Sales Cycles and Stocking Up
Most people make a list of the groceries they need and head to the store. What you have just done is make a list of everything that is not on sale at the store. We need to step back and realize that groceries go on sale. They all have a “rock bottom low price”, and we want to focus on only buying groceries when they are at that rock bottom price. Don’t worry it’s pretty easy, in most areas they follow a cycle roughly 6 weeks long. That means if we see a rock bottom price this week then buy enough of that item to last 6 weeks. That way you don’t have to go back and pay the full retail price in between.
The easiest method to getting the best deals is to have a library of inserts saved up. That way, if an item goes on sale four weeks after the insert is delivered, you’ll still have the coupons (and you only clip the ones you actually need!).
-When printing coupons, make sure your ink is full. Difficult to read barcodes means it won’t scan and the cashier will probably reject it.
-Photocopying coupons is fraud and can land you in jail. Just don’t do it.
-Don’t buy something just because you have the coupon. It doesn’t actually save you money.
-Here are the three things you need to make sure about the store’s coupon policy: Do they accept coupons? Do they accept printed coupons? Do they restrict the number of coupons you can use in a transaction?
-See if your preferred grocery store has electronic coupons that get associated with your loyalty card. This saves time clipping and means you don’t have to remember to hand coupons over to the cashier.
-Most printable coupons expire in 30 days. Don’t print until you’re ready to shop.
Whether you’re new to budgeting or are experienced at saving money, the world of coupons can be intimidating. There’s a ton of lingo, policies vary from store to store, and it’s sometimes challenging to tell whether or not you’re actually getting a good deal.
Fortunately, with a little bit of research and preparation, using coupons to save serious cash isn’t all that difficult. Use these essential tips to get started with couponing for big savings on everything from snacks to toothpaste.
Before beginning your coupon journey, make a list of the items you regularly buy in your household to figure out where you can save the most cash. There’s no need to include things like produce, which rarely are coupon eligible, but it’s possible to find steep discounts on everything from frozen food to toothpaste.
Each store handles coupons a little bit differently, and it’s important to know the policies before you go. Some grocers will double the face value of a coupon, while others will price-match competitors. Do a little online research to find your store’s policy to ensure that you don’t waste time or money in search of coupons that won’t actually save you any cash.
Sometimes, it’s the stores that you don’t shop at that boast the best deals. You may usually buy laundry detergent at the grocery store, but it’s possible that a drugstore like CVS or discount retailer like Dollar General could have the best price on your preferred brand. That being said, it usually doesn’t make sense to drive out of the way to save a couple of dollars
If clipping physical coupons seem like too much work, you can still take advantage of digital coupons. The Coupons.com app is home to hundreds of digital coupons and discounts, while cash-back programs like Ibotta can offer some savings on the items you already buy. Most grocery stores also have their own apps with store and manufacturer coupons, plus loyalty cards, built right in.
1. Learn what coupons are “stackable.” This means that they can be used together. You should know this ahead of time so that you can plan how to check out.
2. Check out more than once. With coupons that are not stackable or have a limit, you can return to the store and buy more, using a different coupon.
3. Clip your coupons at home. If you are distracted by trying to tear out coupons or figure out which coupons are stackable, you may miss the fine print. Be well aware of the limitations and advantages before stepping into the store.
4. Apply these practices to online shopping. Keep in mind that discount/coupon codes are available through email newsletters, coupon websites, and catalogs. Try to find a coupon code before checking out of any store online and you can save 5 to 50 percent off purchase or get shipping free.
5. Multiple checkouts are extremely common with couponing. Taking the extra time to split up your purchases or return to the store will help you to save more money and trips to the store.
6. Make sure you’re getting the best deals. Just because you have a coupon, that doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to be getting the best deals. Check with other stores to see if they have the same item for a cheaper price, or see if there are Other/Generic brands that are even cheaper than the item with the coupon.
Store-Specific Apps (manufacturer coupons app)
More stores where coupons are available are sending out their coupons through Smartphone apps specific to their chain. Here are the top store-specific apps to check out:
1. Target App: If you’re a frequent shopper at Target, this app is a must-have. You can use it to shop online, manage registries, or even store and use those Target gift cards you scored over the holidays. Plus, you can view your local store’s weekly ad on your phone, and you can have daily deals and twice-a-month coupons sent directly to your phone.
2. Walgreens: Many extreme couponers love saving on personal health care items by combining coupons and sales at local drug stores. The Walgreens app allows you to receive exclusive offers and weekly store ads on your phone. Plus, you can use the barcode/QR code scanner to learn more about products while you’re in the store or checking out Walgreens’s physical weekly ad. As an added bonus, the app comes with options for refilling your prescriptions, checking your prescription history, or even ordering photos straight from your phone.
3. CVS: The CVS Pharmacy app is similar to the Walgreens app. It gives you exclusive coupons and lets you create a shopping list while checking out the weekly ad. If you’re an ExtraCare card user, you can actually make a mobile ExtraCare card on your phone. Then, use the app to access your ExtraCare points account. Of course, this is also similar to the Walgreens app in allowing you to refill a prescription and check out your prescription history. If you’re in need of urgent care services, you can also use the app to find your nearest Minute Clinic and check out its hours and services.
Other Couponing Apps
To broaden your mobile couponing search, check out these apps that help compile savings from several different stores and brands, all at once:
1. SnipSnap: This app is ideal for extreme couponers. You snap a picture of coupons with your SmartPhone. The app captures the coupon, but it also stores the expiration date and provides in-store reminders. It’s social, too. You can connect with friends to share coupons.
2. The Coupon App: True to its name, this app helps you save money in a myriad of ways. It includes a coupon widget to give you daily deals. The coupon database is updated continuously every day. You can save coupons so you can more easily find them later, or you can share them with friends. The great part about The Coupon App is that it has such a large database of coupons. You can search them (even by voice search) while you’re actually shopping to pick up last-minute deals. As with similar apps, you can use this one for mobile coupons that can be scanned right at the register.
3. Grocery Smarts Coupon Shopper: If you’re interested in cross-referencing manufacturer coupons with store sales, this is the couponing app for you. Using coupons for items that are already on sale is how extreme couponers save so much money. This app actually tracks store prices from Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, Target, CVS, and Walgreens, and then shows you exactly how to use current manufacturer’s coupons to save. Note that this app allows you to save with printable coupons and coupons from your Sunday insert. You can have printable coupons emailed to you for printing. If the app is showing a coupon from a Sunday paper insert, it will let you know what date the insert was sent so you can find and clip the coupon on your own. You still have to carry paper coupons, but this app does the cross-referencing work for you
4. CardStar: With this iPhone or Android app, you can move all your loyalty cards onto your SmartPhone by taking a picture of them. You don’t have to stuff your wallet with cards are add them to your key chain. And stores can scan in your account directly from your phone.