Couponing 101 – Getting Coupons
If you’ve been following our Couponing 101 series you’ve got a good grasp on Ethical Couponing and Getting Started. But now you’re probably asking, where do I get coupons? If I buy the Sunday paper I’m only getting one set of coupons so how do I get more than one to do all these great deals?
- Buy Multiple Sunday Papers -Although this is an option, it may not be your most cost effective one considering the average cost of the Sunday Paper is $2.00-$2.50 per paper. I typically buy one or two papers every Sunday depending on which coupons are coming out. Some newspapers offer a bundle of (10) papers at a discount. You contact your newspaper on the Monday after the paper comes out and can pick up your bundle on Wednesday. You can find out which coupons are coming out by checking the Sunday Coupon Preview. Keep in mind that some coupons are regional. The preview will typically show an “R” next to any coupons that may be regional ones.
- Ask Friends, Family, Co-Workers – Don’t overlook this great (and FREE) coupon source. I have co-workers who know I coupon who don’t want to coupon themselves (crazy, I know!). I benefit from this craziness and often come in Monday morning to find inserts on my desk. I make sure to share some of my coupon finds to keep the coupons coming. Check with your friends, family, and co-workers to see if they get the Sunday Paper. If they do, ask if they would save their inserts for you. You can also check with your local convenience store to see what they do with unsold papers. If they are not required to destroy them they may be willing to give you the inserts before they dispose of the papers.
- Use a Coupon Clipping Service – Coupon Clipping Services are a great option if you would like multiple coupons or coupons not available in your region. I’ve seen coupons available for as little as .05 each. You pay the service for their time clipping and preparing the coupons as well as a nominal shipping fee (shipping charges range from .50-$1.00 for an average order – larger orders may be higher). I personally like Daily Dimes but there are lots of great services out there. How to Shop for Free has put together a list of our all our favorites HERE
- Print Coupons – There are many sources for printing coupons. How To Shop for Free monitors the coupon sites and posts links to the hottest coupons as we find them. Coupons have a limited number of prints available. When the limit has been reached the coupon will no longer be available. Most coupons will allow two prints for each coupon per device. This means that if you have a desktop computer and a laptop computer you could print two from each for a total of four. Some coupon printing sites such as Coupons.com offer apps for Apple and Android devices allowing you to print additional coupons from devices such as tablets and cell phones with the use of a wireless printer. Some of the most popular coupon printing sites are Coupons.com, SmartSource.com, and RedPlum.com. Coupons.com and Grocery IQ offer mobile apps for coupon printing. Keep in mind that if you are using a Mobile App such as Grocery IQ it will allow you an additional 2 prints per device of your Coupons.com coupons. For example, if I download the Coupons.com and Grocery IQ apps on my IPad I can print 2 coupons from the Coupons.com app and 2 coupons from the Grocery IQ app for a total of 4 prints of that coupon from my IPad. These are general guidelines for the number of prints that you are able to do per device. Keep in mind that as with anything YMMV.
- Email or Write Companies – Many companies will send coupons to you if you ask. I would suggest emailing (or writing) the company to let them know how much you love their product and ask them for coupons so that you can continue to enjoy it. I’ve had great success with companies like Colgate and Barber Chicken. Not all companies provide coupons but keep a list of those that send coupons to you so you can periodically request them.
- Tear Pads, Blinkies, and Peelies – These are coupons that you will find in the store on or near the product. These types of coupons can lead to an ethical debate as to whether or not it’s ok to take these if you’re not using them at that time. If you choose to please be respectful of others when deciding how many you will take. For example, it’s never ok to take an entire tear pad. Please leave some for others.
- Load to Card (L2C) or Electronic Coupons – These are manufacturers coupons available to load to your Store Loyalty or Rewards Card and will come off your order at checkout when the cashier scans your card. These coupons are available to load from the store’s website. At some stores you can stack these with paper manufacturers coupons (Stop & Shop) and at others you can’t (Rite Aid) so you would need to check your store’s coupon policy.
I’m sure you’ve seen those shows where people dumpster dive or pick through other people’s trash. I haven’t listed this because I really don’t consider this to be a viable option. In many areas this type of activity is illegal so if you choose to do this please check your local laws to make sure it’s ok.
Now that I’ve got all these coupons, I’m going to want to organize them, right? We’ll cover this next week in the next installment of Couponing 101 brought to you by How to Shop for Free.