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Do you find that your grocery spend just keeps going up, and good deals aren’t as easy to find as they used to be?
If so this guest post from savvy shopper Fiona, who blogs at Savvy in Somerset should help! She uses coupons and vouchers to save money on her weekly shop, and shares how anyone can do the same.
Have you watched the U.S television show ‘Extreme Couponers’ and wondered whether those kinds of savings would be possible here in the U.K? While it would be tricky to get such extreme savings here, there are still plenty of coupons and vouchers you can use to save on your weekly shop.
While there are lots of ways to save on your weekly shop, such as meal planning, buying own brand and cutting back on meat, using coupons and vouchers is another great way to save. It might seem a little bit tricky or fiddly at first but after a while using coupons can quickly become second nature.
If you’re nervous about using lots of coupons in one shop then it’s worth building up slowly and using one or two at a time. Some people also feel like they’ll be holding up the queue if the cashier takes a while to sort through their coupons – if you feel like this would bother you then it’s worth choosing a quieter time of day to shop.
Types Of Vouchers
For me, the types of vouchers and coupons I use on my weekly shop fall into two main categories:
Conditional Spend Vouchers: These are usually specific to a supermarket and require you to spend a minimum amount to get the discount, eg. £5 off a £30 spend.
Individual Item Coupons: These are coupons for discounts or free products from a specific brand. Sometimes these can be used at any supermarket, other times you’ll need to go somewhere specific. This should be clear on the coupon, but it’s always worth double-checking before doing a shop.
Where To Find Coupons And Vouchers For Your Weekly Shop
There are actually lots of places to find vouchers for your weekly grocery shop.
Online: There are lots of places online you can go to print out vouchers for money off of your weekly shop. For example, FarmFoods have money off vouchers you can print directly from their website, as do Super Savvy Me which is owned by P&G, so you’ll see coupons from lots of brands you recognise.
Till Spit Vouchers: These are usually those vouchers that print out at the till when you’re already shopping in-store. They can vary from money off, additional loyalty points, free products and discounted products.
Leaflets/Junk mail: While it can be tempting just to chuck all junk mail and leaflets straight in the recycling, it’s always worth having a quick scan through to see if there are any money off vouchers. I seem to get lots for Farmfoods and also some for non-grocery products such as discounted eye-tests and BOGOF vouchers for a local chain restaurant.
Direct Mail: As a savvy shopper, I’m signed up to every loyalty card going. With Sainsbury’s Nectar card, in particular, I seem to get money off vouchers sent to me directly in the post. There are usually six weeks worth, often in the run-up to Christmas or Easter, with £4 off a £20 spend. Sometimes it is actually worth opting into marketing correspondence!
Free Instore Magazines: I love picking up free instore magazines, they are great for recipe inspiration and meal planning and if I’ve got a long train journey it saves me buying a normal magazine. These free magazines often contain money off coupons, usually for branded or new products. If there are lots of coupons you think you’ll make use of it’s worth picking up a few copies!
Newspapers: Some of the big national newspapers run promotions for discounts at the major retailers. While you do have to buy the newspaper, often the savings will far outweigh the cost. If it’s a newspaper you’d usually buy, even better.
For example, over Easter, this year, The Sun and The Times both ran a promotion where the paper contained a voucher £10 off a £40 spend at Lidl. Even after paying for the newspaper, that is a huge saving, especially at Lidl, which is already very cheap.
Writing To Brands: Brands love to get feedback on their products, whether you loved it or hated it, it doesn’t matter.
Sending a letter or email explaining what you thought often results in the brand sending vouchers of free products as a thank you, although this isn’t guaranteed so it’s up to you whether this is something you think it’s worth spending time on.
Top Tips For Using Vouchers and Coupons
If you’re just getting started with using vouchers and coupons on your weekly shop, here are my top tips to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
- Always check your coupons and vouchers are in date before shopping and that any conditions, such as spending a minimum amount, have been met.
- Make sure the product you’re buying is the right size/flavour. If you don’t want to be fiddling about with coupons as you do your shop, make a note of the product specifics on your shopping list.
- Do a coupon only shop – sometimes I find doing a shop just to use coupons is easier than putting all the items in with my main weekly shop and is confusing.
- Not all cashiers are knowledgeable about what coupons can and can’t be accepted – if you have an issue ask to see a manager.
I really hope this post inspires you to get started with using coupons and save some money on your weekly shop!
For more tips and tricks on the best ways to find and use coupons to save money this book by Jordan Cox (The Coupon Kid) has all the secrets you need to cut over £1000 a year from your shopping bill!