Using Coupons To Get Free Food, Toiletries, Cleaning Supplies and More
While I have never done extreme coupon shopping, I have been using coupons for more than 15 years. During that time I have gotten thousands of items completely free! That might seem like a lot, but because I don't go to the extreme and only get the items that I know my family will use, this averages to just a few free items each week. It can be hard to imagine getting anything for free at the grocery store, but you can do it and I will show you how.
Every week (except holidays) the Sunday edition of newspapers all across the country have inserts of coupons that can save you hundreds of dollars. If you have the ability to print coupons off the internet though, you can get much higher valued coupons. For instance, the newspaper might have $0.50/2 coupon while online you can print $1/1 coupon. To start with, gather the coupons of things you use or would be willing to use. The less brand specific you are, the more items you can get for free.
Next you need to look at the sale ads that come out each week. They can come in the newspaper, the mail or be viewed online. You want to match up the coupons you have with the sales in the paper. If toothpaste is on sale for $1 this is great. In the past you might have thought that this was pretty cheap and been excited to only pay $1 for toothpaste. But I haven't paid anything but tax for toothpaste in over a decade. When it goes on sale for $1 that is when I pull out my coupons and buy what we need to last a month or so.
Knowing which stores to shop at will help you get more items for free. if you have a grocery store that doubles coupons, this will typically be where you can get the most free items. It is possible to get free items at stores that do not double, but it is more difficult. While drug stores are typically the most expensive places to shop for groceries and toiletries if you pay full price, if you play the drug store game you can get almost everything you need there for free. Recently I have gotten allergy medicine, shampoo, razors, deodorant, lotion, vitamins and more for free at my local CVS by combining store sales with coupons.
You need to have patience when it comes to couponing to get free items. Don't feel pressured to use all of your coupons. Don't feel pressured to use the coupons right away. Be patient and wait for the best sale you can find. Knowing the regular prices of the items you buy and the typical sale prices will help you get the best deal. When you find a deal that will get you free items, get as many as you know your family will use and then you shouldn't have to pay for them again. Sales tend to cycle and come around every 6-12 weeks. There is no need to go overboard in your excitement. There will be more free toothpaste in a month or so.
If the store you shop at gives overage on coupons - meaning if the cost of the item is $0.50 and you have a coupon for $1 they give you credit for the extra $0.50 - then you can get many more items for free by using coupons. You can use this overage to purchase other items that typically don't have coupons or sales. Getting overage is one of the best ways to lower your grocery bill, but not every store will give it, so check with the customer service desk at your local store.
You can't get everything for free but there are so many items that you can possibly get for free that it will likely reduce your grocery budget tremendously. I have gotten free pasta, cereal, snack items, coffee, tea, peanut butter, nuts, all sorts of beverages as well as most toiletry and household items for free over the years. I could never feed my family completely with the free things I have gotten, but it has helped me to keep my grocery budget very low compared to most families. Why would you pay full price when you can get it for free?