Throwback Thursday: Couponing

Yet again, I am so sorry that my update for the past six months hasn’t been put up yet! At least I am in the final stages and putting the pictures with the post on! Work of course has been hectic, on top of that trying to plan and budget a wedding, save money in the process of everyday expenses, then having constant doctors/wedding appointments. Plus Halloween is coming up next weekend, THEN I have been trying to at least reach 10/15 books to be read by the end of the year (courtesy of my Bucket List). Needless to say life has been just a blur for the past few months and each day is just more to add to the list.

But anyways back to today’s subject! I have officially decided to make Throwback Thursday #tbt posts a weekly event, since it seems to be a big hit thus far and hopefully today’s post will be helpful towards everyone! So recently I decided to give couponing a chance; hence the #tbt, if you are anything like me and you seriously just DO NOT have the time to get organized and have a huge binder for coupon clippings, then go mobile. I envy those who make the binders and know the sale days and all that jazz as these awesome links below have done:

Caching On A Shoestring

mrsjanuary.com

There are – of course- thousands more out there and to me at least they just all have their own lingo and rules that I cannot keep up with. Plus, I don’t get the paper, or any sort of ads in the mail, I just find the extra paper laying around to be clutter. But I was tired of paying way too much for groceries, since we go weekly and spend on average $80 a shopping trip. THAT IS RIDICULOUS. I’ve seen so many people go in with coupons, fill their carts to the absolute maximum capacity and pay like $15 for all of it! And it isn’t unfair in the slightest, they are taking time to be able to do that!

Well, after a full month now of couponing, I am still getting the hang of it but I have saved around $60 this month alone already using all of these apps! That’s almost a week’s worth of a shopping trip saved! Not too shabby for my first month if I do say so myself, and that is also without clipping a single coupon! So what’s the secret you ask? Well I will be more than glad to tell you.

All of my coupon items are on my phone, which we all have on us 24/7, and amazing apps. Today everything is so technically advanced it’s very easy (not for everyone) to just have everything portable and right in front of your face. My first coupon app I downloaded was Cartwheel by Target, and just let me tell you how much I love Target, something about the place just warms my insides. The next app I downloaded was Checkout 51, which then led to RetailMeNot Coupons, The Coupons App, and then to Ibotta. On a side note ALL of the above mentioned apps are FREE.

How they work:

1. Cartwheel: It’s a free download and free to sign up, you can login through you Gmail, Facebook, or Target account (if you have one). I chose Gmail, because of course I do not have a Facebook anymore, and I just wouldn’t want anyone looking into my coupons anyways. Of course all of the offers through Cartwheel are specifically for Target, but that’s not a bad thing. We have been getting all of our groceries at Target for the past month now because of it and each shopping trip is less than $70 every time. Whereas we were spending $100 or more going to Harris Teeter for all of our groceries, and that’s with a VIC (loyalty) card too! It’s easy to use and it not only has grocery coupons, but electronics, apparel, holiday items…it literally has it ALL! The only thing I wish would change is the amount of deals you can save to use, you are only allowed 13 favorites per trip. *Sigh* Plus, the barode on your app automatically generates, so when checkout comes along they scan your phone and you just sit back and watch the money disappear from your total!

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2. Checkout 51: I have yet to completely reap the benefits of this app yet, but the jist of it is that you favorite a few items that are offered in your area (it will ask for your location upon uploading the app), then if you happen to purchase those items on your shopping trip, you take a picture of your receipt, send it in and it gets reviewed. It takes on average they say 48 hours to review, all of mine so far haven’t even taken 24 hours! Once they find the items on your receipt, they give you money for that item into your account! Too good to be true?! That was my thoughts exactly! But so far it has been completely legit! For example, Milk is also an item on the list it seems, so basically you go through the list, favorite the milk and it will have a price next to it. Say like $0.50, then once you go shopping, purchase the milk, send in the receipt, you are awarded that $0.50 to your account! Sure, it’s not full price, but hey it’s still free money back for purchasing an item that you need! Once you get up to $20 in cash back you can “cash out” and that money is sent to you. Plus every Thursday the deals and offers change! So far I believe I am up to $3.00 in savings, which to you guys may not seem like a lot, but that’s money in my pocket in the long run. As soon as I finish my grocery shopping at Target, I get home and send in my receipt right away. A few hours later the money is awarded to my account!

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3. RetailMeNot Coupons: Okay, so this is an even more recent download than the above two, RetailMeNot gives you the actual retail stores, such as Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, H&M, Pizza Hut all of those fun stores and even restaurants. When you download the app, again it will get your location and notify you of the best deals near you. I do not indulge on many retail shopping trips, being on the tight wedding budget that we are. But in the future when I do, this will be the first app I turn to. With this app you can star your favorites, then you can get the Code (for online) or get the physical coupon/barcode if it’s In-Store only. You also have the benefit of scrolling through peoples’ comments below the coupon to find out if it actually worked for other users, and to be nice to your friends you can also share the coupons/deals via text or email!

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4. The Coupons App: Another recent download in my couponing craze! I am getting accustomed to this one as well. Based on your location, it will -on the front page- provide you with the cheapest gas in your area, then below it will show all the promotions at local stores. A lot like RetailMeNot, but it does have the annoyance of ads popping up upon app starting. The neat thing is that you can just select the coupon from the list and it directs you  to the link for the coupon showing the barcode. Just an easy scan away! Make sure that you actually read the coupon though, a few I have come across require you to actually present the coupon to the cashiers (lame), which means you would have to print the coupon out. A cool feature for this app is that while you are shopping, say at Michael’s you can scan the barcode of the product and it will come up with any coupons or discounts for that specific store or exact item! We’ll see how this one fairs!

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5. Ibotta: Yet again, a new add for me! It seems to work a lot like Checkout51, based on rebates and getting money back for your purchases. I am completely fine with getting double the money back at this point. I will be uploading my receipts now to both and see how it all works out! The cool thing about Ibotta that I have liked are the visuals, it shows pictures of the rebate items and also by stores, then the amount underneath the items. There are different categories as well, so under Grocery you have all of the stores that supply groceries then on the right hand side lists the total rebates that each of these stores is offering. All you do is select the items that you want, it will then give you a few options on how to save the rebate to your list. For some you can do a survey (it’s like 2-3 questions), take a poll, or simply get a recipe, but for some of the options you can get a higher rebate amount. You can also check the barcodes of the products to verify it is the correct product. As you continue to save rebates, you start unlocking bonuses for even more money! The “cash out” point on Ibotta is only $10.00, so once you get that ten bucks in savings, you can get that money back! Or you have the option to get gift cards with it instead, whatever floats your boat!

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Now, I am not saying this method is for everyone, it just happens to be the method that has been working best for me. On top of all of these, I know there are a few more apps out there that people rave about, Favado being one of them. *I’ll be looking into that one as well* One thing that I noticed a lot of really big couponing gurus do though is buy in bulk, whereas I don’t have the room nor the want to be doing that. I can understand the appeal, but it’s just not for me. When it comes to grocery shopping I have my list of items that we need, then I in turn get the coupons specifically for the items I need. I don’t tend to splurge on items or grab things that I don’t need and I know that is another huge way to save money.

I’ve also gotten better when it comes to online shopping, I recently just got items for my Halloween costume and was able to Google search promo codes for the sites and ended up getting 15% off my purchase. Every little penny counts!

If any of you have any questions, comments, concerns. advice just let me know! I would love to hear your feedback!

xoxo, Bee

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One thought on “Throwback Thursday: Couponing

  1. Pingback: Rental Rant | No Limits

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