I am a relative "newbie" to couponing compared to some out there, as I have only been "saving" for about 6 months. However, there are a few essential tips I have learned along the way that I feel are worth repeating for any other newcomers to the coupon world!
STEP 1 - Get Coupons!
One important thing you need to know first is the difference between a "Manufacturer" coupon and a "Store" coupon. Manufacturer coupons are accepted at any store that takes coupons and sell the product you are buying. Store coupons are good only at the specific store printed on the coupon. There are some stores (for example, Wal-Mart) that take competitor coupons as well.
Now, where do I find coupons? There are several outlets for getting coupons, here are a couple of different ways I get mine.
The Sunday Paper: The Sunday paper always has valuable coupon inserts each week, between 1 and 4! A lot of bloggers out there subscribe to up to 5 Sunday papers per week. Personally I have found that I don't need that many. I subscribe to 1 paper and if one week is particularly full of coupons I head to a store and pick up a couple more. I am also lucky enough to have family members that save their weekend papers for me.
I mark the date on the front of these inserts, cut the coupons I know I will use right away and then file them away until I find a deal I can't pass up!
Printable Online Coupons: There are several websites out there to get free printable coupons online.
A few of the main sites I go to are:
I also have found that a lot of companies have printable coupons available on their websites as well. For example, www.organicvalley.com has several printable coupons available for their products. If you have a certain brand of an item you like, I recommend checking out their website to see if they have any coupons available and sign up for their newsletter too.
Most companies offer an e-newsletter that you can sign up for through your email. Most of the time those newsletters can contain valuable coupons! For example, when you sign up for the Kohl's e-newsletter they will send you an introductory coupon for $5 off any $5 purchase!! Now just a tip on the newsletter thing, use a different email account for these unless you want a million emails in your main inbox every morning! I set up an account specifically for receiving newsletters.
A lot of the time you can find coupons at the grocery store! There are those little "blinkie" boxes that have manufacturer coupons, you can save these and use them at a later date or a different store to pair it up with a sale! "Peelies" are coupons stuck to the packaging of products for instant savings. These can be good only at your store or a manufacturer coupon good at any store. "Catalina" coupons are those coupons that spit out at the register after you have paid for your purchase. Catalinas are only good at the store printed on the coupon, unless your store accepts competitor coupons.
So - now that you know where to find them, start saving and organizing them! Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to maximize your savings at the grocery store!