January 10, 2012

WHERE TO FIND COUPONS

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Where can I find coupons? 

These days, coupons can be found practically anywhere. Here are just a few places/ways you can find coupons:


THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
Every week, with the exception of some holiday weekends, you will receive anywhere from one to a few coupons inserts chock full of coupons. Some of the most popular coupon inserts that you will normally find are the RedPlum and Smartsource inserts. Also, Procter & Gamble usually puts out a monthly insert around the beginning of the month (or end of the previous month depending on the date). Once in a while Procter and Gamble will offer an additional mini mid-month insert. Other Sunday coupon inserts that have been known to be included from time to time are Target store inserts, PepsiCo, and General Mills.


ONLINE
With the technological advances of the World Wide Web (do they still call it that?), couponing has been able to branch out like never before. There are major websites that allow you to print coupons right on your home printer. The major (legitimate) coupon printing websites are Coupons.com (AKA Bricks), Coupon Network, Mambo Sprouts, RedPlum, SmartSource, and Recyclebank. Sometimes the websites, mentioned above, will ask you to install a mandatory coupon printing program. It is not possible to print without these programs, but they are 100% legit. This software helps the coupon companies keep track of the number of coupons being printed. (Note: There are several coupon programs that also offer a toolbar, but you can opt out of installing this. They are not mandatory) Some printable coupons will also have serial numbers that will vary from one coupon to the next.

Other means for printing coupons include the actual manufacturer’s website (including their Facebook page) or getting on their email list. Let’s say you love International Delight coffee creamers, but you can’t seem to find a coupon for them in your Sunday paper or on the major coupon printing sites. Why not check their actual website? There’s a good chance you can find a coupon there. Even signing up for manufacturer email updates sometimes helps those printable coupons arrive straight to your inbox. A lot of times email subscribers will get first dibs or exclusive coupons that cannot be found anywhere else, simply because they signed up for these updates

One important thing to mention when it comes to printable coupons that, in most cases, you will be allowed to print two of the same coupon on each site, per computer. So let’s say you have three computers at home, you can hop on each one to print two of the same coupon on each one. This would give you six of the same coupon. There are some exceptions to this rule, where an offer may only let you print one, but in typical circumstances the maximum allowable quantity is usually two per computer.

MAGAZINES
There are some magazines where you’ll find a few a coupons hidden here and there. For example, I tend to find the occasional coupon in Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, and Martha Stewart magazine. If you really want a magazine that is chock full of coupons, then I highly recommend All You. It is a magazine that you can find at the stands at Walmart or you could also purchase a subscription (which is a WAY better deal in the long run). I will occasionally post special deals on All You subscriptions. They are totally worth it if you are looking to start or maintain a nice collection of coupons. Plus the magazine has some great articles!


PRODUCT PACKAGING
Look for coupons on your favorite products. Sometimes they’ll be hidden inside a box of oatmeal or cereal or perhaps they are posted right on the back of the box. There are times when I open up a new bag of dog food for my furbaby, and find a coupon sitting right on top of the kibble. Have you ever went to grab a product off the grocery shelf and saw a coupon that you can peel off to give to the cashier? These are called peelies and they are always a pleasant surprise for couponers. Keep a look out on the inside and outside of your favorite products, because you never know what you’ll find.


TEAR PAD & BILLBOARD ADVERTISEMENTS
The next time you are at your local grocery store, be on the look out for coupons advertised in plain site. Sometimes you find those tear pads in front of a particular product or other times you will be able to grab one from those little battery operated machines with the blinking light (these are called blinkies). Sometimes products will be offering a monthly promotion and you may see a billboard with coupons. Be sure to also check the front of your store by the weekly circulars and the customer service desk, because sometimes you’ll be able to score some great coupon finds in these areas, as well.

STORE CIRCULARS & ADVERTISEMENTS
Once in a while, a store may have coupons printed right on their advertisements for the week. A few stores that tend to do this frequently are Family Dollar and the major drug store retailers such as Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens.



CATALINAS & OTHER STORE COUPON MACHINES
Catalinas are those coupons that print at the cash register with your receipt after check out. Sometimes Catalinas are a surprise, but there are other times when you can gauge when one will print and plan for it. For example a store circular might say, Purchase three of x items and receive a $2.00 off coupon for your next shopping order. So you will know that purchasing three of those items is going to give you a $2.00 Catalina at checkout. There other times where you may be able to print coupons at a store machine. These are not considered Catalinas, but CRT (Cash Register Tape). CVS is one example of a store that offers this. If you are an ExtraCare member, you can scan your card at their in-store red machine to print out coupons for the week.


ECOUPONS
These are coupons that either loaded to your store card or downloaded to your Smartphone. A lot of times grocery stores will let you create a free online account for your shopper store card. Keep a look out on their websites for the option to add electronic coupons right to your card. When you purchase the items that apply to the coupon and scan your card at checkout, the coupon discount should automatically come right off you total bill. Kroger, Stop & Shop, and Giant are just three of the many stores that offer this option. If you are also Smartphone user, you may have the ability to add coupons right to your phone and have them scanned at check out. I know Michaels and Target are two stores that have this option available to their customers.


WRITING TO COMPANIES OR REGISTERING FOR THEIR MAILING LIST
If you cannot seem to find a coupon for that one product that you absolutely love, why not write to the company? With the wonders of technology, you don’t have to even rely on snail mail to get this accomplished. Most manufacturer websites have either a contact form or email address that allows you to get in touch with them directly. Let them know how much you like their product and ask if they maintain a mailing list for coupons. Even if they don’t usually maintain a mailing list, they may offer to mail you some coupons as a one-time courtesy. Other times, you will remain on their list and receive surprise coupons in the mail every now and then (I love when companies do this!). Many manufacturers are great with this, but I do have to warn you that there are still some companies that will turn your request down. Don’t be discouraged, just move onto the next manufacturer that you would love coupons from. Pretty soon, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how generous some manufacturers can really be.


COUPON CLIPPING SERVICES
There are services out there that clip coupons and just charge for the cost of their time and effort (it is illegal to actually sell the coupons). I highly advise to be cautious on who you go with if you choose this route. While there are a lot of great coupon clipping services out there, there are some that may not have ethical practices. I have only used a coupon service a few times when I really needed a great coupon and missed it from my Sunday paper. If you need a recommendation for a good clipping service, which I have used personally, please feel free to contact me.

OTHER PEOPLE (FAMILY, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, COWORKERS, ETC.)
Do you know anyone who gets the Sunday paper? If so, ask them if they are going to use all of their coupons. You’d be surprised how many people just throw this portion of their paper out, simply because they don’t use the coupons. You could always ask them to hold onto those inserts for you. You could also conduct swaps with other couponers. Maybe your friend needs that diaper coupon you have and you need that laundry detergent coupon they have.
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