And the thing is, it is somewhat true. It's not entirely impossible.
But there are different levels of success depending on how much effort one is willing to put in it.
Some coupon-ers would intentionally subscribe for coupon booklets or online digital coupons. So some folks actually invest some money on this. But overall, they would likely make it back in terms of products.
Recently we've also started using coupons to reduce our costs.
Also, it's fun looking for deals.
Of course the issue that comes along with deals is that it will induce spending for items which we might not use usually.
For example, we sometimes get a coupon to eat at Wendy's, the fast food outlet.
So we buy something (honey biscuit, right picture) at 99¢ which is $1.08 after tax and we get the croissant for "free".
The offer isn't everyday or even every week, so when it appears we just buy 2 for our breakfast for the day.
Is this induced spending? Yes.
If I make some simple breakfast at home, it would cost maybe 50¢.
But it's cheap and it's a good deal.
This is an example of a normal promo/coupon. We might find something similar in Singapore.
What we NEVER find in Singapore, is the ability to stack coupons and promotions.
In Singapore, it's always "not valid with other discounts & promotions".
BUT, in the US, that's not the case.
In US, there are multiple promotions and they all can be stacked.
There are retailer discounts, or clearance, meaning a supermarket itself is running the promotion.
Then there are manufacturer discounts. Which is the company producing the products.
Then there could be cashback apps, which are probably marketers or data miners, who are helping companies market products or they themselves are trying to mine consumer data so that they can further sell the data.
The above Starbucks picture is for ground coffee. Typical retail price is $11.99.
There was a 25% retailers discount. Making the price, $8.99.
Then there was a $2 manufacturer coupon, so the price I needed to actually pay is $6.99.
After paying for the product, I scan the receipt on 2 apps.
One of the apps gives me $5 back as vouchers or Paypal credit.
Another app gives me $2.50 cashback to my Paypal once I reach $20 worth of accumulated credits.
So total for this purchase we actually made 51¢.
With $1 off retailer discount. So we paid $5.99.
Then submitted the receipt on a cashback app and got $5.99 worth of cashback which we can withdraw once we hit $20 accumulation.
As you can see, it's not hard to hit $20 worth of accumulation. Already the Starbucks and Impossible meat add up to $8.49. There are numerous other deals which we use to accumulate to withdraw the funds into Paypal, and we can just use the funds in Paypal to pay for our auto insurance.
There are times when I buy a single banana, cos the cost of a single banana is around 20¢, and the cashback is 25¢ for purchase of any banana.
Or we can buy a reduced to clear item, and submit the receipt for a full cashback.
So maybe at regular price, the item is $1, and the cashback app only gives me 50¢ cashback.
I could potentially wait and if there is a reduced to clear product, I could buy the item at maybe 40¢ and make 10¢ on it, or I might buy the item at 60¢ and get 50¢ cashback, meaning I only pay 10¢ on the item, if it's something I use on a normal basis.
There's really quite a lot of deals and promos if we are willing to look for them. We aren't considered heavy coupon-ers.
Cos there are other folks who just buy even though they don't need it. So they might be willing to pay 50¢ for a $5 product which they don't use, then they might hold a garage sale to sell their stockpile once it gets large enough to do a sale.
For us, we don't have the willingness and place to do a sale so we just buy what we will be able to use, even though I might not use that item usually.
Unless it's a money maker, cos I'm willing to buy dog food if I get money from it, and just give the dog food to a neighbour who owns a dog.
Of course this isn't for ALL items.
Coupon-ing does reduce costs cos I can buy items which I can use as substitutes. Like I can use Impossible Meat for a couple of meals, but the coupon might be only good for 1 use so I might not be able to buy it multiple times.
But it is a fun hobby for the both of us, cos we also use this as an excuse to go out to walk around supermarkets and look for stuff, or we go to a couple of supermarkets in a row to pick up a couple of items at each place.
Also, this is only possible in Houston, cos petrol is cheap and parking is free.
Else if petrol is expensive and I have to pay for parking, then the discounts might not be worth the effort as well.
Anyway, just sharing how the coupons and promos work here. It's significantly different from SG, where we only have one promo at a time and we can't stack stuff.
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