In reality, most people can’t reach the heights of Extreme Couponing. But that doesn’t mean couponing isn’t great for saving money. In fact, my daughter’s coupon tips helped me save thousands. Here’s how.
Taking Advantage of Double Coupon Days
My daughter’s couponing helped me understand the power of double coupon days. Some grocery stores allow shoppers to double the value of their coupons by making purchases at specific times, usually on less popular days.
By getting groceries on double coupon days, you don’t have to change anything but when you shop to save more money. There is no additional paperwork or anything like that. Simply by coming in during the event, your coupon is worth up to twice as much.
It’s important to note that not all stores have double coupon days. You may want to research stores in your area to see which ones do and when they happen. In bigger cities, you’ll usually find at least a few.
However, if you live in a small area, there might not be any. Usually, this is because grocers don’t have to compete as hard for your business, so there isn’t much incentive for them to offer these kinds of savings.
Additionally, make sure to read all of your store’s policies surrounding their double coupon days. There are often clear rules and restrictions regarding coupon doubling. For example, some stores will only double up to a certain amount (like up to the first $1).
Others retailers limit the doubling to the cost of the item. For example, if you have a coupon for $1.50 off, but the item only costs $2.49, your double coupon is only worth $2.49, not $3.00.
However, in some cases, stores let you double the coupon even if it is above the items price. Using the above example, that means you could double to $3.00 even if the item only costs $2.49. Then, you get that additional $0.51 as a credit towards your total. In very rare cases, you may even be able to receive cash back if your couple doubling equals more than the total cost of your items.
Getting Store Loyalty Cards to Save
When people think of coupons, they usually picture the old printed ones. This includes coupons in newspapers or those you find online and print at home. However, many store loyalty cards also give you access to coupons.
After signing up for store loyalty cards, I was able to connect my card account to the companion app. Then, I loaded discounts and coupons on the card, and they automatically apply during my next shopping trip.
This approach to couponing is incredibly convenient, as you don’t have to carry any paper and the clerk doesn’t have to scan anything but your loyalty card. Usually, you don’t even have to have your store card, as just entering your phone number at the register brings up your account.
Plus, you gain access to store specific coupons you can’t get elsewhere. And, for stores that allow stacking, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon to save even more, even on one item. Couple that with in-store sales, coupon doubling, and price-matching programs, and you can save a ton with just a few minutes worth of work each week.
Joining Coupon Groups for Inside Info
Couponing groups are chocked full of helpful information. Many of the members track sale cycles, monitor coupon releases and expirations, and help you match your coupons to sales to get the most bang for your buck.
By accessing these coupon groups, you receive help from couponing experts. This is ideal for coupon newbies who may not be making the most of their discounts as you can essentially end up with step-by-step instructions of what to buy, when to buy it, and how to save the most.
In some cases, coupon groups can even help you get more coupons. Some have sections where people can trade coupons, allowing you to swap out ones you don’t need for ones that you do. For example, if you don’t have kids, that $1 off diapers coupon isn’t very valuable to you. However, a mother in another city (or state) would love to have it, and may be willing to send you $1 off your favorite beverage in an equal exchange.
However, it is important to note that trading coupons (or paying someone to clip coupons for you) is considered unethical. Technically, based on the agreements on the coupon, using one in such a transaction voids it, making it worthless. The trick is there usually isn’t any way for a store or manufacturer to know that you didn’t actually clip that coupon yourself, so enforcing that it is void is practically impossible.
Why would a company care if an original coupon is sent to another shopper? Often, companies release coupons in specific regions as a means of conducting market research or testing a promotion. When the coupon leaves the area, it impacts these results, harming their research. The same can apply to nationally available coupons as well, as it provides them with skewed data regarding sales and interest.
Using Rebate and Coupon Apps
Coupon and rebate apps are an incredibly convenient way to coupon without having to clip anything out. Options like ibotta and Checkout 51 provide shoppers with cashback after verifying their purchase, usually by scanning the item’s barcode and/or uploading a receipt.
Once your account reaches a certain amount, you can request a check, PayPal transfer, or similar way to receive your funds. Since you can use these rebates even if you also use coupons in store, it allows you to increase your savings even further. Plus, you can use multiple apps on the same purchase or even items, giving you the ability to get cash back on the same products numerous times.
While you do have to wait to receive your cashback, you can usually cash out after earning around $20, which can happen faster than you’d think.
Ultimately, my daughter’s couponing taught me a lot about saving money on everyday purchases. While I wasn’t a big couponer before, I certainly am now, as the amount of cash I get to keep is too big to ignore.
Do you have any couponing tips that can help people save? Share them in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.