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Since I’ve started clipping coupons and shopping deals…I talk about it constantly to anyone who will listen (thus, the blog!). I hear very often from people, “I clip coupons but I can never find anything I can use”, or “I clip coupons but it doesn’t seem worth my time for $0.50 off”. I used to think the same thing! Today I am going to share some insight on gathering your coupons.
Starting your coupon stash doesn’t take long at all. Crystal at Money Saving Mom posted a modified excerpt from her ebook Supermarket Savings 101 that you can read here for a more in depth discussion of what I am about to share.
1) You can order a Sunday paper. If you don’t already get the paper..you can buy it at a newsstand or order it from your local News company. If you wait for a sale, or ask for a deal… you can probably get it for $1/week. Crystal suggests calling your local paper and asking what they do with the leftover Sunday papers…ask if you can buy or have just the coupon inserts. I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to.
2) Cut ALL coupons. Don’t go through and select what you think might work for you…cut them all then toss them out or send them to military families living overseas (more on this later). It appears that deals often show up 2-4 weeks after the coupons show up in the paper.
3) Visit your local coffee house. I would MUCH rather spend $2 on a cup of tea for myself or a treat for my kids than on a paper that I’m sending straight to the recycle bin after I grab the coupons. I discovered that if I hit my local coffee house around 10am on Sunday…I can purchase a treat and round up all of the coupon inserts floating around. On a good day I can get 3 or 4 sets of inserts this way. Be sure to ask the baristas if they mind you snagging the coupons…its always nice to be polite!
4) Let other people know that you are avidly cutting coupons and get them to save their Sunday inserts for you. I get an envelope of coupons from a friend who gets them from one of her husband’s patients, who gets it from her grandmother. I’ll take ‘em where I can get ‘em!
It is useful to have more than one of each particular coupon. If the item goes on sale and is B1G1… you can still use two coupons. If you have FOUR coupons…you can get four of the items. This is especially useful at CVS (be patient with me…we’ll cover that tomorrow!).
5)Internet printables. Most stores will take printable coupons. You can set your printer to black and white print only to save on colored ink… and print away! There are sites like Coupons.com where you can print off various coupons, you can also save on paper and get your coupons to print three to a page by printing them from the coupon bar to the right of this post.
You will be prompted to install a “coupon printer” which you must have to print the coupons. I’ve never had any trouble with this being installed on my computer. Another good resource is the Bricks list… this is a giant list of 93 printable coupons scattered across company websites. Most printable coupons can be printed twice…you will need to go back and refresh your browser to make this work.
You can also find coupons for organic food if you look to a company’s website…. look on the products you like and find their email or website address then email them. Tell them you like their product and do they have any coupons available….most of the time they will oblige. Another option is signing up with Mambo Sprouts. This website is dedicated to finding good deals on good food…among other things.
**TIP** Lots of times to get coupons you have to register with companies to get their “newsletter” or updates. This has a plus and a minus: plus..you will most likely have more opportunity for coupons; minus…you will most likely get lots of junk mail. I recommend setting up a separate email account specifically for this purpose. Gmail has a great spam blocker and I’ve been very pleased with how this is working for me.
6) Request samples. Heather’s website Freebies 4 Mom has an abundant list of freebies that you can send away for. She is careful to post what she finds to be reliable samples….ie…samples that will actually show up… or she lets you know that she doesn’t have a lot of info on it. New samples all the time…and let me tell you… what FUN to get those little goodies in the mail! Often these samples come with …. COUPONS! Coupons that are better than the ones you find in the paper.
6) Peelies. Peelies are the little coupons that you can peel off of products you are buying… or those that you can find on tear pads in the store. Do you know that I never saw those tear pads before I started obsessing about coupons? It is like they magically appear to those who seek the ways of the coupon….but are hidden from ordinary people.
8) Enter Giveaways! So many women have great blogs for saving money… and many, many, many have coupon giveaways to help draw attention to their blogs (I hope to be doing one soon as well!) Usually you need to leave a comment on the blog and they will enter you into the drawing. I will post any and all giveaways that I hear about!
9) Buy your coupons. Sounds counter productive, right? This is a great resource…but can be a pitfall as well. Two sites to use are The Coupon Clippers and The Coupon Master . Both of these sites charge a minimal amount (for example $0.10 for a $1/off coupon) for coupons with a $0.50 admin fee and postage. Both sites require that you place an order of at least $3.00 in order to check out. If you can find coupons that are a good deal for you and your family or you simply don’t have the time to cut your own coupons…this is great. I have been adding about $4.00 of coupons a week to my stash… generally at a savings of around $35.00.
My personal preference is to use The Coupon Clippers. I like the way they are organized and they offer some additional options that make my shopping trips easier. They have a “sales” page on their site that will give you all of the week’s local sales when you put in your zip code and choose your stores. I just discovered this and it is VERY helpful when I do my price matching.
Look to this post to see how I organize all of my coupons…. be prepared to giggle!!