Beginners Guide to Couponing in the UK
I remember watching the US show ‘Extreme Couponing’ a year or two ago on TLC and was in awe of the people who managed to use coupons to pay for their shopping and the sheer amount of stuff they stockpiled! They would be shown cutting out coupons and then taking them to the store and filling their trolleys with items that they would get for free, all thanks to the coupons! I can’t say I’d used coupons or vouchers much myself before but being someone who obviously likes saving money it was something I wanted to start doing. Although couponing to the ‘Extreme’ level doesn’t seem to be as big in the U.K as in the States, it is getting more popular here. There are now lots of ways to find coupons and vouchers for food, toiletries and more to save you money! Coupons can come in different formats, they may be in paper form and need cutting out or they may be found online and may need printing off. Thankfully to make things easier for aspiring couponers, a new trend is the use of apps that offer coupons and cashback. If you are interested in using coupons to save money and get goods for free then here are some ways to find them;
Magazines and Newspapers
People often find physical coupons they can cut out and present at the shop to be the easiest way to use coupons. One good place to find coupons are in supermarket magazines. Supermarkets usually offer a free magazine in store and these can often have some good vouchers inside. Keep your eye out for them next time your doing the food shop or ask a member of staff to locate one for you.
Newspapers can also be a source for finding coupons, for example The Sun sometimes has money off when you spend a certain amount vouchers.
The packaging of items can also include cut out coupons so don’t forget to check before you throw it away! The brand of Tea bags I buy regularly has a money off voucher in the packaging that I can use for the next time I buy Tea.
Receipts are an often forgotten about source of money off coupons! You can sometimes see an offer on a receipt to save you money(especially supermarket ones), so don’t forget to check before you discard them.
Let’s face it, you are always going to find more stuff online! There are now dozens of websites out there that solely feature available coupons and freebies. Some of my favourites to find coupons include Hotukdeals and the deals section on the Money Saving Expert site. A google search for coupons brings up several sites with a list of current coupons available. With online vouchers you will generally either need to print off the voucher or enter your details to have the coupon sent to you.
For parents of babies or those expecting, then I would recommend signing up to the Emmas Diary website. You will receive a free Emmas Diary Gift Pack that not only includes freebies like baby wipes and nappies but also a selection of vouchers to use for many baby related retailers, including £200 worth of money off vouchers to use at Argos. There is also the famous Bounty Pack available for free to pregnant ladies and those with young children that contain free samples and discount vouchers. These can be picked up at Boots, Asda or Tesco.
Smartphone Apps are one of the best ways to find and use coupons! My favourite Apps to use are Quidco’s ClickSnap, Shopmium and CheckoutSmart. With each of these apps, they contain many deals, mainly for food and drink. How these apps work is that you normally buy the item and then receive the cash back. This is sometimes for the full cost of the product so you are getting it for free! To be given the cashback you will need to either scan the barcode using the app or take a picture of the receipt. Any offer will explain which item is eligible, where to redeem and what you need to do to get your money.
There are loads of other apps for vouchers and deals. Some other good ones to try are Voucher Codes and the Hotukdeals app. It’s always worth checking these apps for freebies and for money off deals on things you are planning on buying.
As well as dedicated apps for coupons, many retailers also have there own apps. Sometimes you can find discount offers or even free stuff on these apps. Boots is one such app which often has deals and vouchers. Some food retailers also offer freebies on their apps – Greggs is one where you can sometimes get free food!
Loyalty cards are a great way to save money by using them when doing your shopping. The most popular ones to join are Tescos Clubcard and Sainsburys Nectar card. Not only can you exchange the points you receive from shopping into vouchers that can be used for many things, sometimes they will also send you vouchers that can used for products in store. If you shop in Tesco or Sainsburys then these loyalty cards are definitely worth signing up to.
Contact the Manufacturer
One other method of obtaining vouchers can be to contact a brand/company, by letter or email. Writing to the company to compliment a product or the service can sometimes result in them sending you vouchers for their products. Complaining about something can also mean the company will send you vouchers but only do so if the complaint is genuine.
Tips for Couponing
Here are my tips for beginners to couponing –
Whenever you find a coupon don’t forget to take note of the basic details;
Which exact product the coupon refers to (also check the size)
How much the coupon is worth
Where the coupon is accepted
When it expires
Any other T&Cs
This information is important to make sure the voucher is valid as the last thing you want is to be charged full price or have to put the item back.
Join Facebook Groups dedicated to couponing and deals to see info on the latest coupons on offer
Anything you buy with a coupon and don’t really need, consider donating to a local food bank.
It’s easy to forget to take paper coupons with you to the shops, so it might be useful to use something like a coin purse to keep them in, that can be kept in your handbag.
Most of us would like to save money and couponing is great way to do so. Couponing is big business in the UK right now with so many companies offering deals, as well as there being so many ways to find coupons. Hopefully my beginner’s guide proves that couponing isn’t scary to start doing and that the rewards are well worth it!