As parents, we have some common goals: to raise happy and healthy kids, to get more time with our family, to spend less on groceries and unexpected life events, and save money. Right?
Recently, I wrote about my tips for saving money on groceries through meal planning and couponing. I discussed the value of planning meals in advance, batch cooking and freezing, and repurposing leftover, in addition to shopping based on a weekly or monthly meal plan. But since most coupons have moved online, there are many apps that can save you money too. However, I also have a picky eater, so you’ve got to figure out how to work with a picky eater before making your meal plan.
Digital couponing might seem complex and intimidating, but it can make a big impact on your budget. I’m here to teach you all about digital couponing for beginners.
To be fair, I am an intermediate/expert-level couponer, and I can save money on groceries in many different ways. I use specific store apps, brand apps, and different rebate apps. You can try as many or as few of these specific coupon apps as you want. Digital couponing for beginners can be as simple or as complex as you want.
To get started, let me introduce you to my most commonly used digital couponing apps. For my local stores, I use the following:
Some of my favorite chain apps are:
My favorite rebate apps are:
Rebate apps are a key part of digital couponing for beginners.
They work by literally sending you a check in the mail or sending it to your Paypal account or another account where you make purchases, like Amazon. Of these rebate apps listed, I prefer using Fetch because it doesn’t matter what I buy at a store, as long as I scan my receipt, I get points. Plus, when linking it to your Amazon and email, it can search your accounts to give you more points with the click of a button. It’s very user-friendly and I always cash out with places I shop from when receiving gift cards.
However, with Rakuten, I am able to check out and link my purchase using an add-on in my browser. Rakuten sends me a check in the mail quarterly from my online purchases that are linked to my account. The hardest part of Rakuten is remembering to click the add-on button in the browser to link your purchase.
Using rebate apps allows me to be able to use all my receipts from online or in-person shopping to be able to get money back for purchases that I make for my family.
At certain stores like Hannaford, Walmart, etc, I can also use:
Another way I save money when shopping at Amazon is by using Amazon Subscribe and Save on items that I regularly purchase. This isn’t exactly digital couponing for beginners, but it’s a great way to save some money.
The more items you sign up with Subscribe and Save, the bigger your discount can be. Plus, Amazon has digital coupons as well! Other sites I use for online shopping are Groupon, Living Social, and Rakuten. All offer easy ways to save money or get cash back.
Even if you are only saving a couple of bucks here and there from digital couponing, it can really add up. But please don’t make yourself crazy by trying to use every app at once as this can be overwhelming. Don’t do that to yourself.
When you are just looking into starting digital couponing for beginners, I recommend starting with Fetch as this just involves scanning your receipts to earn gift cards from places like Amazon, Apple, Dominos, and others. Fetch is my favorite digital couponing app because you can earn rewards JUST by scanning your receipts. However, if I’m looking for a fun activity to do as a family on the cheap, Groupon is my go-to app.
When using coupons for anything, please always follow my cardinal rule. We NEVER break the cardinal rule.
We never misuse coupons. We follow individual coupon rules and store coupon rules. Coupon fraud is illegal and can result in serious consequences.
In general, the rules for digital couponing are not difficult to follow:
- Don’t alter coupons in any way
- Don’t photocopy coupons
- Don’t knowingly use expired coupons unless the store allows it
- Follow the directions on the coupon
The biggest tip for digital couponing for beginners is DO NOT buy an item just because it’s on sale. Ask yourself, do you use this item? Would you buy it if you didn’t have a coupon? Is it really going to save you money? When are you going to use the item?
Every family has different needs and one app or combo of apps doesn’t work for every family. What works for my family will be different than what works for yours. Digital couponing for beginners is a great way for your family to save a little and doesn’t need to be complex or time-consuming.
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