Couponing really is a great way to save money on groceries, and other everyday items.
Using coupons as often as you can when you’re shopping can vastly decrease how much you spend each month.
While it is a really effective way to save money, couponing (and more specifically, extreme couponing) can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it.
There are so many different types out there, from store to manufacturer coupons, so many places to source them, both online and offline.
To make it even more confusing, complex coupon policies are often in place, making couponing seem a bit daunting to newcomers.
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But, once you know how to use coupons and where to source them from, using them to save money becomes fairly easy.
That’s why we’ve put together an in-depth guide on how to start couponing for beginners.
It takes you through all the basics, and tells you exactly where to find them, and how to use them to maximize your savings.
What will I learn?
1. The first step: Gather your supplies
You might be wondering “how do I start couponing?”
Well, the first step is to prepare.
To be a successful couponer, you need to have supplies that will help you to gather and organize your coupons.
What supplies do you need to coupon?
Before you start, you’ll need to make sure that you have the following supplies:
- A laptop or computer: The Internet is a great place to find coupons, so you’ll definitely need a laptop or computer to source them.
- A printer: You’ll need your own printer or access to a printer for printing online coupons.
- A place to organize your coupons: There are many ways that you can keep your coupons organized. One of the best, and most popular, ways to organize them is to use a plastic binder with dividers. You can place your coupons into the binder in a way that best suits your needs, such as by store or order or expiry. You can find tons of coupon organizational stuff online. In fact Amazon has a lot of coupon binder supplies available, which you can check out here.
- A hole punch: You can easily add pages or whole coupon inserts into your binder, with ease if you have a hole punch.
- A pocket folder: Place coupon booklets or coupons you haven’t yet cut or organized into a pocket folder. This keeps them safe and together until you have time to put them into your coupon binder.
- A good pair of scissors: You’ll be cutting out multiple coupons, so you’ll need to make sure you have a good pair of scissors that allow you to quickly and easily cut them. You could also consider getting a paper cutter, as you can cut multiple sheets at a time.
- A storage box: Couponing requires quite a few supplies. And, it’s so much easier and less stressful if you keep all of them in one place. You’ll be more organized and less likely to lose anything. So, get a box that you keep all of your coupon supplies in.
As you can see, you do need quite a few supplies to start couponing, but they’re a one-time purchase that will definitely pay off in the future.
2. Find your coupons
Now that you know what you need to start couponing, it’s time to gather your coupons.
One of the biggest issues that people have when they think about getting coupons is that they just don’t know where to find ones that they’ll actually use.
With couponing, it’s really important to have multiple places you can source your coupons from.
If you do this, then you’re more likely to find ones for stuff that you actually buy, rather than using a coupon for the sake of it.
There are multiple places where you can find coupons, both online, and offline.
Let’s start with offline sources:
Where to find coupons offline
While the Internet might be a rich source of coupons, there are still plenty of places offline where you can find some amazing coupons.
We’ve put together a list of offline resources for coupons – you’ll find a mix of classic places and more unusual places to source them.
Here are a few of the best places to find coupons offline.
Even in today’s digital-centric world, newspapers remain a source for coupons that every couponer should have in their repertoire.
Sunday newspapers, in particular, are a great place to find coupons.
What makes them such a good source is the fact that they offer such a variety of different types, like:
- Product coupons
- Manufacturer coupons
- Competitor coupons
Obviously, you don’t want to waste your time and money buying a newspaper that doesn’t contain any coupons that you’ll actually use.
To get around this issue, check out Sunday Coupon Preview.
It’s a website that provides you with coupon insert information in advance. This means you can decide whether it’s worth buying a Sunday paper, or stocking up on multiple copies.
It’s an invaluable resource for couponers.
Here’s another quick tip: Airport waiting rooms can be a great place to find free newspapers and magazines that could contain coupons. People waiting at the airport often read newspapers and magazines, but generally they don’t take them with them on their flights.
This means they are just left lying around in airport waiting areas.
So, if you happen to see an abandoned paper next time you’re at the airport, pick it up to see it includes any coupons you would use.
Next to newspapers, magazines are probably one of the best offline places to find coupons.
Newspapers tend to offer quite a broad range of coupons, as mentioned above.
But, magazines are quite the opposite. They feature coupons that are specific to the audience.
For example, a fitness magazine might offer coupons for protein supplements or multivitamins.
So, magazines are great for finding more tailored coupons.
Just think about what kinds of products you’d like to save money on and take a look at relevant magazines.
Let’s say you want to buy some new makeup and get yourself a discount. In this case, you should take a look at fashion and beauty magazines.
3. Store Flyers and Bulletin Boards
Many grocery stores, supermarkets, drugstores, pharmacies and supercenters provide coupons in flyers and on bulletin boards instore.
These can be such a great place to find coupons that you’ll actually use.
Here are a few examples of stores that do this:
Aldi offers a Weekly Ad flyer that contains discounts for all sorts of products.
You’ll find a wide variety of products in there, from pork butt to watermelon. This ad is released on the same day each week, usually on a Wednesday.
So, head to the store on that day to ensure that you get the best deals.
Be sure to check out our post on “How to save money at Aldi” for more tips.
Walgreens is another store with a great selection of offline coupons.
It offers Weekly Ads and Monthly coupon booklets, both of which feature plenty of coupons.
These can usually be found at the front of the store.
If you frequently shop at CVS, then you might want to consider signing up for the ExtraCare rewards program.
As a member, you get access to the ExtraCare Coupon Center.
It’s a red kiosk located in the CVS store, where you can print out multiple coupons.
Occasionally, Walmart features coupons on the instore bulletin boards or flyers – you can generally find these near the store’s entrance.
So, before you start shopping, take a look to see if there are any coupons available.
Think about the stores that you shop at often, and make sure you take a quick glance at the store bulletin board or pick up the store’s flyers and advertising booklets.
By doing this, you can find yourself some really great coupons that you can use instore.
4. Cardboard Food Packaging
Cereal, cake mixes, pasta, boxed meals and any other food stuff that is packaged in a cardboard box can be a good coupon source.
Often, the packaging features a coupon or discount code.
So, before you throw them out, check to see if there are any discount codes or coupons on there.
5. Fast Food Places
If you’re a fan of fast food joints, then you’ll be glad to know that many of them provide their customers with money saving coupons.
Places, like Burger King, often put a coupon for free food, like a free burger for example, on their receipts.
So, don’t just toss your receipt into the trash.
Check the back of it first. You never know, there might just be a coupon printed on it that will save you money on your next order.
Other places, like McDonalds for example, give you discounts if you participate in surveys for them.
6. The phone book
The phone book isn’t too popular nowadays. After all, we all use the Internet and mobile phones instead. But, the phone book is still a great little-known tool for couponers.
Often, local businesses place coupons in the phone book to draw in new customers.
While it doesn’t always feature coupons, it’s still worth taking a look.
7. The Checkout
Many stores, like Walmart for example, print coupons right at the cash register.
In the couponing world, these are known as Catalina coupons. This is because they are printed out by a Catalina machine.
When you get these coupons, keep hold of them.
They can really save you cash!
Sometimes Catalina coupons are called checkout coupons or register coupons.
Generally, Catalina coupons give you money off your next purchase. So, a coupon might give you $5 off your purchase total for example.
If you get a Catalina coupon at one store, then generally you’ll have to use it in that same store, but that’s not always the case.
What’s interesting is that there are some stores, like Walmart for example, that allow you to use checkout coupons from competitor’s registers.
Where to find coupons online
Okay, so now we’ve covered the places where you can get your hands on some great coupons offline, it’s time to delve into online sources.
The Internet is definitely the best place to find coupons, simply because of the vast range that’s available.
Whether it’s for a meal out at a local restaurant or a pair of jeans, you can find coupons for literally any product or service online.
That’s pretty amazing.
As a beginner, you might not know which apps and websites are best for sourcing coupons – so we’ve made things easier for you and have gathered a huge list of the best online resources for coupons.
We’ve also grouped these websites into categories to make things a little less overwhelming!
So, let’s dive in…
1. Take a look at store websites
Did you know that many grocery stores offer coupons directly through their websites?
Here are a few grocery stores that offer coupons on their websites:
- Sam’s Club
- Trader Joe’s
- Lucky Supermarkets
- Family Dollar
- Publix (printable coupons)
- Publix (digital coupons)
- Shop ‘n Save
- Food Lion
- Whole Foods Market
- Stop & Shop
- Dollar General
If you shop at any of the stores listed above, then you should definitely check out their websites.
You can often find some great coupons for products that save you a lot of money!
You can also find coupons directly from other types of retailers, aside from grocery stores, and supermarkets, including:
Quick Service Restaurant Websites
Whether you occasionally get your breakfast at McDonald’s, a coffee on your way to work from Starbucks or a burrito for lunch from Chipotle, coupons could save you money on fast food.
Many fast food places actually offer coupons directly to customers through their websites.
Here are a few that you should check out:
Clothing, Apparel and Department Store Websites
Food isn’t the only thing that coupons can save you money on.
You can also use coupons to save money at department stores and on clothing and apparel.
Here are a few clothing retailers, apparel stores, and department stores that offer coupons directly on their websites:
2. Visit manufacturer websites
As a beginner couponer, you probably don’t know that many brands, from General Mills to Proctor and Gamble actually directly provide their customers with coupons. Really.
These manufacturers offer these coupons on their websites.
Here are a few you should check out:
- Betty Crocker
- Uncle Ben’s
- Campbell’s Kitchen
- Joint Juice
- Arm & Hammer
- Proctor and Gamble (It owns brands, like Crest, Ariel and Always)
Going directly to the manufacturer’s website is one of the best ways to get coupons for your favorite brands – you know, ones that you’ll actually use!
So, check out one of the websites above, but also, consider the brands that you buy from frequently.
Try visiting their websites to see if they offer any coupons – you never know what great savings opportunities you’ll find.
3. Check out the best couponing websites for beginners
There are tons of websites out there that feature a plethora of coupons, promo codes, discounts and other great savings deals, all one handy platform.
The only problem is, there are tons of them out there – so how do you even know where to begin?
And, how do you separate the legitimate coupon websites, from the poor quality ones?
Well, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.
Below are some of the best coupon websites for beginners out there, offering coupons on everything from cereal to weekend getaways.
- Official website: https://www.coupons.com/
Coupons.com is one of the biggest and most popular coupon websites out there and with good reason.
It offers such a wide selection of coupons that you’re sure to find one for the stuff you buy frequently.
There are thousands of coupons and promo codes available for essentially anything that you want to buy, whether that’s groceries or cosmetics.
Both printable coupons and coupon codes are available, for multiple brands, such as:
There are also coupons available for other things besides groceries, like fast food places, such as:
- Burger King
Even though it does feature such a wealth of coupons, Coupons.com is a really easy to use website.
You can browse through the coupons on the homepage – you’ll see coupons available for many well-known brands, like General Mills, Big G Cereals, and Bounty.
You can also use the search bar to look for coupons that you’re interested in.
There’s also a handy category drop down, which you can use to browse coupons by category, like foods, personal care, and pet care.
There’s an Android app for Coupons.com and an app for iOS too. Coupons.com is one site that anyone who’s about to start couponing should know about.
- Official website: https://www.retailmenot.com/
At RetailMeNot, you can find a selection of printable coupons, coupon codes, and promo codes.
It’s definitely one of the best coupon websites out there – it’s updated frequently, and it features a vast collection of coupons.
In fact, RetailMeNot features more than 500,000 coupons for more than 50,000 stores.
On there, you’ll find coupons for plenty of well-known brands, like:
- Bed Bath and Beyond
But, that’s not all!
You’ll also find coupons for restaurants and fast food places, like:
- Burger King
There’s also an Android app available for RetailMeNot and an app for iOS devices is available too.
- Official website: http://redplum.com/coupons/
Another really popular coupon website is RedPlum.
You often find RedPlum Coupon Books in the newspaper, and you can get them through direct mail too. This website is the online version of this coupon book.
When it comes to coupons, RedPlum is definitely a quality over quantity – meaning that while there’s a smaller selection of coupons available on there compared to other platforms, like Coupons.com, the coupons that you do find on RedPlum generally offer high savings.
There are two types of coupons available on RedPlum:
- Printable: With the printable coupons, as the name suggests, you print them out at home and then you can use them instore.
- Downloadable: You can load these coupons right into your loyalty card. All you need to do is register your card.
The website is pretty easy to use – you can browse the coupons on the homepage, or browse through sections, like:
- Printable coupons
- Downloadable coupons
- Coupons by brand
There’s also a search bar that you can use if you’re looking for a coupon for a specific brand, store or product.
- Official website: https://www.groupon.com/
Like most people, you’ve probably heard of Groupon.
It’s a really popular daily deals website that offers a huge range of discount codes, promo codes, and of course coupons.
On Groupon, you can find coupons for pretty much anything you could think of!
Coupons for vacations, attractions, like the zoo, restaurants, electronics, garden furniture, and much more are available through the website. Plus, it’s another really easy to use platform.
There’s an Android app, and an iOS app for Groupon available.
Overall, Groupon is one of the best couponing websites for beginners.
- Official site: https://www.amazon.com/Coupons/b?node=2231352011
Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers and one of the most popular companies in the U.S.A. and Europe
And, it’s not really a surprise. With quick delivery, competitive prices and a platform that features pretty much any product you could think of, Amazon makes shopping quick and easy.
While products on Amazon are usually reasonably priced anyway, you can save even more if you use coupons.
Most people don’t know that Amazon actually has its own section for coupons.
You can find so many coupons on there for everything from laundry detergent to vitamins.
It’s really easy to navigate the coupons section too.
There are a few ways you can find coupons on Amazon:
- Scroll through the main page: When you visit the main page of the Amazon coupon section, you’ll be presented with a selection of the most popular coupons. So, you can browse through this page to see what’s on offer.
- Browse categories: Handily enough, Amazon also groups coupons by category. You can browse through categories, like Beauty and Grocery and Gourmet. What’s useful is that Amazon then breaks these categories down further into subcategories. So, for example, within the Beauty category, you have further categories, like makeup, haircare, and skincare.
- Search for a specific coupon: If you have a particular brand or product in mind, then you can search for specific coupons using the search bar. This can be found near the top of the page.
Overall, if you shop at Amazon often, as many people do, and you’re wondering how to start couponing for beginners, then this is one that you should definitely add to your bookmark folder.
- Official website: https://www.livingsocial.com
LivingSocial is one of the best websites for finding local money-saving deals.
On there, you can find tons of coupons and promo codes for everything from activities to dining.
If you’re looking for things to do in your city on a budget, then this is the website for you.
On LivingSocial, you can get up to 80% off products and services.
There’s also an Android app for LivingSocial and an iOS app for LivingSocial too.
- Official website: https://slickdeals.net
On Slick Deals, you’ll find plenty of coupons, promo codes and even freebies.
There are also a number of other savings deals on offer.
What’s great about Slick Deals is that you really can find discounts for almost anything from video games to travel.
You can view plenty of discounts and deals on the homepage and you can also visit the coupon section of the website to view the best coupons.
You can find coupons that offer really big savings on the website, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Slick Deals has an app available for Android and for iOS devices.
- Official website: coolsavings.com/
If you want a slew of coupons that are always new and fresh, then check out Cool Savings.
For printable grocery coupons, it’s one of the best platforms out there.
The website updates its coupons daily, and you have a mix of printable and online coupons to choose from.
On this easy to navigate website, you’ll find coupons from a virtual revolving door of brands and products, like:
It’s super simple to clip and print coupons on the website, making it a convenient resource for beginners.
- Official website: http://www.everydaysaver.com/
Everyday Saver is an excellent platform for grocery coupons.
It features coupons from so many well-known brands, like:
- Betty Crocker
- Fruit Snacks
- Green Giant
- Hamburger Helper
- Cascadian Farm
- Lucky Charms
- Macaroni Grill
- Muir Glen
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch
- Nature Valley
- Wanchai Ferry
- Fiber One
- Old El Paso
It’s a particularly good source for printable coupons, but you can also find digital ones on there too.
- Official website: http://www.smartsource.com/
For freshly updated coupons, you should definitely visit SmartSource.
It features a selection of printable grocery coupons. You can find printable coupons for quite a wide variety of brands.
But, not there’s not as wide a range of brands available compared to other coupon sites, like Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.
What’s interesting about SmartSource is that you can also register and enter a shopper card that you can load coupons directly to.
So, when you use this card at the grocery store, your coupons are automatically redeemed.
SmartSource has an app for Android and an app for iOS.
- Official website: grocerysmarts.com/
Another really great source for grocery coupons is Grocery Smarts.
This website takes grocery store ads and then matches them up with coupons.
Essentially, it allows you to make sure that you don’t miss out on instore deals, and it combines them with manufacturer coupons for maximal savings.
It’s a great resource for printable grocery coupons too, although the website is a little trickier to navigate than others.
The coupons on there are divided up into groups A, B, C and singles.
Once you’ve used the website a few times, however, you’ll get used to searching through it.
Grocery Smarts is another platform that has an app.
You can get the app for Android here.
Krazy Coupon Lady
- Official website: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/print-coupons
The Krazy Coupon Lady is a website that’s dedicated to couponing.
It’s a great resource for beginner couponers.
It’s updated frequently with plenty of fresh coupons.
In fact, coupons on Krazy Coupon Lady are updated hourly!
It features printable coupons for everything from laundry detergent to skincare products.
On there, you can find coupons for almost every brand you can think of, such as:
It’s definitely a great resource for beginners.
More couponing websites
Above is just a selection of some of the best coupon websites. But, they’re not the only good coupon websites out there.
There are a few more that you should check out:
- Grocery Coupon Network
- Mambo Sprouts
- Coupon Mom
- I Heart Publix
- Flamingo World
- Brad’s Deals
- Coupon Chief
- Coupon Sherpa
4. Use cashback/rebate apps and websites too
If you want to be a successful couponer, then you’ll definitely want to check out apps and websites that give you cashback and rebates.
With these platforms, you can find offers for things like $1 back when you buy a certain item or 2% cashback.
Most of these websites also offer coupons and promo codes, in addition to cashback.
What’s great about these apps and website is that you can use the cashback offers in conjunction with coupons. So, you can save even more.
This is just another reason why you should definitely start using cashback websites and apps and why successful couponers recommend that you use them in addition to coupons.
For some sites, you redeem these offers after you’ve gone shopping (it’s sort of like couponing in reverse!), and for others, you’ll need to select the offers you want before you head to the store.
For most of these apps and sites, you’ll need to upload a copy of your receipt to qualify for the cashback.
Here are some of the best apps/websites for cashback and rebates.
- Official website: https://ibotta.com
- Official app: for Android
- Official app: for iOS
This is one of the most popular and well-known rebate platforms.
Using it, you can earn cashback when you shop instore or online.
It partners with tons of well-known brands and retailers, like Target, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Kroger, and Walmart.
What’s great about Ibotta is the variety of cashback offers that are available. You really can find rebates for everything from groceries to hotels.
Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
- Before you go shopping, add the rebate offers you’re interested in. You might need to complete a simple task to do this.
- Go shopping and purchase the items you selected at a participating store.
- Hang on to your receipt! You’ll need to take a photo of it to redeem your cashback.
- Once you’ve uploaded it, Ibotta will match the products on your receipt to the offers you selected and you’ll receive a cash payment. This payment is deposited to your Ibotta account within 48 hours.
- Official website: https://www.checkout51.com
- Official app: for Android
- Official app: for iOS
Checkout 51 is an app that works in a similar way to Ibotta.
Before you go shopping, you browse offers to add the ones that you want. Then, you go shopping and purchase the qualifying products.
To redeem your cashback offers, take a photo of your receipt. Then, upload it to Checkout 51 and it credits your account.
- Official website: https://www.ebates.com/
- Official app: for Android
- Official app: for iOS
Ebates is a really popular cashback website and with good reason.
It offers up to 40% cashback!
Ebates is essentially a shopping portal that you can use to shop well-known stores like Amazon, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Walmart, as well as brands, like Old Navy and Nike.
There are more than 2,000 stores you can shop.
When you shop through the platform, you earn cashback. There are also coupons available on there too, which you can check out here.
Plus, you get a $10 Walmart gift card or a $10 Ebates bonus when you sign up (at the time of writing).
- Official website: http://www.swagbucks.com/
- Official app: for Android
Swagbucks is a reward website that allows you to earn cash and get free gift cards for doing a plethora of things you probably already do, like watching videos, playing games, and, of course, shopping.
On there, you’ll earn points when you shop and complete other tasks.
You can then redeem these points, or Swagbucks as they’re known on the site, for gift cards for places, like Amazon.com or PayPal credit.
Earning 1 SB is equal to earning about 1% cash back.
If you want to maximize your earning while minimizing the time you spend, check out our in-debt and honest review of Swagbucks.
- Official website: https://www.couponcactus.com/
Coupon Cactus is definitely one of the best platforms out there for cashback. It’s a simply huge website that features tons of partner stores.
When you sign up to Coupon Cactus and shop through the platform, you receive cashback.
What’s great about Coupon Cactus is that it not only allows you to earn cashback, but it also gives you coupons for the stores you shop at, meaning you get twice the savings.
There really is any store that you could think of on the list too!
Cashback is paid by check or through PayPal.
- Official website: https://receipthog.com/
- Official app: for Android
- Official app: for iOS
Receipt Hog is another app that pays you for your receipts.
When you go shopping, keep your receipt. Then, take a photo of it using your phone and upload it to Receipt Hog.
Once you’ve done that, you earn coins that you can redeem for cash. Cash is paid via PayPal or Amazon gift card.
What makes Receipt Hog stand out from apps like Ibotta is the fact that you don’t have to redeem any offers to get cashback or buy any specific products to get a rebate.
All you need to do is upload an eligible receipt and you get paid.
- Official site: receiptpalapp.com/
- Official app: for Android
- Official app: for iOS
ReceiptPal is an app like Receipt Hog that pays you just for uploading your receipts.
So, you don’t need to add offers or buy any specific products in order to get paid.
All you need to do is take a photo of your receipt, upload it to ReceiptPal and you earn rewards, like gift cards.
- Official website: https://www.shopathome.com/
- Official app: for Android
- Official app: for iOS
If you often shop online, then you’ll definitely want to checkout ShopAtHome.
It’s a website that gives you cashback for shopping online.
ShopAtHome partners with well-known retailers and brands, like Macy’s, Ralph Lauren and Amazon.
When ShopAtHome sends a customer to one of these partner brands or retailers, it receives money. And, then ShopAtHome gives you a percentage of the profits in the form of cashback.
You get cash back on an Amazon.com gift card, through PayPal or via check in the mail.
You can create an account for free, and when you sign up, you’ll get a $10 bonus (at the time of writing).
More cashback websites and apps
While the ones listed above are some of the most popular, there are tons of cashback websites and apps out there.
Here are a few more that you should check out:
- Walmart Savings Catcher (read our full Walmart Savings Catcher review)
- QuickRewards Network
- Giving Assistant
5. Sign up for newsletters/emails or mobile alerts
Some brands and retailers will give you access to exclusive coupons and other discounts if you sign up for their email.
Others ask you to opt in for mobile alerts and will send money saving deals right to your phone.
Here are a few examples of brands and retailers that will send coupons, discount codes or other offers to your inbox or phone, if you sign up:
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
- Chipotle (you can find the sign up form in the footer of the page)
- Forever 21
- Old Navy
- Dollar General (you can sign up for a customer account or scroll down the page to sign up for emails or mobile alerts)
Those are just a few examples of brands and retailers that send out offers, like coupons via email or text alert. So, think about the brands you like and the stores that you shop at often, and visit their websites to see if they have an email list or newsletter that you could sign up for.
6. Check social media
Another excellent place to find coupons online is on social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook.
Surprisingly, a lot of big name brands post coupons, discounts, promo codes, exclusive sales, and other money saving deals right on their social media profiles.
Here are a few examples of brands that have occasionally posted coupons on social networks:
As you can see, there are quite a few retailers that give out coupons on social media.
So, visit one of the profiles above to see if there are any coupons on offer.
Or, think about the brands you regularly buy from and visit their social media platforms to see if they provide coupons.
7. Join loyalty programs
Many stores have loyalty and rewards programs in place to reward their customers.
While with most loyalty programs, you tend to earn points, many of them give you access to exclusive coupons too.
Here are a few examples of store loyalty programs that give members coupons:
- Walgreens Balance Rewards
- CVS ExtraCare
- Rite Aid Wellness+ with Plenti
- Kroger Digital Account (you’ll need to link your Shopper’s Card to get coupons)
- Sears Shop your Way
- Winn-Dixie with Plenti Card
- Meijer Mperks
So, think about the stores that you shop at frequently, and check to see if they have a loyalty program that offers coupons.
3. How to use coupons for beginners: Maximize your savings
Aside from actually finding coupons, knowing how to use them is the next most difficult step for couponers that are just starting out.
As we mentioned above, there are so many different types of coupons available, from product coupons to coupons that get you a discount off your whole purchase at a particular store to brand coupons.
So, it can be difficult to know how to actually use them.
You might have questions like:
- “Can I use a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon together?”
- “How many coupons can you use on one item?”
- “Can you use a BOGO coupon with another coupon?”
And, you’re not alone!
Many people who are new to couponing wonder how they can use them.
The fact is, there are quite a few ways that you can combine or stack coupons as the practice is referred to in the couponing world.
If you really want to maximize how much you save with coupons, then you really should be combining them where you can.
How to stack coupons
We’ve put together a really simple guide that tells you exactly how to stack coupons.
– Prepare your coupons
In order to stack coupons, you’ll need to have a good mix of store and manufacturer coupons, and use a good rebate app or website.
So, before you head out to the store, check your coupon resources, like the newspaper, weekly ads from stores, coupon websites, and manufacturer websites.
Look for manufacturer coupons for products that you purchase often, and then collect store coupons for the same items. Also check out what’s on offer on rebate/cashback sites.
– Use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together
Whenever you can, try to use a manufacturer coupon and an applicable store coupon on one item.
Stacking coupons like this can double your savings and that’s why we recommend that you do this whenever possible.
So, match up store and manufacturer coupons for the same products, and get ready to take them with you to the store.
Manufacturer’s coupons usually have the words “manufacturer coupon” printed on them.
If you want your coupons to be accepted at the store, then you’ll need to make sure that the store coupon and the manufacturer coupon are for the same product size, color, fragrance, etc., if there are details like this listed on the coupon of course.
If the coupon is generic, like get $2 off any Dove shampoo, then this won’t be an issue.
Then, when you’re at the store, use your store coupon and your manufacturer coupon on the same item, and you’ll save a lot!
For example, if you find a coupon for $1 off Huggies diapers in Walgreens Saving’s book, and then have a manufacturer coupon for $0.50 off the same pack, then you could get a $9 pack of diapers for just $7.50.
– Combine coupons with sales
Aside from combining two coupons on a single item, you should also try to combine coupons with instore sales and deals, wherever possible.
Some stores, like Walgreens, let you use a manufacturer coupon for items that are on sale. Take a look at the clearance section at the store you shop at, and then use an applicable manufacturer coupon – you’ll get a product that’s already reduced for even less!
– Look out for Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) deals
Another way to save more money with coupons is to look out for Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) deals – you really can maximize your savings when you do this.
When you use a coupon on an item that is already BOGO, you not only get one item for free, but you pay less for the product that you do buy – meaning that you get two items for even less!
Let’s say you want to buy a tube of Crest, which normally costs you around $3.
And, a store has a Buy One Get One Free deal for Crest toothpaste, and you have a coupon that gets you $1 off the same toothpaste.
You’d end up getting two tubes, which would usually cost $6, for just $2!
That’s a really amazing saving!
But, there’s a way that you can save even more.
If a store has a BOGO deal on a product, and you have a manufacturer coupon for the same product, then you could use the coupon and get both items for free!
Not all stores allow you to do this, but some stores, like CVS, do. The rules for using coupons are outlined in store coupon policies, which we talk more about below.
– Look for overage opportunities
Most people don’t know that they can actually make money with coupons if they use them strategically and match them well.
If you use your coupons correctly, a store could actually end up owing you money.
In the couponing world, this is known as “overage“.
If you’ve been wondering how to start couponing for beginners, then you might have heard about overage. And, you might be wondering what it is.
It’s one of those couponing terms that can be a bit confusing for beginners.
Overage refers to a situation where the value of your coupons exceeds then purchase total.
When you have coupon overage, the total of your redeemed coupons is more than the price of the items that you purchased.
Let’s say your groceries cost $20, but your coupons give you $25 worth of savings. You’d be left with $5 overage.
This often happens when you use a coupon on an item that’s on sale already.
Here are a couple of examples to better illustrate how overage works:
- The coffee you normally buy is $4, but it’s on sale at the store for $2. You apply a $3 coupon you have and, as the coffee cost just $2, then you’re owed $1 in overage.
- You can also get overage if you combine coupons and sale items with Catalina coupons that give you money off your total purchase. For example, if you purchase $10 worth of items, and you have $7 worth of coupons, bringing your total down to $3, and you have a Catalina coupon that gives you $5 off your purchase, you’ll end up with $2 overage.
Not all stores allow overage, but some, like Walmart, do. Stores that allow overage will give you either cash or store credit.
Overage opportunities don’t arise that often – you really need to plan, prepare and use coupons strategically to get overage.
– Check for rebate/cashback offers
As we mentioned above, there are tons of websites and apps out there, like Ibotta and Checkout51 that give you cashback when you purchase specific items.
What’s great about these apps and websites is that they can be used alongside coupons.
So, before you head out to the store, check for cashback offers on your favorite rebate apps and websites.
When you stack coupons at the store, and then get a rebate on top, you save so much more!
For example, let’s say you want to purchase a $5 item at the store. You have a store coupon for $0.50 off and a manufacturer coupon for $1. You’ll already save $1.50 instore. Then, when you get home you upload your receipt to an app like Ibotta, and you get a $2 cashback deal on same product. This means that you get a $5 product, for just $1.50.
Or, let’s say that you shop through a cashback shopping platform, like Coupon Cactus. You purchase a $10 item and have a coupon for $2 off, and then you get 5% cashback too.
If you want to be successful with couponing, then you really should be taking advantage of cashback rebate offers too.
4. Understanding coupon policies
As you can see so far from this guide on how to start couponing for beginners, there are many ways that you can stack coupons.
In an ideal world, we’d be able to use coupons on sale items and stack a store coupon, a manufacturer coupon, and a rebate app, and get overage.
Unfortunately, that’s not always a realistic option. For example, Walmart allows overage, but you can only use one coupon per item.
On the other hand, at Walgreens, you can use a manufacturer coupon and a Walgreens coupon on a single item, but overage isn’t allowed.
So, how you are able to stack coupons does vary significantly from store to store.
Most stores, restaurants, and retailers have a coupon policy, which outlines how coupons can and can’t be used in-store, and the rules and limitations that are in place for using them.
And, if you want to make sure that your time at the checkout is quick, easy and most importantly, hassle free, then you need to research the coupon policies for the stores that you shop at frequently.
The last thing you want to do is end up asking the cashier what coupons you can and can’t use, while people wait in line behind you.
That’s why it’s really important, as a couponer, that you understand coupon policies.
Where to find store coupon policies
If you’re wondering how to start couponing for beginners, and how to make the whole process of couponing quick and easy, then take the time to understand coupon policies.
Below, we’ve listed coupon policies for many popular stores.
- Walmart’s coupon policy
- Walgreens’ coupon policy
- CVS coupon policy
- Rite Aid coupon policy
- Dollar Tree coupon policy
- Dollar General coupon policy
- Kroger coupon policy
- Target coupon policy
- Costco coupon policy
- Sam’s Club coupon policy
- Hy-vee coupon policy
- Lucky Supermarkets coupon policy
- Save-A-Lot coupon policy
- Family Dollar Store coupon policy
- Publix coupon policy
- Hannaford coupon policy
- Whole Foods Market coupon policy
- Stop and Shop coupon policy
- Albertson’s coupon policy
- Meijer coupon policy
- Randalls coupon policy
- Lowes Food coupon policy
So, take the time to read through the policies at the store you shop at.
Then, you’ll know whether that retailer allows you to use more than one coupon per item, coupons on sale items, gives overage and so on and so forth.
Staying up to date with coupon policies
It can be a good idea to print out the coupon policy for a store and then place it into your coupon binder.
You can take it to the store with you, and then if you’re unsure of anything you can check it.
But, also be aware that stores often update their coupon policies. This means that what was once allowed may not be allowed anymore. So, check every now and then for updates.
5. Beginner couponing tips & hacks
Now you know what supplies you need to start couponing, where to find them, and how to use them strategically for maximum savings.
But, there are still a few more things you should keep in mind when you first start couponing.
– Only use the coupons you actually need
As you can see above, there are tons of places where you can find coupons.
And, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
When you visit a site like Coupons.com or Groupon, it’s really exciting to see so many money-saving coupons in one place. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, paper towels, cereal or skincare products, newspapers, and especially the internet give you a vast selection of coupons to use.
And, it can be really tempting to clip tons of them.
While it’s really good to have a stack of coupons with you next time you visit the grocery store, coupons are only a good money-saving tool when they’re used on things that you actually need.
You might see a coupon that gives you 10% off of a TV, but if you get a $500 TV for $450, have you saved $50 dollars, or just spent $450 dollars on a TV that you weren’t really in the market for?
Always ask yourself when you see a coupon whether or not you actually need the product.
If you only use coupons for products that you actually buy, then they’re an excellent money saving tool.
– Stay organized
Being organized is one of the keys to successful couponing.
You don’t have to go overboard, but taking a little time to organize your coupons makes the whole process easier.
Make sure that you properly organize your coupons in your coupon binder or in whatever storage system you choose to use. You should try to create categories within your binder.
For example, you could organize your coupons by store, product type or brand.
Make sure that the coupons set to expire first, appear near the front of your binder, folder or whatever organization device you choose to use.
When it comes to online coupons, it can be a good idea to create a bookmark folder called “coupon resources” or something like that. Then, you can create a few subfolders within that, like “coupon sites”, “rebate websites” and “social media sites”. Then, you can save the pages you use under each category.
After a while, you’ll start to see which websites you use the most, so you could create another subfolder within your “coupon resources” folder called “frequently used”. Then, you’ll have quick access to your most visited sites.
– Be patient and polite when using coupons
Always be polite and patient with store employees when you use coupons. Sometimes, an employee may need to double check something before they accept your coupon – so make sure you’re patient.
Also, many stores have the right to refuse a coupon, regardless of what’s written in their coupon policy.
If the store wants to check your coupon or refuses to accept a coupon, just smile politely and accept it.
As we mentioned above, it’s really important that you understand coupon policies at different stores. This helps to avoid confusion at the checkout.
If you do think that the cashier hasn’t handled your coupon properly or has a made a mistake, then politely ask to speak to the manager.
– Don’t clear the shelves
Most stores have a limit per customer for things that are discounted.
For example, if there’s a discounted coffee available, then the store might only allow 10 jars per customer. So, while you might want to stock up on that laundry detergent that’s 50% off, buying too many units of one item won’t be allowed.
Always check to see if there are limits in place to avoid hassle when you get to the checkout.
– Get your coupons ready before you get to the register
Fumbling to find your coupons while people wait in line behind you isn’t a good idea.
That’s why you need to have your coupons ready before you get to the register.
So, before you even leave the house, select the coupons you want to use from your binder.
Then, before you head to wait in line at the store, get your coupons out. Your coupons should be ready to hand over to the cashier.
Getting your coupons ready before you get to the register not only makes things quicker and less stressful when you come to pay, but it also means that you’re less likely to forget to use a coupon.
Plus, you’ll please other shoppers and the cashier by not wasting time at the checkout!
It’s really easy to become overwhelmed when you first start couponing.
There are so many places to get coupons, complex store coupon policies to understand and a plethora of ways to stack coupons – there’s a lot to take in.
That’s why we really recommend taking a step-by-step approach to couponing as a beginner.
So, follow step one in this article, before moving onto step two and so on. This really helps you to stay organized and streamlines the couponing process.
Here’s a quick recap of the steps above:
- Gather your supplies – get everything you’ll need to collect, print and store your coupons
- Find your coupons – Use a mix of offline sources, like newspapers, and online sources, like coupon websites to collect coupons
- Use your coupons strategically – Stack coupons wherever possible using the methods we discussed above.
- Understand coupon policies – Print out the policies for the stores you shop at regularly.
- Tips & hacks– Stay organized, be polite and prepared, and don’t take too many of one discounted item.
So, follow this step by step guide on how to start couponing for beginners, and start saving.
Coupons really are a great tool for saving money.
After all, if you can get a discount on most of the stuff you buy, then you significantly cut your monthly spending.
I think this will help my family and myself set up or goal of trying to coupon because it had been something we desperately needed and wanted to do but looked so intimidating yet so rewarding at the same time I just never felt I could conquer this on my own especially with 6 kids and 3 of them are under 3 years old.so thank you for making this …
I used to do couponing back in 2014-15. It was a very time consuming and tedious task and savings were not that great. Also, there are frequent changes to the store policies. They have been closing their doors for couponers and that seems to be trend with all the retailers. Now, I have decided to give it one more try. Just wanted to know if this trend changed. Have the stores started accepting printable coupons? what’s your take?
As far as I know, most places still accept printable coupons, Gina.
Great guide and i have used most of them.