I’ve seen a lot of TV shows and online articles about extreme coupon advocates. These are people who know all of the ins and outs about stacking offers and getting hundreds of dollars in merchandise for pennies on the dollar. They do it through the use of paper coupons paired up with discount pricing. They spend enormous amounts of time organizing and clipping, and they often have stockpiles of goods acquired for very little. If you are like millions of others, you might wonder how to be a super couponer, or even if it is the right thing for you to do. You, like myself, might find yourself eagerly reading tips in extreme couponing blogs, or joining the seemingly endless number of coupon websites for groceries and other goods.
However, it can become quite overwhelming. To help you, and myself, discover if there are coupons in your future, and whether or not it pays to learn how to be a super couponer or to just be a more casual clipper, we offer the following tips:
Invest in a good, laser printer – If you are going to be going online to coupon websites for groceries and using the many vendor coupons that are printable, you don’t want to gobble up lower quality ink jet supplies. Go for laser printers with toner cartridges, and use the most affordable paper available.
A lot of stores are now willing to take competitor’s coupons and that means that you can start to save tremendous amounts if you are willing to do the legwork. The internet cuts down on the time and effort required and you will want to use the top coupon sites to look for deals that apply to them.
Know Policies and Limits
Read every coupon’s fine print to be sure you can use them for the items in the cart and whether or not you can use more than one coupon at a time. To learn how to be a super couponer means understanding whether you can take advantage of the discount once or multiple times using many copies of a single coupon. NOTE: Photocopies of coupons from circulars, flyers and other places are not usually acceptable, though multiple copies from coupon printers may be.
This is actually the key in learning how to be a super couponer, and there are many traditional and extreme couponing blogs that share details about opportunities for doing this. It is simply when you expand your savings by using coupons from manufacturers, the stores themselves, competitor coupons and any of the cash back or rebate apps in the market (a bit on those in a moment). A word of caution with coupon stacking, though, is that it doesn’t often allow you to be loyal to a single brand, but you must definitely stick to the quality you need to make it worth your while.
Calculate Ahead of Time
If you know that the coupons you have gathered are going to work for you, take the time to do the math ahead of your shopping venture. Make a detailed list, mark the items you expect to get at a deep discount and which you have coupons for, and then calculate what you expect to pay for them. This lets you know what your final bill should be, catch any mistakes you or the teller made, and ensure your efforts really do pay off.
Time It Correctly
Try not to pay a visit with stacks of coupons during a very busy time of the day or the week. It can be difficult for everyone involved (you, the cashier, the people behind you, and so on) to wait while scores of coupons are scanned. Also be very sure that all of your coupons are organized and ready to go as soon as you reach the line.
Don’t Overdo It
If you want to learn how to be a super couponer, one of the first things to do is identify your coupon websites for groceries and household goods and stick with them. Don’t try to tackle the entire marketplace of coupon websites. Some of the most popular include:
- Krazy Coupon Lady
- Coupon Mom
- Grocery Coupon Network
- Grocery Coupon Cart
- Coupon Pro
- Red Plum
- Coupon Surfer
Also, think offline, too. The inserts in newspapers, flyers, and other printed sources are ideal ways to accumulate coupons. Many loyalty programs issue you general discount coupons, too (think, $5 off a $20 purchase, and so on) that can make a huge difference. The goal here, though, is to find which of these online and real world resources supply you with coupons you will actually use. The Lozo website is particularly good for this as it offers you coupons based on your actual grocery list.
If you shop in a limited number of stores, remember that many have websites and programs that let you get store only coupons and discounts. Just be sure to register and create an account, get any newsletters or announcements and you are likely to find easy to clip coupons, direct to card offers and even insider sales.
This is also why it could be a very good idea to head to the websites for the brands you see most often on your pantry shelves. Big fan of Pillsbury? Go to their site, register for emails and coupons and you’ll get a lot in your inbox. Whether it is Proctor&Gamble, Campbell’s soup or any other brand, it pays to find out if they have website deals and coupons.
Also, do not overlook national chain pharmacies. CVS, as an example, is amazing at issuing large discount coupons like 25% on your whole order or $5 off your next purchase. All you have to do is register for the customer card and create an account on the website to enjoy the biggest kickbacks and bargains. Remember too that these stores are more than pharmacies and you can often find huge discounts on everything from milk and snack foods to baby supplies and seasonal gifts.
Lastly, all of the big box stores from Costco and Toys R Us to Old Navy and Barnes and Noble have customer rewards programs, coupons and special deals. If you are in the market for an item that they may make available, or if you are curious to discover if it does pay to purchase in bulk, you really want to visit their sites, get coupon codes or printable coupons and take the deals.
Don’t overlook rebates and online savings – One of the greatest things to emerge from the world of online shopping are rebate and cash back sites. Essentially, they work like portals through which you can shop and get cash back for doing it. The more famous sites include Ibotta and Ebates, and they typically are not great for those who want to use printed coupons or who are looking mostly for coupon websites for groceries. Yet, there are a few excellent sites that do offer you grocery and online savings. Coupon Cabin is a site that offers rebates right along with printable coupons and digital coupons. Some other, similar options include:
- SavingStar features a weekly freebie, a 20% healthy offer of the week, and savings you earn by registering your store loyalty cards to the account, adding the available deals at the site and getting the cash back when you meet the terms. For example, they might have a $5 rebate for buying $20 of a frozen food. Each time you buy, the app automatically tracks and when you hit that target, you get the funds. Pair this with coupons and you can end up with free food or household items. The site also has rocket offers that let you get closer to the goal faster by doing small tasks like watching a video. So, that $20 you needed to spend could be reduced to $18 for watching the two to three minute video.
- Smartsource – This is a printable site but also has a lot of those direct to card offers that allow you to click “accept” on an offer and have it loaded directly to your rewards card. When that card is scanned at the store in question, the deal is noted and any discounts or rewards applied.
These tips can help you begin to develop a sound strategy for saving a lot of money by using coupons in brick and mortar stores and online. Remember it is important to spend on items you know you need and use and also save money as you do. It makes little sense to clip and purchase goods (even if they are nearly free) if, in the end, you won’t actually have use of them.
To quickly review how to be a super couponer, you must:
- Know what you need and use versus what is on sale at a good price
- Understand that brand loyalty in grocery stores does not often work for extreme savings, but don’t give up the level of quality just to save money
- Pick a few websites and resources for deals and stick with those that give you the best outcomes
- Understand that you can always do a bit more by looking for sales, coupons, and online rebate sites that make the very most of your options. For example, you get a $2 coupon for a package of bacon. You see that this lets you buy it for around $1.79 total. That’s a nice savings. Yet, if you regularly use that bacon, you should wait to use the coupon. Why? Because the store is going to sell a lot of it when the coupon first appears, but may have a lot remaining after the first week or two. That is when you might find a 2 for $5 deal, giving you a package for just $.50. If you can use multiple coupons along with that special, you can get tremendous discounts. And if you have store coupons (such as a $5 off your next purchase of $50, you might get that bacon nearly for free).
- Always combine coupons with sales – just make that a rule.
- Get organized ahead of time, register for your discounts at your rebate sites and have the coupons prepared before you arrive at the checkout.
If you follow those tips, you should be paying much less for groceries and seeing much more in the bank.
If you want to make the absolute most of your couponing, however, why not consider adding an affiliate marketing element to your activities?
Affiliate Marketing and Couponing
Perhaps you have looked at the other coupon sites and thought, “Heck, I could do this, but even better!” That means you could probably start your own website offering coupons for a niche area. NOTE: That says niche area because you won’t be able to come up against the big names and established brands, but you can do it if you choose a narrower area of the modern marketplace.
Just look at one area of particular interest to you. Maybe you are a vegetarian? Maybe you eat gluten free? Maybe you are into seasonal foods or you know a lot about condiments or certain kinds of pantry items. No matter what, you can build a coupon website of your own around it. Then, you go to those brands you love and scout out their affiliate opportunities. Most will make them available and all you do is join and use the links they provide to channel your traffic to their sales pages.
If you are eager to just jump into it without doing a lot of the homework, Coupon Surfer already has an affiliate program. You can partner up with them, promote the site and earn even more in savings!
The point is to consider adding an affiliate activity to your couponing efforts. Whether you steer others towards savings and discounts or just earn for referring others to specific sites, you can fatten your bottom line easily and enjoyably thanks to coupons.