We’ve all read or watched stories of people who are able to walk out of stores with ten Tide detergents for $5.00 to round out their huge stockpiles at home. If you watch them at the cash register, they hand over a stack of coupons as thick as playbooks. Have you ever wondered how they get their hands on so many coupons, especially since there is only one set of coupons in each Sunday paper (and no coupons on holiday weekends)?
It turns out that there are a variety of sources where you can find coupons beyond just your Sunday newspaper.
Set Up a Coupon Network
Sharing coupons among your group of family and friends is a great way to get your hands on the coupons you need while helping others get the coupons they need. My grandmother saves coupons for the rest of the family after she has clipped the ones she needs, and I automatically clip coupons for certain products to give to the people who I know use these products. By building a network of couponers, everyone can ask for what they need and it’s likely someone will have it.
Another place you can set up a coupon network is at your local library. I have found coupons clipped and free for the taking at two different libraries in two different states where I have lived. The only issue with this is that the coupons are not in order from the circular where they came from, but typically from their expiration date or category of product. If your local library does not provide this service, suggest it to them.
Finally, a few of us couponers set up a small network at our office where we all brought in coupons we did not need to use. This really increased each other’s savings.
Email Your Favorite Manufacturers
It turns out that just by emailing your favorite manufacturer with a tip, to tell them something that you like/do not like, or to solicit coupons can yield you some great savings. More likely than not, they will send some cost-saving coupons your way, and in my experience the coupons they send are much more lucrative than the coupons you can get in Sunday papers. In order to find the manufacturer’s contact information, go to their customer service contact link, or the “contact us” button on their website. If you would rather call, find their customer service number typically in the “contact” section of their website.
Subscribe to Newsletters
I have been pleasantly surprised many times with coupons for subscribing to favorite store or product’s newsletters. Throughout the year some manufacturers offer coupons or even free samples.
Take Advantage of Online Resources
You can print coupons online to increase your savings. Manufacturer sites are good resources, as well as sites such as Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, and Vocalpoint.com. In order to print out most coupons, you will need to download software and have a printer.
Another way to find coupons online is to use electronic coupons. Grocery store sites such as Kroger’s and other sites like cellfire.com and shortcuts.com are all great resources to find printable coupons. Basically you load the electronic coupons onto either your store loyalty card, or to your cell phone. If it’s linked to your store loyalty card, make sure you swipe this at the cash register. For coupons uploaded to your cell phone, you will need to show the barcode to the cashier.
Use Your Store’s Resources
Stores have several coupon resources, with the only problem being that you do not know what you are going to get until you get there. Look for “blinkies”, or those small black boxes with blinking lights where you can access manufacturer coupons. “Peelies” are coupons that are adhered to the outside of product boxes (they can be easily peeled off).
If you shop at CVS, you can scan your CVS ExtraCare card at the store Coupon Center machine. In a few seconds coupons will print out of the side of it. You can typically do this twice a day, or until the machine no longer prints anything for you.
Another resource for coupons in a store is the free store magazines and pamphlets. Check out the counters in the front of the store or ask your cashier if they have any current booklets/magazines/pamphlets. CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, HEB, and many other stores offer these for free.
Purchase Additional Copies of the Sunday Paper
You will need to figure out if it is cost-effective for you to purchase an additional subscription to the Sunday paper. Extreme couponers generally have several subscriptions, which helps them to take advantage of deals in an extreme way (like purchasing 10 of the same product). You can use Discounted Newspapers for inexpensive subscriptions.
It should be noted that extreme couponers also purchase many of their coupons from online coupon clipping services and eBay (check out eBay’s Manufacturer Coupon Policy). While you can certainly do this, the question is out on whether or not it is legal. This is because the language in the fine print of coupons typically states, “Void if Copied, Sold, Exchanged, or Transferred”. Coupon clipping services get around this by selling the labor involved in clipping the coupons instead of the coupons themselves. You will need to use your own judgment when deciding whether or not to purchase coupons.