You don’t need anyone to tell you there is record-high inflation in the United States. You see it in the stores and feel it at the gas pump.
According to the latest data, inflation soared to 8.2% in the 12-month period ending in September 2022. For reference, inflation has been between 0.7 and 2.3% for the past 10 years, with the exception of last year when it hiked to 7%.
Luckily, there are ways to fight these astronomical prices. Coupons and loyalty programs are often underutilized ways to save money without sacrificing the things or brands you love. Follow these five tips for saving big despite increasing costs.
Shop Supermarket Circulars for Weekly Sales
Whether you are trying to feed a family of four or 14, there are ways to save in the grocery aisles. What many young people don’t realize is that grocery stores still print circulars that notify customers about weekly deals and may even have some hidden coupons. You can usually find a supermarket’s weekly flyer at the front of the store or get it mailed to you.
If you have the time and the patience, you can use circulars to shop for the lowest price. Supermarkets now have to compete with online grocers like Amazon Fresh and hybrid stores like Target and Walmart, which steadily have been increasing their grocery sections for over a decade. Use the competition to your advantage and spend a few minutes browsing to find the best deals on the products you love.
Clip Digital Coupons on Retailer Sites and Apps
Another way to save big at grocery stores and other retailers is by clipping digital coupons. And guess what: There’s an app for that. Almost every retail chain has an app that not only lets you shop for goods and set up delivery or pickup orders but also gives you dozens of digital coupons that you can clip and save.
The great thing about digital coupons is that you won’t have to worry about paper cuts or holding up the checkout line as you fumble through your coupon book. Digital coupons are saved directly to your account on the app and will be applied at the end of your transaction.
All you need to do is download the retailer’s app and then create an account, which is usually free. Then start clipping. Just know there may be a limit to the number of digital coupons you can have stored at one time, and you need to keep checking (and clipping) to get the best deals. Target Circle and Kroger are two prime examples of retailer sites with superior ways to save.
Use Rebate and Cash-Back Programs
In addition to digital coupons, many retailers offer rebate and cash-back programs. For example, Kroger (the parent company of grocers like Ralphs on the West Coast) gives shoppers a reason to smile with their cash-back deals. Other non-retail sites like coupons.com, Ibotta and Rakuten also offer cash-back and rebate incentives for customers.
To redeem the rewards, you will need to download the app and create an account. Depending on the site, you may receive your incentive through a check, PayPal or in-store credit. Consider these programs like free money. Just be careful not to start making purchases simply because they offer cash-back rewards. The cost of buying something you don’t need will quickly outweigh the benefit.
Join Gas Station Loyalty Programs
The price at the pump is gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans have to fork over the money. So until you are ready to go electric or hybrid, you need to find real solutions for the outrageous amount you are paying to fill your tank.
The solution? Gas station loyalty programs. Most larger gas stations offer some sort of incentive for loyal customers. The trick is to try to use the same gas station. Most loyalty programs offer better rewards if you spend more. Also, look for joint programs like grocery chains that offer gas rewards for shopping at their stores.
Check Out Brand Sites for Manufacturer Coupons
Retailers aren’t the only ones offering discounts to customers willing to do a little leg work. You can get coupons directly from the manufacturer online or in the newspaper. If you aren’t interested in subscribing to a Sunday paper, you can visit the manufacturer’s website or check with the retailer. Many grocery stores and big box stores offer manufacturer coupons in addition to their own digital savings. Happy clipping!
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