10 Tips for Stress-free Couponing in College

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Every college student loves a good deal at the grocery store. But who has time to actually clip coupons? Luckily, times have changed. A lot. You don’t have to spend hours clipping coupons to save money at the grocery store. There are countless other ways to coupon and make your grocery shopping experience dirt-cheap and easy as pie.

As I mentioned in my tips for grocery shopping post, if you do have time to clip coupons, go ahead and browse through your favorite grocery store’s weekly ads. Fortunately, clipping coupons isn’t even necessary anymore at some stores! Costco, for example, now has “streamlined savings,” which means you just show the cashier your coupon book, OR download Costco’s smartphone app and show the coupons in the app to redeem them.

I’ve compiled my 10 practical tips for stress-free couponing in college. If you have any more to add, feel free to comment in the section below!

1. Right as you walk into a store, grab the in-store weekly advertisement.

Most stores will have them right at the front. For example, the local CVS I go to has its weekly advertisement on a shelf near the entrance or check-out. Peruse through all those coupons and enjoy the savings. This is a no-brainer. How many times have I purchased shampoo or something and not realized that there was a $3 off coupon only 2 feet from me when I was checking out? Too many times to count.

2. Go to a grocery store’s website and check for coupons.

Go to your favorite grocery store’s website and check their coupon or clearance section. Even Whole Foods has coupons. Say, what? Yes, believe it or not, even Whole Foods has coupons. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons I’d post links to multiple grocery stores here, but there are a bajillion stores out there. Google your favorite one.

3. Check the packaging of your favorite products for special coupons.

Sometimes that box of cereal you just bought has a special coupon just for you. Grab those scissors and snip away to collect your savings.

4. Be flexible and be willing to shop around for the best deal.

This is a hard one for anybody, but let’s say you have some time to kill. Lucky you. Hit up several grocery stores and shop around for the best deals. If you have a manufacturer’s coupon for your favorite cereal, you can essentially redeem it at any store in your area. Find the store that sells this cereal for the cheapest price and redeem the coupon there. Basically, when you have that golden coupon, price-check several stores (especially if they aren’t too far from each other) if you want to save the most money and only if time permits.

5. Follow your favorite brands and stores on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

Brands love to spoil devout customers. Make sure you “Like” or “Follow” your favorite brands to stay up to date about specials and savings.

6. Download smartphone applications to help with grocery shopping.

Sometimes your favorite grocery store will have its own grocery shopping application. Make sure you download it since there will be accessible coupons within the apps. There are also amazing smartphone applications such as Ibotta which will actually give you cash rewards when you buy featured products or shop in certain stores. Explore the iTunes Store or Google Play to find the perfect smartphone app for your needs.

7. Search Freestufffinder.com, Coupons.com, Retailmenot.com, etc.

Freestufffinder.com is an excellent source for value coupons, free samples, and free products. Go there for some great deals. Coupons.com is also excellent for finding coupons on all sorts of products. As an avid online shopper, I tend to use Retailmenot.com for promo codes to get free shipping when I’m buying clothes online. Most codes on Retailmenot are just for online shopping.

8. Check the bottom of your receipts.

Why are receipts so ridiculously long these days? Even when I purchase just one pack of gum, I still receive a receipt that is about two feet long. Take the time to look at your receipt. There are most likely some coupons on there. And at some stores, you might even get 10-20% off if you complete a quick survey online!

9. Look through magazines and newspapers.

You read paper newspapers and magazines, don’t you? Let’s pretend we’re still in the early 90’s when everybody still held actual paper products and read them. There are still plenty of coupons to be found in this month’s issue of Good Housekeeping!

10. Check store shelves for coupons.

Sometimes you’ll find coupons next to your favorite item on store shelves! Use them at checkout for extra savings.

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