Using Coupons Can Save You Money
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: September 8, 2017
Coupons are a great way to save money at the grocery store, for buying everyday household items, to use when eating out, fixing your car, or swapping them out with friends. Finding and using coupons is easy once you master all the ins and outs. You can find coupons in the local Sunday paper and on mobile phone apps. With more ways to locate and organize coupons, coupon hunting has never been easier. It is so easy, even a caveman can do it!
The average American family spends between $500 and $1,100 every month on groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, pet items, clothes, and simple entertainment costs. You know you can make some sacrifices to get from the high-end of that range to the low-end. But can you really reduce or even eliminate some of these costs without giving up on good nutrition and hygiene? You absolutely can!
Statistics for Using Coupons
If you think coupon clipping is just for the over 60 crowd, you are in for a surprise. The fastest growing age market are those in their 20's and 30's and this age group is looking to use mobile or digital coupons. Here are some other interesting coupon statistics:
- 2.2 billion coupons were redeemed in 2016
- Mobile coupon users has grown from 78.7 in 2014 to a projected 104.1 million in 2016
- Over half of all consumers use a coupon in at least one of every four purchases
- 321.3 billion manufacturer-funded coupons were distributed in 2015
How to Find the Best Coupons
Finding and using coupons to save money does not have to be complicated, but it may take some planning, patience, and perseverance. With prices on everything from produce to meat on the rise and increasing prices for dining out, shoppers are expected to clip even more this year.
Along with finding coupons in the local Sunday paper, be sure to check out these online coupon sites:
Using Coupons at the Grocery Store
This is the most obvious place to save money with coupons. The biggest secret of people who save the most at the store are those who match coupons with loss leaders — those heavily discounted items they feature in their ads in order to get you through their door.
Here are four money-saving grocery apps that you can download to your mobile phone:
- Coupon Sherpa — The Coupon Sherpa app lets you sort through categories to find online coupons that can be scanned straight from your phone. This free app also lets you create favorites lists where you can tag your favorite stores and email coupons to friends and family.
- Grocery IQ — Grocery IQ is an app that builds your grocery list, while also allowing you to add notes, synchronize lists and search for coupons. It also uses the camera function to scan bar codes for price and food information.
- RedLaser — RedLaser is a comparison-shopping phone app that allows you to scan shopping items , via a bar code scanner, to find out which products are cheaper. The app produces a listing of similar products by different brands and ranks them from most least expensive, allowing you to make a more educated choice when shopping.
- Shopper Pro — The Shopper iPhone app is a basic application that draws up a grocery shopping list on your phone. To add a little more functionality, it also calculates sales tax and tracks coupons.
Save Money When Dining Out
Articles about the frugal lifestyle usually recommend always cooking at home. This is an obvious way to save money, but sometimes you need a treat or a break from the kitchen. You can save money eating out by purchasing an Entertainment Book, clipping coupons from your local paper, or going to Groupon.com.
While saving is good, what about eating for free? If you sign up for the mailing list on the website of your favorite restaurant, many offer free food for your birthday. Also, keep an eye out for restaurants that offer "kids eat free" during some weekday nights.
Discount Coupons For Car Maintenance
You may never have to pay full price for an oil change or any other routine service on your car again. Look for coupons in the mail from the local franchises and dealerships, where you can save $10 or more off the normal cost of an oil change. If you're going in for warranty work on your vehicle, some dealers will change the oil — and wash your car — free of charge.
Swap Coupons with Friends
Do you often find coupons for things you just don't use — such as diapers, frozen meals or a certain brand of shampoo? Consider starting a local coupon exchange club. Get together with a few friends once a month, clip all the coupons you can find and swap the coupons you don't need for the ones you want. You can also find coupon exchanges online.
If you aren't using your smart phone to store and organize your coupons, here are some ideas to keep your coupons in order and easy to get to:
- Buy or make a coupon organizer; use envelopes, folders with labels, or a virtual coupon organizer.
- File and store them in your coupon organizer by expiration date, product, or alphabetical order.
- Keep your coupons with you in your purse or car so that they are available during those "unplanned" errands.
- Make an effort to use those with shorter expirations periods more quickly.
Of course, doing all these things sounds great in theory, but the efficient use of coupons and finding the best bargains on food/staples each week takes time. And, for each of us, the "time value of money" is different. If you have to go to 5 different stores to get the best deals, you have to factor in your time and gas costs, which without a doubt can make or break a good deal. So it is up to you to find your happy balance. Good luck and happy clipping!