For decades, coupons have helped shoppers to save money on groceries and housewares. But the number of ways to find them has increased in recent years.
Now, discounts are available almost everywhere, including inboxes, websites and smartphone apps. Here is how to get coupons, in paper and digital form.
1. Join in-store loyalty programs
Register for rewards programs or join the mailing list of the retailers you frequent the most. Many stores send loyal customers exclusive coupons or automatically apply discounts upon checkout.
“These are savings that you’re going to get for doing nothing but swiping your card,” says Cindy Livesey, the frugal living expert at the coupon website. Live rich with coupons. Livesey says the coupons have saved her family about $ 11,000 a year, on average, on groceries.
Be careful, however, when signing up for rewards programs. Retailers can flood your inbox with spam or use your information, such as demographics and buying habits, for marketing purposes.
2. Check the Sunday newspaper
As you catch up on current events, look for coupon inserts in your local or national newspaper. The Sunday edition typically has $ 50 to $ 300 in savings, Livesey says. Typically, larger or more expensive posts will have bigger inserts with higher value coupons, she says.
Before paying extra for a subscription, make sure it’s worth it. You may be able to access newspapers for free through friends, businesses and other sources. Free newspapers often also have coupons.
Identify your savings opportunities
Check out your spending breakdown to show your top spending trends and where you can cut.
3. Ask the manufacturer
If you prefer certain brands, contact the companies directly. They will often send coupons or samples when you provide feedback (or just ask for it). In addition, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon at any store that sells the product shown, except for exclusions.
“Companies often send coupons or samples when you provide feedback.“
Here’s how to get in touch with the manufacturer: Look for a “contact us” link on the company’s website. This should direct you to an email form, live chat feature, customer service phone number, or mailing address. Another option? Leave a comment on the brand’s social media page.
4. Find a coupon database or app
Coupon databases are websites that compile printable and digital coupons, including discounts. You can use them to search for deals by brand, product, or store and save time. Search Google for “coupon database” to get started. For savings on the go, try a free coupon app.
5. Visit retailer websites and apps
If you are considering purchasing an item, check the retailer websites first. Most major merchants have a weekly section of online ads, coupons, or deals. Or you might see a limited time discount code on the homepage or a banner ad.
Livesey recommends downloading apps for stores you shop regularly. Some have features, like The target wheel, which make it easy to find store and manufacturer coupons in one place.
6. Pick up weekly in-store announcements
Watch for weekly flyers posted near front doors or registers. These can be store-specific offers that you can use immediately or on a future shopping trip.
7. Install a browser extension
When shopping online, use a browser extension to search for discounts on your behalf. The Honey plugin, for example, locates coupons and automatically applies the codes to your cart, saving you money without doing extra work.
8. Look at the product packaging
Some discounts hide in plain sight of the grocery store. Inspect items, like meat and grains, for a tear-off coupon attached to the box or packaging. You could get instant savings.
9. Walk the aisles of the stores
Can’t see a coupon on the product itself? Check shelves and other locations in the store.
“Usually when they come out with a new product, they put a display with a teary pad on it to get you to buy that product,” Livesey explains. Don’t let a good deal tempt you to buy something unnecessarily, however.
10. Use social networks
Follow social media accounts for the stores, brands, and products you love. Many share promo codes on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
11. Check your receipts
Examine your receipt carefully after each transaction. Some stores print coupons on the back. The cashier can also hand over a few extra pieces of paper printed from a machine next to the cash register. These offers, called Catalina coupons, are generally based on shopping habits. For example, if you buy a toothbrush, you may receive a voucher for toothpaste.
No matter where you find the coupons, be sure to read the fine print and familiarize yourself with the store’s policies.