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From gas to groceries, who wants to pay full price? No one.
The trick to finding steals and deals is to have a mild addiction to saving money. Mild addiction is not the kind that involves an intervention, but the kind that includes gushing about money saved more than the item itself.
As a minimalist who prefers savings over stuff, I don’t buy often, and when I do, it’s quality and with a coupon.
Coupons are favorite and magical because they take the listed price and transform it into anything better than full price.
Coupons are my favorite.
It’s a wide and varied world when it comes to coupons.
Coupons can be physical or digital and they can be a code or on an app. However, the savings are captured, the coupon wins.
In almost every category coupons can be found for:
Secondhand stores, and
A sandwich-sized list of all the places I spend money. Despite needing to spend money to buy things life demands, I don’t need to pay full price.
Instead, I take the time and effort to look for coupons. Usually, the effort is smaller than a house cat and the time is about as limited as their attention span.
Finding coupons is more like a hobby than a job. A hobby is casual and infrequent. At least when compared to the intensity of a job.
The venue determines the search.
For gas and groceries, I look at the vendor’s loyalty app. At Holiday gas, when I use the app and my PayPal account, I get .15 off per gallon while at Albertsons, I use their app to clip coupons.
For online shopping, many sites happily spew coupon codes. Some search browsers like Bing will offer coupon codes at checkout. Plugins like Rakuten and Honey also provide codes or discounts for online sites.
With brick-and-mortar stores, some places will price match an online item if you show their customer service.
Not a coupon per se, but saving money all the way!
Stacking isn’t just for Jenga.
The nerdy birds at Nerdwallet, discuss the importance of stacking coupons too. Stacking is when different kinds of coupons are used to maximize savings. Typically, that looks like a store and manufacture coupon used in the same transaction.
My Sunday grocery shopping trip maximizes stacking. I shop once a week which slices off unintended purchases and impulse shopping.
As I browse for items on my list, I scan for store savings (a discount advertised on the shelf with the item), a just-for-U savings (a coupon sent to my app because of how often I buy it), and a military discount for 10% off my entire bill.
I’ve saved $554.17 this year from doing these gentle gyrations of couponing with my groceries.
Win + win = winning!
Despite the savings, there is a caution for coupons.
If an item was already going to be purchased because it was on the list, then a coupon is worth its flimsy weight.
However, like any tool there is a dose of caution with coupons. Sometimes coupons are used as a marketing tactic to buy more and needlessly.
For example, a coupon might state buy one, get one for pickled eggs. Now, just because it’s a deal, doesn’t mean I should buy it.
Pickled eggs would have to be free 99 before I’d buy that witch’s brew.
One that I’m susceptible to is Oreos. I rarely go down the Oreo aisle, I do walk by endcaps (the display at the end of an aisle). If I see a buy one, get one deal (BOGO) for Oreos it’s a tasty temptation and a deal. And that’s the short story of how I get suckered into buying not one but 2!
Sometimes, coupons are crafted to move products because they’re about to expire or new stock is coming. Other times, coupons are luring humans into buying more than they should because everyone loves a sale.
Coupons are my favorite because using coupons forces intentional spending.
Outside of things that require frequent spending, food and fuel, everything else can wait.
And wait it does for a coupon, discount, or sale.
That’s the beauty of coupons along with saving money, it inherently makes the saver more aware.
More aware of different deals to be found, fluctuating prices, and willing to sacrifice a bit of time for a bit of savings.
A coupon for $10 off isn’t going to change a financial fate, but that same person is going to keep searching every day, week, and year for savings.
Small savings that build lifelong habits – one coupon at a time.