Have you thought about couponing before but got discouraged because of all the time that goes into it? It doesn’t have to be that way! It doesn’t have to take hours and hours getting ready to go shopping! I spend about one hour a week getting my coupons and shopping lists ready. This post is all about how you can do the same thing by doing what I like to call “casual couponing.” Whether you are an expert “extreme couponer” or a “beginning couponer” these tips will help you cut time and money out of your monthly grocery shopping!
What does it mean to casual coupon? The idea behind casual couponing is that I still am saving a couple hundred a month on my grocery bill but I am not spending nearly as much time prepping or shopping to do so. I only look for the really great deals and only use coupons when it’s worth it. Worth it to me means buying products that my family uses on a regular basis and I am able to buy them on sale, leaving me only paying less than 50% the original price. So here is the breakdown on what you need to know to be a casual couponer. Save yourself some major money without having to spend all your time prepping. Just follow these simple couponing tips and you will be on your way to saving $100s!
Let’s start with the lingo.
When you’re first getting started, you might see a few abbreviations and here is what they mean.
B1G1- Buy One Get One Free
B2G1- Buy Two Get One Free (get the idea?)
$1.00/2- Means the coupon is for $1.00 off of two items
I’ve recently canceled my Sunday newspaper subscription, but if you have one, here are the abbreviations and what they mean of the coupons that you might see when they come in the paper. These coupons might also come in your normal weekly “junk snail mail” so keep an eye out because those are free!
RP: Red Plum coupon insert
SS: Smart Source coupon insert
PG: Procter and Gamble coupon insert
Take advantage of apps.
One of the easiest ways to save money is by using these great apps! Most of them work as a rebate offer. This means that you submit your receipt through the app and once your receipt has been approved, you automatically get the rebate amount added to your app account. Once you hit a certain amount set by the app you can cash out for things like gift cards. What’s more, you can combine these with coupons. That means even more savings! So let’s say that a product is on sale for $2.00 and you have a $1.00/1 coupon, plus there is an app rebate for $1.00 — that makes this product free. See how you can use both coupons and apps on the same product?
Things to note about the rebate apps:
- Usually, you can only use the rebate once;
- Make sure to browse the deals before you go shopping;
- Not all deals are available at all stores;
- Within the same app, one deal might be available for a certain product but not available at a different store’
- Apps like Shopkick give your rewards for just walking in the store. Easy money honey! You can also earn rewards even faster by scanning a few different items as your peruse the store.
Apps that I use:
Learn about the sale cycles.
Grocery stores typically have a sale cycle that starts Wednesday and goes through the following Tuesday. Major retailers like Target and Walmart sales usually run Sunday through Saturday. Everything has a season. Specific products usually go on sale around the same time of year, and they aren’t hard to predict. There are a lot of really great blogs out there that map it out, but for the most part, they are fairly easy to gauge. For example, with spring just around the corner you can count on things like outdoorsy stuff (BBQ, outdoor lighting, grilling tools) and cleaning supplies to go on sale. The reason you should know the sale cycle is because it helps you figure out what you should stock up on or buy. If you know that the specific sale price will be back soon then you don’t need to stock up so much. But if it is a product that you know your family will use fairly quickly then you might want to load up one of your pantry shelves. Pro tip: most products are on a 2-month sale cycle, meaning you will see a sale price on a specific product every 2 months.
Develop a weekly routine.
Now we have the logistics in order. Here is my weekly routine on how I casual coupon. It really is super easy. My local store paper ads come in the snail mail usually on Mondays. Even then, if my postman doesn’t deliver for some reason, they can be found online usually around one day before the sales actually are live. (I like to see them in print because I feel like I can read them easier and circle things).
1. I look through the ads for things my family will eat that are on sale.
2. Search through my coupons (print, digital, and apps) then match them up with the sales. This is key! Match sales with coupons and other savings.
3. Create my weekly menu around what is on sale and what I bought last week on sale.
Over here in San Diego where I live, it is no secret that the cost of living is not the lowest. So keep in mind as you see me post deals I find, you might be able to find them even lower at your own local stores. There will always be great deals every week but I pick and choose where to spend my money and time. One great thing about using coupons is sometimes there is a good deal on a new product. Normally, I wouldn’t try it, but because I can get it for a super low price with coupons/apps, my family and I get to indulge a little. The items I typically shop for with coupons are cereal, cracks and snack food, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and cleaning supplies. That short list of my go-to coupon shopping items might not seem like much but even still, the little time I spend finding these deals really does save me a couple hundred dollars a month. Do you know what that adds up to in a year? Over $1,000 saved a year! I know that you can do the same too if you follow these few simple steps.
I would love to hear any additional questions or comments you might have about how to casual coupon! Leave a comment below.
Brittany is the owner of Pennies Into Pearls. She motivates and inspires women to make small changes in their daily lives that results in reaching life goals they never dreamed possible! She teaches that living frugally is only a stepping stone when you are living the Pearl Life! You can find her weekly on her website and YouTube channel.
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