Contrary to popular belief, you can save while shopping by using coupons without turning into a potential candidate for extreme savings shows (no backstock pantry necessary). Long gone are the days when a weekend afternoon is spent meticulously combing through sale ads and clipping coupons. As it turns out, you don't have to do much these days in terms of seeking out deals, in fact, many retailers and brands are practically giving away products through deals in plain sight. With the help of apps, rewards programs and email newsletter savings, you can maximize your savings through coupon stacking without overhauling your shopping habits.
What Is Coupon Stacking?
Coupon stacking is exactly what its name suggests: stacking multiple coupons to maximize savings. Essentially the goal with coupon stacking is to find products with manufacture and store coupons available. When it comes to coupon stacking, there are several ways to approach potential savings. While it surprisingly doesn't take much extra effort to achieve coupon stacking results, a little bit of forethought will help to strategize what coupons to stack and where. Here are a few things to keep in mind (or follow) when preparing for your next shopping trip.
- Make a list. Yes, as it turns out your mother was always right, and making a shopping list is an example of her expertise. It's simple but incredibly helpful and can help curb unnecessary and aimless Wild Wild West-like spending. A shopping list keeps you on track and you can prioritize must-have or most-expensive items to zero in on for savings.
- Determine which stores make the most sense for your shopping list. Different stores cater to different shopping habits, as well as carry select brands. Many manufacturer coupons are only valid at select retailers. Additionally, determining where you are going to shop beforehand will allow you to check out those specific weekly ads.
Now that you have an outline of your shopping plan, it's time to find coupons and determine how to stack them.
How To Stack Coupons
The first step in stacking coupons is to understand the coupon's fine print. However, this doesn't require the assistance of a magnifying glass to do so. Majority of coupons will have specific information in bold at the top of the coupon, including information like valid timeframes, single-time use or specific retailers where the coupon is applicable. Always check a coupon's information so that you're able to actually use the savings it offers. It's simple but often overlooked. Next, you'll need to find both store and manufacturer coupons to stack together.
Manufacturer coupons are savings offered directly to the consumer to use on purchase of that manufacturer's products. As stated earlier, sometimes manufacturer coupons are only valid at specific retailers, so it's always good to double check before making a trip to the store. Because manufacturer coupons are (for the most part) product specific, this allows you to stack with a store coupon that otherwise would not allow additional savings offered by the store. Here's an example of how manufacturer coupons can save money when combined with store coupons.
Chobani Greek Yogurt on sale for 2 for $3 with store coupon
Total paid: $3 + tax
Chobani Greek Yogurt manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of 2 items
Stacked with Chobani Greek Yogurt on sale for 2 for $3 with store coupon
Total paid: $2 + tax
Combining manufacturer coupons with store coupons achieves coupon stacking savings. But, there are still more ways to add on savings!
Coupon Stacking With Cash Back Offers
Cash back offers are the underrated heroes of the couponing world. Not only can cash back offers allow you to save on items that do not have a coupon or store offer to stack, but cash back can also maximize savings on products that are eligible to coupon stack — putting more money back in your wallet. Depending on your bank or credit card company, you may be eligible for cash back by simply swiping your card at checkout. Do a quick search of your bank and/or credit card cash back offers (if available) to activate deals, that way you're saving without thinking.
You can also explore cash back offers through saving sites like Honey, iBotta and RetailMeNot, that regularly partner with brands and retailers to offer members exclusive cash back deals. These sites are typically free to sign up and allow you to earn back money on purchases you would make regardless (so you might as well take advantage of savings opportunities). If shopping online and utilizing these types of deals, you could potentially earn both cash back through the savings site and your bank/credit card.
Combining Member Rewards & Coupon Stacking
Another route to savings is to use any exclusive rewards offered through store loyalty programs. Many — if not all — major retailers offer free rewards programs to customers. While each program will of course be different, a common theme is earning points per dollar spent that can be redeemed towards future purchases. Additionally, these programs may offer exclusive members-only savings that can also be combined with points, coupons and cash back offers. If you find yourself loyal to specific brands or retailers, do yourself a favor and sign up for a rewards program, if available, and we promise you won't regret it.
Stacking In-App Savings Offers
Similar to rewards programs, most major retailers and brands have their own apps these days. As incentives to download and shop, in-app only coupons and sale events are extremely common — and the savings can, and do, really add up. Plus, if the app offers a rewards program, this is an easy way to synchronize your savings opportunities.
Coupon Stacking On Sale Items
Sometimes you get lucky and find the holy grail of coupon stacking: sale items eligible for additional savings. This means that a product is on sale or reduced from its original price point a.k.a. an automatic win for you. Now, if this item is eligible for additional savings, you could potentially use a store and/or manufacturer coupon on top of its reduced price. Combine this with cash back offers and rewards points and you've achieved coupon stacking nirvana. Look at you go, you savvy shopper!