Can you learn how to use coupons for free groceries? Absolutely!
Coupons make it easy to save five, ten, twenty percent, or more off your total at checkout. However, if you want to have your bill end up at zero, it’ll take some skill – and a few insider tips.
What strategies do you need? Beyond shopping smart and being organized, are there any details to be aware of?
Read on in order to learn how to use coupons for free groceries.
How to Use Coupons for Free Groceries
When it comes to couponing, there are a lot of things to keep track of. Different stores have different policies, different coupons have their own disclaimers, and so on. However, there are a few things that will work almost every time.
- Check your savings before buying. Take a few minutes to compare which sale will allow for the biggest savings.
- Don’t buy for the sake of saving. Only buy what you will use, in the amount that you can safely store. If you find yourself with too many items, donate them.
- Keep your eyes peeled. Focus on the essentials, but keep an eye out for good deals. Flash sales, seasonal sales, and other opportunities could pop up at any time.
- Stay organized! Staying organized ensures you won’t miss out on deals, just because you forgot you had a coupon. Organize your coupons in a book, organize your coupons before checkout, and refresh your collection now and then.
6 Tips & Tricks to Get the Biggest Savings
If you’re serious about coupon clipping, you need the right tools. These six essentials will help you learn how to use coupons for free groceries.
1. Bring a binder
Serious coupon clippers will bring binders with them to the supermarket, chock full of their collection. Some use accordion folders, while others use notebooks with tabs. Some couponers organize by brand name, while others organize by item type.
Do what works for you. Get creative! Just remember to sort your coupons by expiration date, so you don’t find your brilliant deal falling through because of bad timing.
2. Stack up on coupons
Once you have a place to organize them, seek out multiple coupons. Expert couponers often buy many newspapers just for the coupon inserts. Ask friends, neighbors, and family members to give their coupons to you. If they’re not using them, it’s great to know they won’t be wasted.
You can also seek other places that offer coupons. Some brands give coupons through their newsletters or on their websites. If you like a specific brand, and they offer a great range of items, check out their social media page; coupons may be posted there.
3. Use rebates
Rebates are essentially refunds you get when buying an item. There are different ways to earn rebates. Most often, you need to present a proof of purchase.
4. Use overage
When you use a coupon with a value above the item, this excess value is called ‘overage.’ Most of the time, stores do not let you keep this overage. However, when they do, it’s a chance for great savings.
Overage can be used to pay for other items in your cart. With enough planning, it’s a smart technique for saving big.
5. Use multiple coupons
Like overages, the policies for using multiple coupons, or coupon stacking, differ between stores. Most of the time, you can use one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon.
Remember to use as many coupons as you can on an item. If your store lets you use three or four, don’t pass up the chance!
6. Organize the order of your coupons at check out
Some stores automatically apply your coupons in the order they need to be applied. Some don’t. To make sure that you’re getting the most savings, organize your coupons at checkout, so the scanner can apply them in the correct order.
5 Common Couponing Mistakes
By learning from others, you can increase your couponing skill even faster. So, what are the common beginner mistakes?
Watch out for these pitfalls:
1. Buying full-price items
If you really want to save money, only buy items that are discounted. Once you limit yourself to items on sale, you’ll start getting your groceries for free.
When you’re shopping, remember to look for sales first. If you can buy items on sale and then apply your coupons, that’s great. Otherwise, only buy items on sale and use coupons to reduce the cost of non-sale items.
2. Not comparing sales
Not all sales are created equal. Always compare savings while accounting for coupons. The few minutes spent on your phone’s calculator can help you save big.
3. Not comparing coupons
Not only should you compare sales, but compare coupons too. It sounds crazy, but some coupons just aren’t worth using.
If you see a coupon approaching its expiration date, you may be tempted to use it. Resist the urge! You could end up spending more than what you save - sometimes for an item you don’t even need.
4. Buying for the sake of savings
If you see a chance for good savings, don’t jump on the deal too quickly. Stop and evaluate. Do you actually need this? Can you use all of it before it expires?
If you need to buy a large amount of an item to get savings, consider stockpiling what you need and donating the rest.
5. Brand loyalty
Unlike electronics, clothes, or items that should last a long time, the brand of your food may not matter. After all, if you don’t like an item, it’s just a matter of time before it’s consumed.
As such, there’s no need to have brand loyalty while couponing for free groceries. Instead, evaluate which brands offer the best deals. This can save you money at checkout, and if you don’t end up liking the food, you can always check out other on-sale brands next time.
Trying out different brands also gives you a chance to get creative with recipes.
Why Sunday Coupon Inserts?
When learning how to use coupons for free groceries, you have a great place to start: stocking up on coupons! From buying multiple newspapers to scouring dispensers to asking family and friends, all you need is a bit of a hustle.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be difficult. With Sunday Coupon Inserts, you can have your choice of coupons shipped right to your front door.
What’s more, you’re free to cancel, pause, or change your subscription anytime. If you think that saving on groceries isn’t worth hours of hunting for the right deals, Sunday Coupon Inserts can ease the load.