Living With Less: Use Coupons Wisely

living with less cover with black edgeEver since I’ve began super couponing a little over two years ago, I am always looking for wonderful deals to take advantage of using coupons.

Yesterday I was able to order a $30 (plus shipping) photo book from Shutterfly for just $10 (plus shipping) using Groupon.  But even better than that, I had “referral bucks” from sharing deals with friends so the book cost me nothing when I actually bought the certificate from Groupon!  I just paid $9 for shipping and got the book for free!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a flyer from Beauty Brands that included a $5 coupon on anything in the store for $5 or more.  I don’t usually buy anything at Beauty Brands, but I decided that it was free money so I would just drop by and see what I could find.  I walked around the store for just five minutes and then I found an incredible deal.

photo2On an endcap there was a hair care product similar to one I like to use.  It was like a wax that I use for my short hair.  It wasn’t a brand I was familiar with, but it’s description indicated that it would do the same thing as what I was currently using.  Here’s the best part, though: It was regularly priced $14.98 but was marked down to .98!  Now that’s an incredible deal, but it gets better!

photoRemember that $5 coupon I had? Yep, I used that.  I bought six of the hair products normally priced at a total of $89.88, sale priced at a total of $5.88,used the $5 coupon, and after adding .07 tax, paid just .95 for all six of them!

I have enough hair product to last me two years and I paid a whopping .95 for all of it!

Do you want to use coupons more effectively?  Here are some strategies to do just that:

1) Take advantage of “free money” whenever you can.  When a store offers “$10 off anything $10 or more” this  is free money! The key is finding something you really need and keeping your purchase at the $10-$12 range.

2) Make sure your coupon SAVES you money.  Beware of coupons that COST you money. If you use a $10 off coupon to buy a $40 dress you weren’t planning on buying, then that coupon just cost you $30.  However, if you find a $12 cami in a color you’ve been looking for, your coupon just saved you $10 and you bought the cami for $2!

3) Know where to find coupons.  When I buy anything online, I use www.retailmenot.com to find promo codes.  I also subscribe to Shutterfly.com to receive alerts on when they offer their free photo books (several times a year).  I make my photo books, save them as a project, and wait for their offers for a free book to actually order them.  I subscribe to Groupon and Seize the Deal in my area too.  (I subscribe to Groupon in both St. Louis and Chicago–I live two hours from both cities and would rarely use their local business deals, but I often use their deals with national companies like Shutterfly,  Old Navy, and JC Penney.)

4) Use a calendar to keep track of deals, deadlines, and expiration dates.  When you buy a Groupon certificate or a deal on Seize the Deal, you need to use it by it’s deadline.  Coupons like my “free money” coupon from Beauty Brands also have an expiration date. I put a note on my calendar two days before a deal/coupon expires as well as noting the day it will actually expire.  This reminds me to use my deals and high value coupons and not lose them!

What about you? How do you use coupons wisely?  What’s one of the best deals you’ve ever found with coupons?

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7 Responses to Living With Less: Use Coupons Wisely

  1. Couponing is basically the only way we survive. Even though my husband has a good paying job, we have a fair amount of debt from college, a car, and medical bills from my 16 month old’s birth (emergency c-section then some complications made it a very expensive birth).

    Saturday I was able to purchase 6 pounds of pasta for $0.78. Less than 1 pound would have been. Sale plus coupons plus a store that doubles coupons. Only store that doubles in my state and not in my area so I try to stop by when I’m in the area.

    Online I also do Ebates a lot. If you find a coupon through them or directly from the store’s website, you can use both the coupon code and the Ebates cash back.

  2. Amy says:

    Target is great about stacking coupons – using a Target and a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item (although I have found that I can only print Target coupons on Safari and not Firefox).

    I am also a big fan of ebates, and they usually have coupons and deals already listed for my online retailers.

    • JillSavage says:

      I think I’m going to have to check out ebates!

      • Lisa says:

        Shopathome is another great website. I still have 3 little ones, so I do most of my non-grocery shopping on-line. I ALWAYS go through ShopatHome or ebates for cash back. Plus, I sign up for a Shoprunner account (when they have free offers) to get free 2-day shipping (including free shipping on returns) to a list of stores, which include Toys r Us/Babies r Us.

  3. Rachel says:

    Right now in my life, time is at a premium so I REALLY appreciate these easy tips! (as opposed to spending 40 hrs a week matching deals and clipping coupons). So it works with shutterfly to make the books ahead of time? I have wondered about that as I need to make a book, but can never get it done in the 3 days or so for a sale. Have you ever tried MyPublisher? They offer good deals too, but I have the same question with them. Thank you for all these tips!

    • JillSavage says:

      Rachel, I’ve kept a book out there on Shutterfly for months just waiting for a good deal so yep you can do that!

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