If there’s something you can be certain of when it comes to having a family, it’s the fact they can magically consume a week’s worth of shopping in days. Now, reducing that financial burden through careful meal planning, supermarkets comparisons, bulk-buying and using savvy slow cooker recipes can help, but have you ventured into the world of supermarket coupons and discount vouchers?
Time versus benefit of couponing (extreme or not?)
Time is money. At least that’s the phrase you may have heard banded around. When it comes to locating where to find vouchers and coupons to save money on your food shop and supermarket bill, time is very much the issue. You can save huge amounts if you have the time to bring all the elements of an extreme coupon shop together. In fact, using the Asda Price Guarantee, manufacturer coupons, cashback apps and researched price glitches it’s been possible in some cases for me to almost be paid to shop.
However, on a regular basis, I balance my efforts for making money and saving money where the time has the most impact. Usually, for me, the quicker wins for balancing finances are Matched Betting (to generate funds), Cashback Apps (for quick wins in store) and then on the way out the occasional wombled receipt.
Types of coupons and the pros and cons
There are a whole host of supermarket and brand vouchers and coupons available. There are however a few things to consider for each. The default type of coupon that you may have come across is the printed store coupon. These can be printed at the till alongside your receipts, occasionally obtained from ATM machines or even found in supermarket magazines.
The upside of the pre-printed supermarket vouchers is the fact you’ll not need to print the coupons and vouchers yourself. However, this also means it’s tricky to control how many vouchers you can get. Often when printing your own you’ll be able to print multiples (subject to the terms of the voucher), with store printed ones you’ll either need to do more shops to get the till splits or pick up multiple magazines from stores and become a coupon clipper!
Printing your own from the internet, or PDFs is more easy to source and manage, but obviously, you’ll need to pay for paper and ink. Consider “instant ink” from HP or a decent budget Laserjet where the ink won’t dry out between uses.
Where to find supermarket coupons
As mentioned above, the prime instore place to locate vouchers or coupons for your supermarket shop is via their magazines. Most of these are delivered in bulk and often vanish quickly, so grab them fast if you find a decent coupon. They are often located just past the tills, ironically after you’ve shopped.
On the off chance, you cannot get vouchers by getting a physical copy, consider checking out the internet for digital versions. Then, either print the PDF page with the vouchers or save paper and ink by using your computer’s snipping tool to copy and paste multiples onto a page of A4. Digital magazine platform Issuu often hold store magazines to clip from, such as the Tesco Mag (although some issues have coupons blanked out these days).
Most supermarkets take printed vouchers, however their policies on vouchers always change and often the acceptance of coupons and vouchers varies depending on the store manager and staff’s training being updated regularly.
A default thing I have to hand where possible is a copy of the latest policy so I can query any refusal to honour a coupon. As a side note, if you do have issues, nothing shows consumer power more than using a stores’ own helpdesk to phone their own HQ customer service number and clarify a policy with the staff. Ultimately, staff will get to know if you’re a couponer pretty quickly, but this can be useful as I’ve often been able to point out how their tills work better than themselves. Mainly, again, because the constant upskilling and support of staff knowledge isn’t always consistent in some supermarket stores. Given the choice, however, staying under the radar as a couponer is best.
Main Supermarket Voucher Policies
It’s always worth emailing the customer service teams for the supermarkets you use and requesting the latest “voucher policy” so you have a copy on file or to hand. I’ve included in this section the responses I’ve had via email from a few big grocery store chains prior to writing this blog post. They’re useful for reference but may change at any time.
At Asda we accept all manufacturers’ coupons (including internet coupons) in line with their terms and conditions. You must buy the product to redeem the coupon.
You can use as many coupons as you like in one transaction as long as each coupon is redeemed against the product specified. If you have multiple coupons for one product, each coupon must be redeemed against only one unit of that product, e.g.
If you have 6 x 10p coupons off Heinz baked beans – you can only use one coupon per can.
The only exception to this rule are coupons that say something different on them e.g:
“One per customer”
“One per household”
“Only One per transaction”
Thank you for your email regarding our Clubcard vouchers and coupons.
• Issued by suppliers such as Coca Cola, Ariel, etc.
• The coupon can only be redeemed if the customer has purchased the product
• Check the coupon is in date
• Some suppliers use a watermark on their coupons
• If the coupon does not scan, enter the barcode manually.
• No change can be given
• The product must be purchased or the required spend value must be met, otherwise the voucher will not scan
• If the product has been purchased or value spend has been met and the voucher does not scan, call a Team Leader to report the issue to the Stores Helpdesk
• If the coupon does not scan but the customer has purchased the product, the points can be added manually at the Customer Service Desk Competitors’ Conditional Spend Coupon
• We no longer accept competitors coupons
• The product displayed on the coupon must be purchased
• Check the coupon is in date
• Coupon can be in colour or black and white but must not look like a photocopied coupon
• If the coupon does not scan, enter the bar-code manually
All staff should be trained in what is accepted and please contact customer services should you have any future issues.
Tesco Customer Service
What coupons and vouchers do you accept instore?
A coupon will be accepted if:
- It has a barcode
- It has terms and condition and they are validated
- It’s not a competitors voucher (unless specifically advertised in store)
- The coupon is being redeemed against the correct product
- We sell the product.
Coupons printed from the internet can be accepted providing they meet the above criteria.
To redeem a Nectar bonus point coupon you must have your Nectar card with you.
Healthy Start and Luncheon Vouchers are also accepted.
Forgo the High Street Groceries by using Amazon Vouchers
If you fancy an alternative, Amazon is worth considering for their grocery options. Occasionally there’s bulk offers that can be combined with existing vouchers and coupons provided by Amazon themselves. Check out the available coupons on the Amazon voucher page. When you then factor in that you can additionally use Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” option to get up to 20% off the usual price, it can be a realistic financial option. This is particularly evident when buying larger supplies of non-food consumables like nappies.
You can use Amazon vouchers by clicking on the relevant coupon and then adding the associated item to your basket. Boosting this further by keeping your eyes peeled for discounted Amazon gift cards to use as payment is also a great option.
Another website resource offering downloadable and printable vouchers and coupons is SuperSavvyMe. This site works in a similar way to the P&G site mentioned above. Worth noting is you can choose to have some vouchers posted to you if you click the “do not have a printer” option, this is handy for saving ink and costs. On the other hand, if you are printing, try clicking your browser “back” button as soon as you print… Occasionally you’ll get another second unique ID voucher is using the coupons.net software.
Special Issue Supermarket Coupons, Vouchers and comparisons
Most stores have their own versions of special issue coupons, sometimes known as “rainy day vouchers”. These were traditionally used in small grocery stores where an offer sold out and the shopkeeper would write a special honour note on a piece of paper allowing the customer to return and get that offer when there was more stock. These are now little known about, even some staff have little knowledge of them at times. Now, each store will vary but Tesco, in particular, has been known to regularly offer these special promise vouchers to honour at a later date. To get one simple ask either management or the customer service teams.
Also worth considering is boosting savings further using coupons and vouchers from the sources mentioned above in combination with the major supermarket chain brand guarantees and price comparison promises. The Asda Price Guarantee if great for not only matching competitors but also for beating them by 10% extra. The voucher needs to be printed at home and then redeemed on future shops. The Tesco Brand Guarantee works in a similar way except you’ll receive the discount on the bill at the time when you actually shop – this is great if there’s an ending multibuy discount not reflected quickly on the tills as you’ll get the live comparison price from online stacking with the old prices from the shelves (or vice versa), commonly known as a glitch.
Whilst Waitrose doesn’t compare in the same way you can use their Pick your own and My Offers sections to combine vouchers and coupons with stacking multibuy offers. Plus Waitrose Card special offers, like the free coffee and newspaper count as “valued” items towards any conditional spend vouchers and coupons you might have. You can read more about the best way to maximize your money at Waitrose in my earlier article.
Online coupons and vouchers
There are other sources for coupons and vouchers online to help in saving money on your food or home shop. One such example is the P&G brand voucher outlet Caring Everyday. This site will let you print an ever-changing array of vouchers for P&G (Proctor & Gamble) products. The P&G brand is larger than you might expect and the vouchers renew and change reasonably regularly so it’s well worth a check.
You can boost your discounts by using the double discount method of pre-purchasing gift cards or e-vouchers to use as a payment method instead of using a direct payment at checkout. This can at times be used on top of the existing offers, multibuys and discounts at some retailers. The can also be used, in most cases on new products that are usually exempt from a sale where vouchers are used. One of the best websites for buying and selling these discount coupons and vouchers is Zeek which I’ve previously reviewed.
Smartphone apps for coupons, cashback and rewards
There is always an evergrowing list of apps to support getting supermarket vouchers at a discount. These all work by either giving virtual vouchers, cashback after purchase or rewards for simply shopping. I’ve included the main apps I use in terms of the value they give related to the time they take to use.
CheckoutSmart: This is a fab app that simply works on the basis of buying a listed product during a promotion period, then scanning the receipt and product to have cashback added to your account. Note that there’s a minimum amount you need to “cash out” earnings and a small fee for doing this. Also, make sure to scan receipts as soon as possible after purchase to avoid an offer vanishing from the app before you’ve requested cashback.
Shopmium: This is by far my favourite app at the moment for two main reasons. Firstly, you can buy multiple items in some offers to maximize savings and allowing bulk buying. Secondly, the offer items actually range from useful family cupboard items to occasional free tipple for hard-working voucher hunters. Actually, come to think of it, there’s a third selling point to this app and it’s a biggie; I’m referring to Shopmium’s refer a friend scheme. Using this scheme your friends can get introduction freebies, and you get credit which can supplement your offers in a very clever way. Basically, if there was an offer for 50% cashback on a food item any referral credit you had would boost it to 100%. This means if you refer enough people all the offers on Shopmium suddenly become completely free!
Shopprize: This is a very simple app that allows you to scan all sorts of receipts in, not just groceries, in order to claim rewards. Each receipt is worth 100 virtual coins which you can use to bid on prize raffles or save to cash out as Amazon Credit. If you scan most shopping receipts, including those you find on the ground you’ll get Amazon gift cards every few weeks as payouts. Sign up to get started with 200 free credits today, well worth a try.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that instore mags are great sources for coupons, and also the online versions of these via the Issuu website. However, other media also regularly have great coupons such as the national press who often have conditional spend offers for money of all chains. Whilst the free magazine “Metro” is mainly handed out at tube and train stations, the online version can also be found online and pages printed or clipped to get vouchers.
Direct brand offers and promotions.
The last source of coupons and discounts is via the brands directly. Get in touch on social media and tweet a comment tagging them in with a compliment of complaint. Otherwise, use a brands’ contact page to reach out. Compliments have worked best for us, but even better results have just come from blatant blagging. If I know I’d like to try something or I buy lots of a product I ping an email, or letter asking in a blatant yet polite manner if they have samples or coupons available.
Money back guarantees and buy and try offers are also another discount source. Most major supermarkets have a “satisfaction” promise on their own brand items, so be honest and praise or slate them to get refunds. Similarly, brands also offer these occasional claim the cost back deals, although often you’ll have to claim by scanning or sending a receipt.