How to Coupon in 2017: The Beginners Guide
with the best Apps, Websites and Other Places to get Savings
Hold up! You pay full price for things?
You could be saving hundreds to thousands a year. Use this guide and learn how to use Coupons and enjoy Sale Prices every day.
You only need 7 quick things to get you saving big:
- 27 Best Apps, Websites & Places To Find Big Coupons & Offers
- 9 Couponing Definitions You Need to Know
- How To Start Thinking Differently About Shopping
- 3 Ways To Organize
- Timing For Explosive Savings
- Winning With Store Policies
- When To Make A Big Run
27 Best Apps, Websites & Places to find Big Coupons & Offers
The fastest way to get started couponing is to download apps and signup for mail & email newsletters. Here are the best to get you started fast:
One big benefit newspapers have is they still pack themselves with really good coupons. Especially good for food coupons or local store coupons.
2. Mobile Apps
Find great offers in 3 different kinds of apps:
Deal Apps (Special big savings you can only find with a specific app):
- iBotta (US)
- Checkout51 (US & Canada)
- Groupon (US, UK & More)
- Nearby (India)
Coupon Apps (Aggregate all available coupons on the web):
- RetailMeNot (US - iOS or Android)
- VoucherCodes (UK - iOS or android)
- CouponDunia (India - Android)
Brand Apps (Think the Amazon or Nike app. You will sometimes get brand app specific discounts). Download your favorite store's app onto your phone.
Make sure you enable push notifications so you know when they have announce special offers.
3. Coupon Websites
Use coupon aggregator websites or brand websites like Nike.com.
- Coupons.com (US - Printable Coupons)
- RedPlum (US - Printable Coupons)
- RetailMeNot (US - Printable & eCoupons)
- CouponSherpa (US - eCoupons)
- Ebates (US - eCoupons with Cashback)
- MyVoucherCodes (UK)
- VoucherCodes.co.uk (UK)
- CouponHippo (India - eCoupons & Printable)
There are really good blogs that bring you the best deals on the internet everyday. You should start reading them or getting them in your email.
- Krazy Coupon Lady (US)
- Money Saving Mom (US)
- Hip2Save (US)
- Deal Seeking Mom (US)
- Ebates (US)
- Extreme Couponing (UK)
- Ashleigh Money Saver (UK)
- CouponHippo blog (India)
5. Mailers (Snail Mail)
Many brands or businesses will send coupons or sales in the mail. Get these by signing up at the store or online at the company website.
- MoneyMailer (US)
- RedPlum Mailer (US)
- ValPak Mailer (US - create account and add home address)
6. Email Newsletters & Lists
Signup for a website's email list and you will get special email only coupons in your inbox. You will also get any sales they have open to the public.
7. Store Brand Credit Cards
If you shop at a specific store a lot you might want to think about getting their branded credit card. Example: The Amazon Credit Card gives you cashback you can use at Amazon.com when you buy at other stores.
These stores will make special sales & discounts available only for card-holders.
8. Dispensers (in-aisle or in store)
You will often find coupon dispensers in the aisles of grocery stores.
9. Free Sample People or Sample Machines
When you are in a store, a person or machine may be giving out free samples. They will almost always have a coupon to give you to buy a full package of the product.
Sample Machines are usually at the entrance of a store. They dispense a free sample and a coupon in case you want to buy the product.
9 Couponing Definitions You Need To Know
Here are some definitions that will benefit you during your shopping:
Voucher entitling the holder to a discount on a specific product, category or entire store/website.
Coupon you can print off a website and present when you visit a physical store location.
Digital Coupon (eCoupon)
Coupon you do NOT need to print. You can present the coupon on your mobile device.
Promo Code (a.k.a. Coupon Code)
Word or phrase you copy & paste during order checkout on a website or tell a cashier at a physical store location.
Example: Pasting the promo code "FREESHIPPING" in a text field during checkout grants you Free Shipping for your order.
Website or store discount that all customers get by shopping during a specific time. No coupon or code needed.
Deduction of cost compared to the usual cost of a product or category of products.
Above and beyond the benefit of a normal sale. This is a type of sale.
Example: Buy 1, Get 1 Free!
Haul (a.k.a. Couponing Haul)
The quantity of physical items you get from using a coupon or partaking in a big sale.
Example: My haul was 4 boxes of food, 3 new shirts, and 2 new mobile phones. I got them all for $2!
Large stock of goods or products you have accumulated from your shopping that are waiting for use.
Mind Shift: How To Think Differently About Shopping
To enjoy big savings from Coupons the first thing to do is change how you THINK about shopping. Here are some simple things to keep in mind:
Only Buy Things On Sale
If you want to save a lot of money only buy things on sale or have a coupon. If it's not on sale: Wait! If you can't wait then buy another brand that is on sale.
Wait For The Holidays
Big sales happen leading up to or on certain Holidays.
If need something but can wait till next week when you think a holiday sale will start...then wait! You will most likely save 15% or more with an average sale coupon.
Plan Meals & Outfits Around What Is On Sale
When using coupons for food you should pre-plan your meals every week before you go to the store.
This way you can see what is on sale and plan meals using those food choices.
Visit Multiple Stores or Websites
Different stores and websites have different coupons and sales. Huggies diapers may be full price at Amazon but half-off at another place.
Keep your eyes open and make sure you check the main sellers or what you want.
Stock Up and Buy In Bulk
When things are cheap buy more than you need today. Especially if they are things you or your family uses often.
Timing For Explosive Savings
Certain times during the year let you "double up" to get even more savings.
Here are some way to compound your savings:
Combine: Coupon + Sale
When you see a Coupon try to use it when the product is also on sale.
Example: Use a coupon for oatmeal from a manufacturer you printed off Quaker.com when your local grocery store has a sale on Oatmeal.
This method has you combining a manufacturer coupon & a store specific coupon. You "stack" them together to get extra savings.
Example: You use Gap Clothing's Website to get a $5 off coupon for signing up for their Email Newsletter. Then you cut out a Gap Clothing coupon for $10 off shirts from ad this week in your Newspaper. You go to the store and use both at the same time.
Some stores want to always have the lowest price. They try so hard they will double the savings of a competitor's coupon.
To get "Double Coupons" you find a competitor to the store you want to shop at. Check if they have this policy. If they do then just show them the competitor coupon during checkout.
Sales Cycles & Seasons
Before you shop make sure you know what time of the year it is.
Do not shop a week before a major holiday deals happen. Wait the one week and see what sales & coupons come out for that holiday.
You should also pay attention if a product goes on sale a lot. If it does and it's not currently on sale. Just wait. It will go on sale again and that is when you should buy.
3 Ways To Organize Yourself Before Shopping
To get the most out of shopping you need to plan.
There are so many good deals every week you need to make sure you get what you need at the lowest prices.
Here are a couple ways to organize yourself:
File Box Method
The Filebox Method is becoming popular thanks to the KCL blog. Basically, you have a box that have can folder inserts with headings.
Make those folder headings something like "Laundry", "Beverages", "Restaurant". Then whenever you cut out a paper coupon you drop it in the proper folder in your box. When you go to the store just go through your coupon box and pull what you need out.
Here's a post on how to make a: Coupon Box.
The coupon binder method is similar to the File Box except you use a binder instead of the box.
Find a nice binder you like that can hold a good amount of clear, pocket inserts that can be labeled. Label each insert with a category like "Snacks" or "Laundry". Then drop in coupons you cut out from magazines, newspapers or inserts you want to use later. When you go to the store pull them out and use them.
Many people also like to use baseball card holders and then section separators. You can see how to make this type of binder here: Couponing Baseball Card Binder.
Spreadsheet Method (for Digital Coupons)
This method is only for online deals and offers.
Create a spreadsheet with a couple columns in this order: store name, offer, category, link to offer, expiration date
Whenever you find a good offer you copy and paste all the details into your spreadsheet.
Next time you go online shopping you can then sort by category, store, or expiration date and use the offers you know you wanted to use.
Winning With Store Policies
Every store, website and special offer has policies & terms. Here are a couple tips to make sure you are in control and not them:
Read The Short Terms & Conditions First
Before you go to the store read the Terms & Conditions for each offer you are going to use.
Sometimes they have restrictions like:
- You are not allowed to use more than one special offer at one time (a.k.a. No stacking discounts).
- You must buy a certain number of items or spend a certain amount of money before the discount triggers.
- Can only be used during a certain time.
- and many more...
Don't waste time picking out items then get denied your savings because you do not know the rules. Read before you shop.
Get Their Policy
Before going to the store find their policy online. Store policies can answer common questions like:
- Do they double competitor coupons?
- Do they give cash if your special offers save you more money than the product is worth?
This makes you have an official reference to what they will or will not do. This is in case anyone challenges you on what you are doing.
Then you can just remain calm and show them what they say themselves.
This avoids bad confrontations with workers.
Special Note on "Overage"
"Overage" is a term used for the amount of money you are owed when you somehow save more than the product is worth.
Example: Oatmeal is on clearance for a sale price of $1. You have a $2 that specific oatmeal. You are now owed $1.
Know the store policy for Overage. Some stores will give you $1 cash. Some will discount the extra $1 from the rest of your order.
Making a large purchase? Go when it's NOT busy.
If you are going to use a lot of coupons and get a big haul you will want to figure out when the store is not busy.
This makes it less stressful for you, people who have to wait behind you, and the cashier who has to ring you up.
It will decrease pressure for all parties.
What If I have Excess I don't Need?
You may find yourself buying 5 of something to get a good deal but you only need 2 (for example).
Tip: If you may need it in a couple weeks or months then you should create a stockpile somewhere. This way when you run out you can just go to your stockpile.
Here is what we recommend you do with extra things you don't need:
- Give it to a Family Member
- Give it to a Friend in Need
- Donate Items to a Food or Homeless Shelter
There will be someone who would like your extras and you can feel good giving back!
Now it's your turn!
If you liked this guide please share it so others can enjoy it.
Now go grab some coupons & deals and start saving!
If you have questions leave them in the comments and we will get back to you.