Save. Discount. Clearance. Closeout. Those are just some of the words that I love to see when I am shopping. I bet your face lit up with excitement when you saw the title of this post. There is just something about saving money or scoring a great deal at a store.
When TLC’s show, Extreme Couponing, first aired I fell in love with the idea of collecting coupons and getting enough of them to buy $200 worth of groceries for $5. I mean, how hard could it be? Quite honestly, I knew I was not cut out for dumpster diving for the weekly coupon inserts. Nor was I ready to break the law by
stealing coupons out of newspaper stands. So after being moderately inspired by the show, I decided it would be a good idea to subscribe to our local Sunday paper so I could get to clipping coupons. Initially, I was extremely excited to get the newspaper and to see all the deals that I could get with my coupons. After four or five months of clipping coupons, I lost interest and would forget to clip the coupons altogether. Once it was time to renew our newspaper subscription I knew that we would decline. Becoming an avid coupon clipper was not for me, but I knew that I still wanted to save money where possible. We received coupon inserts in the mail for free on Tuesdays, so I decided I would just use those coupons along with store sales and promotions.
In recent years, store have begun to make it quite easy for consumers to get a great price on the items they love by offering weekly promotions, sending mass mailings with coupons, offering coupons via mobile devices as well as online. There are a handful of stores that I frequent for our everyday essentials. I have taken advantage of the coupons and reward programs that are offered so I can, even without a huge stack of coupons, still save a few bucks here and there.
Below are opportunities some of my favorite stores provide consumers to save some cash:
(Click the name of the store to sign up for rewards programs or to take advantage of online coupons)
ExtraCare Card–It is a rewards card that allows you to get discounts and sale prices on items. It’s free to signup! Be sure to register it online so you can access more savings and receive additional percentage off coupons via email.
ExtraBucks–Once a quarter you get 2% back of what you spent while using your ExtraCare card. You can use the money on any store purchase and can print it from online or from the in-store Coupon Center. Another way to earn ExtraBucks is by purchasing particular items advertised in the weekly ad as ExtraBucks earning items. For instance, the weekly ad may say “Buy 2 Tide laundry detergents and get $3 in ExtraBucks.” That $3 that you earn can be used during your next purchase, INCLUDING, same day purchases.
Coupon Center–Stop here as soon as you enter the store! This is a machine inside the store that scans your ExtraCare Card and prints coupons and details of store promotions. Most of the coupons that I have printed from the Coupon Center have been of items that I purchase most from CVS.
CVS store coupons are stackable with manufacturer’s coupons, meaning you can use both a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon together for one item.
Online coupons–Through Target.com, you can select and print the store or manufacturer coupons at your convenience. They are often high valued coupons.
Mobile coupons–Coupons are sent directly to your mobile device via text once every couple of weeks. No need to print them–just show the coupon on your device to the cashier and they can scan the bar code right from your device. (Click here for additional info on how to receive the mobile coupons.)
Target store and mobile coupons are stackable with manufacturer’s coupons.
Monthly Savings Book–Each month Walgreens provides a FREE book of coupons that can be used only in stores. They can be picked up in the front of the store near the register, normally with the newspapers.
Mobile Coupons–Each week new store coupons/promos are offered through the mobile app.
Balance Rewards–A rewards program that allows you to get special prices on select merchandise during weekly promotions. You are not required to carry a card, only a phone number is needed. Some items will give you a chance to earn bonus Balance Rewards points, helping you to reach a minimum goal of 5,000 points. For every 5,000 points or so you get a $5 reward. It’s free to signup–do it online or in the store!
Walgreens store and mobile coupons are stackable with manufacturer’s coupons.
Mperks—A digital coupon program that doesn’t require you to carry a card or print coupons. Simply sign up with your phone number and passcode, go online and add coupons to your profile, shop at any Meijer and at checkout enter your phone number and code to apply the downloaded coupons to your order. Unlike other stores, it keeps no record of what items you buy and points are not accumulated for each transaction.
Kroger Plus Card–Here is another rewards program that allows you to get discounts and sale prices on items. You are not required to carry the card that is given upon signup, but it is convenient to have it. If you register your card online (which I HIGHLY recommend) then you can use the phone number that you provided during registration to connect your transaction to your Plus Card account.
Online Coupons–Digital coupons can be loaded directly onto your Plus Card by logging on to Kroger.com, so you do not have to worry about printing and carrying coupons. Your coupons are automatically redeemed once you purchase the qualifying items. Checking online for coupons and promotions is a must, as Kroger sometimes offers ONE DAY ONLY digital coupons for free items.
Customized Coupons–The Plus Card keeps track of what items you buy most. Every month, or more, customized coupons are sent by mail. These normally include big savings on the items that you buy every trip to the grocery store–some coupons are to get items completely FREE!
All the stores mentioned have mobile apps that you can download for your Android or iPhone mobile phone, which makes finding the best deals even easier! Download them for free and shop smart! Go save!