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Couponing is NOT just for groceries anymore!  Once you feel comfortable with grocery store couponing, it’s time to move into saving more money on more expensive items.  After all, a government report says we only spend 9% of our money on groceries.  The other 91% goes to housing, clothes, cars, healthcare, entertainment, travel, education, and a bunch of other things.  It just makes sense to look at how you can coupon to erase some of that 91% of your budget, too!
 
Step 1:
Anyplace you shop, sign up for the loyalty program—
 
Step 2:
—but don’t sign up for their credit cards until you are ready to make a big purchase, because sometimes that first credit card purchase gives you a bigger-than-normal discount. 
 
Step 3: 
Then check your couponing apps to see where else they work. 
 
Checkout 51 has prescription and gas discounts. 
 
Fetch offers money back at certain restaurants and ticket venues for concerts, sports events, and family fun. 
 
Ibotta users save on gas, electronics, and home improvement products at major stores. 
 
VIP Perks has discounts on travel, restaurants, entertainment, automotive repair, the vet, really, just about everything not covered by Checkout 51 (so no grocery, gas, or prescription coupons—but loads of everything else). 
 
If you are not yet familiar with the VIP Perks app, do you remember The Entertainment Book?  It was a popular school fundraiser when I was a kid.  We sold those 2-inch-thick directories of local coupons for about $25.  Since then, Entertainment put all their local coupons together and loaded them into the VIP Perks app, a nationwide coupon app with half a million coupons for restaurants, automotive repair, everything, even discounts on lawn mowing, pet prescriptions, art studio sessions, college athletics tickets, martial arts classes, hair and nail salons, house painting, etc. 
 
Bigger ticket industries, like entertainment and travel, are not immune to the coupon sweep.  In fact, if you get excited about saving a dollar at the grocery or getting a free tube of toothpaste, then you’re going to love couponing in these other, more expensive categories.
 
Look at entertainment, an expensive and often overlooked part of every family budget.  VIP Perks offers users discounts at Disney parks and cruises, Universal, museums, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and other fun destinations.  I know a family of 4 people who used the 30% off Legoland coupon on VIP Perks and saved $108.  The same family later that week used a 30% off Kennedy Space Center online coupon code from VIP Perks to save $73.  That's nearly $200 couponed in one week.  Saving that much money is like a giveaway of a cart full of free groceries!
 
Entertainment Fun Coupons vs Grocery Savings
 
Even if you aren’t planning on going anywhere, you can save money near home.  My free AMC Stubs Insider loyalty account gave me a free large popcorn for one visit during my birthday month.  I paired it with 40% off AMC movie tickets through the VIP Perks app and had a blast.
 
A few months ago, friend and I went to Smashburger.  Before going, we picked up Smashburger gift cards at Sam’s Club, paying $37.50 for $50 in gift cards.  At Smashburger, we used a VIP Perks Buy 1, Get 1 Free Burger online coupon code.  Without discounts, we would have paid about $8.60 per burger, $4.60 each for fries, and $3 each for drinks; a total of $32.40.  Instead, our check for food and drinks was $23.80, and we used the gift card.  So, we really paid $17.85 (and saved $14.55 or 45%).  Nice, right?! 
 
Burger Fries and Soda 45 Percent Coupon Savings
 
On a more practical side, I was talking with a friend whose parents wanted to repaint their house in Florida.  I suggested she coupon it.  She laughed.  In less than 30 minutes, I gave her 3 different painting coupons for painters near her parents’ home.  One from a home improvement “magazine” (glossy paper coupon book) with its coupons posted online.  One from a simpler coupon book that also listed its coupons online.  And one from the VIP Perks coupon app.  Any of the three would save about $150 off a paint job of $2,000 or more.  And saving $150 is like another giveaway of a week or two of groceries!
 
Some of these apps cost money to join.  Some offer members a referral fee.   VIP Perks does both.  You can try for free, while making money referring friends with your online coupon code.
 
VIP Perks also collaborates with fundraising groups, like schools, PTAs, sports teams, and other nonprofits, to offer the VIP coupon app as a fundraiser.  Using a fundraising code takes up to 50% off the regular price of the VIP Perks coupon app membership (which makes it cheaper than the other places I checked) and they give 50% back to that nonprofit.  For example, they take 50% off their prices AND give 50% back to Eisenhower Middle School if you use the online coupon code "50EISENHOWERMS."  They use the same scenario if you would like to sign up as a partner—free coupon app for you and you earn for every new member who uses your referral code during checkout.
 
If you have been grocery couponing and pharmacy couponing for a while, you are probably comfortable taking the next step.  Pick something specific, like planning a night out or a vacation or needing a new bed.  Then coupon it.  Look in every coupon booklet you find in your mailbox, near exits at restaurants and groceries, anywhere.  And look at coupon apps.  (Most let you browse to see the coupons even before you pay to activate a membership.)  And sign up for the relevant loyalty groups.  And find out if the places have special promotions that aren't mentioned in a typical sale ad, like a big discount the day you open a credit card there.  Sometimes you can stack the credit card discount over a sale price AND use a coupon.  And always check if there’s a “free stuff” Facebook page near you, because free is always great.  
 
Impress yourself.  Don’t stop couponing at the grocery.  Every bit counts!  But don’t limit yourself, either.  Couponing can save you thousands of dollars, especially when you target non-grocery parts of your budget.
 
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