Ooh… this was a fun shopping trip!
I know a lot of you don’t think it’s possible to get free — or almost free — groceries. Or you assume it takes too much time. I’m going to show you not only that it’s possible, but also how I did it without clipping coupons for six hours every day.
I’ll show you my haul in a minute, but first, let’s look at how to make it happen.
Step 1: Sign Up for Coupons by Email
The first thing I did was subscribe to a few of the top coupon sites, so I’d have a never-ending supply of coupons.
This step is pretty quick — just enter an email address. If you’re concerned about overloading your inbox, do what I did: Set up a separate email address just for couponing.
Give Betty Crocker your email address and they’ll send you up to $250 worth of coupons that can help you get deeply discounted or free canned goods, cereal, and yogurt.
Betty Crocker’s FREE email delivers the best of Betty’s 15,000 kitchen-tested recipes, how-tos and more – straight to your inbox! PLUS, get up to $250 per year in coupons savings and access to FREE samples (quantities limited, one per member)
Sign up for Tablespoon’s free email and score up to $250 per year in coupon savings. Plus, stay on top of your food game with free recipes for doable dinners, delish desserts, party snacks and more!
Fill out their short form here (takes 10 seconds) and then select “coupon & sales“. Then click the button marked “clip all” to get the coupons.
(Side note: A few readers have reported not seeing the “coupon & sales” link. You may have to log out and log back in for it show up.)
Sign up for Pillsbury.com emails to receive up to $250 in yearly coupons, access to free product samples (quantities limited, one per member) and the easiest recipes sent right to your inbox.
Because of the high value of these coupons, they’ve limited it to one set of coupons per person, so get your spouse to sign up if you need more coupons.
This company will actually pay you to print coupons. Sign up for a free account and they’ll give you $0.10 for each coupon that you print and redeem in store.
Sign up for their emails and they’ll send you up to $75 in coupons each week week. They do send a lot of emails, so you may want to use your separate couponing email for this one.
Step 2: Download the Rebate Apps
Combining coupons with rebates is a big key to getting things for free. To discover rebates before you shop and get the cash back after your purchase, download these rebate apps:
With Ibotta, you unlock rebates by completing simple tasks on the app before you shop at 151 supported stores. Then scan the item’s barcode and submit a photo of your receipt to the app, and you’ll see the cash in your Ibotta account within 48 hours.
Here’s another reason to try Ibotta: New users get a $10 sign-up bonus, just for redeeming their first receipt.
Checkout51 updates with a new list of offers every week. You purchase them, upload a photo of your receipt to the app and they send you the money from the rebate.
Step 3. Stack Deals Using a Coupon Matchup Site
Every store has their own policy regarding coupons. Get familiar with yours, because it could save you tons of money.
Many stores allow you to apply multiple discounts to one item — called “stacking” in the coupon world. This is the real secret to turning everyday discounts into a totally free meal.
For many of these items, I was able to stack a competitor’s coupon (paid for by a competing store) or a manufacturer’s coupon (paid for by the company who produces the item) with the discount the store was already advertising — bringing the price as low as $0.00.
Of course, keeping track of every deal available for the items you want to buy is an enormous challenge!
That’s why I follow coupon matchup sites like $5 Dollar Dinners.
These sites list the weekly ads from major grocery stores, and tell you where to find matching coupons and rebates.
And you can always stack a rebate on top of a coupon. You can even stack multiple rebates — just use the apps listed above to find them all.
Step 4: Put It Into Action — Here’s How I Got a Bag of Groceries for Under $5.00
My cashier was shocked to see what I pulled off. The original total for my 19 items before I used any coupons was $49.91.
Thankfully, I know better than to pay full price.
- I found 12 deals through ads at coupon matchup sites
- I used 10 manufacturer coupons totaling $13.00
- I used 1 store coupon totaling $2.00
That brought my total in the store down to $14.90 — already a great deal, right?
Not good enough, though.
When I got home, I whipped out my Ibotta app to scan my items and take a picture of my receipt. It took about two minutes and scored me another $6 in rebates! I also had a $5 paper rebate for the Nyquil.
All totaled up … I only spent $3.90!
Pretty cool, right?
Your Turn: What’s the best haul you’ve ever gotten from the grocery store?
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
This post sponsored by General Mills.