One of the biggest areas where you can improve your personal finances is cutting back on your food spending. This doesn't mean cutting out all dining out or living on rice and beans.
Using smart shopping techniques, including redeeming coupons, can help you cut your monthly food spending by 50 percent or more.
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By the time you factor in credit card interest savings, using the savings to get a 401(k) match and earning interest on this money, you can easily save thousands of dollars each year or add six figures to your retirement account. Learning how to get coupons sent to your house will help you increase your annual savings.
Read More: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping Starting Today
Paper vs. Digital Coupons
In many cases, you can get almost all the coupons you want or need to be sent to you digitally. This is especially true if you sign up for a grocery store loyalty program. Check the websites of your favorite foods to look for coupons or look for couponing sites that let you choose and download digital coupons for free or for a small fee.
After the TV show "Extreme Couponing" debuted, supermarkets realized their generous couponing policies were being taken advantage of and they changed many of their couponing rules.
For example, today, many stores won't let you combine a paper and a digital coupon on the same item. Some stores won't let you use coupons on items that are marked as "manager's specials" or closeouts. In any case, check out both paper and digital coupons if you want to save the maximum.
Read More: How to Use Double Coupons
Subscribe to Newspapers
In addition to being valuable sources of information, newspapers often come with large numbers of coupons. This occurs once or twice per week, usually on Wednesday and Sunday. On Wednesdays, many grocery stores insert their store flyers and coupons. To help justify the extra cost of Sunday's edition, newspapers publish coupon booklets with hundreds of dollars of coupons available.
If you don't want to pay for a newspaper subscription, ask your neighbors and coworkers if they get the Sunday paper and if they use their coupons. If they don't, they might be willing to give them to you each week.
Read More: How to Get P&G Brand Saver Coupons
Contact Coupon Book Companies
If you're not receiving coupon packets, sign up for services that offer free coupons books by mail like ValPak or Proctor & Gamble. Read their privacy policies – you might be agreeing to receive other promotional mailings. If possible, have these sent to your work address.
When you get your coupons, select the ones you're going to use. Next, look to see if the same coupon is available digitally. You might be able to double your coupon value by combining a digital and paper couponing, or buying two products with two coupons.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
In addition to letting you download digital coupons via their apps, some grocery stores will send you personalized paper coupons in the mail when you sign up for a loyalty card. For example, Kroger sends its members personalized coupon booklets every six weeks or so with coupons for items each member personally buys. In some instances, Kroger offers you free products to get you into the store. Kroger is part of a parent company that also runs 15 other stores, including Dillons, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Fry's and Ralph's.
Be Careful When Couponing
Many consumers actually end up spending more using coupons than if they hadn't. That's because many coupons are manufacturer's coupons, requiring you to buy the more expensive brand. For example, if you get a 40-cent coupon for a brand name can of baked beans that sells for $1.25 per can, you'll spend more money using that coupon than if you bought generic baked beans for 60 cents per can.
In addition, $2 and $3 coupons for some products seem too good to pass up – but you'll need to buy much more costly brand name items than similar generics or store-brand options. Large coupons can also create impulse buys – if you weren't planning on buying a product, don't do so just because you have a coupon.
Coupon organization is also important – if you don't use a system for when you're in the store, you might end up back home with several coupons you forgot to use.