When I first started using coupons in earnest, my goal was simple—I wanted to save a few bucks on stuff I regularly bought.

But as I invested more time into this goal and became a true KCL, I realized couponing held a lot more potential than just shaving a dollar or two off of my bottom line at the grocery store!

I could save on nearly anything I wanted to buy. I could save enough to pay off my debt, start an emergency fund, or even open a retirement account.

Today, I would say I’m no longer "couponing to survive," but I’m "couponing to thrive."

1. Pay off debt.

The very first "thriving" activity that benefited from my couponing was my debt. I had a lot of it, and now every month, thanks to couponing, I have less and less.

Ideas that work for me:

  • Once I started to get a sense of how much I could save by couponing monthly, I set up an automatic transfer in my checking account to pay off my highest credit card bill. This way I wasn't tempted to use the couponing savings in other ways!

2. Start a rainy day fund.

Dave Ramsey, one of KCL's favorite financial gurus, advises a balance between paying off debt and maintaining a "rainy day" or emergency fund. This is because, should an emergency crop up, you’ll be right back in debt if you don't have some other funds set aside that aren’t subject to high interest rates.

Ideas that work for me:

  • What works well for me is to swap months. Every odd month, I use my couponing savings to pay off debt. Every even month, I deposit those savings into my emergency fund instead.
  • I use the Hello Digit free app as well to grow my emergency fund little by little.

3. Invest into your kids’ college fund.

The costs of attending college keep inching (okay, jumping) up year after year. Thankfully, there are couponing resources and apps to help you increase your ability to save for your kids' college tuition.

Ideas that work for me:

  • I use the Upromise website because it gives me cash back towards a college fund when I shop at their 850+ partner retailers. You can also earn extra cash back by eating out, booking travel, buying groceries, and opening a Upromise MasterCard.

4. Invest into your financial future.

To me, little in life feels better than to make that monthly deposit into my retirement account. It eases my stress (a "thriving" must!) and makes me feel in charge of my future.

Ideas that work for me:

  • I set an annual goal for how much I want to contribute to my IRA (for example, this great KCL post shows how investing $1,000 per year at 8% interest will turn into $46,000 in 20 years' time).
  • Having a goal not only inspires me to coupon more, but it compounds what I save!

5. Help military families.

This is just another great "thriving" perk that comes from couponing. Did you know you can send your expired coupons overseas, where military families are able to redeem them for up to six months past their stateside expiration date?

Ideas that work for me:

  • In years when I itemize my charitable contributions, I can deduct the cost of mailing coupons to the military overseas.

More resources:

6. Help those in need.

I have a lot of family in the south, where hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are annual occurrences. As such, there’s nearly always some way to help a family in need just by gifting them with my extra stockpile items. This is also a great way to make use of items that are nearing their expiration date faster than you can use them up!

Ideas that work for me:

  • Here again, in years when I itemize my charitable contributions, I enjoy taking a deduction based on the fair market value of items I donate to help the needy.

More resources:

  • This great KCL post explains the rules of deducting stockpile items at tax time.

7. Teach your kids money-saving skills.

Couponing is a great skill to pass along to your kids. I learned how to coupon from my mom when I was very young, and it has stuck with me throughout my life.

Ideas that work for me:

  • I love the ideas I learned in this great KCL post for how to teach kids of varying ages how to enjoy couponing.

8. Save even when you splurge!

By learning how to use coupons, I’ve discovered that I can save even when I decide to splurge, which is a definite "win-win" for me!

Ideas that work for me:

8 Ways to Begin Couponing to Thrive