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When you’re just gearing up to do your first couponing trip, it can feel a little intimidating!
But you can boost your confidence by learning how stores feel about extreme couponing (spoiler alert: they love it!).
Also arm yourself with knowledge that’ll get you into the store and saving up to 70% on groceries in no time.
Do stores lose money when I use coupons?
It’s a fair question because it seems like you’re shortchanging the store by not paying the full amount when you use coupons. But the truth is that stores don’t lose a dime when you use coupons.
Why? Because when you use a coupon, the manufacturer of the product on the coupon reimburses the store for the face value of the coupon.
Interestingly, manufacturer coupons have an entire life cycle that begins with a marketing campaign and ends when the manufacturer pays the store back for the coupon amount.
Find out where coupons go to die if you want all the details about the life of your coupon.
It’s also possible stores may make more money, thanks to couponers, because products with coupons get more consumer exposure than other products. You may just love something you bought with coupons and return to buy it again!
Are there stores that accept a competitor’s coupon?
Yes — and as far as grocery stores go, your best bet will be local stores versus national chains.
For example, you’ll be more successful at a Bi-Lo or a Harris Teeter than at a Walmart.
A general rule of thumb for stores that do accept competitor coupons is that the item has to be identical to the item on the coupon, and they often limit quantities — meaning you can’t use more than, say, 10 competitor coupons in a day.
How about price matching? Which stores will give me their competitor’s lower price?
Price matching is like a couponer’s secret weapon.
And there are apps that help you see what other stores are charging. I recommend you download ShopSavvy and scan the barcode of an item you’re looking at.
If you’re at one of the stores that price matches competitors — like Target, DICK’S Sporting Goods or Home Depot — just go to customer service and show them the competitor’s price. They’ll often give it to you!
Is there a way to coupon without talking to a cashier? (Asking for a friend.)
Use self checkout (even with coupons!) at Target if you’re nervous about talking to a cashier.
The register may beep when you scan your coupons, but that doesn’t mean you did anything wrong — it just alerts the cashier on duty that you’re using coupons.
We’ve found Target to be very coupon-friendly and eager to help first-timers.
Which coupons will get me the biggest savings?
There are a lot of different types of coupons, and you can combine some of them together to save the most money — we call this “stacking.”
If you’re learning to coupon and you want to try stacking, start with using a coupon on a sale price. This is considered stacking as well!
When you’re ready to take it to the next level, focus on deals where you use a printable manufacturer coupon from Coupons.com and a store coupon or a rebate app offer (like Ibotta).
You’ll give the cashier your printable manufacturer coupon, but you don’t have to do anything at the register in order to redeem an Ibotta offer.
Learn all the different types of coupons so you know exactly which coupons you can stack together and which don’t stack.
Are there any coupons that stack with everything?
Yes! Speaking of Ibotta, rebate apps like it and Checkout51 stack with literally everything.
Rebate apps have taken the couponing world by storm in recent years, because they’re just so easy to use and you can use them with any coupon or promotion — and you can do it in your pajamas.
Download the Ibotta app, tap which offers you want to redeem, and then upload a picture of your receipt (or scan a QR code at some stores like Walmart).
When you’ve done this, you’ll receive money in your PayPal account within 24 hours. Since you just need a receipt, it’s easy to take care of redeeming rebate offers after you get home from the store.
RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps
How do I know when there’s a deal worth going to the store for?
Back in the earliest years of couponing, if you wanted to do an extreme couponing deal, you’d have to pull out every store’s weekly ad and cross check it with newspaper insert coupons in order to find a coupon to use with a store sale.
We saw what a huge pain this was for newbie couponers, and that’s why we developed the Krazy Coupon Lady app.
Our team of real human deal hunters are in the aisles of the stores matching up sales with coupons so you don’t have to.
Download the KCL app and we’ll tell you when to run to the store for a killer price on Tide, Huggies and more.
TIP: You can even set deal alerts inside the KCL app if you’re looking for a deal on a specific item! Learn all about grocery deal alerts, and you’ll save even more time.
Do I need to understand Walgreens Balance Rewards and Register Rewards in order to coupon there?
If you want to save boatloads of cash and work toward building a three- to six-month couponing stockpile, you need to understand how drugstore rewards programs work.
Let’s start with Walgreens.
To begin with, if you just focus on understanding Balance Rewards and Register Rewards, you’ll be a long way toward being a Walgreens expert.
Walgreens Balance Rewards are points that translate into cash toward future purchases. For example, there are often promotions like “Buy 2 of an item and get 2,000 Balance Rewards.”
When you have 2,000 worth of Balance Rewards, it’s the same as $2.00 in cash — 1,000 is $1.00, $5,000 is $5.00 — you get the picture.
Register Rewards are coupons you can get for making purchases included in a Register Rewards promotion. Like, you can get $5.00 in Register Rewards to use on your next transaction.
This is just a start — find out how to coupon at Walgreens step-by-step.
What about CVS? Should I sign up for ExtraCare?
Yep! (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)
CVS is very coupon-friendly, and there are tons of opportunities to get freebies and score amazing deals.
Similar to Walgreens and Balance Rewards, CVS runs ExtraCare promotions like “Spend $15.00, Receive $5.00 in ExtraBucks.”
ExtraBucks are like CVS store cash you can use to buy whatever you want.
Also, when you use your ExtraCare card, you’ll start getting personalized coupons that you can print at the store coupon kiosk.
Expect to save up to 2% with ExtraCare.
Is there a best time to shop at Kroger?
If you’re couponing at Kroger, you can’t miss the Mega Sales.
Mega Sales happen frequently — there’s usually one a week — and when you buy a certain number of products included in the sale, you’ll get additional dollars off.
Here are some examples:
- Buy 5 participating items, save $5.00
- Buy 6 participating items, save $3.00
- Buy 10 participating items, save $5.00
Learn more tips and tricks for totally rocking the Kroger Mega Sales.
How do I build a stockpile of diapers or laundry detergent at Target?
When you download the Target app, you’ll get access to mobile offers when you tap “wallet” and then “coupons.”
These are usually gift card promotions that cover a whole category like “Baby,” “Beauty,” “Travel” and more.
For example, right now there’s a mobile coupon offer for a free $5.00 Target gift card with a $20.00 or more Beauty purchase.
Taking advantage of these gift card promotions and stacking them with manufacturer coupons is a great way to build a stockpile.
How do I learn more about building a couponing stockpile?
What tips should I know before I coupon at Target?
- Download the Target app to see Cartwheel offers.
- Combine percent-off Cartwheel offers with manufacturer coupons.
- Use manufacturer coupons at Target even if they say “Redeem at Walmart.” Manufacturers hope you’ll redeem it where it states, but legally you don’t have to.
- Sign up for REDcard (check card) to save an extra 5% on every purchase.
- Expect to get paid overage. If you have a coupon for $1.00 off a $0.97 item, the coupon will only register as $0.97 off.
- Overdo your first couponing trip. Keep it simple!
- Try to combine a dollar-off Cartwheel offer with a manufacturer coupon — they’re the same thing.
Get all the details you need in order to learn how to coupon at Target.
What about Walmart couponing tips?
- Get overage if your coupon amount exceeds the price of your item.
- Expect the register to beep if you have overage. You’re not in trouble — it’s just to alert the cashier.
- Show the manager Walmart’s coupon policy if they are hesitant to take your coupon. Find the policy inside the KCL app.
- Bother price matching. Savings Catcher is dead and outside of matching Walmart.com, Walmart doesn’t price match anymore.
- Coupon the first three days of the month. Walmart has the most shoppers on the SNAP program, and checks are issued the first of the month.
Find out more about how to coupon at Walmart.