This is a guest post written by Michelle Hovestadt of www.wickedcooldeals.com. We met at a media event and hit it off (you know, moms trying to pinch pennies) If you don’t know about her website, check it out. She has great information on saving money and getting the best deals around.
If you are new or hesitant to coupons, this is a super reference on where to find them and how to use them.
Great Places to Find Grocery Coupons One of the best ways to save on your grocery budget is to clip coupons. And, if your grocery store doubles coupons you can save even more! Using coupons, I save an average of about 65%-70% per month on my grocery bill. Significant savings! One of the most common questions folks ask me is, “where do you get all your coupons?” A very good question indeed, because in order to save money clipping coupons you have to know where to find them! Here are 10 of the best places to find great coupons:
1. The Sunday Paper. The Sunday paper is still one of the best ways to get some great coupons. To save even more, get multiple sets of coupons by simply asking friends and family to save their coupons for you. Or, ask the guy who sits next to you at work who you know never used a coupon in his life to bring his in for you. And, on weeks where there are a lot of great coupons, go out and buy an extra paper. What I often do is go to a local store during the week and ask if they have any leftover Sunday papers. I did this just last week, and I got two leftover Sunday papers for only $1 each! They were just PACKED with coupons.
2. The Internet. In the last year, the Internet has exploded with printable grocery coupons. http://www.smartsource.com, http://www.coupons.com, http://www.redplum.com, http://www.bettycrocker.com, and http://www.eatbetteramerica.com are just a few examples of some great sites where you can get printable grocery coupons. Not only are printable Internet coupons free, you can usually print multiple coupons. You can also go directly to a manufacturer’s website and look under “coupons” or “promotions” to see if they have any printable coupons available. Websites like http://www.kraftfoods.com, http://www.kelloggs.com are great examples. Most often the limit is 2 coupons, but that is PER COMPUTER. So print 2 at home, 2 at work, have your husband print 2 at work, etc. This is a great way to build up your stash of coupons.
3. By Mail. I have been amazed at the availability of coupons by mail, with many manufacturers offering coupons and coupon booklets by mail. Most require you to sign up for their newsletters or email lists, and by signing up with great companies like Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Betty Crocker, etc., they will regularly send you great coupons by email and regular mail! So long as you are registering your information directly with a manufacturer you should have no problems. Avoid websites or companies unfamiliar to you.
4. Walmart’s ALL YOU Magazine. Each month ALL YOU Magazine, sold exclusively at Walmart, has tons of high value manufacturer’s coupons. In the June issue, there was $114 worth of coupons! And if your store doubles coupons you can save even more. I started buying this magazine about 6 months ago and was very happy with the coupons AND the magazine. I only just signed up for a subscription to the magazine because I like it so much.
5. Your Grocery Store Circular: With the downturn in the economy, competition among grocery stores has been fierce. Many grocery store chains are offering manufacturer and store coupons in their circulars so you can clip and save more. And, most grocery stores will accept competitor coupons so if you see a great manufacturer’s coupon in your Price Chopper circular for example, don’t be afraid to use it at Shaw’s, Stop & Shop or other grocery store that accepts competitor coupons! Not sure if your store accepts competitor coupons? Just ask! Also, check in with the customer service desk to see if they have any coupon booklets available. You’d be surprised at what they have behind the counter!
6. Grocery, Drug, and Retail Store Websites. Grocery store websites like http://www.pricechopper.com, Shaws.com and CVS.com can be great places to get store AND manufacturer’s coupons. Just look for “online coupons.” You can also find Target store coupons at ww.target.com, http://www.afullcup.com and http://www.organicgrocerydeals.com.
7. Directly from Manufacturers. Your mom (or your mom’s mom) relied on this strategy years ago. Simply write or email companies and ask for coupons! Works like a charm. If Tide is your favorite detergent, contact Proctor & Gamble and ask for some coupons. Have a baby? Email Gerber and ask them to send you some coupons. In my experience these companies are happy to send you the coupons!
8. Ebay. Seriously, Ebay. It’s hard to believe but there are thousands and thousands of coupons on sale on Ebay. You can buy a lot of 100 random coupons, or you can buy lots of 10, 15 or 20 individual coupons for the same item. Buying coupons on Ebay is one of my best money saving strategies. While I do not buy a lot of coupons on Ebay, I regularly buy them when I want to stock up on a product and save a lot of money. For example, Big Y was tripling all manufacturer’s coupons with a value of up to $.99 for one week only. I saw that Viva single roll paper towels were on sale for $1.50 that week. I purchased 27 $.50 off 1 coupons on Ebay for $2, including shipping. Big Y tripled those coupons to $1.50, so I got 27 paper towels for free. And here’s a tip: if you see a great coupon in your Sunday paper, someone is selling it on Ebay.
9. Coupon Clipping Services. There are coupon clipping services like http://www.couponclippers.com where you can purchase coupons for a per coupon fee. For example, you can get a $1.50 laundry detergent coupon for $.15. A coupon clipping service can be great for someone who want to save money with coupons, yet does not have the time to clip them.
10. Everywhere! Be on the lookout for coupons throughout your daily activities. I found some terrific buy-one, get-one-free Easy Mac coupons in the waiting room of my daughter’s orthodontist’s office – of all places! While at the hair salon, I often find great coupons while reading magazines. At the gym, there is a box where members drop off coupons they don’t want. And the magazine section of most Sunday papers often has some really good coupons to clip. Convenience stores are also a great place to find beverage coupons. And be on the lookout for “blinkie” coupons at grocery stores, drugstores and other retail stores.
Finally, just have FUN with coupons!
Michelle is a marketing consultant and strategist and current publisher of www.wickedcooldeals.com, a website dedicated to providing money saving coupons, tips and strategies. Michelle is also a wife and mother of 4 young children living in Woodstock, Connecticut.