If cutting coupons is one of your favorite ways to save, you’re not alone. One report showed that 92% of people used coupons of some sort in 2019.
Being a coupon cutter can get you addicted to saving money. Using other methods to save money along with your coupons can help you increase your savings. Pairing coupons with other strategies can double up on your discounts and make budgeting easier.
Keep reading for seven ways to save money.
1. Use Money-Saving Apps
Many apps give you cash back for making purchases. The specific discounts vary, but even small amounts add up quickly.
Ibotta is a popular money making app that offers cash back for a variety of grocery items and toiletries. You add the deals you want to use through the app. When you’re done shopping, you scan your receipt to get the cash back.
If you like to shop online, various options help you find the best deal. When you add PriceBlink to your browser, it automatically looks for the lowest prices on the items you’re searching. It saves you time, so you don’t have to go to individual websites yourself.
Honey finds and tests coupon codes for you when you make online purchases. It not only curates the codes for you, but it tests each one to see which is the best deal.
2. Join Store Loyalty Programs
Check with your favorite stores to see if they have a loyalty card or an app with special deals. Target has its Target Circle offers in its app with percentages off certain items. Other stores offer special pricing to members or special bonuses, such as gas discounts.
These programs are often free and easy to use. Mobile apps make it even easier to find qualifying deals and track your savings.
3. Take Advantage of Sales and Clearance
Retailers offer up sales every week in their ads. Use those ads to plan your meals for the week. You can also save your coupons to use when the items go on sale, so you get them for a lower price and make your coupon count for more of a savings.
Pay attention to the regular and lowest prices for your staples. When it reaches the lowest price, stock up if it’s a non-perishable item.
Scope out the clearance section in your favorite stores. Some retailers move all clearance items to a special aisle while others leave them where they are the the shelf but mark them down. If you find food items on clearance, check the expiration dates to make sure you’ll have time to eat them before they expire.
Many stores mark down items on a regular schedule, such as reducing certain types of items on a particular day each week. Note patterns in the markdowns you see, or talk to store employees to see if they can tell you the clearance schedule.
Another source of deals is the Dollar General penny list. Each week, certain items that have been on clearance for a long time ring up for a penny. Check the list each week to find the new penny items.
4. Compare Unit Prices
You likely compare prices between brands and maybe even between stores. Don’t forget to compare unit prices between different sized packaging of the same item.
Toilet paper, cereal, chips, and almost all other consumable products come in different sized packages. You might assume it’s cheaper to buy the largest package, or you might reach for the smallest package because it has the lowest price. However, comparing the unit price might surprise you on which size is actually the cheapest per unit.
Some stores print the unit price on the shelf tags. It’ll show how much that 8-ounce bag of shredded cheese is per ounce, for example. You can then compare that to the 32-ounce package and any other sizes to see which one comes out cheapest per ounce.
If the tag doesn’t have the unit price, it’s easy to figure out with the calculator on your phone. Divide the price by the number of ounces, number of pieces, or other units of measure to get the unit price. Repeat with all sizes to see which one is cheapest.
Sometimes buying the cheapest product per ounce or per piece isn’t ideal if you won’t be able to use it all before it goes bad. The family size box of cereal might be cheaper per ounce, but if it goes stale before you finish it, you’re wasting money.
5. Shop With a Plan
Always go to the store with a specific list, and stick to that list unless you find a stock-up deal. This prevents those extra splurges that eat up your budget. Planning all of your meals so you can make a detailed grocery list helps even more.
Grocery pickup orders can make it easier to shop with a plan. Seeing the running total as you add items may make you rethink some of your purchases. You also eliminate spontaneous purchases when you see items in the store.
6. Be Flexible
Flexibility in the brands you use can save you money. Try a generic version or a lower-priced name brand product for the staples on your list. Sometimes a weekly sale or clearance deal makes a different brand cheaper than your usual, too.
Another way to be flexible is to try different stores. Don’t forget stores like Aldi that regularly offer discounted prices.
7. Use Discounted or Free Gift Cards
Gift cards aren’t just for giving to other people. You can often find deals on gift cards and use them to make your everyday purchases.
Many online websites sell discounted gift cards. Even a small discount saves you on your total purchase when you use that gift card to buy your staples.
Some retailers offer extra free gift cards with the purchase of a larger gift card. You might get a free $5 gift card for buying a $50 gift card. You can use both gift cards for your own purchases.
Target frequently offers free gift cards for making certain purchases. The deal usually requires you to either buy a certain dollar amount of a certain type of product, such as beauty products, or buy a certain number of an item, such as four packages of toothpaste. When you make a qualifying purchase, you get a free Target gift card.
You can also earn free gift cards through cash-back sites or survey sites. You earn points for purchases or specific activities. Then, you can trade in those points for gift cards to the stores you visit regularly.
Go Beyond Cutting Coupons
While cutting coupons can score you some major deals, you can multiply your savings even more with extra ways to save money. The more steps you take to save, the faster you’ll reach your financial goals.
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