Learn how to get free groceries by following these easy steps. Use grocery manufacturer coupons (think Sunday paper coupons) and fill your pantry with free or heavily discounted foods, toiletries, and household items. Get a surplus to stockpile, donate, share with friends, or sell. Become a Coupon Queen!
If I could name one single thing that I have done over the years as a stay at home mom that has saved me the most money, it would be successful use of grocery manufacturer coupons. Learning how to get free groceries has greatly reduced the amount of money I spend on food each month, and allowed me to stockpile for hard times.
But being a successful Coupon Queen is a little more than simply clipping Sunday paper coupons. Follow these tips and change the way you view coupons forever.
Want to know how to get free groceries? First, you collect coupons. The name of the game here is to get as many duplicated grocery manufacturer coupons as you possibly can.
Think about it: its nice to get a tube of toothpaste for free if you have a coupon for it, but it’s better to get 10 tubes of toothpaste free because you have 10 coupons. Same concept. Here are some ways to gain extra coupons.
Get Sunday Paper Coupons
Start with your Sunday paper coupons. As a rule of thumb, plan to purchase at least two Sunday papers each week. Why two? Many times you will find a B1G1F sale (buy one get one free) where you can use two coupons. If you only have one, you only get half the savings. On particularly good weeks, where there are multiple high value Sunday paper coupons, plan on getting more. The most Sunday papers I have ever purchased is 20.
Have Friends Save Inserts for You
Most of us have friends, family and neighbors who get the Sunday paper. Many of them do not use their Sunday paper coupons or simply don’t know or care to know how to get free groceries. It is time consuming, after all, and many working people simply do not have the time. (That’s one benefit of being a stay at home mom.) Ask friends, family and neighbors to save coupons for you.
Make a Deal with Your Newspaper Delivery Person
Most newspaper delivery people have extra Sunday paper coupons and inserts from newspapers that did not sell over the weekend. Often, the newspaper delivery people do not know how to get free groceries (or, as mentioned above, simply do not have the time) and simply throw away the inserts. (They usually only have to return the top page of the paper to the newspaper offices to get credit for not selling those papers.)
Get on the good side of your delivery person. Offer to give them some of the booty you get free if they will give you their extra inserts. This method is very popular among Coupon Queens.
Print Online Coupons
Many manufacturers offer coupons online. The caveat is that usually you are only able to print two identical coupons per computer that you have access to. Learn more about printable grocery manufacturer coupons on your quest to learn how to get free groceries.
Use a Coupon Clipping Service
When all else fails, you can purchase extra coupons through a coupon clipping service. You aren’t actually buying the coupons themselves, but are paying someone else to sort and clip them for you. This is a good method because you can obtain just the coupons you are interested in and pass on the rest. It also saves you the hassle of clipping and sorting each week as well. Learn more about coupon clipping services here.
Organize Your Coupons
It helps, when learning how to get free groceries, to think of grocery manufacturer coupons as skinny gift cards. They are as valuable as money.
When you present a coupon you are using it just as you would cash, and the store even turns a profit on each coupon that you use. (They get a 8 cent handling fee per coupon.)
Your coupons should be treated with the care and respect you would give your dollar bills, and should be sorted and organized in a system that works for you.
There is nothing more frustrating than knowing that you have a high value coupon for an item you wish to purchase, but just can’t find it. Take the time weekly to purge your system of expired coupons and file your new ones. There are many methods for doing this. See the following pages:
Match Coupons with Sales
Now we are getting to the nitty-gritty of how to get free groceries when using grocery manufacturer coupons. Now its time to match your coupons with sales.
When clipping your Sunday paper coupons, pull all the sales fliers for the week. Look at fliers for your local grocery stores, pharmacies, and discount stores. See what sales are going on. Often they have some terrific deal on a limited number of brand name items to get you in the door. The stores are hoping you will come to take advantage of their special, and stay and spend more money.
Now, match those sales prices with your coupons. For example, a name brand toothpaste, regularly $3.29 might be on sale for $1 this week. And in your coupon binder, you’ve found a coupon for $1 off that same brand toothpaste! This makes it free!
This may seem far-fetched to you, but honestly, free offers happen often, on a weekly basis. A lot of the time you will find the sale and the coupon in the same Sunday paper. The companies know what they are doing. And now you know how to get free groceries.
Switch Brands if You Find A Good Sale
Being a successful Coupon Queen, and truly learning how to get free groceries (or really cheap groceries) means you are not brand loyal. If you can get 10 tubes of Crest toothpaste for free, but you usually use Colgate, then switch! But one of the nice parts about this, is that you can usually forsake generic brands completely. No need for you to purchase store brand peanut butter when the name brands pay you to take theirs out of the store!
A really important lesson in how to get free groceries: When an item is offered for free, or is a really good price, buy as many as you can. (Which usually means as many as you have coupons for.) Sometimes this requires going to multiple stores in a chain that may not carry much stock. Why stockpile? For a few reasons.
It will tide you over until the product goes on sale again. It will allow you to save for a rainy day or financial emergency. It will allow you to give extras to friends, family, or the needy. It will allow you to earn extra income selling on eBay or at yard sales. Soon your home will be overflowing with items you got when you learned how to get free groceries! It’s not hard to obtain a lifetime supply of items you use on a regular basis in a matter of months. For more info on what to do with your stockpile see this info here.
My Favorite Deal of All Time: The Huggies Deal
My all time favorite couponing deal happened about 10 years ago, when I was just learning how to get free groceries. Huggies gave me a lifetime supply of Pull Ups for both of my children. (And no, I didn’t win a contest.) You see, Huggies brought out a 3-pack sample of Pull Ups, both boys and girls, in 2 different sizes each.
These packages sold for $1.97 and were found in Toys R Us, WalMart and Walgreens. Inside each of the packages was a coupon for $2.50 off ANY package of Huggies Pull Ups.
Now, most Huggies coupons state “$X amount off purchase of Huggies Jumbo Sized or Larger” (specifically restricting a customer from using the coupons on a trial package) but these coupons were different. They said “ANY” package, which meant…they were good on the $1.97 trial packages!
So here’s what happened:
I had managed to procure a handful of $2 off Huggies coupons (that also said ANY package, which was rare). I took these 5 coupons into WalMart, and found 5 packages of the trial packs. So I took my $10 in coupons, and my $9.85 in product up to the register at WalMart, expecting them to alter the coupon and that I would walk out paying sales tax.
I was wrong.
The cashier rang up my purchase, and actually gave me back 15cents! I couldn’t believe it! I got cash back to take the diapers!
Now, this was the only time in my entire Coupon Queen existence that I have gotten cash back. After that experience, I have made sure to avoid it by adding a small purchase (like a pack of gum) to my order to cover the difference. Why? Even though this particular cashier was very nice, she did have to call a manager and they had to go through a few steps to get me the 15 cents. Usually, managers and cashiers are not so friendly, and you may be in for a fight.
Ok. So now I had used all 5 of my coupons, and had 5 packages of the 3-pack trial packs of Huggies Pull Ups. Great! Now what?
Remember, I said that each package of the Pull Ups had a coupon for $2.50 off ANY Huggies Diapers?
I opened all the packages in the car, took out the coupons, and went back into WalMart to buy more. There were only 7 packages left, so I used the extra $0.53 per coupon to buy all 7 packages, instead of just 5.
I now had a total of 12 bags of the trial packs, or 36 Pull Ups, for about a buck out of pocket.
I took those 7 coupons to another WalMart, and did it again. Then another WalMart. I was lucky if I found 10 packages at any given WalMart. But then, I found Walgreens.
Walgreens was a gold mine. Each store usually had 30-40 packages.
I eventually had about 15 coupons, and would go into the store, find 15 packages, and use the extra $0.53 per package or $7.95 on other items in the store, getting them for free also.
As I was purchasing the diapers, I would tell curious onlookers how I was getting them for free. I even offered to show other mothers how to get free groceries and toiletries, offering to give them my coupons and the diapers I was getting. But none could be bothered with it. It was very sad to me.
Finding the diapers became a game for me that lasted about 4 months. Every time I would see a Walgreens, we would stop. I went to dozens of stores, and by the time I was done, I had over 2000 Huggies Pull Ups, filling 20 garbage bags. In addition to the free diapers, I also received over $350 in free merchandise from the stores.
Those diapers lasted me though potty training both children, and when I was done, I sold the excess on eBay for another couple hundred in profit.
Though the Huggies deal stands out in my mind as my favorite Coupon Queen deal, it is not unique. Deals like this happen on a regular basis, it’s just that so few of the population either has the time or the desire to find these deals.
Are you a couponer? What has been your favorite ever coupon deal?