Welcome to part three of my year-long series on how to reduce your grocery bill. If you missed earlier parts you can find them here:
For part three I am focusing on coupons. Now, don’t run away thinking of all those crazy coupon obsessed people you may have seen on shows like Extreme Couponing thinking you want nothing to do with that. Couponing has come a long way in the last few years and it can really make a difference on your grocery budget.
I started couponing every now and then in 2008. However, I really kicked it up a notched in 2011 when I discovered how to combine coupons with deals and at that time how to stack coupons. You can get an idea of the money I was saving here.
Now, coupons seem to be for smaller amounts, but are also more convenient as many of them are now actually through apps on your phone as opposed to paper coupons.
In order to save with coupons you want to keep three things in mind:
#1- Only use coupons on items that you need or you are already planning to buy. If you start buying items that you won’t eat or you don’t need then no matter how cheap it is you will not be saving money.
#2- If you see a coupon for an item that you use regularly, grab it. It may not be in your best interest to use it that shopping trip but hang on to it for the future.
#3- For maximum savings combine the coupon with a sale or other promotion. For example price-matching plus a coupon plus a rebate app!
There are different types of coupons. Tear pads are ones which you typically find at the front of the store or sometimes in the aisles near the items themselves. Inserts are coupon booklets that come in the newspaper or in your flyers. Sometimes you will find some in magazine, handouts or on door samples. Printable and mailed coupons can be found at websites like these:
Some grocery stores like No Frills and Superstore have sections on their websites where you can print coupons. Other stores like Co-op have an app where you can just tap the coupons you want to use and then scan your phone at the checkout (Coupgon– this is one of the best apps for fresh produce, meat, and dairy).
Another way of saving is through rebate apps. These are where you purchase the item and then scan your receipt and get a credit on your account. once you have $20 in your account they will send you a cheque. Checkout51 is one of those apps. The best things about the rebate apps is that you can use a coupon to buy the item at the store and still claim a rebate saving you even more (back to that #3 above!).
Be sure to check the coupon details (usually found on the back) for things like expiration date and limits. Also, read up on your stores coupon policy to make sure they accept the coupons you want to use.
Once you get the hang of couponing you can really reduce your grocery bill without much effort or time.
Do you use coupons? Where is your favourite place to find them?