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I used to be a couponer. I’d spend my Sundays clipping coupons and matching coupons to sales, stocking up on cheap items, and driving to multiple stores to buy items. Now that I’m a teacher I rarely have the time for that anymore. My Sundays are spent meal prepping and doing laundry. Although I still glance through the coupons to see if there is anything I might be needing in the next couple of weeks, I rely on other ways to save money. Here are some much easier ways I’ve found to save that have saved me money.
1. Shop store brands
The easiest way to save a few dollars on your shopping trip is to buy store brand instead of name brand. They are usually on the shelf right near the name brand and are often $.50-$1 cheaper. You can even find store brand organic and natural foods.
2. Shop seasonally
When it comes to food, buying what is in season or popular is usually cheapest. Apples are cheapest in the fall. Fish is almost always on sale during Lent. Plan your menu around what is already on sale. Soon you’ll begin to learn sale patterns of what foods are cheapest in which season.
3. Shop the off season
When it comes to buying almost anything else (clothes, home decor, etc) the opposite strategy applies. I’ve gotten some amazing deals on boots and coats just because I bought them during the off season.
4. Buy in bulk
Whenever possible buying larger quantities of items can be cheaper in the long run. Look at the price tag on the shelf to see if the price per unit is cheaper for a larger sized item. Of course, Be sure that you can use or store it all before it goes bad! Look for shelf stable foods or things that can be frozen. If you buy a lot of bulk items you may see if a club membership like Sam’s Club or Costco is worth it. If it’s not quite worth it for an individual membership, maybe see if a friend or family member is up for a joint shopping trip now and then. Again, make sure you use enough of the item to make buying in bulk worth it.
5. Use an app
Apps are my new couponing. You can virtually clip coupons and add them to a loyalty card, or get cash back on things you’ve already bought. Here are a few of my favorites
-The store app-
Most major supermarkets, and a few big box stores (like Target), have coupons within their apps. These can either be loaded to a loyalty card which you scan at check out , or it will give you a single mobile barcode that the cashier can scan to apply all the coupons you’ve saved. If I have the time I try to sit down and load all my coupons before I head to the store, but if I don’t have the time there is often a sign in the store mentioning additional savings with a digital coupon. Then I just whip out my cell phone and add it right there in the store.
Another app I use frequently is Ibotta. This app gives you cash back on things you’ve already bought. This can be stacked on top of any other coupons or savings you’ve already gotten. I just check my receipt when I get home for any qualifying items I may have bought. And they have quite a few “any brand” rebates, so I’m usually getting $0.50-$1 back minimum on each shopping trip (you don’t have to be a math teacher to figure out how fast that adds up!) Join using my link and you’ll get an extra $10 cash back: https://ibotta.com/r/5rsr6a
If I’m shopping online I’ll turn to Ebates. This cash back site makes it easy to get money back on things you buy online. Just shop through their links on their site and they’ll do the rest! With in store pickup and super fast shipping available most places these days, I’m able to get most of my shopping done in my pjs, and save money doing it. Sign up through my link and you’ll get an extra $10 cash back after you spend $25: https://www.ebates.com/r/OPERAS7?eeid=28187