Couponing A Better Way to Save in 2014

Couponing For RealMaybe you know, were raised by, or are a coupon lady. We all know the type. In years past, hardcore couponers curated hefty binders to house their precious double and triple savings paper coupons. Couponing was a calling, a preoccupation, a lifestyle. For these committed shoppers, the payoffs could often be unpredictable. Coupon clippers would frequently stagger home under the weight of 256 rolls of double-soft toilet paper. “I got it for buy 1 get 2 free!” they would rhapsodize as justification. I remember those days fondly. But I am happy to say that today, there is a better way.

These days you don’t need a printer or the old plastic binder that was de rigeur for coupon kings and queens of yore. Today, you can get by with just your smart phone. Modern apps do a lot of the work for you, presenting a simple image to be scanned by many retailers. Sage-One online accounting products can help you find out just how much you’re saving, but for now I’ll describe how various coupon apps saved my wife and I on our weekly grocery bill.

As budget shoppers, we try to eat well on $100 a week or less. We both downloaded several coupon apps to see the difference they could make. Yowza worked well and was easy to use. Within seconds of firing up this app, we found coupons from several grocers in our area (as well as lots of other kinds of stores as well). We saved the coupons that were relevant to the stuff we eat (peanut butter from Whole Foods, Vegetable Oil from Safeway, Tomatoes from Giant, etc). We weren’t about to drive to every grocery store in our area, but there were enough coupons related to stuff we regularly eat at our nearest grocer, so we headed there to shop.

On the drive, I was scanning the local paper for printed coupons. Using SnipSnap I was able to take pictures of these coupons on my phone. Once at the store, I didn’t have to drag along the paper coupons, or one of the aforementioned plastic binders. I was worried at first that the cashier wouldn’t be able to scan the coupons off my phone, but she had seen this before, and the discounts went smoothly.

The last app we tried was Grocery Smarts. It worked very much like Yowza, but for some reason brought in a pile of different coupons. We were able to pick up some popcorn and kombucha at steeply cut prices, all in the time it takes to fill a grocery cart.

Finally at checkout, we saved $19.84. Our total price would have been $118.16, but through app-couponing, we were able to keep it under our goal of $100. I wasn’t sure we would have been able to do it, but we were keeping track of our total mentally, as we shopped. We nailed it. Saving fifteen or twenty dollars once a week for a year is going to add up quickly. I was amazed at how little time it took to save this much. Couponing is never going to be the same, and neither will my grocery bill.