Want to save more at the grocery store?
Have you resolved to save more money in 2020? Are you willing to spend a little time each week to make that happen? Using coupons is a time-tested money-saving strategy, and now digital coupons make it easier than ever to save.
There was a time when couponing might have been considered old-fashioned and not worth the time. But as coupons move beyond the grocery store and are now available for major purchases too, times have changed.
All age groups use coupons these days. In fact, a recent survey by Statista found that 54% of internet users, ages 18 to 29, said coupons were “very important to their overall online purchasing decisions.”
Depending on the time and effort you invest in couponing, your savings can be a few dollars here and there, or a significant percentage of your household budget. In fact, some “extreme couponers” report cutting their household budget in half by taking the time to plot out their purchases and find the best coupon deals.
The most coupons are offered by retailers and manufacturers in October. November comes in second, when Black Friday online coupons are available for almost anything. April and May are big coupon months, too. Paying attention to these peak times may pay off in big savings on gifts and groceries around busy (and expensive) holiday buying times.
The most effective coupon users are planners by nature, especially when planning a trip to the grocery store. 43% of shoppers look for paper coupons prior to grocery shopping, and 40% look for deals in the store’s promotional circular. Digital coupons are easy to use and kinder to the environment than print. Using both methods will help you find the most and best deals, and feel good about going “green” for at least part of the process.
If you haven’t tried digital couponing yet, here are four easy ways to get started
Email coupons directly from retailers and manufacturers
If you buy a lot of products from a particular store or brand, go to their website and sign up for their email newsletter which usually includes coupons. You’ll probably receive coupons for subscriber-only in-store deals and coupon codes for online purchases, too.
You can download coupon “plugins” from the App Store or Google Play. Just search for “coupons” in these online app stores to see everything that’s available, but look especially for plugins that aggregate coupons from all over the internet. Then, when you’re shopping online, if there’s a coupon available for the item you’d like to buy, the plugin will automatically apply the discount to your shopping cart.
A simple Google search for “coupon websites” will deliver hundreds of options, as well as lists of the “best” sites for coupons. This is the best way to find big brand coupons.
A Google search for “coupon apps” will introduce you to the major players. These apps award points when you take a picture of your store receipt. Some let you exchange points for gift cards or cash back.
Be aware – you’re giving to get
As with any digital activity where you’re getting a reward or perk, you’re also giving something to the app or retailer – you’re providing them with lots of valuable information about your spending and shopping habits. Just be sure you’re willing to share this type of information before signing up. In return, they will be able to better customize the coupons and offers you receive.
Follow these guidelines to save rather than spending more than you intended
The primary risk you run in using coupons of any kind is to buy something you really don’t want or need, just because you can get a good deal. Eighty percent of shoppers surveyed in a recent study said that coupons “changed their behavior in some way” – they bought sooner, tried a new brand, or bought more than they would have if they had not had a coupon.
Make a list
Plan meals and purchases ahead to see what you really need; look for coupons for those items.
Stick to your list
Nothing will get your savings plan off track more quickly than veering off your intended path.
Look for other discounts that can maximize your savings.
Shop on senior discount day; shop for food that’s in season (when it’s usually less expensive)
Couponing of any kind is a great way to save on everyday items and specialty products too. The growth of digital couponing makes it easier than ever to stick to a budget, and even spend less in the process.