With Food prices rise 10.4% (opens in a new tab) in June 2022 compared to June 2021, you are probably looking for a way to cut costs.
Navigating grocery coupons can seem tedious and overwhelming, but it’s one way to keep more money in your pocket when you venture out to the grocery store.
You may also feel relieved to know that collecting grocery coupons doesn’t have to become a hobby (or obsession) to save money. Below is a beginner’s guide to couponing to help you get started.
Grocery coupons: what they are and how they work
At a very basic level, a coupon is a discount that shoppers can use to pay less for an item. In the world of grocery coupons, these are the main types of coupons:
- Coupon Store: Store coupons have to be redeemed at their corresponding store. For example, you can only use a Giant (opens in a new tab) or Kroger (opens in a new tab) coupon at Giant or Kroger.
- Manufacturer Coupons: Manufacturer coupons come from the manufacturer and can be used at many different types of stores. For example, a General Mills coupon could be used to purchase General Mills products at any supermarket that accepts the coupon.
- Catalina coupons: Catalina coupons are the coupons that are printed on your receipt when you check out, which could be manufacturer coupons and other store-related discounts.
- Loyalty coupons: If you are a member of a particular store, you can get special member-only coupons and discounts.
The discount opportunity of a coupon may vary. For example, some coupons will give you a certain dollar amount off for buying one or two items.
In other cases, you can get to buy one item and a second for free. Reading the terms and conditions of each coupon may help you spot exclusions for items not covered by the discount.
Where to get coupons
We all know you can get coupons in the Sunday paper, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Shoppers can also get coupons online through sites like coupons.com (opens in a new tab), redplum.com (opens in a new tab), TheKrazyKouponLady.com (opens in a new tab) Y smartsource.com (opens in a new tab).
For example, Coupons.com features coupons that you can print or save. Also, you may be able to connect your store loyalty card to Coupons.com to add digital coupons.
This way, you don’t have to print and save the paper. Instead, when you use your loyalty card at checkout, your loyalty card coupons should be applied automatically.
In addition to going to coupon websites that add coupons, you may be able to go directly to a grocery store’s site to find coupons. Below is a snapshot of what rocker harris (opens in a new tab) has to offer.
Lastly, manufacturers may have their own coupon and rewards sites. For example, PepsiCo has its Tasty Rewards website (opens in a new tab)where you can find deals on drinks and a wide range of PepsiCo food products, such as Doritos, Quaker Oats and more.
How to maximize coupons
Now, this is where the magic happens. You may have seen reality show episodes where people buy groceries and actually get the money back instead of paying for their big haul.
How do they do that? Here are some ways:
- Use multiple coupons on one item. Some retailers will allow you to use multiple coupons on one product, and pairing a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon could help you pay next to nothing for products. If the coupon is worth more than the price of the item, you might even get a credit toward your bill.
- Use coupons on discounted products. If a store is running a special deal on an item, taking out a coupon for that item could help you pocket even more money.
- Some stores will double coupons. Sometimes stores will double the value of your coupons. For example, if you have a coupon for 25 cents, they will increase that value to 50 cents. The website Grocery Coupon Guide (opens in a new tab) lists the grocery stores in each state where you can get double the value. It’s not listed when the info is updated, so you could use that as a starting point, but you may need to confirm deals with the retailers mentioned.
Reading the fine print can help you avoid being denied your coupons at checkout when you try tactics like using multiple coupons at once.
And if your coupons are denied, don’t worry, consider it a practice and get clarification on how you can use them next time.
Implement a coupon strategy
Coupons can become overwhelming if you have a bunch of paper lying around that are hard to find when you want to make a purchase. Here are some tips that might help you get started with couponing with less stress:
- Audit your pantry. Make a note of the products and brands you buy so you can keep an eye out for relevant coupons, and be sure to visit manufacturers’ websites for deals on brands you use regularly.
- Find an organization system. The best strategy for managing your coupons is the one that works for you. You can get a little accordion folder or decide to deal only with digital coupons.
- Schedule coupon time. Pick a time during the week to check different newsletters, coupon books, coupon websites, and manufacturer websites for coupons and deals.
- Subscribe to coupon websites. Websites like The Krazy Koupon Lady regularly post grocery and drugstore deals along with coupons so you can sign up for ongoing deals delivered to your inbox.
- Purge expired coupons. Keep track of coupons that are no longer valid so your coupon backlog doesn’t become unwieldy.
What if coupons aren’t for you?
Let’s face it: coupons aren’t for everyone. And if it’s not for you, you can still save at the supermarket with other strategies to find deals. Here are some websites that offer money-saving deals that don’t involve clipping coupons.
- Ibotta (opens in a new tab): Ibotta is a shopping deals app that gives you cash back when you shop at select retailers. After signing up, you’ll gain access to exclusive cash-back offers that you can activate at checkout online. For in-person purchases, you may be able to store cash back offers on your store’s loyalty cards or turn in receipts for reimbursement. grocery deliveries (opens in a new tab) you may also qualify for reimbursement.
- Rakuten (opens in a new tab): Rakuten is another cash back website that offers deals at retailers including grocery stores like Kroger and the food lion (opens in a new tab).
- Sweetie (opens in a new tab): Honey also offers cash back offers at different retailers and on member-specific products.
While it’s true that creating coupons or signing up for a cashback website can take some time to set up, the time spent can pay off if it means more money left in your pocket.
Consider setting aside time on your calendar this week to look for deals, and experiment to see how much you save.