6 Smart Ways to Save Money This Year (Without Clipping a Coupon)


The days of exclusively saving money by clipping coupons are long gone. While using paper coupons still makes sense in many cases, there now exists a plethora of new ways to save when buying the stuff you need. Here are six new money-saving techniques that you should add to your toolbox this year. Your wallet will surely thank you.

1. Ibotta

The hottest money-saving app in recent years is Ibotta, which takes grocery savings to a whole new level — no coupon clipping required. The app lets you redeem "rebates" in place of coupons on items you'll be buying anyways. It doesn't matter the store, or the price — you still collect the rebate. It even has rebates on generic items like milk, eggs, and loaves of bread.

You simply unlock rebates via the app before your trip to the grocery store, do your shopping like you normally would, then upload a picture of your receipt as evidence of your purchase. Ibotta then credits your account with the rebate within 48 hours. Get at least $20 in your account, which won't take long if you're buying groceries for a family, and collect your earnings via PayPal or a gift card.

2. Become a #Hashtag Pro

Most folks who attempt to use social media to save money are doing it all wrong. If you're not using the famed hashtag correctly, you're probably not finding the best deals. For example, let's say you live in Atlanta and are looking for a screaming deal on a new bicycle on Twitter or Facebook. Be sure to use hashtags like #bike #deals and #atlanta rather than combining words like #BikeDeals or #DealsAtlanta. By breaking up the hashtag into separate words, you'll actually find deals on specific items and spend less time weeding through useless information.

3. Use Hyphens in Craigslist Searches

Craigslist is another fantastic resource to find deals on stuff that others are getting rid of, no coupon clipping required. But if you've ever used their search feature, you know it can be difficult to find exactly what you're looking for without having to sift through a bunch of junk.

An easy workaround is to start using the hyphen (-) in your search queries. Specifically, use the hyphen to exclude or block certain words. For example, let's say you're looking for some gently used furniture, but would like to stay away from any IKEA items. Simply search "Furniture -ikea" and they'll automatically exclude all IKEA furniture from your search results. This is a huge time saver and can help you quickly find the best deals on exactly what you're looking for.

4. Ask About Store Markdown Days

Another great way to save at retailers, without using a coupon, is to figure out when your favorite stores do their clearance markdowns. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than showing up at a store like Old Navy and having the clearance section completely picked over. But if you're in the know, most Old Navy locations do their markdowns on Sunday and Monday mornings. So if you shop early in the week, you'll be able to take advantage of clearance deals when they're most likely to have your size and color.

The bottom line is to always start a conversation with store employees and politely ask what day of the week they do their markdowns. Try it and you'll be amazed with how open most employees are with the information. Then plan your shopping trips accordingly and shop when there is ample clearance inventory and real opportunities to save money.

5. Look for Quantity Discounts

If you have any DIY projects planned for this year, and know you'll be buying in bulk, start thinking about quantity discounts that many retailers offer. No coupon required to qualify for these discounts. Think about things like lumber, nails, fencing, paint, and screws. Here are a few quantity discounts to be aware of.

  • Home Depot: They call it Volume Pricing Discounts. Once you build your project checklist, you'll qualify for a discount when your order exceeds $1,500.
  • Lowe's: Through the Lowe's ProServices: Buy in Bulk program, you'll score deals on contractor packs, reduced delivery fees, as well as a flat 5% discount.
  • Costco: Available to all paying members, Costco's Volume Sales Department can hook you up with some exclusive quantity discounts.
  • Sam's Club: Sam's offers what they call Pallet Quantity Discounts which will get you deals on stacking chairs, folding tables, office tables, and even sports drinks.

6. Use Grocery Store Loyalty Cards Religiously

While some grocery store loyalty cards are nothing more than a way to send you worthless advertising, many are absolutely worth your while. This is especially true if the grocery store has a gas station attached to it that gives gas discounts via your loyalty card. (See also: 5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards)

Also, many grocery stores slash prices on meat, dairy, and bakery items via their loyalty card, making it another smart way to save. Many also allow you to add coupons found online to the card, completely removing the need to cut them out of the newspaper. Bottom line, be sure you're taking full advantage of the loyalty programs your local grocery stores provide. (See also: The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries)

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Guest's picture

Thanks for the great article, Kyle James! I use ibotta but I didn't know about the other helpful money-saving tricks.