I used to get annoyed with “coupon people.” You’re trying to get out of the grocery store quickly and the person in front of you is digging through their wallet, holding up the line because the cashier has to check on some BOGO offer, etc., etc. I used to be a bit snobby with my purchases. I have expensive taste and back in the day I just bought what I wanted.
Now that I’m older, married, have a mortgage, bills, our two-year old to take care of, and live on one full-time salary and my freelance money (which is about half of what I used to make), I’m coupon crazy!
I’m not of those extreme coupon-ers. I don’t have time to do that, nor would I ever want to do that, I need my garage for my car, not for 80 bottles of Tide. But I think you can still save A LOT of money with just some simple ideas.
Here are the top ten, plus one, places from which I get my deals. Hope it helps your family, too! There really is a feeling of excitement as you watch money drop off your total, a feeling of accomplishment. Hey, every dollar counts, right?!
1. Restaurant.com or local sites (for Pittsburgh
we have http://www.justpayhalfpittsburgh.com/) are awesome! There are always deals to find here. You can get a $50 gift card for $25 or other increments, and Restaurant.com often has promotions with movie companies. *This year I paid $35 for a deal (got an email about it because I subscribe) that gave me $100 in Restaurant.com money, 2 free movie tickets ($26 value) and $10 to dinnerandamovie.com.
2. The paper, or the flyers you get in the mail, usually on Tuesdays. Don’t throw these away! There are usually 1-2 pamphlets of coupons in there. You can easily find $5-$10 worth of savings for food items, and then they often have restaurant coupons, too. Also, don’t disregard those local coupon magazines. Around here’s it’s Clipper Magazine. There are some really great coupons in there, including many for home repair or maintenance.
3. Store emails. I know our inbox is inundated, but if you really like a certain store, make sure you are on their email list. I get so many coupons via email, and most stores accept them electronically, so you don’t even have to worry about cutting them out. And if it’s not a coupon, sometimes it’s an online deal with a promo code sent to you. Definitely worth it. *This year I must have saved at least $100 at Michaels on craft stuff (they have great coupons), Old Navy is another nice one, Sears, Papa Johns, Hot Topic (yeah I shop there, lol), JC Penney and Macy’s – to name a few of my favorites.
4. Opening credit cards. I did this TWICE this year, but that’s it, and that’s about how many times it’s worth it. And then once you have the card, you get tons of deals, too. *I was at Macy’s and I was buying a bag and my favorite perfume with some birthday money. Both of these were super pricey items. By opening a Macy’s card, I got 20% off each item, and then a bunch of follow-up coupons for future purchases, and special shopping passes with savings that only card holders receive. I saved close to $100. This credit card trick really only pays off if you are making a super large purchase. And ask about how you can pay off your card. Victoria’s Secret, for example, lets you pay your credit card total right at the register. So you can charge your items, reap all the points and benefits for having the card, and then pay the balance right off with cash, so you aren’t getting yourself into debt.
5. Product websites. Not all products have online coupons, but many do, especially cleaning products. If you need to buy something, or want to try a new product, check out the web site. Just Google it, too, and you will see if any coupons exist for that product. Sites I know have them for sure are Febreze, Clorox, Lysol, Swiffer…
6. Retailmenot.com is AMAZING. You can just search for whatever store you are buying from (online-based) and it will show you codes that are available to use. Sometimes it’s free shipping, or a percentage off. It pulls codes that are currently active and lets you know.
7. For the digital person who doesn’t want to sit there and clip, there are TONS of coupons on sites like couponsuzy.com and couponmom.com. You can just virtually clip and print them out. Also, store loyalty cards. CVS, Rite Aid, Giant Eagle – you can actually download coupons to your Advantage Card at GE (from the website) which when they scan the card at checkout, will come off your total. And of course we all know about Fuel Perks, and buying gift cards at GE for places you are going to shop anyway, to help get those Fuel Perks. For the other stores, check online or in the circular they mail to find card holder specials. *We always buy gift cards at GE at Christmas time when we are buying so many for presents. With $50 netting you 20 cents off, you can easily save.
8. Social Media. If you like a certain store, restaurant, etc. like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Often times you will get deals or promotions via social media that aren’t open to everyone else.
9. I don’t get those Entertainment books anymore, but they are still around, and you can also order digital-only access and get lots of great coupons. I just looked and for Pittsburgh, it’s $20 a year. https://www.entertainment.com/coupon/m/pittsburgh-digital-access-digital-access These always include coupons for recreational activities, as well as dining.
10. And then of course, your online bargain sites: eBay, Priceline, Amazon, Overstock. Just make sure you are on a credible site. Most of the big ones you already know, or have heard of, but some smaller ones you may need to research. And sell your stuff online, too! My husband and I have been dabbling in the eBay world for a while now and believe me, making $50 a month selling your old stuff, or reselling stuff you find, is WORTH IT.
11. VIGGLE!!!! This is the greatest app ever created and I swear no one knows about it. It’s FREE. All you do is “check in” to TV shows you are watching, and you get points. Some shows will give you higher points, so you can check in, and then change the channel and watch whatever you want, you will still get the points. These points add up and you can cash them in for gift cards, promo deals on websites, movie tickets, even give to charities! It’s super easy. *My husband and I have had this app for about a year, and we cashed in points at least 20 times, saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars for doing NOTHING but watching TV.
Hope that gives you some ideas, and if I missed anything, send me your thoughts!