Grocery Coupons Can Actually Save You Money—Here's How
Groceries are expensive when you're a parent, and finding budget-savvy ways to shop can be a lifesaver. While couponing can take up a lot of time and effort, it could also lead to more savings: "The people who save $1,000 a month devote ten to 20 hours a week to it," says Joanie Demer, cofounder of coupons and deals platform TheKrazyCouponLady.
Hours of couponing may be hard to commit to when you're a parent, but you can still score deals and save some money on groceries and other essentials without having to spend so much time—after all, the cost of food, diapers and toiletries can add up. Here are ways to find the best deals and how much you stand to save on your next grocery run, so you can decide for yourself.
1. Use a browser extension that automatically finds deals for you.
Thanks to online coupon sites and apps, couponing doesn't have to entail spending hours clipping them out of a newspaper. Using a browser extension like Cently is an easy way to find deals. Once you download and add the extension to your browser, Cently will automatically find discounts and apply them to your cart at checkout at stores such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon. This is a quick and easy option if you shop online for your groceries. Other browser extensions include Honey and Rakuten.
2. Buy discounted items in bulk to save money and time.
One way couponers expand their savings is by buying discounted items in volume. Pick five to ten products that you use up quickly (toilet paper, diapers, cereal, etc.) for bulk purchases. If you don't have the space, choose small things to store, such as deodorant and wet wipes. If you see an item on sale (especially if it's an essential), buy it in bulk.
"We call this stockpiling," says mom blogger Kelli Evans. This way, you make less trips to the store, and you save money by not having to pay full price when you need the item again.
3. You can get coupons and cash back when you use coupon sites and apps.
Coupon sites are some of the best ways to find coupons and deals. "The easiest way to get coupons is through sites like Coupons.com or through the app of the store you plan to shop from," says Sara Lundberg, budgeting expert and mom of five. Lundberg says you can save at least 50 percent with grocery store coupons. You can print coupons off of Coupons.com, or download the app for an easier (and more eco-friendly) option. Not only can you get coupons for your groceries, you can also get cash back on your purchases through the Coupons.com app, or the Fetch Rewards app, which Lundberg recommends—all you have to do is submit or scan your receipt for cash back.
"If you save even just $5 a week on your groceries (and that's conservative, many people save a lot more)—and let that money accumulate in your PayPal account—you'll have a stash of $260 at the end of the year," says Lisa Thompson from Coupons.com. "That's free money, basically."
According to a recent study by CouponFollow, you could save $316 per year on groceries by using online coupons. Even if you don't have time for it often, using an app or online coupons can make the savings worth it.
4. Match store sales with coupons for additional savings.
This method might take more time and effort, but it can lead to some pretty significant savings. "By stacking a manufacturer coupon with a grocery coupon or store sale, you can stretch your dollars further and get more for less," says money saving expert Andrea Woroch. She says some stores even offer to double your coupon savings on certain days of the week, but this depends on the store and varies by location, so you might want to check first.
Evans says stacking coupons with in-store deals and cash back apps can save you between $300 to $350 per month on groceries. Additionally, taking advantage of store rewards can also help you get a good deal and save money. You can get rewards for using a store's pharmacy, or stores might even offer $5 to $10 off on your next grocery trip if you spend over a certain amount.
So is the effort that goes into couponing worth it? For those who are willing to put in some time, it is. And for many parents, finding deals that shave off a few dollars (or more) here and there can really help you lower costs and stay within budget. And with so many online coupons and apps, couponing doesn't have to be tedious.
"Today, the effort-to-reward ratio is much better," says Thompson. "Tap, shop, save. That's it—three easy steps." Download an app, visit a coupon site, or do it the old-fashioned way and clip them out of a newspaper. Give couponing a shot, you might save more than you think.