If you are like me, you love to read stories of super couponers who end up paying pennies on the dollar for entire wagons full of food, toiletries and household needs. They may have shelves and pantries that look as if they are preparing for the zombie apocalypse, though. After all, they might have ten or more bottles of mouthwash, dozens of boxes of pasta dishes, and piles of canned goods. Couponing for groceries can often mean buying large amounts at once.
If you are without the pantry or storage space, or worry that you might be pursuing good deals for the deal rather than out of need of a specific product, you can still enjoy huge savings. And you don’t even have to use extreme couponing for groceries.
Although I am never opposed to making grocery shopping a pay day, I don’t often see myself as the type who could use extreme couponing methods over the long term. In my article about coupons as free money, I explained that I do use:
- Loyalty clubs – These are the cards that have to be scanned prior to checkout
- Custom email offers – Usually you get them from loyalty clubs, brands and other sites after you register for updates about offers
- Coupons clipped from newspapers and mailings – These include weekly fliers but also special mailings like the famous ValPak coupons
- Sites like SavingStar and Ebates that alert you to sales and reward you with cash back if you follow through on purchases
I find that I am effective at combining the options available to get good discounts or even the occasional free items. I am what most call the casual clipper rather than the extreme coupon pro, yet I would always say that couponing for groceries is really the only way to go. If you ignore the opportunity it is, in my humble opinion, like throwing away free money.
Getting Started with Couponing for Groceries
To help you get started with couponing for groceries (the type that lets you save serious money at each checkout), and make your grocery shopping a pay day, I suggest you start by making accounts and regularly visiting the top coupon sites. These include:
- Coupon Cabin
- Coupon Mom
- Coupon Pro
- Coupon Surfer
- Daily Grocery Coupon
- Grocery Coupon Cart
- Grocery Coupon Network
- Krazy Coupon Lady
- Red Plum
At these sites, you find name brand or manufacturer’s coupons that are honored by almost every store, including pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. Don’t ignore SavingStar (as already mentioned) and other sites. They are a treasure trove and some let you send the coupons to your phone, while others require you print them. It’s up to you which path to follow – though I find I can enjoy better results when printing everything out.
NOTE: Some are coupons sent directly via text, and for that I make an actual “sticky” note. You may find this tactic helps.
Never ignore your mailings, either. These are good sources for “competitor’s” coupons, and they are a key to success. Many stores are glad to take a competitor’s coupons, and will even let you double up on some. The concept of competitor’s coupons varies, but generally means that one grocery store accepts another store’s coupons for leading brands. The coupon sites above can also help you find such opportunities in your geographic area and indicate which stores would accept a competitor’s coupons.
Remember that you can start to learn how to stack for deals, too. This is something I am just barely getting familiar with, but wish I had made a point of mastering it sooner. Stacking is when you use a manufacturer’s coupon, a similar coupon from a store, any competitor’s coupons and cash back opportunities from your shopper’s websites. I have found that some of my credit cards also rotate through their rewards programs, for instance, Discover has two types of purchases with the hefty 5% cash back options, and periodically this includes grocery stores and gas stations. With this, I can use stacking AND get 5% off the total bill via that rewards money.
Also, visit the websites of your favorite manufacturers and register with them if possible. Why? It is amazing how often they make huge coupons available to those registered for newsletters and updates. And also keep up to speed with the offers extended by loyalty programs. I go on and on about CVS, but my loyalty membership with the store nets me the occasional 25% of the entire order, relevant coupons, loads of cash back and more.
When you are couponing for groceries, also remember that sites like Smartsource, SavingStar and others will let you load deals directly to a loyalty or rewards card you have registered with the site and these appear on your receipt even without any clipped coupons (as long as you buy the goods – again, a sticky note is helpful!). This frees up the head space for you to focus on simply getting the products, using coupons and other discounts, and netting the cash.
Don’t Forget the Gas
Another way that you can make your couponing for groceries and regular shopping adventures a real pay day is to focus your efforts on a single grocery chain, but one that is also affiliated with its own gas stations (or those of another company).
For instance, Stop & Shop locations sometimes have gas stations connected to them. As a loyalty member, your account tracks what you spend and rewards you with points for every $100. When you spend $100, your account shows you can enjoy ten cents off the price of a gallon of gas at the nearest Stop & Shop pumps. These points can add up and if you have big grocery bills each week, it is entirely possible to amass $1.50 per gallon in discounts before points expire. That is their cap, but even if you don’t spend the sum needed to reach that amount, you can see from $.10 or more off every gallon.
Yet, that is not the end of it because most gas stations allow you to pay at the pump with any credit card. The Pay With Gas Buddy option gives you five cents more off of each gallon. This is simply done by creating an account, linking your checking account or debit card to it, and accepting their GasBuddy debit card. Once active, you just swipe it at the pump, enter your PIN and get that five extra cents off of each gallon. You get a whopping $.15 off each gallon the first time you use it.
The GasBuddy app is also a treasure trove of opportunity. Just verify the prices at the pumps in your area (the app knows if you are nearby) and you can accumulate points towards sweepstakes or large discounts. Five minutes could mean five to ten cents further off each gallon.
So, if you are dedicated to couponing for groceries, don’t overlook the simple fact that loyalty to one of the larger chains can allow you to get deeply discounted tanks of gas on a regular basis, too. Currently, there are programs of this kind via some of the most famous stores. You can find a Safeway gas card, Winn Dixie gas card, Kroger gas card and many others. And if you join sites like GasBuddy, you are guaranteed even more off of your fuel when you visit the store’s pumps.
No matter where you live, food and gas are some of the most expensive line items in the budget. They are consumables, and that means they are not going away any time soon. We can always cut back on the types of products we buy and drive as little as possible, but it is unlikely that these expenses can be reduced to tiny sums. Yet, when you:
- Stick with one big chain grocery store
- Use effective couponing for groceries strategies that include printing coupons from websites, clipping from newspapers and mailings, using rewards and loyalty programs, and learning about stacking options
- Pay with any valid rewards credit cards (ensuring you pay the balance due within days of putting the charge on the account)
- Choose stores with gas stations or gas reward points
- Use GasBuddy (or similar options) to get an assured five cents discount on each gallon…
You can start to see amazing amounts of savings almost immediately. However, as I am a big advocate of affiliate marketing, I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that you can use your couponing for groceries and enthusiasm about saving money to take in even more cash.
In fact, it could be possible that your passion about saving money turns into a lucrative side gig that could end up paying for your groceries and gas!
Couponing for Groceries and Your Affiliate Marketing Plans
Blogging is something I honestly think everyone should do. It is not so much that billions of people all have something to say, but because blogging is the keystone to establishing a steady stream of passive income.
For example, when you are heavily into couponing for groceries, it could be that you would like to share your discoveries with others. So, you should go right ahead and make blogs about your latest deals and couponing successes. Don’t just put up a quick note to your social media friends. Make a blog and make money for groceries and more.
Of course, that means you would have to develop a social media following by making a fan page for your blog at Facebook or Twitter, and maybe even visual pages like Pinterest boards about pharmacy deals or your favorite recipes relating to seasonal savings on specific foods, and so on. You can do the same on Instagram and more. The point is, you create a sort of public announcement system for the release of a new blog, vlog or podcast. After all, you don’t have to follow the classic blog model. You could be someone who does 10 minute YouTube videos or five minute podcasts rather than a written blog.
You tell your followers on social media about the latest release. They read it and take any calls to action you include.
And here is where you can start to turn grocery shopping passion into a serious pay day.
That is because you can establish yourself as a bit of an influencer, showing people all of the amazing ways to save money. Yet, at the same time, your blogs, vlogs or podcasts (note, you would need transcripts for vlogs and podcasts) could earn you income via affiliate programs.
As an example, the Brandcaster area of Coupons.com and Coupon Savings.com both have affiliate programs. That means for every click on a link about a specific coupon in your blog or content, you might earn cash. You can also embed any number of alternative affiliate links such as telling people about your preferred materials for couponing success. Maybe it is a particular type of accordion file or three-ring binder. You can use an Amazon affiliate link to send readers to that product and earn on each sale.
The point is that your blog, vlog or podcast turns into another way to cut costs by serving as a sort of side gig. By blogging about your couponing for groceries and the many ways you save money, you get actual, monetary returns. You might even build your own site offering coupons in the same ways that the existing sites work. This is a huge investment in time, so you might want to target it to something more specific. Maybe you can create a coupon site of your own for vegans, bakers or people who love organic food? Then, put in links to all related coupons and begin earning for the activity your site generates.
Couponing for groceries is wise, but building on it with blogging, using gas rewards, and paying with cash back credit cards can all turn your grocery days into pay days.