My Beginner Couponing Experience


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So couponing is a thing…

psst… if you didn’t know, it’s been around for a long while. When merchandise of any kind was cheaper ‘back in the day’, coupons were a fun way to save a few cents. However, nowadays people coupon for a living and resell that merchandise in bundles for dupes like me to buy. For the past 3 years I have been studying the ways of couponing. Here in semi-rural Texas, it is a bit hard to do. Prices here are higher than say a suburb of Houston. Trust me! My cousin Nikki in Atascocita rubs it in all the time. “My HEB is better than yours.” Well ūüėõ So here’s my tiny, but effective, guide to couponing from a beginner to beginners. I would first like to mention that it takes time and patience, and a bit of research on your behalf. But there are ways to make it quick and easy.

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1.  Become a member of online coupon apps

There are several apps to help you make a bit of extra green on your grocery purchases. I mean honestly, that is what my household buys the most. The top site I use is Ibotta(Use this link to get a $10 welcome bonus).¬†It is very user friendly and breaks down rebates (coupons) by store. I have cashed out almost $100 in savings over the past year. It isn’t a lot, I know. ¬†But it is well worth it to have especially if you tend to buy name brand items more frequently. Larger chain stores will have more rebates than smaller ones, and not all rebates are good for every store. Rebates change frequently, so check often for new items. There are bonuses for purchasing multiple items or completing a task. Just browse through the list of the store you plan to shop at, and check the items you want. It’s that easy. Come home, scan your items, and snap your receipt. Cha-Ching! Once you have built up some cash, you can request a transfer to your PayPal or Venmo account. Did I mention the app is FREE!!

Another rebate site worth keeping up with is Checkout51(click for details). This app is similar to Ibotta, but there are no specified stores for most of the rebates. Occasionally, there will be one or two items that require a purchase at a specific store. While I have not made a huge amount of money on this one, I still keep it around just because. Sometimes there are items I won’t buy or don’t have the need for. Lately, they have had wonderful rebates that you can use multiple time. The man of my house drinks Diet Pepsi, and the rebate for this item has been on there for months. I just keep on using it! This app also offers bonus money for purchasing multiple items in a group. This is also a user friendly app. Money is sent to you by requesting a check.

What about non grocery type purchases? I use Ebates(use this link to earn $10 for signing up) for online purchases. If you are a big shopper of anything online, go through the Ebates app FIRST!! I’ve earned back $75 just last Christmas by shopping online. As a bonus, most items you find online are cheaper than in store because they aren’t being handled and shipped by dozens of other people.

 

Now, there are several dozen other apps out there for online rebates for everyday purchases, some of which are not as wonderful as others.

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Favado is an app that lists store sales item by item, and will even tell you if there is a coupon for that item. I use it a TON because it helps me figure out which stores have the best deals. The only downside to this app is there are some inaccuracies. Just double check the ads and coupons to make sure you are getting the right deal. As an example, several months ago, I was prepared to get $5 extra care bucks back for buying $5 WetnWild cosmetics at CVS. When I arrived at the store, it was $15 cosmetics. I was bummed. Recently, I have been tearing up the coupon apps and internet for one coupon that would allow me to get 2 Maybelline mascaras for free. I have yet to find that coupon, so no free mascara. Look for Favado in the App Store.

I also use SavingStar and Mobisave. These are like Ibotta and Checkout 51 but with fewer rebates. Mobisave money is small but goes right to your PayPal account. I’ve got a whopping $1 from 4 transactions. SavingStar is a bit different in that it has bigger values for some items, but you must buy a minimum dollar amount within a time period. So you may get $4 for $15 of Goya products. They don’t all have to be purchased on the same receipt, but within the time frame specified. There are also single item rebates as well. I have about $5 in this one.

There are also store specific apps like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, ¬†Dollar General, and tons more. Wherever you like to shop, there is more than likely an app filled with bonus offers, coupons, and app only perks. You have to study them each before your shopping trip to make sure you are getting the best deal possible. About a year ago, Sheridan and I hit up the JC Penney in a bigger city and racked up the savings on some clearance. By using an app only coupon, we spent $200 on 2 pair of jeans, a pair of leggings, two shirts, a dress, and a cami for¬†her…. AND (breathe) 2 pair of pants and 3 blouses for me. ¬†We were so proud of ourselves! These store apps carry their own coupons in digital form that echo what most people get in the newspapers or in the mail. However , not all digital coupons are the same as inserts which means some of us miss out on the savings. That is where my #2 comes in.

2. Coupons… paper and digital

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There are several ways to find coupons without buying 5 different newspapers. It’s taken me a while to figure this out. I’ve even gone so far as to buying whole coupon inserts from an authorized coupon fairy. This is a person who somehow has managed to become a distributor of coupons. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Anyhow, I was so stinking excited to get that huge package of coupons in the mail, I went gung-ho on cutting them out immediately. Sadly, there were about 75% that I wouldn’t even use. I wasted $20 on not so many savings. So now I print what is available to me through coupons.com. The list of coupons varies by zip code and region, so what I get here in East Texas may not be the same as say Ohio. These coupons are the same ones that are on most store apps’ digital lists. So no double dipping, sadly, which leads me again to #3.

3. The Magic of Stacking

So this is the all powerful, magical, unicorns-and-rainbows moment of couponing where the stars align and the savings pile up. Stacking is where you can get the best deal possible. You have either paper or digital coupons, maybe an in store coupon, and submit your receipt to several different rebate apps. The savings really add up. Here is an example of stacking.

There are several Glade coupons to print or add digitally through different apps. In this example I used Dollar General, added the coupons digitally through the app, and also selected the products on 2 different rebate apps before I went shopping. I bought 4 solid air fresheners, 4 spray fresheners, and 3 small candles. Before taxes, my total would have been $17. I would never pay that much for any of this. I had 3 coupons worth $4 plus DG savings in store for an additional $1. When I got home, I scanned my products in SavingStar and received $2 plus Checkout51 gave me $3. That is a savings of $10, a huge 60% savings. That means I got each of these 11 items for 64C each. Not too shabby. Really and truly the solids and sprays were free, and I got the $3 candles for $2.33 each. Either way you cut it, it’s crazy cheap!

I’ve stacked on other items as well. It would take a whole other post to sort through how I managed to get $160 in groceries down to $75 last Thanksgiving. I really don’t know how I managed till it happened. The ones I’m most proud of are the things we use every day that always seem to run out at the most inopportuned moments, like toothpaste, toilet paper, or feminine products. Oh the DisASter!!

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So go out there, study up on how to be a cheapskate, and make me proud. I don’t know about you, but my paychecks aren’t getting any bigger any time soon. #Teacherlife. Let me know how your hauls go. And for the love of all things crafty, sign up for email notifications, so you can be the first to know when I post something new. I actually have new crafty posts on the horizon just to try out.

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