Pandemic prices are driving higher at the grocery store and to make matters worse, most of us are spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars we don't have to. So how do we save?
Sister station WLWT talked with women who are definitely extreme couponers, but they offer common sense advice we can all use, so we don't lose any more free money.
Juli Angel says she typically saves about $1,500 a year at Kroger. Angel seems to have a savings angel sitting on her shoulder. The married mom of three knows how to make the most of her money at the grocery store.
"Laundry detergent, it's my favorite thing to coupon. Because? Because laundry stuff is so expensive and it makes me happy when it's retail $20 and I pay $8 for it," Angel said.
Angel and her mother Lorie shared some couponing war stories. Like a recent trip to buy food for the family.
"It was $202 retail. Then after the coupons, paper and digital, it took it down to $111. Then after the rebates I got back $45. So $66 total on a $202 haul? Yes! That had to feel good. That felt amazing," Angel said.
Angel says if you follow a few simple steps, it can feel amazing for you, too.
- She recommends you join a Facebook Group with fellow couponers. She uses LADY SAVINGS or KROGER KRAZY. It's here where she finds preview ads, showing which items are about to go on sale at the stores. For example Juli says, "Chicken this week is buy one get one free."
- Download the apps for the places you're going to shop.
- Go through and clip all the digital coupons matching up with the things you're going to buy. Ideally, you find something already on sale, that'll also take a coupon.
- Whether it's the Sunday paper or online, clip paper coupons as well. Sometimes they offer discounts not found on the apps. Keep them organized.
- Definitely use a rewards app. Angel has chosen "Fetch Rewards." After shopping, all you do is scan the receipt. It gives you points for buying certain products. You can eventually cash it in for gift cards at stores or restaurants.
This year, Angel earned $700 in gift cards. That makes the job as Santa's helper a whole lot easier.
"I typically save my gift cards for Christmas," she said.
Angie Tucker, a married mother of 10, is also an extreme couponer. The average family of four spends about a thousand bucks a month at Kroger. Tucker says she spends $300 or $400 with 10 kids.
"We're a single income family, my husband works. I wanted to stay at home. His job is to make the money, my job is to stretch the money," Tucker said.
Like Angel, she looks to couponing Facebook groups and other places for the preview ads.
She also does the apps, the digital coupons and the paper coupons.
But with stores now putting limits on the number of items you can use coupons for, Tucker has added another wrinkle, when it comes to those store apps.
"You need multiple accounts. You can't just buy one body wash, you need 5. You're allowed, every adult in your house can have an account. Well for us that's 4. Then you ask grandma and grandpa," Tucker said.
Tucker says there's one other important thing you should always look for in a store.
"The clearance aisle. Because you will have coupon matchups for things that are marked down that'll be free or they may pay you to take them," she said.
Kind of like that recent excursion when she saved $162 at the register. Now that's pretty extreme.
"It's kind of like a high. My total went from $176 down to $14. No better feeling and you walk out of the store doing this," she said as she pumped her fist.
Tucker estimates she saves more than $5,000 a year at the grocery store.
We mentioned our first couponer Angel uses the rewards app "Fetch." Angie uses "Ibotta."
With both apps, you just scan and enter your receipt. Points add up and you can exchange them for gift cards or even cash.