If you’re still using coupons simply to get 50 cents off of dishwashing liquid or $1 discount on dog food, that’s perfectly appropriate if you’re a casual couponer. But with a little bit of extra work, you could maximize your savings and find coupons for free stuff, particularly if you combine digital, paper, manufacturer and store coupons.
Check out the following tips that can help you find the most common items that you can get at no cost to you by ensuring careful and strategic use of coupons.
Candy. It may not be the healthiest item in the store, but it’s a nice treat to have a candy bar or pack of gum from time to time, and coupons can make these items a little more guilt-free. If you’re a member of the Kroger Free Friday Download program, you can get a free item every Friday by adding the digital coupon for that week’s free product to your loyalty card. These work not only at Kroger’s namesake store, but also at several other Kroger brands such as King Soopers, Ralphs and Fry’s. The reason I’m mentioning this program is because often, the free item is a candy product. The grocer has offered free gum, chocolate, power bars and granola bars, among other items, at no cost to you and no strings attached.
You can also get free candy by stacking coupons at drug store chains like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. It’s not uncommon in any given Sunday circular to find candy discounted to low enough prices that when you use linked manufacturer and store coupons, the candy is free.
Personal care products. There are some items that you essentially never need to pay for because stores so frequently offer them at such a discount that adding coupons at the register will allow you to get those products for free. At the top of this list of nearly guaranteed freebies are personal care products. Even if you only spend 20 minutes a week collecting coupons and matching them to sale prices, you’ll be able to get quite a few free personal care products. Among the items that most couponers never pay a cent for are toothpaste, floss, feminine products, body wash, shaving items and toothbrushes.
Condiments. Most “extreme couponers” have shelves and shelves of mustard because stores so frequently discount it so deeply that adding coupons at the register will make the mustard free of charge. In addition, unopened mustard packages often don’t expire for years, so there’s no rush to use it all before it goes bad.
However, mustard isn’t the only condiment you can find for free. Many stores will offer half-price discounts on ketchup, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salad dressing and other items. Then, when you combine manufacturer and store coupons at the register, you’ll end up getting the products at no charge. After mustard, I most commonly see this possible with hot sauce, although the other items can be free at various points throughout the year.
Medication/Vitamins. Vitamins and medications can be very expensive if you pay full price, but this is a great area where you can save a lot of money by using coupons. Many stores will discount vitamins and medicines such as antacids or cough syrups, which they’ll list in their Sunday circulars, and then you’ll typically find quite a few manufacturer coupons that you can clip for these products, which you can match to store coupons (either digital or paper) to get the products at no charge. This is particularly common with kids' vitamins, such as those in gummie form.
Cleaning Products. From paper towels to air fresheners, it’s not difficult at all to get great deals and find valuable coupons for cleaning products that will allow you to pay nothing or next to nothing for these items. Typically, the most common products you can get for free by coupon stacking are the plug-in type of home air fresheners, and you’ll find deals on both the device and the refills. In addition, you’re likely to find great offers that allow you to get laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner and other commonly-used products at no charge at all.
There are many other items you can find for free by carefully comparing the store sales with coupons—be vigilant in your stacking searches and you'll be collecting freebies every month.