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Welcome to the first of a new series entitled How To Eat For Free – this week focusing on shopping Apps and Coupons
One of the best ways to cut back on the cost of the weekly shop is by sourcing as much food as you can for free
This is the first post in a new series on my blog talking about how to eat for free. Impossible, you might think? Ask most families what their biggest monthly outgoings are and food is normally right up there. But there is so much we can do to cut the cost of spending on groceries and for me the first step is always sourcing as much food as possible for free.
In this post I am going to talk about using phone apps and coupons to get food for free. The pro’s, the cons, where to find coupons and how to use them. Using a combination of these two things helps me save a fortune a my monthly shop, which I have cut down to just £50 a month.
Using coupons is a great a way to get money off your shopping and reduce your monthly spend. There are coupons out there for almost everything, including money off a certain amount spent, coupons for money off certain products and coupons for free items.
One of the biggest pros to using coupons is that you get money off your shopping straight away, unlike the shopping apps where you have to claim the money back. This is great if you don’t much money to spend in the first place and don’t like the idea of waiting for the refunds to go into your bank account.
Extreme couponing can be time consuming and fiddly. There can also be issues with supermarkets not knowing which coupons they should be accepting and I know this can put people off. While I do enjoy a bit of couponing I do maybe one or two small targeted shops a month rather than this being something I focus all of my time on.
Where to find Coupons
There are so many places to find coupons but my favorites are newspapers and magazines. If you pick up the free supermarket magazines then be sure to pick up a couple in-case of any really good offers. I also seem to get quite a few coupons posted through my door, recently one for a free rustlers burger at Morrison’s. Be sure to check supermarket fliers for conditional spend vouchers too, such as £5 off a £30 spend. Even if you just used one £5 off voucher each week, think how much free food that would get you over the course of the year.
There are coupons online that can be printed off at home and used in store. Check out this post for more information on where to find these.
How much shopping can I expect to get for Free with Coupons?
I think the answer to this really depends how much time and effort you want to put in to couponing. If you have the time to find, print and use lots of coupons you could probably get the majority of your shopping for free, or very little. Personally I don’t have the time to take it to this level but there are massive savings to be had if you do. Combing coupons with offers on shopping apps and supermarket offers like roll backs is the best way to get food and groceries for free.
There are several shopping apps and all of them are great for getting freebies and money off your shopping. The main four I use are CheckoutSmart, ClickSnap, GreenJinn and Shopmium. Simply download them from the app store and sign up to get started.
I like the shopping apps because they are so quick and easy to use. You can filter offers by supermarket to help you plan your shop and they have loads of freebies and offers. If you have a partner make sure they download all of the apps too for double the savings and double the freebies.
While you are getting food for free this comes in the shape of a refund rather then money off at the till. Not so good if you don’t have the money to spend in the first place or don’t want to wait a few days to get the money back. A lot of people build up their refunds to £20 and then claim it back. Also make 100% sure you are buying the right product from the right supermarket. Some of the apps are linked and so separate receipts are needed if you want to claim for offers on both. This obviously can make your shop a bit more fiddly and time consuming. The freebies can also be spread across lots of different shops, great if you are shopping there anyway but a few trips may be necessary to take full advantage of all offers.
How much can I expect to get for Free with Shopping apps?
I find that on a week to week basis there are plenty of freebies to be had across the four main apps. I usually try and do a targeted app shop once a week but if there are any offers that are short lived and for something I really want or need then I will pop in and those grab items. Check the four main apps before each shop you do and make a list of what you can get for free.
In the run up to Christmas last year there was so many freebies and offers I was able to make this Chocolate treats hamper for under £3. The RRP was around £24. The majority of the items were free from using shopping apps and could easily have been split down into smaller hampers to cater for more people. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to do this again this year.