in the Sunday newspaper; however, coupons can also be printed from sources such as coupons.com.
  2. Look at the coupons that print with your receipt, too. These “Catalinas,” the coupons that print on the back of receipts from “Catalina machines” at participating stores, are typically generated based on previous purchases.
  3. If you don’t want to use paper coupons, try going digital! Each Friday, Kroger offers a Friday Freebie, which is a coupon you can load to your account. Check out apps such as Ibotta, Checkout 51, and SavingStar for rebate offers on items already purchased.
  4. Use a loyalty card at grocery stores, where applicable, in order to receive the sales price. These cards are free, and in most cases, you can provide your phone number at checkout to avoid keeping up with multiple cards. Digital coupons can usually be loaded to your loyalty card or online profile.
  5. Start with one store that you shop often. See if that store has an app or an online profile that can be set up for additional savings, and be sure to link your loyalty card to your online profile. Target’s Cartwheel app offers savings on most merchandise in the store. These offers change weekly. Before shopping, scan the app or website for coupons that can be loaded digitally.
  6. Use coupons for items that you would normally purchase. You do not need to be an extreme couponer to save money. Refrain from making purchases only because a coupon is available. Ask yourself, do you need the item, and will you use it?
  7. When an item goes on sale, stock up. During holidays, grocery stores will put certain items on sale. For example, on Independence Day and Memorial Day, grocery stores have meat on sale as consumers have cookouts. Of course, when stocking up on food items, it is important to consider expiration dates and “use by” quality dates. While some items can be frozen and do not change their consistency, other items do not freeze well.
  8. Do not forget to use online promo codes! Sites like RetailMeNot are great sources of savings, if you are using a digital shopping cart rather than one in a physical store. These services provide dollar or percentage-off savings.
  9. Check online for restaurant coupons which can provide additional savings. Some restaurants even have their own apps, where they offer special discounts or free items on your birthday if you sign up online.
  10. Lastly, remember to be courteous to other shoppers and to cashiers. Have your coupons ready, facing up, and make sure there are no expired coupons in your batch before heading to the register. Be sure to read the fine print, which sometimes limits the number of coupons per transaction. If a coupon does not scan properly, remain calm, and verify the requirements were met.

Long gone are the misconceptions that using coupons are only for those with limited financial means or the extreme couponers. Using coupons is an economical way for everyone to save money. You can take the money saved with coupons and apply it toward your savings or paying off your debts. Where to start can sometimes feel intimidating, but once you get into the rhythm, you’ll be so glad that you did.

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