If you haven’t already read the Blog Post below, you may want to check it out prior to reading this one. 🙂
I am so glad I got your wheels turning and that you are enjoying this series.
I am going to guide you step by step and help you to understand how to efficiently use the in-store stacking method.
Let’s start with a high level overview:
- Find a store that has the item on sale. (First stack)
- Find a Manufactures coupon that matches the item that is on sale. (Second stack)
- See if there is a Store coupon that also matches the item that is on sale. (Third Stack)
- Are there rewards offered for buying this particular item at the store of your choice. (Fourth Stack)
- Use a rewards credit card, store rewards from a previous purchase or gift card that you bought on a discounted website to pay. (Fifth Stack)
- Is this item rebate eligible? (Sixth Stack)
Now, let’s break down what each step actually means:
Your first stacking opportunity is finding the items you need or will need on sale. I say need or will need as this is very important. Never buy something you don’t need, will not need or won’t use just because you can get a deal. This defeats the purpose of saving as it is actually wasting. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you can get the item for free or want to try it by all means, buy away! If it’s free but won’t use it you may be able to make some money and sell it! Better yet, pay it forward and gift it or donate it to someone. How can you find what stores are offering a sale on the items you are looking for? This can be done by checking out the local ads, newspaper or online. Note: some of these sales may be member only sales, meaning that you will need a rewards card to get these particular offers.
Tip: Try sticking to one or two stores for everything you need. This will save your time and your gas (this should be an additional stacking opportunity if you ask me!)
Your second stacking opportunity comes from the use of Manufactures coupons. These coupons can be found several places: newspapers, magazines, online, and from in-store Catalina coupon machines (these are the ones the cashiers hand you with your receipt at check-out). One of my favorite websites to find Manufacture Coupons is coupons.com. Manufactures coupons come with expiration dates so be sure to watch out for that. Note: You can use ONE manufactures coupon per item, but check out your stores coupon policy for more information. Also be sure to check out the fine print on the coupon as some restrictions to apply.
Tip: Don’t throw away your expired manufactures coupons. You can donate them to our military and military families overseas! They are able to use coupons for a certain time period after their expiration. For more information about how you can help our military click here.
Store coupons are your third stacking opportunity. Store coupons are coupons offered by a specific store and can only be used at that store. In general these can be found online but are occasionally located in store ads, newspapers, in-store print outs or online apps. Like Manufacturers coupons these too come with expiration dates so be sure to watch out for this as well. Reference the store’s specific coupon policy but in most cases you are able to use ONE store coupon as well as one manufactures coupon per item.
The fourth and most complex stacking opportunity comes from store rewards. I use the word complex because there are so many different rewards offered and rules that go along with each one. Stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Target offer rewards to their customers when they purchase certain products they are promoting. For example, CVS offers Extrabucks, Rite Aid offers UP Rewards, Walgreens offers Balance Rewards and Target offers Gift Cards.
Tip: These rewards cannot be used at the time of purchase but instead can be saved for your next purchase.
The fifth and least explored opportunity in my opinion is a getting a savings by using a specific payment method. Quite honestly this is the most recent stack that I have discovered but golly, do I save and earn a lot of money from this! Let me explain, for a majority of my purchases I use a credit card that earns rewards. In general, depending on the specific credit card you use you can earn anywhere from 1%-5% that can be redeemed for cash, points, or services as at later time. As long as you pay your credit card off every month, this opportunity works wonders! Note: Sometimes the rewards earned by using a credit card can be beat by buying a gift card from one of the many discounted gift card sites around. My favorite is raise.com (use this link to get $5 off your first purchase). I feel confident purchasing from them because they have a 1 year money back guarantee if anything should go wrong with your card. I’ve seen gift cards for up to 30% off! Don’t forget to use the rewards you earned from previous purchases (see stacking opportunity four).
Tip: Do your research when looking for a credit card that offers rewards. Try finding one with a low APR (pay off your balance every month to avoid paying interest), no annual fee and high rewards on places you shop all the time.
Your sixth and final stacking opportunity is determining whether your purchase or items are rebate eligible. This is another newly discovered opportunity on my part. Rebates are available through many platforms, these include:
- The traditional, tried and true, mail-in rebates that we know so well (these are mostly found online and on the products themselves),
- And apps such as Ibotta (my favorite, use this link to get a $10 welcome bonus) and Checkout 51 that allow you to earn rebates on items you purchase. The great thing about these types of rebates is that often there are rebates for fresh fruits and vegetables, items that rarely are eligible for other discounts such as coupons. After reaching a certain dollar amount of rebates you can redeem them for cash (check or paypal) and gift cards.
Tip: Download these apps, they are free! Check them out and use them all!
Now you can begin to see what I am talking about, right?!? There are so many ways to save in just one transaction alone and none of these are incredibly difficult or time consuming. All that it takes is a little bit of effort. Honestly, it’s unbelievable and to think this is just coupon affiliated stacking. Keep in mind there are other methods of stacking too, like online shopping stacking which will be featured in a future blog post.