Jun 29, 2022 - Economy

Paper coupons are dying but you can still beat inflation

Illustration of binoculars with the lenses reflecting overlapping newspaper sale clippings

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Record inflation isn’t the only reason your groceries cost more: The paper coupon has been slowly dying and it's getting harder to save.

The big picture: “It's hard to pinpoint exactly if and when print coupons will become extinct, but they're definitely on that path,” Kristin McGrath, savings expert with RetailMeNot, told Axios.

  • Kantar Media estimates that 168 billion coupons circulated in 2021 across print and digital formats, down from about 294 billion in 2015, The New York Times reports.

A few quick tips for cutting costs without using scissors:

  • Switching to more store brands is one of the easiest ways I save money. For example, I've replaced Nabisco Wheat Thins with Aldi's Thin Wheat crackers and save around 75% on a box.
  • Buying in bulk: I load up the cart at wholesale clubs Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale so I can shop less often and lock in today's prices to save myself upcoming price increases. I also save on gas and buy rotisserie chicken, which is one of the only things not hit by inflation.
  • Monitor weekly sales: For my grocery store runs, I look at the store circulars (usually digitally) to figure out where I'll shop.
  • Clip digital coupons: Most grocery store chains — think Publix and Kroger — have digital coupons and I check the apps and websites to clip them before shopping.
  • Earn cash back: I have earned nearly $3,000 in rebates through the Ibotta shopping app, which gives rebates on groceries and percentages of cash back on online purchases. I also have racked up thousands using cashback programs like RetailMeNot and Rakuten.

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