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Using Coupons to Save Money

500giveawayWhat is coupon really? A piece of paper with pictures and writing on it? Something you use to start fires? Spam in your inbox? No silly, a coupon is free money. If you’d asked me that a couple of years ago, I might have said one of the previous answers. I was too busy and too important to use them. I’m a doctor. We don’t use coupons. Well, I’m also a doctor who spent too much money and got into all kinds of debt. When you use your hard earned money to pay off that debt, something funny happens. You want to keep all of that hard earned money or use it for something you really enjoy. Using coupons to save money can allow you to do just that.

Grocery Coupons

Whether you look online, get value card deals, or subscribe to a Sunday newspaper, they are everywhere. Many stores double them up to $1 off each product. Maybe $1 doesn’t sound like much, but if you can use five $1 coupons a week, that’s $260 a year, enough to stay in a hotel for a weekend getaway. Be careful, though. Don’t get fooled by using a coupon just because you have one. ย $1 off cat food doesn’t do much good if you don’ have a cat.

Online Coupons

You can find online coupons for just about anything. If you know you are making a purchase or are visiting a city, look to see what is available. The last time we went to San Diego, I found online coupons for $2 off admission to the USS Midway, a retired air craft carrier that my husband has always wanted to visit. I also found coupons for discounts toward many of the restaurant meals we ate while we were there. My best online coupon deal, however, was for an amusement park in Denver. We already decided we were going, so I looked online to see what might be available. I snagged half off admission tickets. I donโ€™t know about you, but the only thing that makes me happier than half price is free.

If you use a site like Coupon Sherpa, you should be able to find deals, discounts, and coupons for most retail outlets including Ulta, Macys, JCPenney, and so much more. I feel I should mention this since most of these establishments can be found in every relatively large city and isnโ€™t just location-specific like the amusement park in Denver.

Free Shipping

Speaking of free, who wants to pay for shipping? If I’m spending money, I like to receive a product that I can touch or have an experience I can remember. I don’t enjoy paying someone to haul my stuff around. At least look for free shipping offers before ordering something online. You might be surprised how much you can save in shipping costs if you take five minutes to look.

When you start using coupons, it becomes a habit. When you see the money you are saving, you might ask yourself why you didn’t start sooner.

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I was never particularly good with coupons. It’s one of the big frugal habits that I’m just abysmal at. I don’t really have the time or the interest to hunt them down, and when I find one I usually forget to bring it.

    For groceries, there are tons of coupons out there, but almost all of them are for stuff I never buy. Lots of heavily processed foods and other junk. More coupons for meat, vegetables, and other basics would be nice.

    • I used to be really bad as well, and I don’t spend lots of time on it. If you shop at a grocery like Safeway or Kroger, you can download them to your value card and don’t have to think about it.

  2. We use coupons for groceries, toiletries, medicine, and just about everything else. My wife recently saved over $100 on a $200 worth of goods through using coupons.

    Free shipping is a big one for me. It’s the main reason I prefer Amazon over other online retailers.

  3. I always look to try and use coupons wherever possible. I would hate knowing I paid more than I had to just because I was lazy and didn’t look for a coupon.

  4. I used to coupon a lot. Now I don’t have time to. My mom occasionally gets me free stuff couponing though. Last week she got me free dog food and dishwasher packs!

    • I would love free dog food! I spend very little time on actual clipping of coupons. Most of what I do I download into my value card and use what they send me in the mail.

  5. We do coupon for groceries and such, but only on stuff we’re already buying as we really don’t have the time to do it otherwise. When we shop online I always like to Google for discounts/coupons…I’ll do anything to avoid paying for shipping.

  6. Wow, you’re giving money away like crazy, Kim! :-). We do use coupons but always make sure and combine them with the lowest price we can find. You can save tons of money with them! I also love how you pointed out that it’s silly to use coupons on stuff you’ll never use. Also, silly to use them on stuff you wouldn’t normally buy. Those coupons can lure you into extra spending if you’re not careful!

    • This has been a crazy giveaway week. I can’t take any credit. It’s Kyle at Rather Be Shopping, Jeremy at Modest Money, and Jeffrey at Saving advice.

  7. Oddly enough, we don’t use coupons that much. For food/personal items, etc we typically don’t by Brand Name as we find the generic/store brand is just fine. Many times we see coupons only for the Name Brands, which brings their pricing down to around the same as generic.

    I did make an exception today with Proflowers and their ‘ROSE55’ promotion for a dozen roses for $19.99. (No affiliate link).. I got the hint my wife threw at me ๐Ÿ™‚

    We do look for sales for things like major appliances, our recent Tivo purchase etc.

  8. We don’t use coupons for grocery shopping. I just can’t remember the last time I saw BOGO for spinach or apples. Because we don’t normally buy processed foods (and very little meat) we save more by just shopping sales.

    However, for non-grocery shopping- household goods, entertainment, etc; coupons are great!

    • I’m not sure what stores are available in your area, but Kroger affiliates offer value card coupons for things you frequently shop for. I usually get several coupons in the mail each month for salad green or carrots, sometimes an amount off of any purchase over $5 in the produce department. They are harder coupons to come by but are real scores if you can get them.

  9. We use coupons for groceries and household items. I used to “extreme it” about a year and half ago, but that just got too exhausting.

    • I can see how extreme couponing would have an quick burn out rate. I’m not quite that organized and too cheep to buy a coupon organizer!

  10. I am an online shopper who constantly checks for coupons before I make a purchase. My rule of thumb is if I cannot save at least 30-50% from retail I won’t buuy it.

  11. Free is pretty darn good, I agree! I actually did something similar last summer for an amusement park near us. A quick Google search got me $10 off the regular admission price, x5 and I saved $50. 30 seconds well spent. Thanks for co-hosting this event, a lot of great money saving tips floating around the blogosphere this morning!

  12. I always look for free shipping codes while shopping online. I also love the paper coupons that come in the junk mail circulars…haha!

    Happy to be co-hosting with you ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I search for an online coupon every time I make a purchase. About 90% of the time I will find one so it’s definitely worth the small amount of effort.

  14. I definitely look for coupons when I buy stuff online – particularly for discounts on shipping. Coupons are great and can definitely save you money, but you do have to be sure you’re buying stuff you need. Otherwise it’s a little like buying a shirt you don’t really like, but it was half-price. ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. You and I both know from posting in the Grocery Game Challenge each week that coupons help bring down our budget in a great way. I picked up a great coupon the other day buy 2 loaves of bread save $2.00 on any fresh veg or fruits.. so there are great coupons and savings to be had. Same goes for online coupons so have a quick search online to save some cash, we always do.Cheers Kim

  16. I always google the shop I am buying stuff at for coupons just in case. The lists aren’t always accurate but it doesn’t cost much to try!

  17. Thanks for this info. I’ve already bookmarked the online coupon site, purchased in inkjet cartridge at half-price and uploaded coupons on my rewards card. I’m not good at couponing, so I appreciated the research and shortcut info.

  18. I don’t shop anywhere online without a coupon. There are so many places to find great coupons, so there is no excuse.

  19. Love couponing! Especially getting free shipping. I like to stack discounts and see how much I can save every time I shop!

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