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Coupons and the act of Couponing tend to receive a bad reputation. Partly due to the ‘Extreme Couponing’ show from TLC which portrayed it as more of an addiction to hoarding as much free stuff as you could. The other part though, I feel can largely be due to a lack of understanding.
A coupon on it’s own can seem very minuscule and therefore not worth stressing over. Plus, no one wants to be THAT person holding up the line at check-out because something didn’t go according to plan.
It’s no lie that successful couponing takes some level of preparation. This is the step that usually deters people for a number of reasons:
- No room for impulse shopping trips
- The planning process itself can seem long and overwhelming.
The 2nd of those two reasons is what I’m here to break down for you. Here is the basic equation for beginning couponers:
Item on Sale + Coupon + Rebate App = SAVINGS!
Mind you, the majority of deals you’ll find will only contain 2 of the 3 parts in that equation – which is completely fine! Savings is savings no matter how small. This equations is just here to help optimize that coupon usage so at the very least those are the 3 things you’ll want to be checking in order to find worthwhile savings.
Once you get the hang of the basic equation, you can start to factor in other components:
Item on Sale + Store Coupon + Manufacture Coupon + Rebate App + Store Rewards = SAVINGS!!
The more components that you have in your equation means there are that many more chances for something to go ‘off tracks’ in your shopping trip plans. That is where the bulk of time consumption takes place for those making a larger, more intricate coupon shopping haul.
BREAKDOWN ON EQUATION:
1. Local Grocery Store
- Shopping against ads for somewhere you already go just makes things easier – plus it’s nice to have an idea of where everything is at when you walk in.
2. Local Pharmacy (CVS/ Walgreens)
- Despite that items generally have a higher price point at these locations,t heir rewards systems paired with sales and coupons are where you’ll make some of the best savings!
- This website has the vast majority of coupons that are out at one given time all in one place! Just select the ones you want and print them in your own home! There is a limit of 2 of the same coupons however.
- Sunday Paper
- The Sunday Paper is still one of the #1 places to go for coupons. Although most of them can be found on the website listed above, there are many coupons that you will only be able to find in the paper. Also, often times the paper will have the higher value coupons while there is a lesser value coupon available online to print. (i.e $3 off Tide in the paper vs $2 off Tide online).
- Ibotta is my go-to app. This will often have ‘any brand’ rebates on items such as product, milk, eggs, bread etc! Select the items you want, and once you get home scan the items and receipt to achieve those rebates! They will all get added to a bank until you reach the minimum to cash out. You can use Paypal to get cash back or I will usually redeem for various gift cards. Sign up using my code ( lwoqg )! That’s LWOQG all in lowercase 🙂
- Similarly set up app as Ibotta where you bank your rebates and cash out once you hit a certain dollar amount. Often times there will be the same rebates on both Ibotta and Checkout51 which just adds to the potential savings on items. I have found that there are a lot more processed goods on Checkout51 vs. Ibotta. At this time, the app only has a redemption option for a check to be mailed to you.
These are the main places I hit every week before I go shopping and yet I have managed a savings of 30% per trip (between sales, coupons, & rebates)! You can easily start seeing the savings add up if you follow that equation regardless of the store you shop at. It doesn’t need to be a scary or overwhelming process. Just start with one section at a time and work your way up! Let me know if you have any questions!