You’ve watched the episodes of Extreme Couponing where people are leaving the grocery store with pallets full of items that they got totally free. You sit back and think about how awesome it would be to save that kind of money each month on groceries and household products! You want a piece of that savings, man! So you go out and buy a Sunday paper and sit down, scissors in hand, ready to start saving. Suddenly, it occurs to you that you don’t know jack about couponing. Furthermore, you don’t have nine hours a day to spend couponing and researching. At that point you are probably ready to pour a glass of wine and resign yourself to paying full price for groceries. Don’t pay full price! Instead, I’ve created the lazy girl’s guide to couponing just for you.
1. Go Digital
A lot of stores now offer digital coupons that you can load right to your store card. This is great if you’re busy and don’t have the time to clip and organize coupons. In fact, I recommend doing this every time you shop to save a least the bare minimum on all of your purchases. Kroger is great for this (plus, hello, fuel points)! Here are some reasons why Kroger rocks for digital coupons:
- They let you know some of the coupons that correspond with sales going on right in their ads.
- They will also let you use one digital coupon up to 5 times in one transaction which is awesome!
- Another reason Kroger digital coupons rock is because they provide coupons for their brand as well.
Even if you don’t shop at Kroger, digital coupons are always worth the 5 minutes it will take to search at whatever store you do shop at. If you don’t know if your regular grocery store offers digital coupons, check. These can save you on the items you always purchase.
2. Let Someone Else Do the Hard Work
There are a ton of websites out there to help you find sales and match coupons to those sale items. For the truly lazy couponer, like me, the absolute best site for this is the Krazy Coupon Lady. They do a fantastic job of finding deals but they take it a step further and let you know exactly what coupons to use and where to find them. Here are the specific (and super easy) steps to get your deals on their site:
- Select you grocery store from the menu.
- Click on the post for the current week’s matchups.
- As you scroll through the list, click on the box next to the sale items you want to buy. This adds those items to a list for you.
- If there are coupons online that you need to print, they will be listed as a clickable link under the item. Click and print these coupons as needed. Note: You can usually print the same coupon twice per computer.
- Repeat steps 1-4 for each store you shop at.
- Pull up your list on the site and print it out.
Not only will the items on your list be itemized automatically by store, they will also detail the precise way to use the coupons. For example, if you shot at Target and want purchase a specific dollar amount of items in order to receive a free gift card but also want to use coupons, they will explain (and it will print) exactly how to ring up your transaction. If you clip coupons from the paper for a certain item, they will even let you know the name and date of the insert it is found in. Seriously, this is the easiest way to achieve huge savings with almost no work on your part.
3. Enlist Help
There is no rule that says couponing can’t be a social experience. In fact, I absolutely support making it social. There are a ton of ways to make cutting coupons and shopping a social event but I’m going to share my 3 favorite ways with you.
- Get the kids involved. Let them help you cut out the coupons needed for your trip. If they are too young to use scissors (or to cut neatly) have them locate the coupons you need in inserts or organize like coupons together. Kids will get excited about helping and you’ll be teaching them life skills along the way. My oldest son started his own “coupon binder” at 5 years old because he loved it so much. Have fun with it and they will too.
- Make it a girl’s night. Get your girlfriends together with some wine and scissors and get to work. This lets you get some much deserved girl time without any guilt. Bonus, if you all pool your coupon inserts, you can get extras for items your friends may not buy and you might learn tips and tricks from each other.
- Stop together. The next time you go grocery shopping, have a friend tag along. My friend and I love doing this and I actually look forward to grocery shopping. We go into Kroger and hit Starbucks then get all of our shopping done. It is especially helpful if you have small children to wrangle. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one. It is also a fantastic way to stock up on items and bypass the Rule of 4 (see below).
4. Remember the “Rule of 4”
A lot of die-hard couponers recommend always bringing an updated copy of your store’s coupon policy because not all cashiers and managers will be knowledgeable about it. If you want to do that work, more power to you. I, however, am far too lazy for that and instead made the Rule of 4. The majority of stores will let you use up to 4 of the same coupon in a single transaction. This means if you have coupons for a dollar off 2 boxes of cereal then you can use up to 4 of those coupons for 8 boxes of cereal in 1 transaction. This is where having a friend shop with you comes in. Say you have 6 of those coupons and your friend isn’t using any. You can have her add the last 4 boxes of cereal onto her transaction and use the coupons to get the deal. Then just give her the cash for those items.
Now you know the absolute easiest way to save money with coupons! By going digital, using KCL, enlisting help, and remembering the “Rule of 4” you will be saving money on your groceries in no time. You may get so good at it that you’ll be able to start growing a stockpile (which I totally recommend). Need help budgeting, too? I’ve got you covered on our budgeting page!