I’m not a big fan of couponing. In fact, every time I’ve attempted to coupon, it’s been a disaster. It takes too much time, many of the items I buy don’t come with coupons, and it just becomes frustrating.
Did I really just spend an hour to save $5?
No. Just. No.
I might be willing to give couponing a try again, though, after having Carrie Rocha as a guest on the Money Mastermind Show. Carrie’s site, Pocket Your Dollars, is all about how you can make the most of your money — and that includes by using coupons.
Carrie is quick to point out that she’s not dogmatic about couponing. She points to the time/money continuum, and encourages consumers to do what works for them in terms of couponing. It turns out that modern technology offers a number of great solutions to couponing — solutions that can work for about anyone.
Forget About Clipping Coupons! Use an App
The most time consuming part of couponing is looking through fliers and identifying sales. This is the process that really put a damper on the whole couponing thing for me. It was really never worth my time.
There’s no reason to use physical scissors to clip physical coupons. Apps and web sites like Coupon Sherpa, Coupons.com, SnipSnap, and The Coupon App all make finding, saving, and using coupons easy. It takes less time than ever before, and you have the whole of the Internet to help you find good deals. You are no longer limited to the Sunday paper coupons.
Other sites do even more heavy lifting for you. Carrie’s own site, Pocket Your Dollars, will match up coupons, deals, and sales with various stores, helping you put together shopping lists that maximize your savings. No need to do it yourself. Other sites like Coupon Mom and The Grocery Game can also help you put together easy lists based on coupons and deals.
With a little planning, you can save up to $900 a year — and that isn’t taking up much of your time at all. Couponing is easier than ever, and it really can be a part of your overall savings strategy.
Rebate Apps Save You Money, Even Without Coupons
I’m super-lazy, and I’m also super-disappointed that much of what I buy doesn’t come with coupons. Sure, you can find produce on sale at the store during the week, but you rarely end up with a coupon for it. I also buy a lot of brands that don’t come with coupons.
In order to help me, Carrie suggested that I look into retail apps like Ibotta. With this app, you receive rebates on things you have already bought. It’s quick and easy to use, and you can save money each time you make a purchase. There are also apps like Saving Star and Cellfire that work with your loyalty cards for automatic savings and rebates. Another app that helps you earn cashback on the groceries you buy is Checkout51.
These apps are more my style, since they provide savings after the fact. I don’t have to do a lot of work before hand; all I have to do is shop as normal and then watch the savings start to pile up. This is a kind of couponing I can get behind.
You don’t have to get involved with extreme couponing to make the savings work for you.
Don’t Neglect the Online Promo Code
Finally, don’t neglect the online promo code. You can almost always find some way to save money if you just search an online code before you buy.
From group voucher deals to simple typing in “promo code for x” in the search bar of your browser, you can find a discount on almost anything — even if it’s just for getting rid of shipping costs. On top of that, sites like RetailMeNot and Ebates can help you save money on everyday purchases.
In the past, the discount promo code has been the one couponing technique that has worked for me. I use it on travel to great effect.
No matter your personal finance style, there is likely a version of couponing that will work for you. Couponing has evolved in recent years. Chances are that it could work for you.