Couponing became really popular shortly after I got married, and as a new wife I tried my best to become a successful couponer, but there was a problem. I spent MORE with coupons than before I used them!
I was buying food that we didn’t need and often didn’t eat just because I had coupons to match sales, and it was hard to keep my coupons organized.
After being continually frustrated, I finally decided coupons weren’t for me, and I quit using them for several years. However, when I became a stay at home mom, we needed to find ways to cut back, so I gave coupons another try.
For the last 2 years I’ve been able to figure out how to simplify using coupons. They are no longer my focus for grocery shopping. Instead they have become an “after thought”.
I make a list of items that we need and are on sale first. Then I check for any coupons that I can use. This has helped save my sanity and I don’t feel pressured to use all of the coupons anymore.
If you are interested in using coupons, but don’t want to deal with the frustrations, then try implementing one or more of these tips.
1. Only Clip What You Will Use.
When I first used coupons, I would cut out every single coupon just in case I could use it. However, many of those coupons were never used and ended up in the trash. I finally decided to only cut the coupons that I knew we would use or most likely use. This has saved me so much time!
I don’t have to spend a lot of time cutting coupons out that I won’t use nor do I have to spend a lot of time sorting through all of the coupons when I get my grocery list ready each week. It is fun to see all of the beautiful coupons and think that you need to cut all of them, but save yourself the time and energy and only clip what you need.
2. Go Digital.
There are so many stores that now have digital coupons which makes using coupons super simple! I love using digital coupons at Publix. Here are a few things to keep in mind with digital coupons:
- You have to create an account with each store and then you are able to “clip” coupons to your account.
- Digital coupons are used just like paper manufacturer’s coupons.
- Check for the expiration date and always read the details (ie: quantity and size of items).
- When you check out, sometimes the coupon doesn’t come off of your total. I like to have my phone open to my clipped coupons on the Publix app when I check out. That way I can show the coupon to the cashier in case it doesn’t come off my total. In every situation, the cashier has manually entered the coupon for me.
Since we are talking digital, I wanted to reference Ibotta*. If you aren’t familiar with Ibotta, it is essentially a rebate app. After you have purchased your groceries, you can earn anywhere from 25 cents to several dollars for specific items that you buy.
I love it, but I do not consider it a coupon nor do I count the money I earn from Ibotta as part of my total savings because the payout isn’t until you reach $20 which takes months for me.
3. Keep It Simple.
You can keep coupons simple in 2 ways: where you shop and how you organize your coupons.
Where you shop: I do the majority of my shopping at one store. That way I am familiar with their sales and coupon policies. I used to compare all of the adds and go to 3-4 stores each week just to get the lowest price, but that was so exhausting and most stores run similar sales just with different cycles.
How you organize: Organizing coupons doesn’t have to be elaborate or even require a big binder or file folder. Last month I shared how I organize my coupons on Facebook. My grocery coupons are divided into 3 categories: grocery, household, and health and beauty. Each category is written on a separate envelope where I keep the coupons, and they are kept in a manila envelope near my desk.
4. Follow Routines.
Keep coupons simple by following the same routines for cutting out coupons, storing them, using them, and disposing of them. Here is what works for me.
When I get new coupons in the mail, I cut out the coupons and separate them into the category envelopes.
Next, I match any coupons to my grocery list that are available.
Then I login to my Publix digital coupons and clip any available coupons.
When I return home, I check Ibotta for any rebates.
I go through each coupon quickly looking for the expiration date and throw out any coupons that are expired.
Although, I love using coupons, there are so many other contributing factors that save me money at the grocery store. For me, coupons are like the cherry on top. It is nice to have a little extra savings, but there are also other great ways to save without coupons.
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