By Jennifer Hallmark
First published on the Inspired Prompt Blog
Extreme couponing. I tried it. Bought the special notebook, fixed all the tabs inside, and purchased a newspaper. According to the instructor (yes, I even went to a class), the money would soon be rolling in.
Except that was the only newspaper I ever bought. By the time I clipped all the coupons and filled my notebook, I was confused. And you don’t even want to know about the shopping trip with me stumbling all through Publix.
It didn’t work.
Now I’m not saying it won’t work, because people have proven it does. It just didn’t work for me. So I put my notebook in a drawer and whispered a prayer. “God, if I’m going to save money, there has to be an easier way.”
Cue the angelic choir.
Did you know your smart phone can carry digital coupons? I’m no expert at this but I can tell you how it works with the stores that I clip them from. You can add what you want and when the coupon expires, it disappears. Most stores probably work in similar ways. Just get out your smart phone and let’s start collecting coupons and saving money.
The area I live in is very rural so I do most of my shopping in the small town of Moulton, fifteen miles away. The stores I use for couponing are Dollar General, CVS, and Gateway Foodland. I also use Publix digital coupons, but it’s about 35 miles away. Let’s start with the one I use most.
Dollar General-go to their website and sign up. Then you can go to digital coupons. You can look through the available coupons and add what you want to your phone. When I get an email with their new ad, I go to the coupon section and add more. At the moment, I have 292 coupons. Any time I’m shopping I can look through my coupons and add them to my list. If I’m in a hurry, I still enter my phone number in the payment terminal before I check out so it will look over my coupons for me. I’ve saved $99.43 so far using these coupons.
Gateway Foodland & Publix–I do the same thing. Make an account, add coupons, then start saving. I have 190 coupons loaded at Foodland and close to that at Publix. And new coupons come each Wednesday to my email.
CVS–This one is a little different. I signed up for their extra care card since I purchase my prescriptions here. I add their deals from the app on my phone. I also get extra care bucks back (I have to spend at CVS) when I fill so many prescriptions and at different times get coupons for a percentage off certain items.
Ibotta-With this app, you first find offers on the app. Before you shop, add offers on products by completing simple tasks. Buy the products you selected at any participating store. Keep the receipt. Redeem your offers by taking a photo of your receipt. (You can scan the Wal-Mart barcode) They match the items you bought to the offers you selected and give you the cash. Your cash back will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. I’m still undecided about this because it is time-consuming. But I cashed out for the first time and had it put on a $50 Walmart gift card. I enjoyed spending it. 🙂
One more tip of a way I save money. I have the Wal-Mart app on my phone and I’m signed up for Savings Catcher. Again, I first created an account. I scan each receipt as I get them and they search for all the stores in the area for a lower price. Say, if Foodland has milk cheaper in their ads, Wal-Mart loads the difference on an e-shopping card. So far, I’ve saved over $50 from price compare.
Hooray! I can chunk the notebook, put my scissors away, and rid myself of the headache. Also, I could buy extra items to donate to a food bank or other charity and still save. I wonder what people will think up next?