1. Reward Cards
Most of the larger stores have some sort of reward card, which enables you to get additional savings. Some enable you to get extra discounts and money off, like Safeway Club Card, while others (like Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS) give you both access to special discounts as well as rewards, which can then be used like cash on your next trip. If a store has a card, it's in your best interest to sign up and use it!
2. Buy When It's a Great Deal
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it is. . .after you get rid of your old 'buy when you need something' mindset. If you see a screaming deal on mustard, for example, and you know it has a great shelf life, get as much as you can when it's cheap, even if you have to save it for months until the weather gets warm enough to use it. Buying when the price is rock bottom is how you save tons in the long run.
3. Know where to find Printable Coupons
There are many places online where you can find and print free coupons:
Remember, you can usually print two coupons from each COMPUTER, so if you have more than one computer or laptop in the house, you are set!
Getting organized from the start will save you a ton of time, effort and money down the line. So, choose a good system and maintain it well. Use whatever appeals to you (binder/wallet/file) and organize your coupons in categories that make sense to you.
5. Start Small
Don't feel you have to have every store mastered from the start. Choose one or two stores that you regularly frequent and learn their coupon policies and sales rhythms. Once you have those down, add more stores as you get more confident. For your clarity, and to have on hand in case cashiers don't know their store's own coupon policy (happens a LOT!), print it out and have it with you when you head out to shop. You'd be surprised at how easily things get resolved when you have the policy at your fingertips!
6. Don't Get Sucked into Unnecessary Deals
As tempting as a 90% off deal may be, if you don't use or cannot donate a product, don't buy it. No matter how great the deal seems, if you can't use it, you're spending money instead of saving it. Leave it at the store!
7. Brand Loyalty?
To save big at the grocery store, you need to forget brand loyalty. While you can often find coupons and some savings on your favorite brands (most popular cereals regularly go on sale for quite cheap, for example), the vast majority of the big deals will be for new products, styles or flavors. Being flexible in what brands you will use equates to saving big bucks down the line!
8. Lastly. . .
No matter how much time you have to devote to couponing, using sites that 'do lots of work for you' are invaluable. If someone else can show you where the deals are, and what coupons you need, that is less effort and time for you. Some of my favorites are: