Photo: Flickr / Groupon
While extreme couponers spend hours searching and clipping coupons in pursuit of huge savings, are we regular folk able to make the same savings without dedicating our lives to the cause? We at Bundle.com interviewed some couponing experts to find out the answer.Isra Hashmi, frugal lifestyle blogger at TheFrugalette.com, who claims she is not an extreme couponer “by any means,” keeps an up-to-date calculation of the total amount and worth of coupons she uses. Since January 2012, her total is over $1990.00 in coupon savings.
How can you spot a valuable coupon?
Valuable coupons are those that have a discount on one item as opposed to multiple items, Hashmi says. She also suggests using a coupon when an item is on sale, which will yield deeper discounts.
Jeanette Pavini, household savings expert at Coupons.com, says “Free money is always worth it and that is exactly what coupons are.”
Can you actually save significant dollars using coupons?
When it comes down to it, time is money. Is it worth it? “Absolutely, and you do not have to go to the extreme,” says Pavini. The best coupons are the ones you will actually use, and the ones that give you an opportunity to try a new product.
Andrea Woroch, a consumer expert with a specialty on coupons, says although it seems some people spend countless hours clipping coupons, matching them to store sales, and driving around to take advantage of the offers, there are ways to save a lot of money without spending too much time preparing.
So, where should you look beyond grocery coupons featured in the Sunday paper?
From printable coupons to online coupon codes, you can find serious savings on the web. Sites like CouponSherpa.com offer printable coupons, and you can also find useful promotion codes at sites like Retailmenot.com. Always look for free shipping codes if the e-Retailer doesn’t offer it from FreeShipping.org.
2. Your Mobile Phone
You can get coupons sent directly to your mobile phone. CouponSherpa offers a free mobile coupon app that uses a GPS to provide store coupons based on your location. Yowza offers grocery coupons, and some stores, like Target, text coupons directly to a consumer’s mobile device. Even Regal Cinemas offers to send mobile coupons to those who register for ways to save at the movies.
3. Facebook and Twitter
By Following or Liking your favourite stores and brands on Facebook and Twitter, you can find exclusive coupons, promo codes, free shipping offers and alerts about upcoming sales or special promotions.
4. Check-in on Foursquare
This geo-based social media site offers deals to those who check-in when visiting a retailer, attraction or restaurant depending on your location.
5. Store Receipts
Many retailers are interested in learning about your recent shopping experience and satisfaction. Merchants like Banana Republic, Famous Footwear, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, will offer a coupon for filling out a survey.
Brands and retailers send sale alerts and coupons to their subscribers, usually on a daily or weekly basis. Subscribe to your favourite brands’ newsletters in order to get the printable or online coupons sent directly to your inbox.
7. Just Ask
Before you check out, ask a sales associate if any coupons are available.
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