5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Couponing
Remember when using coupons was thought of as something only cheapskates and financially struggling shoppers did? Those bad old days are long gone. Today, couponing is a trendy hobby that people from a variety of different economic backgrounds can enjoy, especially when using savvy strategies to get the most out of each coupon. Here are five tips for getting the most out of couponing:
- Figure out which coupons you can stack or double.
Stacking coupons refers to using both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same product to save the most money. Many retailers also offer double coupon days in which you can bring in your coupons and receive twice the coupons’ face value off the purchase of the appropriate items. If you aren’t sure whether the retailer you have a coupon for allows stacking or has double coupon promotions, call and ask.
- Apply for and use loyalty cards.
Many store loyalty cards will give you points you can redeem for various goodies or apply coupons straight to your card.
Loyalty cards aren’t just for grocery stores. Video game retailer GameStop, for example, has a PowerUp Rewards Card that offers customers loyalty points redeemable for GameStop gift cards, iTunes gift cards, invitations to members-only events, and similar bonuses.
- Download coupon and loyalty card apps on your smartphone.
There are plenty of free apps that make finding and redeeming coupons easy. One example is Cellfire, available for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry phones. Cellfire sends coupons directly to your loyalty card. Afterward, all you have to do is scan your loyalty card at checkout and the coupon is automatically applied. If you enable store offers, it also reminds you of money-saving coupons as you walk into a store.
Check out your favorite app store to see what’s available.
- Use cash back credit cards for purchases made with coupons.
Cash back credit cards, which reward you with rebates depending on how much you charge to your card, are an easy way to get the most out of your couponing. After all, not only will the coupon you use give you a discount, but you also know you will get part of what you spend on each item back as a rebate. Just be sure to pay off your balance each month when using a cash back credit card. The interest that piles up on you could quickly cancel out what your rebate is worth.
- Make couponing a social activity.
Many people who are serious about couponing frequent online message boards and chat rooms dedicated to this hobby as a way to have fun and stay motivated. You don’t have to go that far to enjoy couponing, however. Try recruiting a few friends or family members who are interested in saving money and challenging them to a lighthearted couponing contest. You can compete to see who can save the most money each week or month, redeem a discount on the most unusual item, or stack the most coupons on one offer. If you make couponing an activity you look forward to, you will get more out of it financially and psychologically.
It’s not hard to see what these five tips for getting the most out of your coupons have in common: they are all about planning ahead to save more money and have more fun shopping, both of which are part of the draw of couponing. After all, we’ve been trained from the time we were little to think of spending money as a fun activity, so why can’t saving money be fun, too?