Extreme Couponing is definitely becoming a thing! It’s no longer just a U.S. phenomenon or the preserve of pensioners, broke students and the Scrooges of the world – there is even popular U.S. TV show on those who do it best. The little coupons you find in magazines, online, in emails or through the post can save you hundreds of pounds on your shopping and with the average UK household spending £58.80 a week on food & drink alone, every little saving matters. Getting those giant kinds of savings takes a lot of time and effort, so we’ve compiled five coupon tips to help you on your way.
- Sign up
To start extreme couponing – you need coupons! To make sure you get them, you will need to sign-up to websites, emails and store loyalty cards. Many of the major manufactures of consumer goods have dedicated websites where you can download vouchers. Most supermarkets have free magazines full of coupons and some newspapers have coupon inserts in their publications. Make sure you’ve signed up to the loyalty schemes of your favourite supermarket, health and beauty retailer and other stores. Starting with the stores you love will mean you will use the coupons and start saving.
Another way of getting coupons is through social media. Some companies hold social media competitions where you can win coupons for the ‘price’ of a Retweet or a Like.
Be smart about what you sign up to. There is no point putting your name down for a mailing list of a cat food manufacturer if you don’t have a cat. Also, please make sure you are comfortable with the information you share, and understand the terms and conditions you’re accepting.
Timing is key to successful extreme couponing. Once you’ve printed the coupon don’t rush out to buy the product; wait until it’s on offer in store or has been reduced with a yellow sticker. This is the best way to maximise your returns. However, do keep an eye on the coupon’s expiry date. The best way to know what is on offer is to use price comparison sites.
Welcome to the new money-saving frontier. There are several apps and cashback sites out there that promise to give you cashback on some purchases. This growing trend works often by signing up and using digital coupons or codes. The apps and websites are paid for by generating extra sales and they pass back some of that commission to you. However, sometimes you do have to reach a threshold before you can withdraw the money and it can take a long time to come through. So think about this cashback as a bonus and don’t rely on it.
4. Read the Terms and Conditions
We all know that terms and conditions are hardly a thrilling read, but all coupons have Ts&Cs and you will need to read them to ensure you are using your vouchers as effectively as possible. Terms to look out for are:
One coupon per product purchase – This means you can only use one coupon for each product, so no doubling up for extra money off.
One coupon per transaction – Whilst this limits you to using one coupon per transaction, the shop may allow you to group together items into several different transactions to maximise your savings.
One coupon per customer – You are only permitted to use one coupon and can’t repeat the purchase.
Expiry date – Keep an eye on that offer expiry date – you don’t want to go to the supermarket and find all your coupons are out of date.
5. Only buy what you need
We all know it’s easy to impulse buy, but only purchasing what you need is the most important extreme couponing tip of all. A saving is only a saving if you were going to buy it anyway, will use it or wanted to try it. Buying something just because you have a coupon for it, only for the item to end up in the bin, is not a saving.
To make the most from coupons you may need to adjust your shopping and switch supermarkets or shops in order to save more.
One pitfall to avoid in couponing is ‘upshifting’, which is buying a more expensive brand than you actually want just because you’ve got a coupon. For example if you normally by a £2 pack of cheese you won’t save money by having a 50p off coupon for a block of cheese that retails for £4.
Extreme couponing does take time and effort, as with most things that are truly rewarding. However, think what you could do with all the money you can save!