The Wednesday newspaper traditionally has the new grocery ad flyers. Often there will be special store coupons and even manufacturer coupons in these flyers. Be sure to check the whole newspaper too. Sometimes manufacturer coupons will be printed in the home or food section. It’s also good to check for restaurant and store coupons before you toss the paper.
Entertainment and Enjoy The City books. These are often sold as fundraisers by schools, churches and other groups. Most of the coupons in these are for restaurants and recreation venues. But hey, we all like to eat out and have some fun once in a while – why not make it less expensive with coupons! Check out your local Entertainment Book – many have monthly coupons for $10 off $50 or $10 off $75 for grocery chain stores like Kroger.
I know I’ve said to have your coupons ready when you go to the grocery store – but you can also add to your coupon collection while you’re there. Watch for pads of coupons on the shelves (called tear pads), coupons as stickers on products (called peelies) and the little red or white machines that dispense coupons (sometimes called blinkies because the machine has a blinking light to get your attention).
At the chckout many stores now have machines that print out coupons when you make a purchase (some people call these “
catalinas” after the company that distributes them). Sometimes these are generated by a promotion the store is offering – like buy 3 packages of cheese and get $3 off your next shopping trip. These coupons are really nice because they can be used on anything – but they often have short expiration dates so use them quickly.
Often the machine spits out a coupon for a competing brand to what you just bought but other times it seems to be random. For instance – I bought shampoo twice last weekend and both times got back a coupon for dog treats. Do you suppose they thought I was going to bathe my dog in Herbal Essence shampoo?
Also check out the front of the store where the store flyers are kept. Sometimes there will be coupons on store brand products along with the flyers.
When you’re shopping at the drug store watch for those blinkie machines too. Also take a few minutes to browse through the magazine section. Magazines will often have manufacturer coupons as part of the advertising. You probably won’t find any in gossip or men’s magazines but Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle, Woman's Day and Redbook are all worth a quick look through. My favorite magazine for coupons is All You which is stuff full of coupons each month.
Drug store pharmacies sometimes have special coupons too. Look for signs about special promotions they might be doing. Walgreens sometimes offers a small brochure of coupons when you let them tell you about their generic drug program. You don’t have to pay anything or sign up – just listen.
Online printable coupons are becoming very popular. There are many places to find them including the Smart Source Printable Coupons at MomSaves.com (you knew I’d have to get a plug in for my website!). Many corporate websites now offer coupons also. Think about what you buy the most – then check the website for that company for printable coupons. Most of these sites now require that you install special coupon printer software the first time you access the site. They also limit the number of times you can print a coupon – usually only 2 times. Some of the big coupon sites now make you go through tons of advertising to get to the coupons. If you don’t want to be tempted to sign up for a deluge of spam email just close out and move on. There are lots of places online where you can get coupons without that.
In your mailbox. I’m sure you get lots of junk mail each week. But before you toss it all – look through quickly for local coupons you might use. I always keep the fast food coupons even though I don’t buy fast food very often. Just last week my daughter wanted to go to Jack In The Box for a salad. I just “happened” to have a buy one get one free coupon in my purse so we saved $5 on our meal.
I also keep coupons for things like car washes, oil change, craft store coupons. Some stores will take competitors coupons so if you have a coupon for Hobby Lobby but the craft item you need is at Michael's – ask if they take competitors coupons. Some other examples of places you can do this is HomeDepot/Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond/Linen’s and Things, some dry cleaners and even pharmacies.
You will also find that once you start signing up online for coupons and free goodies you will start to get more coupons in the mail. These are often higher value than the ones in the Sunday coupons inserts so be sure you include them in your coupon stash.
Some places not only take competitors coupons – they will price match the same item from another store’s ad. I always take nursery ads when I buy plants and garden products at Home Depot. Best Buy, Circuit City, and many other electronics stores will also price match – and sometimes give you 10% of the difference as a bonus.
I have a friend who is super good at price matching on groceries. She takes all the local ads – finds the lowest price on what she wants that week and price matches them at Walmart. Very smart shopper – lower prices and less gas.
So now that you have all these wonderful coupons how are you going to keep them organized? Check out Mom’s Build-It-Yourself Coupon Organizer for directions on how to make your own personal coupon binder.