Day 18 of 31 Days to Slash your Grocery Spending: Coupons!
Coupons are an easy way to reduce your grocery bill. Unfortunately, they get a bad rap at times, because people think hours are needed to save real money and be worth their time.
The good news is that coupons are very easy to find and you don’t need to spend loads of time clipping them to slash your grocery spending.
Manufacturer’s Coupons vs. Store Coupons
There are two types of grocery coupons and it’s important to know the difference between the two. A store coupon can be used only at that particular store offering the coupon. A Manufacturer coupon is offered from a particular brand and can be used at most stores. In many cases, you can use both a store coupon and manufacturer’s coupon, known as stacking, on the same item, but you should check your store for their coupon policy.
9 Places to Find Grocery Coupons
1. Sunday Paper
The Sunday paper is number one on this list, since it is the most popular place to find coupons. Granted you will have to pay for the newspaper, but usually the Sunday paper is full of other money-saving opportunities, like the sales flyers for big box stores, grocery stores, and local locations. Our local Sunday edition is $2.50. If you are an avid couponer, you will be able to make your investment back fairly easily, since coupon booklets often have hundreds of dollars worth of coupons on a weekly basis, except holiday weekends. (I’ve never understood why they don’t print coupons on holiday weekends, but that’s life.)
2 Side notes: Our local library has a box for coupons. Take what you use and drop off the coupons that you don’t use. Also in the mail this week, I received a redplum coupon booklet that had some decent coupons. The booklet was just like what comes in the Sunday paper. I haven’t seen this before, so keep an eye on your mail box.
2. Brand Website
If you are brand loyal to national brands, be sure to check out the brand websites. Often times they will offer coupons on the website or through their email newsletters.
3. Online Printable Websites
There are a few online websites that offer valid manufacturer coupons. My favorite website to find printable coupons is Coupons.com. Here are just a few of the variety of coupons that the site offers (affiliate link):
4. On Products
Many products have coupons right on the packaging. Always check to see if there are any coupons attached to the items that you’re buying, even if you have to look all the way in the back of the shelf. I found some chip bags recently with $1.00 off 2 bags. The sale on the chips caught my eye first and I was delighted to see a coupon. Recently, I’ve found coupons on a variety of products, from shampoo and snacks, to meats and dairy.
5. Catalina Machine at Check Out Register
The Catalina coupons are the coupons that print out along with your receipt at the grocery store check out. I’m always perplexed by the people that turn them down, because these coupons are often high value and usually related to something that you just purchased. For example, the two coupons in the picture below printed out when I bought these two products.
Side note: these coupons print out that they are “manufacturer cpn”, but must be redeemed at the store where they are from.
6. Ask a Company Directly
If you are brand loyal, consider calling the company to let them know of your loyalty. Also ask them directly if they have any coupons that they could send to you. You might get a no, but it doesn’t hurt to try. And there’s no need to be disgruntled if the company says no either, because they genuinely might not offer coupons. But I have had some success with this in the past, and here are a few pointers:
- Introduce yourself. “Hello, my name is Kristia and I an a big fan of your product XYZ.”
- Let them know how often you use the product, “I use your contact solution every night.”
- Let them know why you use the product, “It is the only solution that doesn’t bother my eyes.”
- Ask them politely, “I was wondering, if you offer coupons?
7. Grocery Apps
I love grocery apps. There’s no clipping required, just a smart phone. In the post, I go into extensive detail about my favorite 4 grocery apps that earn you cash back.
8. Swap with Friends
Don’t throw out those unused coupons, instead offer them up to swap with your friends, family, and neighbors.
9. Directly from the Grocery Store
Grocery stores offer many ways to find their store coupons.
- Store’s Website – Look specifically for a coupons/offers tab on the store’s website. At my favorite grocery store, I set up an account on their website an I linked my store card. I go into my account and upload coupons to my store card that will automatically come off my bill at the register on my next shopping trip. Recently, I’ve gotten $5 off a $50 purchase and $2 off $5 produce purchase.
- Store Newsletter – Sign up for the store’s newsletter especially if they offer coupons in their newsletter.
- Weekly Sales Flyer – The sales flyer is a wealth of money-saving opportunities. Every week, my favorite grocery store offers 5 high value coupons on products, on top of listed the other promotions.
- Grocery store kiosk – My first stop when I walk into Giant Food Stores is to see what coupons will print for the week. Every week, I can print up to 4 coupons for various departments in the store, such as .50 off $6 of frozen foods, $1 off $10 of meat, .50 off of $6 of produce. It’s not a lot of money, but I am usually able to reduce my bill by $1-$2. Not all grocery stores might have these kiosks, but ask at the customer service desk to see if your store offers in store coupons.
The Final Word: My weekly coupon use averages between $5-$10 off, depending on the week. I am by no means an extreme couponer, but I will search out coupons that pertain to my family’s tastes and the foods that we eat. Do you redeem a lot of coupons at the grocery store? Where do you fin the majority of your coupons? Let us know in the comments.
Coupons aren’t your thing? Never fear, you can still save a boatload on groceries:
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coupons photo credit