Getting started – a beginners guide to couponing
It can seem a bit confusing on getting starting with couponing, this is why I put together this guide. I have been couponing for a number of years and I save a huge amount from my shopping. It is quick and easy to register with the websites listed below. You will then be automatically sent money off coupons or need to login and check what great offers are available.
How to start to get money off coupons sent out in the post to you. If you sign up to any supermarket or store loyalty cards where you usually do your shopping. Once registered you can start to collect points each time you shop. The points can then be exchanged for money off your shopping. Here are some links to sign up:
- Boots – Advantage card
- Morrisons – More Card
- Sainsburys – Nectar card
- Tesco – Clubcard
- Waitrose – My Waitrose card
I regularly receive coupons from Sainsbury’s and Tesco, and for example £5.00 off a £50.00 shop. Supermarkets send money off coupons for products they want to promote. Also sign up to any baby or parenting clubs such as you will receive additional coupons for baby products.
Pick up any instore magazines when you are shopping as many are full of coupons. Here is a list of some magazines that do have coupons in them:
Sainsbury’s (free magazine, please note there is another one you have to pay for too)
Other coupon sources
There are many other places to collect coupons. Catalinas are the coupons that you receive with your receipt from the cashier. By using a loyalty card stores gather your shopping data and produce coupons based on your previous shopping habits. Look out for promotional money off coupons handed out in store for new products. This is to entice you to try a product. Depending on how long the coupon is valid for, wait until the product is reduced. I have also had some excellent coupons from newspapers and magazines.
Websites with printable coupons
There are a number of coupon websites that you can sign up for free and print off coupons at home:
Planning your shopping trip
Once you have signed up to all the websites and before printing off any coupons the best way to maximise discounts is to plan your shopping trip. Start by collecting up any coupons that you may have collected. Then log into the coupon sites to see what is available. Make a list of coupons of products that you want to use. It is important to get the description correct including the size of the product (either in grams or millilitres). If you try to buy a different product to that stated on the coupon, it will be rejected. Only print off coupons that you are going to use, otherwise you will waste time and cost of printer ink and paper.
Using a supermarket price comparison site
Supermarkets run offers on products, so the price of the same product can differ at each store. Using a supermarket price comparison site such as www.mysupermarket.com can check the price of a product. It enables you to compare prices at all the major supermarkets to ensure that you are getting the best possible price for a product.
Take stock of what coupons you have and for what stores they can be used. Some coupons can only be used at a particular supermarket so make sure that you read the small print on each coupon. Also watch out for expiry dates, some coupons can expire quite quickly.
If you had a £1.00 off Clover 500g butter coupon and also a £5.00 off a £50.00 spend at Tesco coupon sent through the post. Check the price of the 500g size Clover butter at Tesco, by logging onto MySupermarket or the Tesco website. The price is £1.00 at Tesco and £1.50 at all other supermarkets. Therefore if you used your £1.00 coupon to purchase the 500g Clover butter at Tesco it would totally free.
Before printing a coupon out, you will not be able to see the expiry date, however most have 1 week validity from the date of printing. Check the current price of the product using mysupermarket and see if the item is currently on offer. If the coupon brings the cost of the product down to a cheap amount or free then great, add it to your shopping list and print out the coupon.
Sharing is caring
Speaking from experience, only buy products that you would normally buy even at a discounted amount. If you are able to get items for free and you are not going to use them, then please consider giving them to a food-bank collection basket, they are usually located near the exits of most stores. If you have friends and family that could benefit from products you get for free, consider sharing. On occasions I have had been able to get lots of products but they had a limited use by date. My family and friends were really grateful to receive everyday items that saved them having to buy them.
If there is a coupon for a product that you normally purchase a lot of and the product has a long use by or best before date then you could stock up. For example in the Tesco magazine there was a £1.00 off Hipp food pouches. The product is normally priced at £1.00, so by using a coupon it made the item free. I picked up a handful of the Tesco magazines each time I passed Tesco on my lunch break from work. From this, I was then able to use one coupon per Hipp pouch and stock up on quite a few.
Stocking up on toiletry or cleaning products when on offer can also save money long term. On supersavvyme there were coupons for Flash bleach spray for 50p off, and this product is usually £1.50, but can be on offer for £1.00. Using a coupon can get it for 50p. The supermarket own brand cheapest price is 70p, so you are still saving money.
Example shopping list
I usually write out a clear shopping list before I go shopping. I find this is essential when shopping with my Daughter as she can be a distraction and having a list keeps me on track.
Example of my shopping list:
- Bananas 80p
- Milk 4pts £1.00
- Clover 500g £1.00 – £1.00 coupon = free (normal price £1.50, but on offer)
- Tesco meat feast pizza £1.85
- Flash bleach 500ml £1.00 – 50p coupon = 50p (normal price £1.50, on offer)
- Fairy non bio gel 24 wash £3.50 – 1.00 coupon = £2.50 (normal price is £7.00, on offer)
- 2 x Huggies baby 56 pack wipes £1.50 each = £3.00 – 2 x 50p coupons then BOGOF so only pay 50p (on offer at Buy one Get one free)
Total cost before £16.65 and after offers and coupons £7.15 saving £9.50 and that it over 50% of the cost saved. This is just a small list but the more offers you can combine with coupons, the bigger the saving.
Lets go shopping
Now your ready to start bringing together your coupons and preparing your shopping list with maximum savings. Remember these key points:
- Only buy products you really need, don’t just buy them because they are cheap.
- Always read the small print on the coupons, check product description including the size, the expiry date and which store the coupon is valid for.
- Only one coupon can be used per product, however if a product is on Buy one get one free you can still use one coupon per product.
Preparing for checkout
When you have finished your shopping and filled your basket or trolley with your couponed products. Before you go to the checkout, I would recommend a quick final check that you have everything on your list.
Check through all of your coupons and go through the items in the trolley to double check you have the correct item stated on the coupon. Take out any coupons that you have not been able to use (products out of stock or could not find). Ensure you hand over your store loyalty card so you earn the maximum points, before putting through any coupons.
When you hand over your coupons, do so one at a time. This is essential to ensure that each coupon scans correctly. Check that the coupon amount is deducted from the total balance. Unfortunately I have had numerous occasions where coupons have not scanned and the cashier has not realised. This has led to me missing out on the discount. It is more time consuming but it ensures that all your coupons go through correctly. On occasion coupons do not scan for whatever reason, do not panic! This can be for a number of reasons. The cashier may ask you to get the product out of your trolley to prove you have bought the correct product. Most of the time they will see that you have bought the right item and ask a supervisor to override the till and put the discount through.
In my early days of couponing I did buy the wrong size product and it did not match the product description on the coupon. If this happens to you, just politely ask to put the wrong product back and get the coupon back off the cashier. You can always get the correct product on your next shopping trip. If a coupon is refused by a cashier and you are sure that you have the correct product politely ask to speak to supervisor. Remain calm and explain that you have a valid coupon for the product that you are purchasing, this usually resolves the matter. If not, just ask the product to be removed from your shopping and get your coupon back. You can ty to use at another store or the same store on a different day.