Have you thought about couponing before but got discouraged because of all the time that goes into it? It doesn’t have to be that way! It doesn’t have to take hours and hours getting ready to go shopping! I spend about one hour a week getting my coupons and shopping lists ready.
This post is all about how you can do the same thing by doing what I like to call “casual couponing”! Whether you are an expert “extreme couponer” or a “beginning couponer” these tips will help you cut time and money out of your monthly grocery shopping!
What does it mean to casual coupon? The idea behind casual couponing is that I still am saving a couple hundred a month on my grocery bill but I am not spending nearly as much time prepping or shopping to do so. I only look for the really great deals and only use coupons when it’s worth it. Worth it to me means buying products that my family uses on a regular basis and I am able to buy them on sale, leaving me only paying less than 50% the original price.
And! If you like to save money on groceries then you need to print off this FREE monthly meal planner! You can read hear on how monthly meal planning is going to cut your grocery bill in half!
So here is the breakdown on what you need to know to be a casual couponer. Save yourself some major money without having to spend all your time prepping! Just follow these simple couponing tips and you will be on your way to saving $100s!
Lets start with the lingo
As I am posting deals that I find, you might see a few abbreviations and here is what they mean.
B1G1- Buy One Get One Free
B2G1- Buy Two Get One Free (get the idea?)
$1.00/2- Means the coupon is for $1.00 off of two items
I am starting to move away from purchasing a Sunday newspaper but I still use them every once in a while. Here are the abbreviations you might see along with a distribution date or the date when they come in the paper. These coupons might also come in your normal weekly “junk snail mail” so keep an eye out because those are free!
(Update: I have actually cancelled my newspaper subscription! Read here to find out why!)
RP- Red Plum coupon insert
SS-Smart Source coupon insert
PG- Procter and Gamble coupon insert
One of the easiest ways to save money is by using these great apps! Most of them work as a rebate offer. This means that you submit your receipt through the app and once your receipt has been approved you automatically get the rebate amount added to your app account. Once you hit a certain amount set by the app you can cash out for things like gift cards!
What’s more is you can combine these with using coupons! That means even more savings! So let’s say that a product is on sale for $2.00 and you have a $1.00/1 coupon plus there is an app rebate for $1.00. That makes this product free! See how you can use both coupons and apps on the same product?
Things to note about the rebate apps; usually you can only use the rebate once and make sure to browse the deals before you go shopping. Not all deals are available at all stores. Within the same app, one deal might be available for a certain product but not available at a different store.
Even easier! Other apps like Shopkick give your rewards for just walking in the store! Easy money honey! You can also earn rewards even faster by scanning a few different items as your peruse the store.
Grocery stores typically have a sale cycle that starts Wednesday and goes through the following Tuesday. Major retailers like Target and Walmart sales usually run Sunday through Saturday.
Everything has a season. Specific products usually go on sale around the same time of year and they aren’t hard to predict. There are a lot of really great blogs out there that can map it out but for the most part they are fairly easy to gauge. For example, with spring just around the corner you can count on things like outdoorsy stuff (BBQ, outdoor lighting, grilling tools) and cleaning supplies to go on sale.
The reason to know the sale cycle is to know how much to stock up or how much to buy. If you know that the specific sale price will be back soon then you don’t need to stock up so much. But if it is a product that you know your family will use fairly quickly then you might want to load up one of your pantry shelves.
Hint: most products are on a 2 month sale cycle, meaning you will see a sale price on a specific product every 2 months.
Now we have the logistics in order. Here is my weekly routine on how I casual coupon. It really is super easy!
My local store paper ads come in the snail mail usually on Mondays. Even then, if my postman doesn’t deliver for some reason they can be found online usually around one day before the sales actually are live. (I like to have print because I feel like I can read them easier and circle things)
- I look through the ads and look for things my family will eat that are on sale.
- Search through my coupons (print, digital, and apps) the match them up with the sales. This is key! Match sales with coupons and other savings!
- Create my weekly menu around what is on sale and what I bought last week on sale.
Over here in San Diego where I live it is no secret that the cost of living is not the lowest. So keep in mind as you see me post deals I find you might be able to find them even lower at your own local stores!
There will always be great deals every week but I pick and choose where to spend the money and time. One great thing about using coupons is sometimes there is a smoking deal on a new product. Normally I wouldn’t try it but because I can get it for a super low price with coupons/apps my family and I get to indulge a little. But here is a small list of items I typically shop for with coupons.
Things I usually buy with coupons:
Crackers & snack food
Shampoo & Conditioner
This short list of my go-to coupon shopping items might not seem like much but even still, the little time I spend finding these deals really does save me a couple hundred dollars a month! Do you know what that adds up to in a year? Over $1,000 saved a year! I know that you can do the same too if you follow these few simple steps!
I would love to hear any additional questions you might have about how to casual coupon! Leave a comment bellow and I will get your questions answered!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. However, this does not influence any of my reviews or suggestions. I only tell it like I see it. Please read the legal stuff for more information.