Today’s post is all about how couponing 15 minutes a week can get you things for free. Many of us have seen Extreme Couponing, which can be overwhelming for a college student or any adult with a full-time job. In this post you will find efficient ways to use online and printed coupons for maximum savings. But first, there will be two scenarios that illustrate the power of couponing.
Rebates are a secret treasure not many people take advantage of. Some companies have a try-it-free or $10 off rebate. Some of them will allow you to use coupons. So now, you take the coupons we will discuss later and match them up to the rebate items.
In the rebate above, you had to purchase two products from the left side and one product from the right side in order to get a $20 VISA gift card. All three of the items have to be purchased in one transaction between 4/21/14 and 5/24/14. The average person probably wouldn’t do this, because they would spend over $20, but if you have coupons you can actually make money.
When I did this, I ended up spending $13 plus the price of one stamp. So for me, I made about $7. I could buy a meal with this, while also having free allergy medication and facial tissue. Everyone needs facial tissue at some point.
The way to max out the money making potential, is to purchase these items when majority of them are on sale at a drugstore. Usually the drugstores will give you Extrabucks (ECBs) or whatever their points are. I personally shopped at CVS so I received a couple of dollars in ECBs back at the end of the purchase. Once I identified the items are on sale, I used the coupons I found that matched those products. This is how I spent less than $20. The only disadvantage, is the wait can take up to 8 weeks. If you do enough rebates, then you will consistently receive money in the mail.
Overall, I received three products for free, while making about $7.
There are a few items you should get for free or greatly discounted. These are deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste. Items like meat and produce can be inexpensive when using coupons while they are on sale.
Drugstores, literally tell you when an item will be free after coupons. Stores like CVS give ECB that work like money. So when I go shopping I purchase items that will give me ECBs then do a separate transaction using the ECBs on the items that will not produce ECBs. For example, the ad excerpt below shows you what to do.
In the Ad above, you can enter CVS with the intention of getting toothpaste. Use the coupon from the newspaper/ online and you will receive ECB. Before taxes you will be paying $2.49, but you will receive $1.99 that can be used on another purchase. As long as the number of ECB papers equal the number of items you purchase, you will be fine.
In the ad above, you see several things highlighted as free. I would enter CVS to buy toothpaste, gum, soda and toilet tissue. Before going to the store, I would look at the advertisement to know which items are on sale and what coupons I need to obtain. I would enter the store and go to their item scanning/ coupon machine to receive my instant coupons. One of the coupons will be $2.00 off of Colgate toothpaste. So my first transaction would be to purchase toothpaste, soda and gum. I would give my manufacturer’s coupon and instant coupons. Before coupons and tax, it would be $6.00. After coupons it would be $3, because I received the toothpaste for free. Now I would receive $3.00 in ECB making that transaction of items equivalent to free. These $3 of ECBs will be used on the transaction with toilet tissue. Before taxes, it would be $3.77. I would give them my $3.00 worth of ECBs to make my out of pocket cost equal 77 cents before taxes. In the end I would leave the store with $1.00. Total out of pocket costs was $3.77 before taxes for 9 rolls of toilet tissue, a pack of gum, 2 2-liters of soda and a pack of toothpaste.
If you do not want to make more than one transaction, you can save the ECBs for next week and use them on other items. These ECBs last for 2 weeks, so don’t forget to use them. If these experiences have motivated you to coupon, you can find the step-by-step guide of couponing in only 15 minutes a week below
How To Coupon 15 minutes a Week:
- Go on your computer and pull up your top grocery and drugstores. Also pull up the websites: coupons.com, repdplum.com and smartsource.com
- Scroll to the different categories of coupons you are interested in. Click the coupons on the grocery and drug store sites. Once clicked, they will automatically link to your store’s loyalty card.
- For the coupon sites, once you click them, you will print them for future transactions.
- If you want to take it one step further, you can go to the stores’ weekly ads to create a shopping list.
- Match the sale items with the coupons and that’s it. This step will take about 15 minutes maximum. With that extra step, you are spending only 30 minutes total to save much money.
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