Even before the Covid pandemic, many people have already discovered an easy way to save money on groceries and other necessities– through couponing.
- 126.8 million U.S. adults had redeemed online coupons in 2016.
- In 2018, just over half of Americans aged 18 to 39 years considered discounts and coupons for digital purchases very important.
- In 2019, about 19 percent of survey respondents stated that they always used coupons, increasing from 15 percent in 2017.
What Is Couponing?
Couponing is a systematic practice of collecting coupons from different sources such as newspapers, magazines, product packaging, product flyers, and now, from the internet via social media, manufacturer’s websites, online ads, and coupon apps. Shoppers collect them to save money.
Coupons are manufacturers’ marketing gimmicks, providing consumers with a discount or rebate on their various products. Traditionally, you cut coupons out of newspapers and magazines and use them at local stores accepting coupons. Now, everything is digital and can be printed from the internet.
For many consumers, couponing became not just a way to save money but a way of life. In the TLC show’s Extreme Couponing, America’s most extreme “super couponers” shared why they became so driven by the deals and their strategies to make incredible savings from couponing.
Different types of coupons
- Manufacturer’s Coupons
The product’s manufacturer offers manufacturer’s coupons to give discounts on their products. These are found in your local newspaper, Sunday inserts, product packaging, or magazines, and you can use them at any store accepting coupons. Check the store’s policy on how to redeem and apply the Manufacturer’s coupons on your purchase.
- Printable Manufacturer’s Coupons
Manufacturer’s coupons have become online printable coupons available on their company websites, Facebook pages, or printable sources like Coupons.com. Mostly, printing is limited to only two copies of each coupon per IP address or computer and having multiple computers at home allows you to print more. Caution! There are fake coupon sites that produce so-called “manufactured” manufacturer coupons.
- Store Coupons
Groceries or retail stores such as Target, Walgreens, and Rite Aid issue store coupons to give you a sale price. Technically, they are store sales in a coupon and can only be used at the issuing store. These coupons are in the store ads, newspapers, and magazines and online through the company website and coupons sites as downloadable and printable coupons or loaded into your store loyalty card.
- Coupon Code
A coupon code or promo code consists of computer-generated letters or numbers to identify an offer associated with a coupon. Consumers enter the code on a site’s shopping cart, often during checkout, to obtain a discount on the item being purchased. The discounts can go from dollar-off savings to free shipping and beyond. These coupons are on the store’s websites, coupon sites, or weekly emails sent out by the store.
Cashback is a promotional mechanism that mutually benefits the shoppers and the merchants. For shoppers, it means earning money, and for the merchants, it means repeat business. With cashback, you get an incentive AFTER you have completed your purchase—in the form of a rebate or reward.For in-store purchases, you get back a percentage of your total bill, before tax and after any coupons, from the store. For example, If the store offers you a 15% cashback for $100 worth of purchase, you get $15 cashback in the form of a voucher or added to your loyalty rewards card.Coupon or cashback sites offer cashback incentives to shoppers who sign up for their site. Every website has its own cashback rules, so read all information closely before signing up and creating an account. Cashbacks are credited to your account and your selected option to receive it. Cashback must be claimed within a specified time after an order is placed.
How Does Couponing Work?
Coupons versus Cashback
Coupons and cashback both save you money when making a purchase but offer incentives in their distinctive ways. Coupons provide you with a discount, special offer, or deals that can be applied at checkout; Cashback offers the incentives after you’ve made the purchase.
Coupons Match Up
Matching up your coupons with other coupons or sales maximizes your savings. To get you started:
- Sort out and organize your coupons according to category and value.
- Check the store ads and circle deals that are of great value to you.
- Make a list of the best deals and match them with your coupons before heading to the store.
Sample Ways to Match Up
- Combine a manufacturer coupon and store coupon. For example, you have a $1.25 coupon for Canyon Bakehouse English Muffins, and your local grocery also has its own $1 coupon for the same product. Combine and double your savings.
- Use a coupon on an item for clearance sale. For example, you have a $1.25 coupon for Canyon Bakehouse English Muffins, and this same product is on sale at the store for only $1.25. Apply your $1.25 coupon to the reduced $1.25 muffins – you get it for free!
- Use coupons on top of a store deal. For example, Walgreens offers a $10 Walgreens Cash Reward when you buy $30 worth of products from participating brands, and you have $1 off coupons from Dove, a participating brand. To meet the $30 requirement, you buy three bottles of Dove Moisture Body Wash worth $8 each and a bottle of Dove Shampoo Dryness and Itch Relief worth $6 each and apply the $1 coupons to each item, so you get $5 off your purchase and the $10 Walgreens Cash Reward.
Best Coupon Sites for 2021
Ibotta is an app giving you coupons and real cashback every time you shop online or in-store for essentials, groceries, and more. You also earn cashback by performing easy tasks such as purchasing a product, providing proof of purchase, watching a short video, or providing a product review. Ibotta allows you to combine their offers with other saving strategies such as redeeming coupons, rewards programs, coupon stacking and matching, and other money-saving apps.
Coupons.com is a great resource for coupons, promo codes, and cashback deals for physical and online retailers. Printable coupons or promo codes can be instantly saved when making a purchase. Use digital coupons or upload receipts to earn cashback through your store’s loyalty accounts, or link your credit card to the site to earn cashback on purchases. Cashback earned is sent to your PayPal account.
SmartSource.com, formerly known for its paper version coupons from the Sunday newspapers, has undergone a digital transformation to introduce digital coupons and provide couponers a better and more convenient shopping experience. With its website featuring all your favorite brands, you can print copies of coupons for use at a physical store or download the app to bring the coupon there virtually.
- RedPlum.comRedPlum is among the best sources for grocery coupons and has recently scored many visitors. The site collects several coupons offered by different coupons sites and makes them available to shoppers worldwide. The selection of coupons is not so extensive but offers high savings. There are two kinds of coupons you will see on their website–Printable and Downloadable. You can load the downloadable coupons onto your grocery loyalty card if you’ve registered them to the site.
RetailMeNot has a high consumer rating indicating that most customers are generally satisfied with their purchases. It provides you with online coupon codes, cashback opportunities, and discounted gift cards. The site updates its home page daily with deal information showing the trends for the day and the best deals on essentials like clothing, shoes, home improvement projects, and more from thousands of stores like Target, Sephora, Macy’s, Best Buy, American Eagle and Michael’s.
- Brad’s DealsBrad’s Deal has been in business since 2001, helping online shoppers find the best deals, discounts, and lowest prices on goods at over 3,800 stores. It also shares the best credit card offers and current freebie deals. They don’t sell anything on their website, but they provide the latest information on deals at particular retailers, offering advice on the best time to buy certain items. When you click on deals, you are directed to specific stores like Macy’s, Walmart, Home Depot, and thousands others. You purchase directly with the retailers. Since you don’t buy anything from Brad’s Deals, they don’t access your order information or sensitive financial info like credit card numbers.
- TadaTada, formerly Shop At Home, is a free cashback shopping and rewards app that lets you enjoy coupon deals and cashback offers when you register to the site and shop online and in-store. It allows Shopify merchants to engage with you and offer coupon codes and discounts through fun pop-up games, elegant modal pop-ups, and exit intent pop-ups. Shopify merchants also offer coupon discounts in exchange for shoppers’ email addresses to collect more emails and increase their sales. In return, the merchant pays Tada for referring you, and Tada passes you a portion of it as savings. You get your cashback in the form of an Amazon gift card, a check, or via a Paypal accoun0t.
- Amazon CouponsRegular Amazon shoppers will find this website delightful to get those money-saving coupons, mostly manufacturer’s coupons, and can only be used on Amazon. You can apply the coupons directly to your next purchase before adding the item to the cart, and some coupons are for Prime members only.
Savings.com is a popular coupon website offering a wide variety of money-saving opportunities on flights, groceries, and a lot more. It has both local and national level deals, and you can access a wide range of promo codes, coupons, and other great discounts for numerous brands, products, and retailers– all in one site. There is also a great selection of printable grocery coupons, which are frequently updated.
- CouponCauseA portion of CouponCause’s earnings goes to non-profit organizations, and if you use this site for couponing, you are helping, too. They donate to organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, Feeding America, and the City of Hope. You can find coupons and promo codes from top retailers such as Booking.com, Amazon, Target, JCPenney, and more.
- Hip2SaveHip2Save, one of the best couponing sites, has tons of daily deals, promo codes, and printable coupons. It has a section on where to find freebies, useful tips about managing personal finances, and honest products reviews and shopping tips.
- Don’tPayFullThis site has over 10 million offers from more than 120,000 stores. To find deals on its site, you can browse by category, by brand, or by typing in the offer you’re looking for. Simply click on the “get deal” button to claim the offer, and you will be redirected to the retailer’s website. When you’re ready to check out, the deal will be automatically applied to your cart. If you want coupons and deals delivered straight to your inbox, create a free Don’tPayFull account.
- Deal NewsDeal News reviews deals daily to help you find the best deals on items you want to purchase. The site limits its offerings to the “best 300 deals we can find” on clothing, travel, electronics and more, to make it simpler for customers to get real money-saving deals. Like CouponCause, they support many charitable organizations such as the Red Cross and the ALS Association. So, while you are saving money on your purchases, you are also helping them give to those in need.
- SlickdealsSlickDeals offers a different take on couponing. If you are a registered member, it encourages you to add your own finds and share them with other site members. Consequently, the best deals you share through the site allow others to benefit from it, too. Its home page displays the most recent deals, and there are also forums to discuss the details of the deals with others in a similar situation.
- PrintableCouponsnandDeals.comPrintableCouponsandDeals.com offers printable coupons in several categories: baby items, baked goods, cleaning items, frozen foods, and others. They also have a section for equine coupons and medications, and gluten-free items. All you need to do is click on your coupon and hit the print button.
- Southern SaversSouthern Savers is a coupon site not only for Southerners but for everyone. This blogsite has over 1.5 million members benefiting from the site’s capability to find valuable coupons for grocery stores, clothing stores, big box stores, and more.
Entertainment, Restaurants, and Travel
Groupon is another good coupon site to find attractive deals for entertainment and restaurants in your area, including travel deals. The site also offers thousands of coupons good for products and services like car repairs and spas. You get to accomplish your to-do list on a budget and treat yourself in the process.
- Entertainment Coupon BookThe Entertainment Coupon Book company started in 1962 as a coupon book company that helped raise money for schools. It still sells Entertainment coupon books for fundraising purposes but has also created a coupon website that offers digital membership for just $2.99 a month or $19.99 annually. Members can enjoy the 2-for-deals and 50% off coupons from dozens of stores and restaurants. The site allows you to view all the coupon deals in your area even without the membership.
Offers cash backs
Rakuten, formerly Ebates, offers their service for free, and you get to earn coupons and cashback from more than 2,500 stores, including major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Your search is made easy by installing their handy Chrome browser extension that alerts you if the site you’re currently browsing has available cashback deals. The earnings can range from 1% to 12% cashback, and sometimes more during special sales. You can also earn cashback from shopping in-store at some of your favorite brands by linking up your credit card to your Rakuten account. Your cashback is paid via PayPal or a check, whichever works best for you.
- SwagbucksSwagbucks is a multipurpose site that lets you earn money by taking surveys and playing games. Signing up is free, with members getting access to valuable printable money-saving coupons to use in-store and cashback opportunities for shopping online. Printing out a coupon earns you a Swagbuck point, and you can redeem these points for gift cards at many retailers, yet another way to stretch your budget further.
- BeFrugalBeFrugal is a simple app offering lucrative cashback opportunities with the highest cashback rates (up to 40%) and exclusive coupons and deals at over 5,000 stores. It’s easy to navigate within the site. You can search coupons and codes by simply hitting a button, and there are no confusing points or rewards. Joining is free, and you get a $10 bonus. You can receive your earnings via PayPal, check, direct deposit, Venmo, Zelle, or gift cards.
- Free ShippingFree Shipping helps members save money before, during, and after their online purchases. It is a one-stop-shop that provides access to over 1,000 retailers, like Kohl’s, Lowe’s, ProFlowers, and gives you consistent 10% cashback plus free shipping and return shipping and instant coupons on all purchases. It lets you compare prices from various stores to get the best price. You get extra saving perks when you shop for gifts, specialty products, services, or items like apparel, jewelry, electronics, or toys at your favorite retailers. Membership costs $12.97 a month, but they offer a free trial period to let you decide if the membership cost is worth it.
- Capital One ShoppingCapitalOne Shopping, a browser extension, notifies you when there’s an eligible coupon for the item you are searching for, whether it’s on sale, and where to get the best price. You must sign up and install the Chrome browser extension provided to enjoy their services.When you shop for an item at a particular store, CapitalOne Shopping will show you if the item is cheaper somewhere else. If a deal is tagged as the “best price,” that means you’re getting a good deal from that store. You may add items to your watchlist and be notified when they go on sale.
Special coupon sites
The Honey app is a free app that offers a Gold membership to earn additional cashback on your purchases. Using the Honey browser extension, the site will scour the internet for you and find all available coupons for your searched items. Simply click on the deal you want to take advantage of, and your savings will automatically be applied.
- Price BlinkIt is a free plug-in for your Firefox, Chrome, or Safari browser. Once you install and use the browser, you can compare the current site’s prices with other sites that offer the same products. Plus, it shows you reviews from other customers on the products and the store, allowing you to decide on the best deal that works for you. To maximize your savings, it also helps you find coupons that can be applied to the products you’re shopping for.
Coupon Sites for Groceries and Food
Lozo is a website that has an exceptionally convenient way to finding grocery coupons for you. When you enter your grocery list, it automatically searches for matching coupons for every item on your list. This saves you time searching for coupons you need. If you don’t have a list, you can also browse the site’s collection of coupons on your own.
- CoolSavingsCoolSavings is a money-saving site that gives you great discounts on thousands of products from your favorite name brands and offers an abundance of grocery coupons, including printable and online coupons. It also offers a good selection of coupon codes to get you deals online, like free shipping. The new and easy-to-navigate website makes it one of the most convenient platforms for finding and printing coupons.
- Grocery SmartsGrocery Smarts is designed for shoppers who want to match up in-store deals with manufacturer’s coupons for maximum savings. This website gathers grocery store ads and matches them up with coupons to give you the best deal. You can search for coupons by group or by product type, but it’s not as easy to navigate as others on this list, and it can get confusing when it’s your first time.
- Grocery Coupon NetworkThis site gives you the latest deals and savings because coupons are updated every hour. It also does weekly coupon matchups for more than 35 regional and national grocery stores, like Walmart and Kroger. If you’re the kind who wants to keep up with the latest, check out the Grocery Coupon Network.
- PPGazettePPGazette is a grocery coupon search engine designed to find store and manufacturer’s coupons all over the internet. If you are looking for stackable offers, this is the site to be. You don’t need to search because the site has already compiled many coupons for you to choose from.
- RedPlumRedPlum.com is RedPlum Coupon Book’s online version. The value of their coupons is comparable to that of Coupons.com and SmartSource. Same as with other websites, there is a preset limit of how many times you can print a coupon, but theirs is more limited because the coupons are removed quite quickly from its site, prompting you to check on Sunday newspapers to get more.
- Mambo SproutsIf you are into organic foods, Mambo Sprouts is the site for you. This website offers a good selection of printable and electronic coupons to purchase organic food products. It also provides information such as recipes and tips and techniques about organic food.
- Coupons.comCoupons.com is among the biggest and most popular websites offering grocery coupons. It has a large number of coupons available on its site, with new coupons constantly coming in. It sets the trend for coupons and deals as it constantly adds new features and options to save money on purchases, including over 275 online printable coupons, digital coupons, and social, mobile, and loyalty card promotions.
- CouponMomThis website allows you to view coupons by state, giving you access to more local deals. It offers a wide variety of printable grocery coupons, including food, laundry needs, cleaning essentials, and even drugstore coupons. This variety is one of the site’s best aspects mentioned on the Today Show and CNN.
- ValpakValpak.com houses thousands of local and nationwide coupons, including restaurants, home improvement, health and beauty, personal services, and entertainment. The website offers printable grocery coupons from thousands of grocery stores and well-known brands that can be used throughout the U.S. and Canada. Shoppers can access menus or coupons and redeem via mobile device, tablet, or desktop computer to be printed. It’s easy to navigate; simply choose your desired coupon and hit ‘use coupon’ or ‘get code’ to print or use your desired offer.
- Savings.comSavings.com is a popular coupon site, offering a huge variety of coupons, promo codes, and other great discounts for a great number of brands, products, and retailers. You get the latest deals on this site because their selection of printable grocery coupons is frequently updated.
- I Heart PublixThis platform gives you a one-stop-shop experience to find tons of different sites and stores for grocery coupons and great deals. Like PPGazette, it gathers coupons from other sources like SmartSource and Redplum and puts them all in one place. I Heart Publix offers both printable grocery coupons and coupon codes.
- Free CouponsThis website offers various grocery coupons, from food items to cleaning essentials, printable coupons, and coupon codes for big brands and popular products. You can get access to VIP coupons when you sign up for their newsletter.
- P&G BrandSaverP&G BrandSaver is run by Procter & Gamble, which manufactures a wide range of personal and consumer health, personal care, and hygiene products. This site offers printable coupons for the company’s brands such as Ariel, Bounty, Always, Crest, and Pampers, which offer great savings.
Best Coupon Matchup Sites
How to Determine a Good Matchup Site
- Stacking deals. A good matchup site must be a great resource for finding the best store deals and coupons and the ability to combine them to create a listing of best deals and coupon matchups.
- Search multiple stores. Coupon matchup sites must be able to explore and compare deals across all the supermarkets in your area. Their list must be extensive to include all possible deals and matchups.
- Include local stores. Coupon matchup sites must include Ads and deals of stores in your area.
- Still in business. Check posts on social media to find out if the coupon matchup site is still open for business.
Why Should You Consider Couponing?
- Save money – It’s easy to save money when using coupons to shop, particularly when you know how to pair or match them.
- Money saved by couponing can compound. A $1 off or 5% discount you get from coupons may seem insignificant, but when couponing becomes a habit, discounts accumulate and often lead to saving for other things like a retirement fund.
- Bring brand-name products into the budget. With a tight budget, you generally avoid buying brand-name products. Using coupons allows you to avail yourself of brand-name products at a discounted or lower price.
- Stack gains. If you know how to combine coupons or pair them with ongoing sales at stores, you gain significant savings on your shopping budget.
- Help achieve your savings goals. Couponing allows you to save and spend on things you’d like to do or buy in the future.
- Easy to do! These days, you no longer have to cut out and collect paper coupons from newspapers and magazines. You can simply download an app or search for a coupon site to find various coupons and discounts.
What to do with all the savings?
- Emergency fund. You wouldn’t want to worry about money in an emergency, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses or sudden loss of income. You need to save for these emergencies to avoid going into debt.
- Save for the down payment of the house. You can’t get a housing loan from the bank unless you have a down payment. Banks will only lend you about 85% of the house’s selling price, so you must save up for the 15% down payment plus other related fees.
- Pay off debt. If you want to get out of debt, you need to save money. For example, credit cards will never get paid off if you keep using them for every “emergency” that comes along.
- Save for retirement. You need to prepare for retirement by saving or investing your money somewhere to cover your expenses.
- Treat yourself! Treating yourself is essential for your physical and mental health. You should always set aside money for enjoyment.
List of other coupon sites
- Arm & Hammer
- Campbell’s Kitchen
- Joint Juice
- Nature Valley
Grocery store coupon sites
- Family Dollar
- Food Lion
- Shop ‘n Save
- Stop & Shop