I have been couponing for years now, so I wanted to share some tips I've learned along the way. Do you want to know why I get so excited about couponing?
Here's why I learned how to start couponing — I got this grocery haul all just for $33.35. Today, I'm going to show you how you can get a bunch of food and products for dirt cheap so you can get paid to save.
But first, just know you'll need to download a few grocery store rebate apps like Fetch Rewards and Ibotta. If you don't use these apps you're missing out.
Here's a prime example: Did you know that Ibotta usually teams up with Walmart and a number of additional brands to offer you a free Thanksgiving dinner after cash back through the Ibotta app or browser extension? There's more to it though.
In this article, you'll learn the best way to get coupons, how to get printable coupons mailed to you, and where to get free downloadable coupons online.
Ready to get started saving money on groceries?
Where do you start?
Before you get started with my couponing guide, make sure you have a few things available to you:
- Access to a printer for printing coupons
- A laptop or computer
- A plastic binder with dividers/labels
- Access to local newspapers (these have coupons or mailers)
Best way to start couponing
If you've been wondering how to start couponing for beginners, this quick-start guide is for you.
1. Set aside time for couponing
You'll need at least an hour or so per week to clip some coupons for your grocery haul.
By spending an hour each week, either after work or on the weekends, your savings is really unlimited.
You'll probably also find new ways to save money (by using grocery savings apps for example) along the way.
To chalk it up, you can really save a lot of money by spending just an hour couponing.
So make the time!
2. Learn the terminology
As a beginner, you may come across some terminology that you're unfamiliar with.
You'll want to quickly glance over these terms so you can get comfortable with them so you can learn about all the ways you save and score cheap goodies.
Some of the main terms that'll pop up are below.
That's pretty much all the terminology you'll need to familiarize yourself with if you really want to get into the coupon game.
3. Find coupons
You guessed it, the next step is finding the best ways to get coupons.
Thankfully, you can easily find out where your local coupons are no matter where you live.
Generally, throughout the US, coupons pop up in four main places:
- Store coupon walls/bulletin boards
- Local newspapers
- Store flyers
- Coupon websites
If you're a Millennial like me, or you're okay with downloading a few apps that'll handle all the work for you — consider downloading/signing up for the best coupon sites (technology things easier).
You can compare all of the best couponing sites here.
3. Get coupons delivered to you via postal mail
As we have covered many of your local coupons can be found in newspapers and magazines. But did you know that you can find coupons a ton of other ways online?
The most effective way of getting free coupons by mail is simply by contacting companies via social media, email, or the companies dedicated customer service department.
Almost all companies love to receive positive reviews and feedback about their products and services.
So when you reach out to them and show support, most large companies will likely send you coupons to show gratitude or motivate you to give their product a second trial.
Just be sure to keep the following tips in mind before reaching out them:
Many companies which give free coupons send out advertising and deals to their newsletter subscribers which contain free coupons. They'll also give you a free treat if you fill out their customer satisfaction survey.
So head on over to your favorite store's website and simply give them your email address or take their customer salinification survey for a chance of free coupons or a free meal.
Whenever you have a big purchase coming up, just look on eBay for the store name + coupon and you can usually save yourself some money.
5. Use apps that utilize coupons
If you're keen on contacting companies or tweeting them you just download apps that have digital coupons that you can apply to your purchases.
Using these free coupon apps can save you money on just about anything.
We covered some of these sites earlier but the best ones are as follows:
- Ibotta can help you find savings on your favorite brands at your favorite stores. You can register today and earn real money. Plus, it saves you time since you don't have to manually clip coupons, it's all done within the app. Plus, you can get a $10 new user bonus after scanning your first receipt.
- Dosh is another app where you can get cash back on your everyday purchases. The best part about this app is that you won't have to scan receipts, you just link your credit card or debit card and it'll automatically give you cash back. The app is totally free and it's a really passive way to save money.
- Rakuten lets you find coupons and earn cash back at over 2,500 stores, I love it. You can save online with rebates, deals, promo codes and discounts. They'll give you $10 for joining after you use the app/site twice.
You can scope out the full list here.
6. Mix coupons for ultimate savings
You'll want to learn about overage if you get serious about how to start couponing. This occurs when you stack coupons so that you are actually owed money from the register or get a credit towards your current bill.
In order for this to occur, this has to happen:
- Combining a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon together
- Using a coupon on an item that has been reduced/on clearance
- Applying “Catalina” coupons on your bill
- Price-matching an item that you're already using a coupon on
Once you get familiar with coupons, you can start strategizing how to stack up multiple types of coupons.
When you check out at some stores, coupons print out with your receipt.
Some of these come from a Catalina printer, and some are tear-offs at the bottom of your receipts.
At Walmart, for example, I can sometimes get as much as $5 off a future purchase of $25 or more. If you can combine one of these with a manufacturer’s coupon and a store sale, you just became an extreme couponer!
Tips to keep in mind
You'll likely run into a few mistakes as a beginner. I know I did and here's what to look out for:
- Keep in mind that some stores may not pay you actual cash if you are owed a credit. Instead, they'll give you a credit towards your next purchase.
- If you have an overage or gap in your bill, some stores will require you to fill the gap with an item to make up for the difference.
- Not all stores will let you stack coupons, so make sure you read the fine print.
- Not all stores will have the product you have coupons for, so call ahead if your item/product is popular.
My next piece of advice is to stay motivated. Here is a great way to stay motivated and not get burned out:
- When you're learning about how to start couponing don't be frustrated if you can't walk away with $500 worth of items for only a few bucks.
- Make some rules for when you're learning how to start couponing and stick to them. This article can get you started but it's a constant learning game.
- Don't go crazy clipping coupons for things you don't need, that's a good way to combat all your savings.
- At the end of the day when learning how to start couponing, make sure you're having fun!
How to start couponing? Just do it!
To recap, by using coupons you can save a lot of money yourself, cut your monthly expenses down, and lower your monthly bills.
This is a great way to start saving more, invest your savings, and ultimately grow your wealth and become a coupon junkie!
While extreme couponing takes some time and effort, even with the smallest effort you can find some great savings.
Take your time and enjoy your savings.