One of my guilty pleasures is the US reality show Extreme Couponing - if I lived across the pond there is little doubt I'd have my own stockpile of random junk down in my comes-as-standard basement. As it is, I've got a kitchen smaller than a US hallway and UK retailers have long been savvy when it comes to ensuring people can't go around 'stacking' their coupons for mega deals.
Still, it is plenty possible to make decent savings on your weekly shop via couponing. You can find coupons in store magazines and newspapers, brand websites (individual or group, like Supersavvyme and CaringEveryday), and money saving sites like Extreme Couponing UK and Money Saving Expert.
These will usually be for money off at the till, but you can also use cashback apps which involve you buying the item, then claiming money back by scanning the product barcode and your receipt. My favourite of these is -
Super simple to use and with regular freebie offers, Shopmium is probably the best known of these apps. When you sign up with a referral code (mine is yc7c5) you get a freebie offer to start you off, meaning you can go and practice how it all works risk free. My initial offer was for a large bar of Dairy Milk which served as suitable encouragement to go and get on with it!
The offers are spread across the major supermarkets and other stores like Boots, so how useful the app will be depends on your location. My hometown of Cwmbran is very centralised, with most of the major supermarkets within walking distance, meaning I can pick up freebies without having to pay out in petrol or bus fares.
As with all offers, you need to weigh up how much of a bargain it really is, and make sure you read the T&Cs carefully. Sometimes you can use the same offer more than once, for example, while other offers require you to buy multiples of a product.
Keep reading for more cashback apps...
Main offers are at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, with occasional offers at Iceland, Boots, Waitrose / Ocado, Co-op, Lidl, Aldi, and more. You can also upload receipts from any of the stores each day for a chance to win £10.
If you want to cash out less than £20, you'll be charged a transfer fee of 5%.
Run by cashback site Quidco, ClickSnap offers tend to be for Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, and Morrisons.
Offers are available for Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Waitrose.
Minimum cashout is £1.50.
Snap & Save
The name of Topcashback's grocery offers. This is the most limited of the services listed, but they do occasionally have freebies worth grabbing.
Couponing also allows you to be charitable even on a very tight budget. If there's a freebie deal on for a product you don't need, consider picking it up for donation to your local foodbank. Most supermarkets these days have a trolley near the front of the store for donations of food as well as sanitary and household products.
E.g. Last week Marianna and I went to Morrisons and used a couple of Ella's Kitchen coupons I'd received in the post to buy baby food which was on offer - making it free! - and popped it in the food bank trolley on the way out.