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Do you stress about your grocery bill? Does it feel like you spend more on groceries than you do on housing each month?
You’ve probably heard of couponing as a way to save money on groceries, but it seems like such a time-consuming, abstract idea.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can use coupons to save money on groceries, and it will only take an extra 20 minutes or so each week!
Here’s what you need to do:
First, download your store’s app.
Almost every grocery store has an app. Download yours, and make sure you link your store’s rewards card to it.
Your app will have digital coupons that you can load to your card. When you check out, the coupons will automatically come off when your card is scanned!
Second, get some more apps
There are a few really helpful apps to help you save money on groceries.
Favado– this app is the holy grail of couponing. It contains coupon matchups for pretty much every single store in existence. What are coupon matchups? They’re what your mom used to do for hours each week, only someone else has already done it for you! Some blogger (like us!) has gone through the store’s ad, and matched every single item in the ad with any available coupons! If there are printable coupons, it will provide the link for you to print from.
Flipp– this app has a scan of the ads from all of your local stores. You can even search the ads to find the price of items in each of the ads, like milk! This way, you can compare prices at your local grocery stores to find the best deal.
Ibotta– this app is a rebate app. When you purchase any item listed on the app, you can scan your receipt and they will give you a rebate (we cash it out to Paypal) for that item! (Bonus: if you download it here, you can get an extra $10 when you redeem your first rebate!)
Third, get a Sunday paper
The majority of coupons still come in the Sunday paper. If you can afford it, sign up for a Sunday newspaper subscription to be delivered to your doorstep! I recommend signing up HERE because you can get discounted newspapers (save up to 92%!).
In each paper are booklets with coupons in them, called inserts. Just pull out these inserts and write the date with a Sharpie on the front. Keep them in a filing cabinet (or even a stack in the corner). When you look at a matchup, it will tell you the week that the coupon came out. You can go clip it out quickly.
If you can’t get a paper, that’s okay. You can also print coupons online! It’s easy to find them with the tool in the next step.
Fourth, use the coupon database
As you make your grocery list each week, you are going to have items you need to buy but aren’t in the ad or matchup. However, there might still be a coupon for them – and no, you do not have to read through every single insert to check!
Instead, you can search for coupons on our favorite coupon website’s coupon database! It has a list of all coupons currently available: printable, insert, or other. When you search for “mayonnaise,” it will provide you with the link to the printable or the date the insert came out (depending on the coupon).
Fifth, know the rules.
You’re almost ready to go! But before you head off to the store, make sure you know the basic rules of couponing. (If you want store-specific rules, check out our favorite website HERE.)
- Some coupons will state how many of each kind of coupon you can use at once (the term for this is “like coupons.).You will see something like, “Limit 2 like coupons per transaction per household per day.” This means you can buy two items and use two of that coupon.
- You can only use one coupon per item. Even if there is a digital coupon for $0.50 off peanut butter and an insert coupon for $0.75 off peanut butter, you can only use one or the other (unless you buy two). This is written on every coupon as, “Limit one per purchase.”
- If the coupon doesn’t have a limit, some stores will have a limit. Target limits you to 4 like coupons per day, and Kroger limits you to 5 (although only 2 if they are printables).
If you aren’t sure, just ask a cashier! Tell them that you are new to using coupons and want to make sure you use them correctly, they will be more than happy to help you!
If couponing is something that you’re interested in doing on a regular basis, please come check out my website! I have coupon matchups for over 20 stores that are updated each week, and I have a lot of more detailed information on how to begin couponing. In fact, our friends’ blog The Crazy Shopping Cart has a free 10 day email training course that goes into great detail about how to organize coupons effectively, where to get good deals, common coupon terminology, and more.
So get your grocery list, and let’s start saving!
An updated version of this post can be found on Rachel Maree’s blog Write Freelancer For You