Growing up, my mom was a coupon queen. We had a Sunday paper delivered every week and we would spend the afternoon on the living room floor cutting almost every coupon. My mom would file them away in envelopes divided into categories like health and beauty or pet supplies. In college, I realized all the money-saving techniques my mom taught me would come in handy since I had to start buying my own groceries — Oh, hi, adulting!
Now, I want to pass on all the money-saving strategies I collected during my four years at Bama to you.
1. Good ole' Sunday paper
If you appreciate a good ole' clipped coupon, you can buy a Sunday paper for usually less than $4 at most retail locations (Walmart, Target, Publix, Walgreens, CVS, etc.). Sunday papers usually include local weekly ads and dozens of manufacturer coupons, which can usually be applied in addition to store discounts for extra savings. The Sunday paper can offer hundreds of dollars in savings, but you have to diligent and keep up with expiration dates.
2. Weekly Ads and Flipp
A screenshot from the Flipp app on iPhone
Most stores offer weekly ads which feature discounted products based on seasonal or holiday specials. If you have a smart phone, looking through weekly ads becomes 10 times easier with the Flipp app. Flipp allows you to submit your general location and save all your favorite stores. It automatically updates the weekly ads whenever they change. Using Flipp, you can look through all the ads at your favorite stores without having to physically go to the store to pick up on ad or look it up on each individual website.
If you ever took McFarland Boulevard to campus, you've passed Aldi grocery at least once, located in front of The Lofts at City Center apartment complex. Aldi is a small-ish grocery store chain that found a home in Tuscaloosa in 2015. According to their website, they have 1,600 stores across 35 states. They are up and coming and dedicated to saving you money with the Aldi brand, which makes up 90 percent of products sold in their stores. I know we all like to shop for brands we know and love, but these off-brand Aldi products are of equal quality and cost less, if you ask me it's worth it to give them a try! I'm a big fan of their 8-count ultra-durable paper towels for $6 and their 24-packs of purified water which is usually under $2. They also have weekly sales for seasonal products/holidays like every other grocery store. See what's on sale this week by checking their weekly ad!
4. Publix Digital Coupons and Extra Savings
Screenshot from the Publix app on iPhone
The Publix on the strip is so convenient for Alabama students who live on campus, especially with CrimsonRide bus routes that have drop off and pick up stops. In addition to extra savings coupons that can be found online or near the weekly ads in store, if you create a Publix account through their website you'll have access to digital coupons, which can be applied when you check out at the register with your phone number. Digital coupons can last from two weeks to several months before expiring and represent a variety of categories including makeup, grocery items and personal care items. If you link your address to your Publix account, they will also send you personally tailored coupons in the mail according to your purchase history. For more info on how to save money at Publix, check out the "savings" tab on their website.
5. The Target App and Cartwheel
Screenshot from the Target app on Iphone
If you have a smart phone, I super recommend downloading the Target app. You'll have access to the weekly add and hundreds of discounted items through "cartwheel". When you open the app, you'll look through all the cartwheel offers which can be viewed all at once or by category and "save" which ones you think you'll use. Then when you're ready to check out, you'll scan your personalized barcode and all of your discounts will be applied. I've had the target app for less than six months, and it already saved me a total of $25.
6. CVS Extracare
This is a savings program offered by CVS. You sign up with an email and phone number, and CVS will send you and ExtraCare card in the mail that can be scanned when you check out (or you can use your phone number). Whenever you shop at CVS there will be personally tailored coupons printed on to your receipt and CVS will email you discounts. I often get 40 percent off a single item, which I usually use on makeup items.
As college students, we all understand the struggle that comes when you are suddenly forced to adult. I hope these tips help you survive at Bama and keep a little extra cash in your pocket.
Good luck and roll tide!