The typical American family invested over $8,000 on food and personal care goods in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a sizable part of many families’ total earnings. Costs aren’t going to go down anytime fast, thanks to increasing food prices and inflation.
Fortunately, there are also a slew of options for saving money on groceries and other necessities. Shopping at more economical supermarket stores and purchasing produce in season are two reasons.
Couponing, on the other hand, is your strongest option if you want to boost your money. Learning how to extreme-coupon and optimize every penny you spend on food and household essentials, in particular, will help you save a lot of money in this category.
Extreme couponing, on the other hand, does not have to take over your life. You will transform coupons into one of the most important money-saving strategies if you build an extreme-couponing strategy and adhere to a game plan.
How to Save Money on Groceries by Extreme Couponing
Did you realize you can combine a manufacturer’s and a shop voucher for the same purchase?
Did you know that on a buy-one-get-one-free deal, you can use two coupons?
An extreme couponer’s job is to set up bigger and better offers. When you can have three or four deals at once, why settle for only one?
Extreme couponing does not take any miracle, but it does necessitate some persistence and trial and error. However, if you use these tactics to exercise your couponing abilities, you can finally learn how to optimize your savings without making it a full-time task.
1. Acquire Coupons & Promotional Offers
You’ll need a couple of coupons, but don’t go nuts. When you come across a good price, it’s a good idea to print several versions of the same voucher.
You will also save money by collecting coupons such as percent-off, cash rebates, and retailer coupons. And, when you go shopping, you can mix and match them to save money.
Consider coupons to be currency; you’ll be using them like cash, so stock up on them. You can search in a few different ways.
Keep an eye out for Sales Advertisements
You can save money by using coupons on items that are normally cost. However, if you want to save as much money as possible, you can search for supermarket discounts and buy during promotions.
The easiest place to look for deals is in the weekly grocery store flyers. Flyers show promotional items and other store deals, allowing you to plan a menu and shopping list around what’s already on sale.
If you go to the website of a certain grocery store, you will find weekly flyers for that store. Any supermarkets have weekly flyer sections in their smartphone applications.
You may still use the Flipp software to get together weekly flyers from over 2,000 shops. To discover deals, you can use Flipp to search weekly commercials from stores like CVS, Dollar General, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.
Simply save an offer you want in Flipp’s app and display it to the cashier as you check out in-store. You should still use Flipp to compare whether you see a decent bargain somewhere and it gives you links to other retailers’ flyers.
Participate in Loyalty Programs
Joining supermarket rewards schemes is another way to find coupons and store deals. Many stores have rewards schemes in place to encourage customers to return. Grocery stores aren’t exempt from this rule.
The following are several well-known grocery stores that have loyalty programs:
- Food Lion
- Stop & Shop
Some businesses go a little farther and enable you to gain discounts by opening a debit or credit card. Kroger, for example, has a loyalty debit card that allows you to save 2% on Kroger products while still earning extra gasoline rewards.
Similarly, the Capital One Walmart Rewards program allows you to collect an unlimited 5% cash back for transactions made through Walmart.com and with the Walmart app, as well as a 2% cash back for in-store purchases.
So look into available discount plans or gift cards at the retailers where you buy the most. Your extreme-couponing quest would be made simpler if you can locate extra coupons and also win cash-back incentives.
The Sunday Paper
One easy way to start accumulating coupons is to use Coupon inserts such as SmartSource and Procter & Gamble, as well as local advertising. The more copies you order, the more money you’ll save.
To get more coupons, certain prolific couponers purchase several newspaper subscriptions. Alternatively, you should be resourceful to locate free bonus copies of newspapers.
Cafes and dollar shops, for example, occasionally offer Sunday newspapers at a discount the next Monday. You may also take things a step further and contact a local recycle center and see how you can pick up newspapers directly from them.
Many online coupon portals with lists of printable coupons for food and daily necessities exist thanks to the Internet.
The following are some of the more common printable coupon websites:
- Procter & Gamble
- Kellogg’s Family Rewards
- RetailMeNot (also has an app)
- Valpak (also has an app)
- Coupons.com (also has an app)
- Betty Crocker
Coupon printing is normally limited to one or two copies on sites like Coupons.com. That’s why finding a variety of places in your toolbox is crucial. But, only because the coupons are “free,” don’t print them all. To stop unnecessary clutter and wasting of ink and paper, print just what you need.
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Unlike paper coupons, which take time and resources to print, digital coupons can be saved to your smartphone using mobile coupon applications. Simply show your digital coupons to the cashier at the supermarket, and they can add the credit to your grocery bill.
Coupon Sherpa is a common couponing software that offers a free directory of thousands of coupons. You will find location-based coupons or search thousands of shops for sales after downloading Coupon Sherpa for Android or iOS. You can save coupons straight on your smartphone, so you’ll never miss them while you’re out shopping.
Coupons.com, like many other coupon-printing websites, has a smartphone app for cash-back deals, wireless coupons, and online discount codes for thousands of stores.
There is also no provision for a minimum cash-out. You will exchange the rewards for PayPal cash as soon as you collect cash back for shopping. You can also attach supermarket loyalty cards from Kroger and Meijer to collect cash-back incentives on qualifying transactions automatically.
SnipSnap, an app with a free coupon database, is also accessible. To avoid failing to use coupons or skipping nearby offers, the software sends alerts regarding expiring coupons and location-based promotions.
Best of all, you can scan a paper coupon and get it uploaded to SnipSnap’s database, allowing you to view the digital edition from your computer.
Grocery Pal and The Coupons App are two other famous coupon applications. Target, for example, has a sales feature of the mobile app where you can find coupons and shop promotions.
Apps for Grocery Rebates
Rebate applications, including smartphone coupon apps, enable you to collect cash back incentives. The best discount applications are often linked to supermarket credit cards, so they sense when you buy a qualified product and award you with cash back instantly.
Ibotta is one of the finest coupon apps. Ibotta gives you cash back at thousands of stores, including:
- Sam’s Club
- Family Dollar
- Fred Meyer
Most stores need you to locate a rebate in the app, apply it to your shopping list, and then shop. Then, to win cash back, you take a snapshot of your receipt and post it to Ibotta’s store.
Ibotta, on the other hand, allows you to add loyalty cards from over 100 retailers to your account, including Meijer and Wegmans. Ibotta senses when your transactions apply for cash back immediately after you connect a credit card, avoiding the need to submit receipts.
It’s basically free automated couponing. Ibotta offers $1.25 cash back on Maxwell House coffee and $1.50 cash back on Gillette Invisible Solid antiperspirant at Meijer, for example. If you use Ibotta to purchase these products, you can save money.
Ibotta lets you redeem cash back until you hit $20. You may use free gift cards, PayPal currency, or Venmo to redeem.
Many other applications, such as Ibotta, are often useful for seeking cash-back opportunities. Unfortunately, not all of these applications support loyalty cards, but they do have other advantages:
- Checkout 51. When you preselect deals and post a receipt as evidence of payment, you will earn cash back on food and petrol. If you hit $20 in Checkout 51 incentives, you can redeem them via check or PayPal. Checkout 51 is now introducing loyalty card service to its website, making it a great complement to Ibotta on your tablet.
- Fetch Rewards. To collect points, shop at millions of affiliate labels and post your receipt. When you’ve earned 3,000 points ($3), you can use them to get free gift cards. You don’t have to pre-select rebates as you do for Ibotta. As long as a partner brand exists on your receipt, you win points.
- Dosh. When you connect your credit and debit cards to Dosh, you’ll get cash back instantly when you shop at either of Dosh’s hundreds of partners. Dosh partners for businesses including Walmart and Instacart, because it’s a completely hands-off way to save money on food and other necessities. If you hit $25, you can cash out through PayPal, Venmo, or direct deposit.
The majority of your money would also come from paper and internet coupons. This is because coupons such as BOGO (buy one, get one) sales or percent-off promotions usually save more money than cash back. These are merely a method for boosting your savings.
Have you ever noticed the little screens that blink and share coupons in the aisles? Or a stack of “tear here” coupons by the supermarket’s entrance? Take advantage of these in-store coupon resources, as well as the store’s free coupon booklets.
Though coupon booklets are often available in plain view, certain retailers need you to take action. If they aren’t near the entrance, inquire at the customer support desk.
Catalina coupons, which are paper coupons printed by a Catalina printer at checkout, can also be used. Catalina coupons are often printed by cashiers at stores like Kroger and Walgreens after you make a qualifying order. To put it another way, you will get extra coupons simply by buying.
Catalina coupons may be used for a variety of things.
- Coupons from the manufacturer at a percentage off
- Discounts for the next transaction, which are essentially cash back on potential orders.
For eg, if you spend $10 on Kraft goods at your local Safeway, you might be eligible for a Catalina offer from Kraft, which gives you $3 off your next Safeway order. That’s effectively a 30% coupon that you can use for potential sales simply by shopping for Kraft.
Catalina deals aren’t usually advertised in stores because they’re unpredictable and mostly based on past orders. Purchasing items with your rewards card, for example, can result in potential Catalina coupons for related brands and products, based on how your store’s program operates.
Few supermarket retailers often mail out coupon booklets to frequent consumers on a regular basis. These booklets can include coupons for items you already purchase on a regular basis, which can be a godsend for serious couponers.
When you write a letter to the makers of your favorite companies, telling them how much you like their items, they always give you coupons — and possibly free samples of new things you haven’t experienced yet.
Don’t get discouraged if any of your letters go unanswered. Some firms will not react, but many will submit higher-value coupons than you will find in traditional stores.
By establishing a rapport between your neighbors and requesting for their coupon inserts, you can obtain more free coupons. Many consumers purchase the document and only discard the cost-cutting inserts. Recycling is fine, so it’s much cooler if you can find any decent offers to bring to use.
Alternatively, search for local Facebook couponing groups or launch a coupon trading club with people in your area. Another way to diversify the coupon stock is to post requests for leftover coupon inserts on Nextdoor.
2. Get Organized on a Budget
You must coordinate all of these resources, otherwise it would fall apart.
Finding a method that you are familiar with and can adhere to is the key to good coupon organization. You must be aware of which goods you have coupons for and when they expire. You don’t have time for a disorganized, frustrating mess on your coffee table.
However, the last thing you want to do is invest your couponing savings in unnecessary organization programs and equipment. It’s better to keep things straightforward, and there are a few inexpensive coupon organization hacks you can use.
A-to-Z dividers and baseball card protector sheets are included in a coupon binder. Specific coupons are sorted through the first letter of the product’s name in this dense binder.
Pocket pages are often useful with coupons that expire rapidly (within a day or two of when you discover them) or coupons that are only available at a certain shop.
If you use a lot of paper coupons, a coupon binder is a great option. You may even connect to the shopping list on the go if you come across an unadvertised deal and you already bring your coupon collection with you as you go shopping.
Coupon binders are available on Amazon for about $7. Smaller, less expensive books usually have 80 to 120 pockets. Binders with 200 to 300 pockets are normally more costly, costing about $17.
Huge coupon binders may be very inconvenient while shopping, particularly if you’re going to be in and out of the store for many hours on a big purchase. Expandable file directories are a more lightweight coupon organization choice for shorter trips.
For $6.99 on Amazon, you will get wallet-size file files with a dozen expandable pockets and colored tabs to help you sort coupons into various categories.
The biggest disadvantage to smaller coupon binders is that you have to leave more coupons at home, limiting your couponing options. Simply wear a bigger coupon binder in a bag when you shop and get the most of all worlds. It will be out of the way before you need it.
Finally, if you want to save money, try doing it yourself. For $1, Dollar Tree sells binders, as well as extra sheets with pockets or colored dividers to help you arrange your coupons.
2. Storage of Digital Coupons
Digital coupon storage is the perfect choice if you prefer to have it on your computer.
For instance, you can still save printable coupons to your machine as PDF files and print them as required. To stop spending ink on unused coupons, keep an eye on their expiration dates.
SnipSnap, on the other hand, is a safer option if you choose to save money by not printing at all. On your mobile, the SnipSnap software serves as a wireless coupon organizer. It also eliminates the hassle of keeping track of expiration dates. SnipSnap is still free, meaning you won’t have to pay to keep track of your coupons.
The biggest drawback is that locating and scanning hundreds of coupons from your phone takes marginally longer than turning over a stack of paper coupons for large purchases.
Digital coupons don’t always process properly, according to some SnipSnap app reports on the Google Play Store, and the app may become buggy. As a result, always carry paper backups in case your app fails.
3. Shop for Groceries and Save
It’s time to bring your serious couponing skills to the test after you’ve prepared your coupons for a shopping trip.
Pursue just one discount on your first shopping trip as an intense couponer. Keep things easy and make yourself at home at the cash register. If you’ve mastered the technique, you can go for bigger and more frequent sales.
However, there are a few items you can do to plan, which become much more important when the amount of offers you get in a trip grows.
Check the Coupon Policies of the Store
Check the coupon practices of your favorite retailers. Since every grocery store’s coupon policy is different, it’s important to keep informed on the following topics:
- How do they handle coupons that are used in conjunction with a BOGO sale?
- Is there a cap on how many coupons they can double in a single trip?
- Do you ever double the worth of coupons in your store?
- If they have a cap to the number of double coupons you will get?
- Are there any concessions available for adults, students, or veterans?
- Can they honor rival coupons (or even duplicate them)?
Changes can be reviewed on a regular basis. Since cashiers are always unaware of policy adjustments, they can allow you to use your coupons today but deny them tomorrow. Many people walk the other direction when it comes to unused coupons.
It’s a good idea to have a copy of each store’s policies on hand in case an employee isn’t familiar with the rules. You will find coupon policies by looking for the store’s name and “coupon policy” on the internet. Then print the policy or save a connection to it on your phone so you can access it quickly.
Making buddies with a store manager and other employees may also be beneficial, since they will be more likely to collaborate with a client they trust and keep inside store policy.
Set Price Boundaries
When extreme couponing, you could figure out if the final price for each commodity is worth it. However, having expertise as an extreme couponer is a part of establishing certain boundaries. As a newbie extreme couponer, the thresholds would more likely be greater than they will be as an experienced pro.
Many extreme couponers, for example, never pay full price for toothpaste, razors, deodorant, body wash, or shampoo so they can get them for free with coupons.
Set a limit to how much you’ll pay. Wait for a better discount if a sale-coupon combination doesn’t work. Mark the best discounts you’ve received on popular goods in a composition notebook or mobile app, and keep track of your goal costs.
Finally, you must set a budget and shop for the items you need at reasonable rates. However, knowing when to use coupons and when to hold off is important.
You don’t want to spend money on something you don’t need right away simply because you have a coupon. You should wait to purchase it at a supermarket that would double the coupon to keep you under the target price if you still have a whole container of peanut butter.
Now comes the most important money-saving strategy: coupon stacking. The aim of coupon stacking is to save as much money as possible by using as many coupons and perks as possible.
Coupon Stacking & the Basic Sale
Extreme couponers usually start stacking coupons by utilizing retailer coupons on already-discounted products.
Since manufacturers pay the expense of vendor coupons, several retailers would allow you to stack them on discount coupons because it won’t hurt their bottom line. You will get even bigger savings on items that are still better than average by doing so.
Using Manufacturer Coupons in Combination with Store Coupons to Get Bigger Savings
Stack shop coupons with retailer coupons to take it a step further. Store coupons are incentives offered by supermarkets to encourage shoppers to buy at their stores.
Since stores don’t pay for vendor coupons, several would allow you to stack one manufacturer and one store coupon on a single item. It’s much cooler if you can combine these two kinds of coupons on a selling item.
For example, imagine the grocery store has a 20 percent discount on a 105-fluid-ounce bottle of Gain laundry detergent, taking the price down from $13.50 to $10.80. Gain costs $8.80 if you have a $2 retailer coupon from Procter & Gamble.
Finally, if you can stack a $1 off supermarket coupon, the price declines to $7.80, saving you almost 45 percent.
Advanced BOGO Stacking for Near-Free or Free Purchases
Often, particularly if you find a BOGO bargain, you can use coupon stacking to get free items.
Consider a convenience store that is offering a BOGO discount on 16-ounce Barilla angel hair pasta packets for $1.39 each. By piling the BOGO sale and the coupon for $1 off two Barilla goods of 12 ounces or more, you will get two boxes for $0.39 overall.
That means you’ll be spending less than $0.20 a package, saving you 86 percent. You will get 20 boxes of pasta for $3.90 if you have ten coupons.
Stacking Cash-Back Sources & Discount Gift Cards
Store reward plans and rebate applications will help you save still more money. When you pay for a credit pass, you collect points that can be used towards potential discounts. Similarly, you can use a cash-back credit card to save 1% to 2% on grocery store transactions while using it.
If you can spot an Ibotta or Fetch Rewards deal to redeem after you buy, you’ll have more money in your wallet in addition to the discounts you’ll receive from piling coupons.
Shop with discount gift cards for the final form of coupon piling. People will offer their discarded gift cards for a small fee on websites like Raise.
Raise, for example, has Kroger gift cards for up to 3.10 percent off, meaning you can purchase Kroger gift cards ahead of time and use them to pay for the whole order.
Stacking for Overages
If the combined discount between your coupon and current retail purchases approaches the amount of what you’re purchasing, you’ve got an overage. It may occur in a number of circumstances, including:
- Used a coupon for a discounted offer
- Coupons from Catalina
- On the same product, stacking a maker coupon and a shop coupon
- Using coupons in conjunction with exclusive offers, such as a purchase three, receive one free offering
If you have a $1.50 coupon for a package of Pop-Tarts and it’s still on clearance for $1.25, you’ll end up with a $0.25 overage after checking out.
When shops have a strategy of paying you the overage number, the beauty of overages occurs. The box of Pop-Tarts isn’t all for free. An additional $0.25 is deducted from the bill. Overages are how a hundred-dollar shopping haul can be reduced to $20 or even free with the best serious couponers.
Overages were paid by Walmart and Kroger, two well-known supermarkets. However, particularly if you shop at small local shops, it’s critical to review coupon policies on a regular basis.
Coupon Stacking Limitations
Always keep in mind that the coupons should be stacked in the proper sequence. If you have a $5 off coupon for paying $15 on a particular item, for example, utilizing a manufacturer’s 10% off coupon first could get your total under $15.
That ensures you lose $5 in savings when receiving a 10% discount. Have a mental note of which coupons you hand to the cashier first while preparing the couponing before it becomes second nature.
Your coupon stock and shop procedures are the two most significant drawbacks of the coupon stacking efforts. Collecting coupons on a regular basis and watching for weekly sales ensures that you have ample coupons to stack. Before you go shopping, read the store’s coupon policy carefully.
Some retailers, for example, restrict the number of retailer and store coupons you may stack each order, so it’s important to know what you’re up against before you go.
When Something Goes Wrong, Don’t Feel Pressured
At times, you might discover at the counter that your coupon scheme isn’t working as well as you had hoped. It’s possible you ordered the wrong size or the coupon didn’t scan properly.
If you can’t find a solution, ask the cashier to cancel the item or contact the boss to see if it’s a dilemma they can handle. Mind that just because you took something off the shelves doesn’t mean you have to purchase it.
4. On a Budget: Holding Your Finds
When you start intense couponing, you easily build up a stockpile of products. If you take advantage of sales when they’re open rather than waiting until you need anything, you’ll save the most money. As a result, you’ll need storage space.
However, buying a lot of high-priced shelving units and trendy Crate & Barrel bins adds up quickly. That’s not to mention the sales you’ll need to hold all of the meat and other freezable items you’ll get for sale.
Here are a few low-cost storage options to consider:
- Getting a Second Hand Freezer That Is Stand-Alone. If you have space in your driveway or spare room, a secondhand stand-alone freezer is a cost-effective way to store meat and other frozen foods. If you haven’t run out of storage space yet, you can still wait to purchase a new one on auction. The trick is to not overspend on anything that can really be used by you and your family.
- Creating DIY- Shelving. Investing in shelving for your extreme-couponing haul doesn’t have to deplete your bank account. Many tutorials about how to make cheap shelving can be found on Pinterest. If you need to purchase shelving, Ikea is a good place to start. Ivar and Hejne are two raw wood units that are both durable and economical. Alternatively, use Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace to find out what the neighbors and acquaintances are up to.
- Rearranging a Spare Room. If you don’t really entertain visitors in your spare room, use it to store your extreme-couponing purchases.
- Remain Organized. If you always let goods expire or fail to use them, excessive couponing is pointless. Using the first-in, first-out approach for organization, then rotate the older acquisitions to the front of your stash so you can use them until they expire. Keeping related items together often helps you from purchasing extra goods that you already have.
Take a break from excessive couponing to bring your organisation down to a science if your house starts to imitate a grocery shop and you’re always forgetting what items are in your stash.
Savings are only valuable once goods are used, so don’t coupon for the sake of couponing without a scheme in place.
Additional Extreme Couponing Advice
There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make the first couponing attempt a success:
- During slow periods, go shopping. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned serious couponer or a complete novice. On a hectic weekend morning shopping rush, no one wants to contend with a large haul. Try intense couponing at sluggish store hours, such as lunch or a few hours before store closing during the week, to make the life and the lives of other shoppers simpler.
- Have a notepad and a pen with you. Extreme couponing can be difficult if you have to make changes on the move. Ideally, you can have a shopping list with you that includes a list of all the products you’ll be purchasing as well as any applicable coupons. If you need to make a change, it’s much more convenient to use a pen and paper rather than continuously referring to your mobile.
- Be a Loyal customer. Being brand loyal as an excessive couponer is a failure. Your top products aren’t necessarily the most cost-effective, even with coupons. Look for items that are still on offer so that you can combine a coupon with the discount.
Your initial extreme-couponing trip can be an enjoyable attempt to see how much money you can save if you build a strategy and follow these guidelines.
Extreme couponing requires time to master. However, you will bring the money you earn to good use by paying down mortgages, investing more time at home, and beginning to save.
Furthermore, the nature of excessive couponing also leads to the accumulation of an excess of daily necessities and food products. That means you can put your newfound extreme-couponing expertise to good use by contributing to local food banks, women’s and migrant shelters, and animal shelters with your newfound extreme-couponing skills.
Diapers and menstrual goods, which are still in demand, are especially important donations, so keep an eye out when looking for opportunities to get free or discounted products to donate.
It’s ultimately up to you how much you take serious couponing. Extreme couponing, on the other hand, is worth the work if you want to save some money and maybe do some good in your neighborhood.
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