Although it has been over 10 years, TLC seems to run my episode of Extreme Couponing every other month (watch below) and every time it airs, I get a lot of e-mails asking me how I did it.
Saving over 95% every time you go to the supermarket is not realistic, and is quite frankly, nearly impossible. As a rule, I like to try to save about as much as I spend…so around 50% is a nice, and an achievable number.
Here are the basics to get you started when trying to save a few bucks at the supermarket:
- Get yourself a store loyalty card. Most stores have them, they are free, and are the key to get the sale prices.
- Check the store’s sale circular. These generally come in the newspaper, in the mail, or are available in store or on-line.
- Get the Sunday newspaper…this is where most of the money saving coupon inserts are (subscribe to it…cheaper that way!). Weekly specials at the supermarket and the Sunday coupons generally match up. If you see a good deal, ask friends and family for their coupons that they may not be using.
- Use websites like Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, KelloggsFamilyRewards.com and BrandSaver.com for printable coupons. Manufacturer sites and supermarket sites generally have printable coupons as well. Need Advil? Go to their website. You can probably print one there. Check your store’s internet coupon policy.
- While not widespread, find a supermarket that doubles coupons. They all have different rules and limits, so check with the store before you go.
- See if your favorite supermarket’s web site or app has e-coupons that can be loaded directly to your store loyalty card… most now do, and some stores allow you to combine with paper coupons.
- Use free apps like Ibotta (use referral code: oyhommu – and we both get a bonus!), Checkout 51, and Fetch Rewards (referral code: YJ1GE) – Scan your receipt when you get home for cash back and points towards gift cards and other rewards.
- You know the coupons that print out at the register? They are called “Catalina Coupons”. Your buying habits trigger these coupons to print. Also, look for red & white tags on supermarket shelves that will print coupons for money off your next order if you buy certain products.
- If you live in a bottle deposit state, recycle! Returning your deposit bottles at the supermarket is just like a money off coupon…after all, you paid for it, get your money back!
- Make a list based on sale items and the coupons you have, and stick to it. This is why I don’t take my family to the supermarket! Just a few full priced items can throw off your whole order! Most of the stuff they want will go on sale eventually.
- Good deal? Stock up. Maybe you don’t have room for 25 bottles of detergent, but buy enough of whatever the item is to last you until it is on sale again. Sales run in cycles. Once you play the game for a while, you’ll see that the same items are on sale every few weeks.