Adventures in Couponing: 8 Great Ways to Find Coupons


I’ve mentioned before what a boon couponing has been to our household budget. Now that I’ve been clipping for the last year, I have figured out some ways to make it work best for our family. Although we moved cross-country into a higher priced community (Kansas City to San Diego), we’ve still been able to keep our food costs low, using the same techniques I learned last year living in the Midwest.

It’s been so fun to share my experiences and to hear from readers as to how they, too, are finding success! Yeah! I’m so glad that my ramblings have been helpful.

Here are the basics to how I go about my grocery planning and shopping each week. It is in no way “the right method.” But, it’s working for me, so I am gonna go with it for now. I am constantly tweaking things, so it may look different six months from now. Here’s how I do it, in several parts:

Coupons – Acquisition and Organization
Grocery Shopping – Planning my trip
Stockpiling and Meal Planning

In order to make this info easily digestible, today I’m just going to cover how I find coupons.

1. Newspaper Insert Coupons – I buy two Sunday papers a week. Visit the Sunday Coupon Preview to get a glimpse of what coupons will be in the paper. If I know that there are some really good ones (ie $2.50 off Electrosol), then I will buy extra papers, peek in the recycle bin at the local coffee shop, or bum them off my mom. I have also found them at the library in the periodicals section. Check with your librarian to make sure it’s okay that you take them. I have a feeling that they won’t care.

2. Internet Printables – I also scan through the printable coupon sites, like Coupons.com, Eversave, and Red Plum and print coupons for things that I know we will use or really good ($1 or more) coupons on things that I’m willing to try if the price is right. (You can find some great coupons at Coupons.com right now. Just check the peach colored sidebar.) You can also sign up with different manufacturers, such as Kraft in order to print coupons from their websites.

Every day or two I visit Money Saving Mom and Freebies4Mom to see what good printables they might have links to. If you’re looking for a specific product coupon, you can check the database at A Full Cup.

Usually, you can print each internet coupon at least twice, so I max that out.

Another online resource is Cellfire where you can add electronic coupons to your grocery store shopping card.

3. Direct-from-the-Manufacturer Coupons – My kids have been trained not to throw away any packaging that might have a coupon on it. I’ve found very valuable coupons inside oatmeal, cereal, and crouton boxes. I keep scissors handy in the kitchen so those can be clipped before we recycle the box.

4. Junk Mail – I’ve found some great savings by sifting carefully through the junk mail. Two of my grocery stores have sent large value $5-10 coupons on postcards that I might otherwise have chucked. Now, I look forward to flimsy mail!

5. Free Samples – I sign up for any free samples that sound interesting to me. Not only is this a great way to try a new product and acquire a travel size sample of something, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to get a few nice coupons. Manufacturers often include coupons with their samples. You can sign up for free samples with Cool Savings and FreeFlys.

6. Psst and VocalPoint – You can register on these sites for product information, mom helps, and sometimes coupons and free samples. By being a member I’ve been able to try different food items I wouldn’t otherwise try.

7. Store circulars, promo magazines, tearpads, and those coupon-box-thingies – I am like a hawk seeking prey on a grocery shopping trip, that includes searching for coupons. Look next time you’re there. There are lots of free coupons available. Just don’t be a pig and take them all. Consider what is reasonable. You don’t have to use them during that trip. Save them for when you can couple them with a sale for maximum savings.

8. Friends and Family – Since everyone knows I’m a grocery geek, they are happy to share and I often receive envelopes of coupons in the mail. Put the word out with your acquaintances and you may get some fun surprises in your mail box, too.

There are other options, such as cell-phone coupons, loading coupons onto your store membership card, paying for a clipping service, or purchasing them from eBay or elsewhere. I don’t have any personal experience with those methods, so I can’t vouch for them. But, so far these work for me.

What about you? What’s your favorite source for finding coupons?

(Next week: Coupon Clipping and Organizing)

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Comments

  1. Swap Savers says:

    I wrote an article about finding and using coupons here
    http://www.swapsavers.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-find-and-use-coupons

  2. The Sensible Momma says:

    Great post! I wrote a very similar post a while back listing similar methods.

    I use shortcuts.com and P&G eSaver, which you can load on your grocery card. It is just another way to use coupons, without having to clip and carry them.

  3. Ann @couponsdealsandmore.com says:

    I list over 500 individual printable coupons on my site.

    http://couponsdealsandmore.com/printable-coupons/

    I also have stuff under pet, baby and organic.

    Google is your friend when searching for printables.

  4. PoorMom says:

    http://learntocoupon.com i have a complete e-book on the subject and I also love All You magazine for over $50 in coupons every month .

  5. Kimberly says:

    I also get the All You magazine. There are usually enough coupons for things that I buy that will more than cover the cost of each magazine. I also have a coworker who brings me her coupon inserts each week. People at church who know that I have a toddler will often stick coupons for diapers, wipes, etc in my son’s cubby in the church nursery.

  6. Courtney says:

    Um, in my trash … ? I accidentally threw away my stash of coupons and had to go searching for them in the trash. Worth the effort, since my next trip to the store saved me $90 in savings.

    I am finally getting this savings thing down. Thanks for the tips. I wondered where to go online for printable coupons.

  7. Jodie R. says:

    Grandma’s my favorite source for coupons :) She saves them from me (she gets two papers each week). I also do the other ones you listed though! I got excited the other day because Cottonelle coupons were there in the TP aisle, plus they were on sale, plus you got a catalina for two dollars at the register. Woohoo!

  8. Jerralea says:

    I just recently started clipping them from coupons.com. I also get the All You mag.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Donna(mom24boyz) says:

    I thought I would share with you my new coupon box! It was my husbands grand idea and I love it!
    Check it out
    http://helpfulhomemaker.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-it-tool-box.html

  10. I mainly get my coupons from the Sunday paper, store adds and at the stores themselves. Every once in a while I’ll find good ones in magazines but I do not buy them for that. Sometimes my paper will have coupons in it during the week for places that do not have fliers in the Sunday edition. We also have Val-Pak coupons that come in the mail and they are great for eating out, lube jobs, tire change overs, and other specialized services.

    Thanks for the tips.
    Elaine H.

  11. Annikke says:

    My mom used to clip and clip and clip every Sunday. As andult (married with 3 kids) I never did any couponing until recently. I am still trying to get the hang of it. So far, I haven’t been able to see the results of my hard work, here’s to hoping coupon clipping helps our grocery budget!

  12. By signing up for free magazine subscriptions, I have found lots of couopns lately. Also couponloop and coupon bug. Coupon loop has an alphabetized list of coupon links! So even if you did nothing other than check your grocery list against their list, you could save money! Oh and mambo spouts.

  13. Thanks for all the ideas! One that works well for me is visiting coupons.target.com when I am planning to go to Target. In addition to the usual couponable products, they often have coupons for clothing that are not very specific (like $5 off any women’s swimsuit of any of their private label brands) that can be a great savings.

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