How to Be a College Couponer
Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m a total saver when it comes to money, sometimes so bad it can feel a little embarrassing. But I love saving money. I love when I buy things for a lot cheaper, and I get a thrill out of looking at the amount I’ve saved on the bottom of my receipt.
Not many college students really know how to save when it comes to buying what you need. Obviously some do, but sometimes, we’re clueless on how people do it. Saving? How? Is it possible?
Yes, it really is. To help other college students on how to save money, here are some of my best tips.
- First of all, know how to grocery shop. I always went with my parents when I was younger, so I now know where items are in the store and what the price range is. While you can’t fix your grocery shopping from your childhood, you can fix it now. When you shop, look at the different prices and figure out where the necessities are. This will prevent wandering and spending more money.
- Know the difference between “price” and “price per pound.” One brand may have a cheaper price, but if you look at the other price on the ticket (usually in yellow), it will tell you the price per weight. That brand may be more expensive than another when it comes to weight, so you’ll get more out of an item with a lower price per weight. This is good to know when buying in bulk to know if it’s worth it.
- Shop around. Okay, this is totally depending on where you live. Because I live near a city, the closest store I can get to without a car is Star Market, which has less options and higher prices. But when I’m home, I shop at Market Basket and Walmart because their prices and options are better. Yes, it can get annoying, but it’s worth it.
- Cut coupons. You may not get a physical newspaper every week where you can clip coupons, but the internet makes it easy. Coupons.com has all of these in the paper that you can easily print out. The best part is that it’s FREE!
- If you shop at Target, get a Red Card. I’m serious. Signing up is free, and you can get one linked to your checking account. You get 5 percent off with use, and if you’re using your debit card anyways, it’s the same but with a discount. Also at Target, there’s the Cartwheel app (my favorite!), and you can stack coupons.
- If you’re buying food, try to shop smart, not cheap. I only have milk maybe once or twice a month in my room for when I want cereal. So what do I do? Buy powdered milk. For only $3-$4, you can get up to 12 cups of milk made whenever you want, and you won’t have to worry about using your milk before it spoils. It may not sound the best, but it’s less wasteful.
- Remember that if you have a meal plan for your school, don’t buy what you can get on campus. If your dining hall has fruit available, take a few bananas or apples home instead of purchasing them. Get a bagel at your breakfast place instead of buying at the store. I don’t drink soda often, so when I get Take Three (a drink, salad/sandwich, and snack), I usually get a can of soda and put it in my fridge when I get home to save for later. You’re paying for a meal plan, so use it wisely.
- Buy in bulk. Like I said in #6, shop smart. If you live in a city and don’t have grocery stores around, it’s hard to save money when you’re buying food every other day. When you’re home for a weekend, buy items you’ll need in bulk. Get enough Easy Mac, jars of peanut butter, coffee, cereal, etc. when you can get to a real store. Just make sure to check the expiration dates!
- Do not go overboard. As stated above, it’s good to buy in bulk. But just because you found some coupons does not make it acceptable to purchase 30 jars of peanut butter. You’re never going to eat it all. You want to save money, but don’t overbuy and then wonder where your money went.
- Use apps like Ibotta, Ebates, and Savings Catcher to make money back. By simply scrolling through beforehand, you’ll find rebates and then scan both the item and your receipt to get credit. With Ebates, you get a certain percentage of cash back depending on the store and if it’s online or in-store. If there’s a rebate, why not use it?
Okay, I’m kind of crazy. But it works. Saving money on the necessities is how I’m able to purchase concert tickets and clothing. And extra money as a college student is AMAZING.
If you have any other tips, feel free to comment below, all college couponers will definitely appreciate it!