If you’re new to the term couponing, don’t feel embarrassed. Many people haven’t heard of it (or perhaps haven’t realised it has a name), but it’s saving its devotees across the UK hundreds of pounds on their food bills every year.
What is couponing?
In a nutshell, it’s the printing and collecting of coupons that nab you some money off your shop at the till. You know those ‘spend £5 when you spend £40 vouchers?’ or the ‘£1 off Lurpack vouchers’ that come through the post or in magazines and newspapers? It’s about collecting those and using them strategically to save yourself money.
And we’re not talking about little bits of money, either.
Some extreme couponers have bought entire trolleys of shopping for a couple of pence, others consistently knock 50% off their bill. A Money Saving Expert couponing devotee once got £600 of shopping for 4p. That’s not chump change – that’s a serious saving. It does take dedication and a bit of time but it is not that hard to do.
Here are our top five couponing tips to save money
#1: Organise, organise, organise
It’s no good to have a load of coupons just sitting there. The way to make savings is to sort through them, work out which ones you can use at which stores and whether you can use them in conjunction with other offers. Then, organise them how you like and have them ready at the till to save time and money.
Top tip: Don’t be embarrassed by couponing. It’s legal and completely fine to do. People might tut at the tills that you’re taking a while to scan your handful of print-outs and clippings, but they’ll be paying full price while you leave with a trolley full of food at a bargain price.
#2: Be vigilant
Check online sites, buy newspapers that are going to have coupons in and – best of all – make sure you always grab a handful of the supermarket magazines they give out for free. Almost without fail, these magazines have promotional coupons and money off vouchers in them. Stock up on them and use them every time you pop to the shop.
That’s like a minute of effort for a shed-load of savings.
#3: Be supermarket agnostic
As supermarkets compete for customers, they’re going to have lots of offers on to entice people to leave their local supermarket. Don’t get caught up in loyalty to any store.
If you’ve got a few coupons for Tesco and they’ve got an offer on that you can capitalise on, guess what? You’re shopping in Tesco this week. This way, you’re always ready to pounce on the opportunity to save.
#4: Go Wombling
I know what you’re thinking: what on earth is wombling?
Good question. You’re about to learn your first piece of couponing slang. Wombling means picking up coupons or vouchers from on the floor in supermarkets and supermarket car parks.
Although that might sound a little bit over the top, think of it this way:
If the carpark was covered in £5 and £10 notes, would you drive away? Or would you pick up as many as you could? Coupons are no different, in many ways.
Supermarkets often offer a price match or money off your next shop at the bottom of the receipt. When people throw these on the floor, they’re throwing away money. Just pick them up and use them on your next shop and you could save mega-bucks.
#5: Write letters or emails to brands you love
If you love a brand – Cadbury’s or Lindt for instance (can you tell we fancy some chocolate?) – then, most of the time, a nice email saying how much you love their product will result in money off vouchers.
Equally, if a brand lets you down or you’re not satisfied by their product, an email letting them know will usually bring in vouchers as well. Just remember, only complain when something is genuinely wrong!
Have you caught the couponing bug? What’s the most you’ve ever saved? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.