Where to Find Coupons - 15 Best Places to Look
Coupons - Gotta Have Them!
Coupons are everywhere - you just need to know where to look. For the most savings, you will want to know where to find them for little to zero cost. Remember, using coupons is like using cash. They are valuable pieces of paper! Listed below are 15 popular places to find coupons.
1. Your Local Newspaper
Many of the larger newspapers feature coupon inserts one day a week, typically on Sundays. The most common inserts are Red Plum, SmartSource, and P&G Brand Saver. If you already have a subscription to the paper, then you will find these inserts delivered right to your door. If not, you can purchase the newspaper at most grocery stores, gas stations, and drugstores. You may be able to find a discounted paper at WalMart or at a dollar store.
These inserts contain coupons for a large variety of everyday items, such as coffee, canned foods, cereal, milk, eggs, diapers, beauty products, and household cleaners. Depending on the size of your family, you may want to have several copies of the inserts. You can always purchase multiple newspapers, but you also may have a friend or neighbor who may give you theirs if they don't use coupons. It can't hurt to ask!
2. The Internet
There are countless ways to find coupons online. It is nice to have so many coupons at your fingertips, but remember, there is an expense in using up paper and printer ink. You can save paper by printing more than one coupon per page when possible, and by using the blank side of printed paper you recycle.
You can find pages and pages of coupons at sites such as smartsource.com, or coupons.com. A good strategy is to print these coupons only when you plan to use them, or when you find a rare high dollar coupon or one for a product your family uses all the time. If you print every coupon you find, you will end up wasting time and money on coupons that never get used.
If there is a particular grocery item that you buy, visit the company's website and see if there are any promotions or coupons available. To sign up for most coupons, you are required to give some personal information such as name and email address. One tip is to create a separate email account just for coupons. That way, your main email inbox does not get bogged down with advertisements.
Some brands are advertised on Facebook and by "Liking" the page, you often receive a coupon. Here's a fun tip - on the first of each month, visit Nabisco on Facebook and print a coupon for $1 off Nabisco cookies. That is a great one to remember!
Also, check your grocery store's website. Publix, Food Lion and Target offer coupons that you can print online. Your local store may as well.
Blinkies are coupons that are dispersed from small black machines set up in grocery stores near products. For example, in the milk section, you may find a blinkie machine for Stonyfield Organic Milk. The trick to collecting blinkies is to take them when you see them, but hold on to them until the item goes on sale. You also may find a $.75 blinkie coupon at a store that does not double, but you could still use the coupon at a store that does. For example, Publix recently had $.75 blinkies for Athenos Feta cheese, but this Publix only doubles coupons up to $.50 in value. I took the feta coupons over to Harris Teeter that not only doubled the coupon, but also had the cheese on sale for half price. I got it for free!
"Peelie" is another term used by couponers, and it refers to the peel-off coupons that are attached to products in the store. Some examples of items that may have a peelie on it are cereal, taco kits, boxed potatoes, biscuits, candy, ziploc bags, and pet food. Differing from the blinkie, you must purchase the product to get the coupon. Taking peelies without purchasing the product is a very big no-no in the couponing world. You also risk getting in trouble with store management.
5. Tear Pads
Tear pads are not as common as blinkies and peelies, but they are out there. Common places to find these are on the soda/chip aisle or on free-standing displays near the ends of the aisles. You can often find tear pads at gas stations near the check-out counter or on the candy aisle. I have found tear pad coupons for bacon, produce, tortilla chips, canned tomatoes, candy, gum, and greeting cards. Take how many you will use before the expiration date, but please don't take the whole pad!
6. Inside the Product
Much like the prize in a Cracker Jack box, some grocery items contain coupons or (even better) coupon booklets inside the box. Obviously, you have to purchase the product to get the coupons inside. The coupons are typically advertised on the outside, but not always. I have found coupons inside packages of bread, Goldfish, pretzels, and cereal, to name a few. These are fun because you can use the coupon to go back and buy more of the product and get the coupon all over again. Sometimes, the coupon will actually be part of the product packaging, for example, the foil that you peel back from a yogurt cup, or part of a muffin mix box. Keep your eyes open for these little surprises.
7. Electronic Coupons
Electronic coupons, or e-coupons, are attached to your grocery store loyalty card. For example, if you shop at Kroger, you can go to the store website and load e-coupons directly onto your Kroger card. The discount comes off at check-out. Harris Teeter, Bi-Lo, and Food Lion also offer e-coupons. Some stores, but not all, allow you to use paper coupons along with the e-coupon for additional savings. Check your store's coupon policy or ask at customer service.
Upromise is a college savings plan by Sallie Mae that allows you to attach e-coupons to your loyalty cards at different stores such as Publix, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Food Lion, Bi-Lo and more. The savings will not come off of your grocery store bill, but you will be credited the savings in your Upromise account. There is no cost to join, and you can withdraw your money once a quarter for amounts $10 and higher. Once you get an account, check with your store's customer service to update your loyalty card, or in the case of Publix, get a Publix Upromise card.
SavingStar is another e-coupon system, actually a spin-off from Upromise. It is more specific to grocery coupons, and can be loaded directly to your store loyalty card. Once your savings reaches $5, you can use Pay Pal to receive your check. All of the participating stores are listed here. E-coupons are a great way to save money, and paper as well.
Store Coupon Booklet
8. Coupon Booklets in Stores
Some grocery stores and manufacturers produce seasonal booklets full of coupons. You will usually find these on free-standing displays in the store, or sometimes, you can pick them up at the customer service desk. Another place to find them is near the shelf of the related items. For example, a booklet for pet food coupons may be found in the middle of the pet food aisle. Be sure to check the expiration dates for the coupons in these types of booklets, because they often come sooner than later.
9. Catalina Coupons
Catalina coupons are printed out with your grocery store receipt, and typically relate to products you purchased. For example, I recently bought four boxes of Blue Diamond Nut-Thins crackers at Harris Teeter and automatically received a catalina coupon for $4 off my next purchase. This was an incredible deal, because the crackers were also on sale for half price that week. Catalina deals are usually advertised on the shelf near the participating products, or in the store's weekly ad. I have also received a catalina printout with my receipt, advertising upcoming catalina deals. Check to see if your grocery store has the little black catalina machines at the check-out.
You will find tons of coupons in the All You magazine, which is actually all about saving money. A typical issue has about $60 to $80 worth of coupons, plus lots of great articles and recipes. Other magazines that might have an occasional coupon are Southern Living, Real Simple, Better Homes and Garden, and Weight Watchers. A good tip is to have scissors handy when you read magazines and clip if a coupon comes along.
11. It's in the Mail
How nice to have coupons delivered right to your mailbox! Sometimes you just get lucky and receive general advertisements that happen to contain coupons. Scan that junk mail before you toss it! You can also sign up for coupons to be mailed to you.
Sign up for a free samples daily promotion that is sponsored by All You magazine. Each day, you will receive an email offering a free sample for products like lotion, shampoo, pet food, vitamins, and cleaning supplies. If you sign up, not only will you get the sample in the mail, but many come with coupons for the same product.
There are other opportunities to sign up for coupons as well. Publix periodically sends out "Stocking Up" coupon booklets full of great store coupons. Proctor and Gamble does the same thing for their products. One way to stay on top of what promotions are out there is to stay connected with a good coupon-matching website, such as southernsavers.com. Another way is to search the web and sign up for newsletters and promotions relating to products you use.
Some grocery stores have groups that you can sign up for and receive coupon booklets in the mail as part of the membership. There are Baby Clubs, Wine Clubs, Pet Clubs, newsletters, and more. Check your store's website and sign up!
12. Weekly Ads
In your newspaper or at the front of the grocery store, you can find your store's weekly ad for products on sale. Look closely, because you may find valuable coupons within the ad. Publix usually has a few store coupons for baby items, but occasionally, they have store coupons on various items from canned vegetables to greeting cards. Sometimes, Publix has a $10 off a $50 gas card when you buy $25 worth of groceries. That is an awesome coupon. You may also find dollar off total coupons in your weekly ad, for example, $10 off a $40 total. I have seen these types of coupons at Harris Teeter and Publix.
13. Monthly Store Flyers
Some stores have monthly booklets or flyers full of sales information and coupons. Publix has a green flyer and a yellow flyer that can be found at the front of the store or at customer service. Whole Foods has a double month issue that includes coupons, sale prices, and even recipes. Check your store to see if they have these types of savings flyers. A good tip to remember is that if your store accepts competitor's coupons, find out which stores are considered competitors and start collecting their coupons as well.
You can even purchase coupons on Ebay! For $1 to $5, you can purchase 100 various coupons, and the seller may include a general list of what type of products correspond to the coupons. There are also entire coupon inserts (Red Plum, SmartSource) for sale at approximately $1 per insert. This may be an option for someone who does not have easy access to a newspaper that includes the inserts. There is a risk involved, because sometimes you don't know exactly which coupons you will get, and many sellers do not offer returns. It is an option, though.
15. Coupon Trading
Find a fellow couponer and start trading! As you collect coupons, you will come across some you will never use, for example, diaper coupons when you don't have babies, or sausage coupons when you don't eat pork. Don't throw them out! Save them and find a pal to trade with. A local friend works best because you do not have to worry about mailing costs. If there is enough interest, you can start a coupon clipping/trading group. That sounds like fun!
Odd Places I Have Found Coupons
- sticker right on the front page of my newspaper
- part of the rain bag holding my newspaper
- on the ground, in the parking lot
- abandoned in a grocery cart
left on a grocery shelf by a generous fellow couponer!
Where else have you found coupons? Leave a comment and let me know!