When it comes to couponing, my mother has instilled in me plenty of ways to save money across a variety of platforms. We did not have a ton of money growing up. My siblings and I each played a couple of sports each, there were three of us. Grocery bills were expensive, because we were growing and ate everything in site. So couponing at the grocery store was a big deal for us.
Another way my mother has instilled couponing in me is through apps. There are so many apps on your phone now that allow you to get some cash back for the shopping you do everyday. These are so easy for me now because it is at my fingertips. The other way I have learned to save money from my family is through online websites, just at Retailmenot, Slickdeals, Couponvario or Couponfollow. This allows me to do online shopping as I normally do, but get some money back in the process.
Whenever I think of the grocery, I think of coupons. When I was younger, we just had a Meijer card and we got coupons every time we went to the store at the checkout. My mother saved these in a file that was separated by category. We always looked in these when buying things we needed/wanted in order to see if we had a coupon.
Couponing for Beginners
However, nowadays it is a lot easier to access because there is an app on my phone that allows me to clip coupons and apply those at checkout. This has been incredibly helpful when I go grocery shopping, especially now that I pay for my own groceries. I am incredibly conscious when I go shopping at the grocery store to my coupons that I clipped before I went. Even if I do not have a coupon, I tend to buy things on sale. This allows me to save money even if I did not have a coupon. Since I grew up couponing with my family, I have continued to do it now that I pay for groceries on my own. I have even helped my roommates find ways to coupon at their favorite grocery store as well. Couponing has helped me keep a budget when it comes to my groceries, because I am on a limited budget.
The app that I consistently use is called Ibotta. This app allows you to scan any receipt and receive a small amount of money back from it. The money you get back is a small amount (sometimes only $0.01), but it is so easy to use. Any receipt you get from anywhere can be scanned, and this includes gas receipts and retail ones. It is a small way to get back some money from the things you already spend on. If you think about the amount of receipts you get, it is a simple one step way to get a small amount back. To me, anything I can get back for myself is a win. One that I do not personally use is called Coupons.com. It is similar to Ibotta, but you get points instead of money back. These points allow you to pick out gift cards after a certain amount of points.
Websites such as couponvario.com allow you to get rebates on online shopping. This is helpful because a lot of people shop through Amazon, etc. The rebates you receive depend on what you buy and how much it costs. However, the way I see it is anything you can get back is helpful. Especially for a college student like myself.
Other Way to Save Money
The biggest way I have learned to save money is by moving into an apartment my sophomore year of college. When I was younger, my parents used to get on me about turning lights off, and keeping the AC/heat down. It used to bother me how much they got on me about it, but then I started paying for those things myself. I learned how to manage my money and cut down costs in my apartment by experiencing what it was like to live how I thought I needed/wanted to. It opened my eyes to how much everything costs in the “real world”. Since living on my own, I have learned how to turn off lights when not using them, keep the AC/heat at a reasonable level. It taught me that by saving money on things like that, I could do things I really wanted to do.
Don’t buy everything at face value
Money was not highly discussed in my household growing up. We couponed at the grocery store, but we still did fun things. I played sports, so did my siblings. We went on family vacations occasionally. Since getting older, I have taught myself how to manage my money based on what I want to do with it, bills, and how much I make. I feel like my mother gave me a good foundation of managing money by showing me that you do not have to buy everything at face value.
Couponing is an easy way to save money, and still get what you want. The biggest tip I have learned in college is allowing yourself some give and take. For example, if I were to go out to eat on a Tuesday, I could not buy myself a shirt until my next paycheck. If my bills were a little bit higher this month, then I stayed home instead of going out one night. This allows me to do the things I want, while still being responsible with my money.