Do you like eating food?
Do you like saving money?
Do you like using your smartphone?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, stay tuned for more information (AKA the answers to all your wildest dreams).
I’ve read many coupon guides, many of which claim to be easy and beginner-friendly, but I’ve had little luck following their instructions. I’d spend hours clipping coupons and researching, only give up after a few minutes because, lets face it . . . ain’t nobody got time for that!
This went on for a couple years, until I recently discovered that I actually do have time for saving money. All I needed was a little help from two free apps that I downloaded on my smartphone: Ibotta and Coupons.com.
First of all, I must explain why I specifically use these two apps in combination. The Ibotta app is a rebate app, meaning you get reimbursed for your purchases through the app (through PayPal or gift card). The Coupons.com app allows you to digitally “clip” coupons and then print them using your own printer. Both of these apps are free, and you can use them in combination (unlike pretty much every other money-saving app).
Here is an easy step-by-step guide to saving money at your local grocery store:
Step 1: SIGN UP. Download the Ibotta and Coupons.com apps. Use my referral link (code: abrwhpq) for an automatic $10 bonus. There are many rebate apps out there, but Ibotta is the only one worth your time . . . trust me, I know. Once you create your accounts within these apps, you’re ready to start saving!
Step 2: SAVE and CLIP. Throughout the week (before you go shopping), go through both of your apps periodically. Save the rebates and coupons that interest you. This might seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. To put it simply, you just have to replace 5 or 10 minutes of your social media time with scrolling through your grocery apps (think: on the toilet, during your lunch break, on the subway, etc.). Easy!
Step 3: NARROW. The day or night before your designated weekly grocery shopping trip, go through the rebates/coupons on both of your apps. While going through each item, ask yourself these two questions: (1) Is it something that I would buy anyway? (2) Is there a coupon/rebate for this item on BOTH of my apps? (3) Do I save over 50% off this item? If you answered “no” to all three of these questions, delete the rebate/coupon. I’ve detailed each of these circumstances below. For every other rebate/coupon, continue with step #4.
Step 4: PREPARE and PRINT. Print out your final Coupons.com coupons; depending on your printer, you may be able to print them from your phone, otherwise you’ll have to email the clipped coupons to yourself. Remember to print in black & white! After reading the fine prints on your coupons and rebates, make a shopping list. I recommend doing this on a good, old-fashioned piece of paper, but it doesn’t really matter. Be absolutely sure to specify brands, quantities, and varieties on your list. Since there’s no way around the necessities, you should also list the items you require that you don’t have rebates or coupons for.
Step 5: SHOP. Using your grocery list, go shopping! I recommend going to a bigger grocery store like Walmart, since they usually have the most rebate-friendly items and better prices. Give your coupons to the cashier upon checkout, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Step 6: REDEEM. Since the coupon discounts were taken off your total at the time of checkout, you won’t need to worry about those. To redeem your rebates, you’ll simply have to follow the convenient prompts within the Ibotta app. Be sure to have your item barcodes on hand, as well as your receipt. Once your rebates process, you’ll be able to withdraw the money in whatever method you choose (in amounts of $25+), and there are even bonuses associated with redeeming many rebates.
This may seem like a lot of hard work, but it really only takes about 30 extra minutes per week, and money saving it is a very rewarding habit, no matter your income. Today, I completed another shopping trip (pictured below), which I’ll outline for you below as an example grocery shopping process.
Regular Price for Above Items: $107.98
Coupon Discount: -$19.80
Ibotta Discount: -$15.75
Total Saved: $35.55 = 33% of total value
Total Price: $72.43
Here are a few examples of how my money was spend/saved on individual items:
- AXE Body Spray (Double Savings)
- Before: $4.33
- -$1.50 (Ibotta)
- -$2.00 (Coupons.com)
- After: $0.83
- Small Yellow Onion (Over 50% Off)
- Before: $0.24
- -$0.25 (Ibotta)
- After: -$0.01
- Ritz Crackers (Needed Item)
- Before: $2.56
- -$0.50 (Ibotta)
- After: $2.06
When you do the math, 1 minute spend couponing = approximately $1.00 saved, which is TOTALLY worth it.
With this specific grocery trip, I saved enough money to take my family bowling or to see $5 movie at our local Cinema (and even get snacks)! Or . . . I could save it . . .
If I saved this much every week, I would have over $1,800 extra at the end of the year.
In 5 years, I would have $9,000, which would be enough to take my family to Disney World.
Saving money at the grocery store isn’t excessively time-consuming, unattainable, or crazy. It’s practical, and the benefits of doing so are amazing.
In light of the 2017 New Year, I want to challenge you to make this a year of financial literacy, starting with how you spend money on your groceries. What could you do with $9,000 extra dollars in 5 years? Save big; dream big.