We’ve all seen the shows. The suburban mom walks into the grocery store armed with her trusty binder overflowing with coupons and sale ads. Intent on purchasing several carts full of items for a mere pennies on the dollar, she cruises the aisles of the store methodically counting and recounting her “stock”. And to our surprise, week in and week out, she is successful. I don’t know about you but I always find myself saying “How did she do that? It’s just not possible”.
To be successful at extreme couponing you need two very important things…Space and TIME! While you may have the extra storage space, the unfortunate reality is that most of us do not have the additional 20-40 hours a week necessary for scouting, sorting, and clipping hundreds of coupons. So what exactly are my fellow time-challenged moms and dads to do?
The fact is that it’s really not that hard to be a savvy shopper. Where do you start? If you want to become an amazing couponer the first thing need you need to do is to build your coupon supply otherwise known as “stock”. Following are some great tips on where and how to locate money saving coupons. Please feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!
- Newspaper Inserts – Newspaper inserts are still the best way to find coupons. Coupons are regional so, even though your local paper may not have coupons that you want, another city paper may be packed with great deals. In order to find out what coupons will be in your newspaper, visit Sunday Coupon Preview each week.
- Manufacturer’s Websites – If you’re a fan of a particular brand then check out their website or social media pages for coupons. Sign up for their newsletter and print coupons right from their website. You can do this for almost any of the major brands.
- Internet Printable Coupons (IPs) – Visit printable coupon websites such as http://www.coupons.com, http://www.smartsource.com, http://www.redplum.com and http://www.supertarget.com. Each will land you valuable coupons. Be sure to print the ones you like right away as most do have print limits and check back often since new coupons are regularly posted. The best part about it: they are FREE.
- Magazines – Many magazines have coupons in them, especially for beauty and hygiene products, so be sure to keep an eye out for FREE subscriptions or cheap subscriptions.
- Buy Coupons Online – The reason why this is such a great option is because you can pick up those coupons that are not in your newspaper. Since coupons are regional, you’re more likely to find the coupons for the products you want by using a coupon clipping service. These services can be located by completing a simple google search.
- On Product Coupons – Peelies, Blinkies, & Tearpads! Peelies are the sticker-like coupons stuck on the products themselves. Blinkies are coupons from Smartsource machines (red boxes) usually found in cereal aisles. Tearpads are usually found on product shelves or displays. Companies are trying to get you to see that their product is cheaper by offering you an additional savings method right there in the store. Take advantage of these savings.
- Store Coupons – Walgreens, CVS and Target have store coupons which can be combined with manufacturer coupons. You can find these in their ads, at the store website or in the store itself. For Walgreens, they offer a coupon book the second you walk into the store right by the sales ads. CVS offers coupons via e-mail and also with your CVS card (you can scan it under the coupon machine in the store). Target offers coupons on SuperTarget.com and they’ll mail them to you too every once in a while.
- Volunteer – While I won’t suggest dumpster diving as a means of locating coupons, I do recommend volunteering at a recycling center. Many do so in order to get early dibs on the coupon inserts that are thrown away.
- Ask – Start asking family, friends, co-workers, etc and see if anyone you know already gets the Sunday paper and doesn’t use the coupons from it. You may be surprised at how many coupon inserts just get thrown out because people don’t want to mess with them.
- Mobile Coupons – Thanks to technology there’s a new way to save that’s even easier and faster than newspaper and printables – mobile coupons. Mobile coupons are coupons you get through your smart phone. Programs and apps like Ebates, Ibotta, Checkout 51, Cartwheel, and Shopmium allow you to download coupons to your phone and redeem cash back savings after you’ve purchased a product. This is a great way to save – especially for the busiest of us all.
- eCoupons/Loyalty Cards – eCoupon is just a shortened word for electronic coupon. These coupons are loaded onto your store loyalty card via your phone or computer. Several grocery stores, such as Safeway, have eCoupon programs. To access eCoupons, head to your store site, register, add your card number to your account, peruse the coupons, click the ones you want and load them to your card. To redeem, just swipe your card at checkout and the discount is automatically deducted from your balance.
Looking for other ways to save? Check out our popular article 13 Ways to Save $1300 on Your Grocery Bill This Year.