One of my newly discovered favorite hobbies is couponing! I wanted to share some tips from my many hours of searching for ways to save money using coupons, online reward systems, and rebate apps. Here are the 5 biggest money saving techniques I use and how I use them. Enjoy 🙂
Every Sunday I get as many copies of the Sunday paper as possible. Right now, I get about three copies per week. One I get delivered to my house, one from my husband’s company, and one from my Grandpa’s house (usually from the week before, after he’s done with the paper). It’s always best to get your hands on as many copies of coupons as possible, because if you find a great deal, such as an item that ends up being free, you want to be able to stock up on as many of that item as possible. Don’t go overboard, though, because coupons and sales will be back eventually. It’s a good rule of thumb to get enough to last you at least six months.
The best way to save with Sunday morning coupons is to match them with other sales/deals/rebates. For example, I will layout one of the best deals I’ve gotten since I began couponing.
Usually I get Suave body wash for about $1.88 for 12 ounces. It’s a relatively good product, but I’ve found that Dove is much better. It smells better, it moisturizes better, and you don’t have to use as much of it because it’s better quality. I found a coupon in the Sunday paper for $1.00 off Dove body wash. At Target, Dove body wash twin packs were on sale for $7.00 each. Generally Dove body wash is about 5 dollars each for one, so that’s already a good deal. In addition to that deal, Target was running a special that if you buy two Dove twin packs, you get a $5.00 gift card back. This deal combined with coupon made me able to get 4 Dove body washes (24 ounces each) for $8.00 total, which boils down to $2.00 each, making it only a fraction more than the Suave. So you’re getting twice as much of a better product for only 12 cents more. (It’s worth mentioning that if I had multiple copies of that Sunday paper, I could have saved an extra dollar by using two separate manufacturer $1.00 off coupons, one for each twin pack, making the grand total of each Dove 24 oz. body wash actually less than the Suave 12 oz.)
Another way that I save, primarily on groceries and toiletries, is by using rebate apps on my iPhone. Again, you get the most out of your savings if you pair the rebates up with other coupons and sales. The three rebate apps that I use are as follows:
Checkout 51 – This app has many deals that can be redeemed at any store. You just buy the product, submit your receipt, and receive your rebate. The only negative I have found with Checkout 51 is that you can only cash out your rebates once you hit $20. After you hit $20, they send you a check in the mail.
Shopmium – Shopmium isn’t quite on par with Checkout 51 and Ibotta, in my opinion. There aren’t as many deals and they don’t recycle as often. It will be several weeks before you get new products available on Shopmium, and you cannot receive a rebate for the same item more than once. It does, however, transfer the amount of your rebate to your PayPal account immediately, which is a huge advantage over Checkout 51.
Ibotta – Ibotta is the only one of my three apps that specifies which store you have to buy an item from. There will be different deals available for various participating stores, including Walmart, Target, Winco, Safeway, and many others. (Ibotta does also offer rebates for things other than groceries, such as clothing, but I generally don’t take advantage of those offers.) Ibotta works the same as any other rebate app – you buy the product, submit your receipt, and receive your rebate. As far as how fast you get your rebate, Ibotta is sort of in between Shopmium and Checkout 51. Once you hit $5, you can transfer your money to your PayPal account.
Target Cartwheel is one of my favorite apps to use because generally coupons and rebates are only applicable to name-brand products, which are already slightly more expensive than the generic brands. The best thing about Cartwheel is that it is Target’s app, which means many of the items on the app are Target’s brand, which is already cheaper than most name brands. When using Cartwheel, I search the products for things I have coupons for or that I know are on good sales. Once you find items you want to save on, you add them to your list (which can hold up to 16 items at a time). Then, before you pay at the store, you have the cashier scan the barcode on your phone. (If you don’t have a smartphone, this is all available online as well, and you can print your barcode before heading out to shop.)
The reward systems I use are basically all relatively similar, so I will lump them together.
Shopkick is an app on your phone that gives you points to walk into certain stores and to scan certain items at those stores. I got over 800 points today, just visiting a few stores and scanning a few items. The best thing about this app is that you get points just for walking into the store! You don’t have to go out of your way. If you’re at Target, open your Shopkick app and you’ll get points simply for being there. After a while, you can redeem your points for various available rewards.
Bing Rewards is another easy system to use. Simply set Bing up as your primary search engine, and you will get one point for each search you make. The only downside is that the rewards aren’t very high value (mostly gift cards, up to $5). But, hey, it’s something!
Points2Shop and MyPoints are both websites in which you can register, fill out surveys, respond to emails, and do various other tasks to get points and receive rewards.
Last but not least… Websites
Obviously (or maybe not, if you haven’t heard) you can get online coupons directly from the store websites (target.com, walmart.com, ect.). These are great because they can be used in combination with manufacturer’s coupons. For example, if you have a manufacturer’s coupon for one dollar off a bottle of Tide laundry detergent, you can use a similar Target coupon on the same item. Manufacturer’s coupons can only be used one per item, so it’s good to try to stack them with the store coupons, since you can use them together.
My two other favorite websites to visit for couponing or just scoring good deals are TheKrazyCouponLady.com and raininghotcoupons.com. Both of these sites provide a lot of great information, such as what deals are currently going on in stores, what coupons you can find to match up, freebies you can find in stores and online, and many other great tips for saving money!
So, basically, this has been life for the past few months. I always love to save money in any way I can, and I’m so excited about all of the new ways I’ve found to do that. I couldn’t help but share it with all of you! I hope you’ve learned a little bit and been able to see that you don’t have to spend 40 hours a week on a couponing career, like the people on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing,” in order to get fantastic deals and help save money for your family