How do I find coupons?
Manufacturers publish coupons to bring product awareness, boost sales and to promote new items. When coupons are published they have an expiration date anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months from the date of publication. Generally within the life of the coupon, there will be a sale at one of your local stores and you can match the coupon to the sale for additional savings. So, the key concept is to get the coupons for items you normally would purchase and hold them until there is a sale. Patience can have big payoffs!
Manufacturers release coupons in a variety of ways. Below are some ways to obtain coupons:
- Sunday paper coupon inserts
- Magazines – All You has lots of coupons and can be found at Wal-Mart, Women’s Day, Food Magazines, etc.
- Newspapers and local supermarket flyers
- Blinkies – located in the supermarket aisles in little red machine
- Peelies – located on actual product
- Tear Pads – located on special displays in a store and sometimes at customer service desk. Mail-in rebates are often displayed on tear pads.
- Wine Tags/Neck Tags – these are tags that hang on the neck of a wine bottle or any other bottle with a neck.
- Internet Printables – only allowed 2 printed coupons per computer used. Check your store policy, some stores don’t accept or limit the amount you can use in a shopping trip. In addition, they may accept printed coupons but none over a certain value or for free items.
- E-Coupons – lots of local grocery stores and pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) offer electronic coupons to be loaded to your membership card for use. Check the rules for these types of coupons – if the store has a “doubling coupon policy” e-coupons may not be doubled.
- Write to manufactures and ask for coupons. If you are going to do this, we would recommend you set up an email account just for this type of activity so you won’t get bombarded with email offers or spam on your person email.
- Coupon Clipping Service. A service can make your life so much easier, you only select the coupons you are going to use, so no extra papers or clipping coupons. Make sure you pick a service that offers a good variety and is reliable. A coupon clipping service is an advantage, because they source coupons from around the country, not just one area, so the variety is much better than what you can find in your local papers. Choose a service close to your location to ensure you get your coupons timely for sale items, or consider upgraded trackable shipping.
How do I use coupons?
•First, READ READ READ your coupon. Make sure the coupon expiration date is good. Read any limitations listed, such as “only 4 like coupons per shopping trip”. If the coupon states “16oz or larger” you can’t buy a 12oz product and use the coupon. You can only use 1 coupon per product being purchased. So if you buy 3 tubes of toothpaste you can use 3 coupons, but you cannot use 3 coupons for 1 tube of toothpaste. Make sure to match the product you are buying with the coupon.
•Manufacturer coupons are universal and can be used anywhere that accepts coupons. So if you live in TX and go to CA for a trip and want to use a manufacturer’s coupon you can do so.
•Coupons cannot be copied – it is illegal. Only original coupons can be used.
•Wherever you shop, learn the coupon policy. Read carefully, if you have questions, ask. If you are only allowed 6 like items per order, be aware. This is why extreme couponers break their orders up into smaller groups to comply with store policies. Look at things like – do they double coupons? Up to how much? Do they have a special day every month when there is additional savings? Senior Day – 5% off? Triple Coupon Day? Some stores may double up to $.50 or $.99; others may limit double to $1.00. Some stores accept expired coupons up to 30 days after expiration. Others price match competitors and will accept their coupons too. Some won’t double on certain items like dairy products. Some won’t double e-coupons. Some won’t accept coupons that won’t scan – will not hand enter coupons if they do not scan. Some FREE coupons are not accepted if printed from the internet. There can be limit differences on printed coupons vs. published coupons. This knowledge may lead you to some new stores for shopping!
We recommend when you find a good deal on an item that you use regularly, to purchase enough supply until the item goes on sale again and you can restock. Now this is a general rule, if you do not know when the item will go on sale again do 3 months or whatever you are comfortable with. Create your own rules based on your budget and family needs. If you do this within a few months your regular shopping trip will diminish to just essential (milk, bread, etc.) and sales items. This is when you know you’re in the “coupon groove”!
In conclusion, start out slow with one store you are comfortable with and start the coupon matching process. Slowly add more stores in your general shopping area that you frequent on a regular basis. Watch the sales cycles. Choose the stores that have the best coupon policies for your family, limits for a larger family are important. If you are a family of 2, you will definitely shop differently than a family of 6. You probably already know that certain items go on sale every few weeks or months but never really paid any attention. There are a ton of sites that will tell you what coupons to match a sale for many national chains. Just search “coupon matchups” on the web. Honestly, nothing beats just browsing through your favorite local store. You can really find some great bargains. Let’s face it, we are not all going to walk away with a 99% savings at the grocery store, like on TV. However just by doing a little coupon clipping and spending a little time planning, you could save up to 40-60% on your regular shopping trips. Coupon Clipping is well worth the effort!