When it comes to saving money on food, one of the best types of promotions to look for are instant discounts (sometimes called “instant rebates”). These are promotions put on by manufacturers when they have surplus of a product that they want to get rid of and thus encourage the shopper to buy multiples to get a discount.

The best part of instant discount promotions is that you don’t have to do any extra work in order to get the discount beyond purchasing the minimum required number of product for that promotion. The cash register will take care of the instant discount and the savings will automatically be applied to your receipt. Instant rebate promotions are usually worded along the lines of “buy 5 and save $5.00 instantly” with a list of the participating products that qualify for the promotion. In other words you would in the above scenario received $1.00 off each product that you buy when you purchase the required number of five.

Instant discounts often lead to getting food at good prices because they can also be used with manufacturer coupons and/or store coupons. For example, if a product is priced at $3.00 and there is an instant rebate promotion of $5.00 off when you buy 5, you can purchase five products for $10.00 (or $2.00 each). If you have a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off 1 for the product, you can use five of these coupons (one for each product you purchase) to bring the price down to $5.00 (or $1.00 each). If you also happen to have a store coupon for the product for $0.50 off 1, you can use five of these as well (one for each product you purchase) making the final price $2.50 for five products. In this scenario you would get five products for less than the normal price of one.

Many people ignore the instant discount promotions since it requires the purchase of a larger number of a product than most people need. They say to themselves, “I only need one or two, I don’t need five so I don’t want to waste the food” and thus choose to purchase a smaller number that doesn’t meet the requirement to receive the discount. What the above scenario shows is that when combined with coupons, instant discounts can mean getting a lot of the product for the same price of just one. In this case, it’s in the best interest of the shopper to buy five, keep two and then donate three to their local food bank.

Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have and I will do my best to answer them. This post is part of the Lazy Couponing series. The next step will be learning about Catalina Coupons.

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  1. Do you have a system for finding the instant rebate coupons, before you leave your home? Most that I’ve seen are usually removable stickers that are applied to the product packaging. Are these advertised elsewhere?

  2. I don’t have a system. Many of them will be advertised in the grocery store circulars (at least major grocery stores like Safeway and Albertsons), but I don’t know of a specific site that lists them all.

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