Friday, September 27, 2019

Couponing Made Easy

Everyone loves a good bargain, but not everyone loves to sit for hours upon hours printing, clipping, cutting and organizing coupons.

Me, I love to shop, and I love a good deal. It's my passion to live frugally and bring joy to others with the deals I find. It's the sole purpose behind M&K Ultra Marketing Services, this blog and becoming an eBay seller.

I have been a couponer for years. Long before the internet made it easy to find bargains, I sat at my table cutting coupons and meal planning around my bargain shopping. Things have gotten a lot easier with digital coupons, at least I'd like to believe that.

For some, the internet made things more confusing. With so many websites, apps and advice out there it can be hard to find what works efficiently, and what is a waste of time. For this post, I wanted to bring you a good, easy way to coupon without spending hours learning and becoming overwhelmed with the insane amount of information available online. Use this as a guide and develop a system that works for you!

Getting Started

Photo: Pink Drink from Starbucks, a personal favorite

Assessing your habits

What does your family eat? What products are you loyal to? 


This may seem like a no-brainer question, but you will not get very far in your couponing efforts if you buy things your family will not eat and use. So first things first, take an inventory assessment of the products you use in your home. Maybe you have a specific type of shampoo that you swear by, or your picky child will only eat skippy peanut butter. Make a list of everything you use in your home, your favorite coffee places, your hair salon etc and highlight any product you are brand loyal to. Go ahead, I'll wait.

By now you should have a long list with a lot of highlighting on it.  Do you only shop at specific stores or are you a person that likes to shop the deals? Divide your list up into columns that are specific to your shopping habits. Excel or Google Sheets are perfect for this task, and while these steps are time-consuming to get started they will help to keep you organized, saving time and money.

As you can see from the infographic, my loyalties lie with Meijer, Walmart, Discount Drug Mart, Dollar Tree, and various thrift stores in the area.

Now for the fun stuff!

Finding the Deals

So now you have a list full of your favorite everything, head on over to your favorite stores' websites and see if they have an app for your phone and join the loyalty programs if you haven't already. 

Next, get cashback & coupon apps on your phone. These apps are tested personally and approved. 

Get the Ibotta App, Ibotta will give you cashback on your purchases. 
Get the Coupons.com App. You will be able to print coupons, clip digital coupons and get cash back on some purchases. 
Get the Krazy Coupon Lady App. Coupons, tips and invaluable information on couponing from newbies to the extreme!

Tip:
→Buy the Sunday paper for the coupon inserts.


Step By Step

If you are ready to start saving read on this step by step guide should get you on your way today!

  1. Pick a time of the day, week, or month that you want to spend a couple hours focusing on savings. I do a large trip twice a month. Meats & Staples on the first trip, and Pantry, toiletries and whatever staples we need to restock on the next.
  2. When you are ready to start working, take a good hard look at your list and compare your highlighted products to your loyalty programs, store coupons, the Ibotta app, Coupons.com, Krazy Coupon Lady and any others you sign up for in the process.
  3.  As you are scanning through, make a note in your Excel or Google Sheet on how much is saved, how many of each item you can purchase or that is required to purchase for EACH coupon/cashback you have clipped. Make sure you have clipped/selected each product on your list in the various programs.
  4. Cut out the coupons you will use from the Sunday paper inserts
  5. Print the coupons that you will use at each store you plan on shopping at. 
  6. Put printed/cut coupons in separate sandwich Ziploc baggies for each store. I suggest baggies as they are easily thrown into a pocket or purse. 
  7. Use a sharpie to label each baggie
  8. Make a shopping list! I repeat make a list!!! Divide your list by the stores you will be going to on your next trip. On your list, notate the coupons and cashback offers.
  9. Put your list for each store in the coupon baggie designated for those stores. If you don't have coupons for a store you are going to, make one and add the list in!
  10. When you are ready to shop, grab your baggies and go! 
  11. Put your receipts and coupons in the baggie it belongs to. Save your coupons for the next time you shop at that store.
  12. Scan your receipts to the apps you use and watch the cashback roll in!


Ready Set Shop!

And that's it, a super simple method to save money on your favorite products. Drop a comment of how much you have saved using this guide!

If you want to delve further into the topic, make sure to check back for more posts on frugal living and couponing!