Is it worth it to Use Coupons and Loyalty Rewards Programs?
For me, the answer is yes. I save a ton of money this way.
There was a point in my life I thought is it was a waste of time to use coupons and loyalty rewards programs. I thought, “big deal, I save .$50. It’s not worth my time investment.” I thoroughly enjoy, financial planning & investing and I always have. I purchased my first book about investing in the stock market when I was 16. When I was 18 I opened my first brokerage account with $60. I picked some winners, I picked some losers, but overall it was a starting point. However, even with my passion for finance, I did not find the value in coupons, perks, and loyalty programs. Didn’t this just promote spending? Maybe, but at the time I was not running a household.
When thinking about starting to coupon, most people conjure up ideas that stem from shows like Extreme Couponing or Extreme Cheapskates(Remember when the lady was feeding her friends cat food as “tuna”?) Perhaps you have heard of these shows, and maybe even watched them on TLC? I was just fascinated by how many items these people could stock pile, not to mention the dicipline! In college, my mom started to coupon at CVS. She would get make-up and toiletries for next to nothing, and I got to enjoy the perks. 🙂 Thanks Mom! But still, I didn’t coupon.
It wasn’t until I left my full time career in banking, to stay at home as a new mom, that I finally saw the value in using coupons. I suppose cutting your income by thousands each month will cause you to get innovative. So that’s when it began, and I became hooked.
Here is a blog blurb from December of last year, when I first decided to start a blog. I was planning to document my progress but here I am one year later having it come to fruition, anyways:
“As a newbie “couponer,” I never thought I would be so excited to get coupons, or see what the weekly deals are at my weekly grocery store. I discovered there is quite a thrill to finding a coupon that matches this weeks deals. Better yet when you find a coupon and a rebate! The cool thing is you can go digital now. I just discovered this site called Ibotta, it’s a rebate site. So in addition to using my coupons from Red Plum and Smart Source, I also use Ibotta. With Ibotta you have to download the rebates ahead of time (again time to plan!). Sometimes you can get a rebate for items of any brand, for instance this week I found one for Bacon & Milk. Jackpot!” ….I know I was VERY EXCITED. Actually, this really helped me power through the 3-4 hour sleep intervals with a newborn. It’s can be so thrilling to find deals that end up costing you next to nothing.
Now this was just the beginning, once I started I COULD NOT BELIEVE how much stuff I could get free or deeply discounted!
Use coupons to buy things I don’t need or won’t use
Let coupons dictate all of my purchasing
Stick to one brand
Always buy the lowest cost item
Try different brands
Clip coupons for products that will be used
Shop ahead of time
Scan Coupon Websites
Use APPS!!! Ibotta, Checkout51, CVS, Kroger, etc.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Okay, now back to the question at hand, is it worth it? Let me give you some examples of how planning, using loyalty/rewards programs, and coupons scored me freebies:
1. Accumulated Freebies from stuff I was already going to buy:
Now again, I want to note, I got these freebies through some planning and making shopping trips for stuff I was ALREADY buying(i.e Formula from Target, so I would get a 15.00 Gift Card). I have a baby so I was making lots of trips to Babies R’ Us & Target for things we needed 🙂
I wish I would have done a specific breakdown so I will recall from memory best I can:
(1) Dr. Brown’s Bottle – Free from Babies R’ Us when you spend over a certain amount (I think it was $25)
(1) Paw Patrol Thermos – Free from Babies R’ Us when you spend over a certain amount (I think it was $25)
(3) Packs of Diapers – All Free from Coupons/Extra Bucks/Discounts at CVS. I usually go two – three times a month.
(2) Packs of Pampers Wipes- Here is an example of buying stuff I already needed for my baby and putting in the basket “2.00 worth of value from coupons.” Kroger, they had an awesome special, Buy 5 Save 5 they were 1.00 a piece which is already the best deal ever, then I used .50 coupons for four of them ($2.00). Technically, that would make them .50 a piece, but like I said I was already going there to stock up (they were the best price per unit/wipe HANDS DOWN!), so I got $20.00 for of wipes for $18.00. I put that $2.00 value of wipes in the basket. From an out the door cost, I saved two dollars from using coupons which allowed me to give my friend two packs of wipes that were “free” to me.
(2) Hand Sanitizer – There were on sale at Bath and Body Works. I was stocking up on items for the baby shower, and Bath and Body Works had a coupon promotion. I think it was 10 off 40. These as well as other things were part of the ten dollars off discount, so no out of pocket cost for things I was already buying.
(3)Bottles of Johnson and Johnson – Few bucks at most, if not free with CVS Coupons, Extra Bucks, Discounts, but we will say $5
(1) Fox Jammies – Less then 5.00 on Clearance at Macy’s
(1)Fox Shirt & (1)Fox Hat – I purchased formula from Target and received a 15.00 gift card. I used this gift card to then purchase this hat and shirt; making them no out of pocket cost for me.
Gloves – I paid full price for these which was probably around $7. I remember always losing these with my Pumpkin, so I thought these were essential.
(1)Fox Bib – Paid regular price about $6 – This was on her registry and was on sale.
(1) Fox Snack Cups – $1 from Dollar Store
(1) Places You’ll Go – $1 from Target Bins
All in all I got over $100 worth of goodies for about $25.00.
2. Coupon Freebies & Deep Discounts
So as you can see, this stuff cost me $1.94, plus tax. This is ALMOST cheaper then what it would be to buy a lipstick and foundation at the dollar store (I had to pay sales tax prior to some coupons & discounts. The dollar store would have been $2.12) This was from when I first started to use coupons, so all I have is the break down on the receipt and my humble (wink wink) brag to my friends.
Let me give you a more specific break down. Not to mention the whole reason I started to coupon: DIAPERS!!!
This was from 3/31 sharing it with my mom friends on Facebook:
“Okay Baby Owner’s out there. This is my latest “couponing” trip to CVS– Just now(03/31/16). For all three of these I paid 6.29 cents out of pocket total, I also got 10 dollars extra bucks back to spend on a future trip!!! Now I have taken advantage of the spend $30.00 so get $10 extra bucks back in the last month or two…. So I am not sure if that has triggered my card to get those specific coupons. But you can check yours. Heres how: check your CVS app and send any coupons to your card. I had three available on mine. $5 off $25 on Diapers/Wipes, $3 Off $20 on Baby toiletries, and $3 of $20 on Huggies.
CVS lets us use them all at once. I also had two manufactures coupons for 6.00… (you can usually get these on coupons.com)… [Pay attention to what kind… see how I have two of one kind and one of another] So that is $17.00 Off right there. Now I coupon every week and get stuff free and get Extra bucks. So I had $8.00 in previous weeks extra bucks. So that is 25.00 off. So with taxes, those cost me 6.29 cents. Then since I spent thirty dollars before all my deals(3x $9.99) it triggered my 10 extra bucks for next time. So I paid 6.29 out of pocket, and have 10.00 to spend for free stuff next time
Now I know, I know, not everyone gets these coupons, and I do not get them ALL of the time! But what I have found is I do get coupons for things I buy, and I buy diapers.
Also note, you will have to start the process and pay a little more out of pocket the first time you start to coupon to start getting your extra bucks. Then you can just keep rolling over the extra bucks. I alternate between the Huggies and Pampers. Usually a few weeks out of the month they will have one or the other on sale with extra bucks incentives. Check out another example of How to Score Free Diapers.
But overall, I would YES, It is worth it to coupon and use Loyalty Rewards Programs!