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Sunday Coupon

Coupon Lesson: Gathering, organizing, and using coupons

I got a great email from Kirkshinta the other day.

A friend directed me to your site. I desperately need to save money. I am a person new to couponing and have no idea where to begin. Could you share with me how you go about gathering coupons, from where, and how your organize and use them. It seems couponing has helped you save thousands, I hope to be able to do the same.

First, gathering coupons. I have four major sources of coupons.

Sunday Newspaper — In IL, the best paper for coupons is the Chicago Tribune. In C/U, the Sunday Tribune runs about $3 at most grocery stores. That’s pretty steep, but you will almost always find more than $3 in coupons that you will use, so it is a good investment. Don’t want to pay for the paper? Ask around of your friends and relatives if there is anyone who gets the paper but doesn’t use the coupons. The News Gazette has coupons too, and often there are people who get the paper that don’t use them. I have 4 reliable sources of coupons that are just people I know who are subscribed to the News Gazette and used to throw their coupons away.

Internet — More and more companies are offering internet printable coupons. These are a terrific source of coupons. Coupons.com, couponbug.com and smartsource.com are my favorite internet printable sites. If you visit my blog, you can print coupons directly from my Coupons.com savings center. Manufacturers will also sometimes have coupons to print directly on their websites. Internet printable coupons are often limited to 2 prints per computer.

Directly from Manufacturers — Have a product you’d love to get a coupon for? As the manufacturer directly! I’ve sent emails and letters to many different manufacturers, and they are often very willing to provide you with some coupons. Sending emails is especially painless, since you don’t even have to use postage. What do you have to lose, right? The worst they can say is no.

Coupon Clipping Services — There are services such as The Coupon Clippers and Coupons and Things by Dede where you can order coupons. This is a great way to get a specific coupon in quantity. I’ve used both services and been quite pleased with them.

One last place to find coupons is in store. Keep your eye out for tearpads and blinkies when you’re out shopping.

Second, organizing coupons

This is something that really depends on the person. Personally, I have a large coupon binder that I use. It’s a zip up binder with trading card inserts inside. I also have a small plastic according coupon organizer that I use for individual trips to the store. I’ll pull the coupons out of my binder that I plan to use while I’m shopping and put them in the smaller organizer. That way I don’t have to get into my big binder as much when I’m at the store. There are other methods, too. Some people organize their coupons using envelopes. So they’ll keep all food coupons in one envelope and health and beauty in another. Then there are some people that file the entire inserts away and just clip out the ones they need before they go shopping.

Last, using coupons

This one is a little harder to answer, but I’m going to do my best. I use coupons to help me get things I need for free, or very close to it. I try to combine store sales, store savings programs, and manufacturer coupons to get the best deal I can. Let me give some examples.

Meijer —
Meijer has something called Mealbox coupons. You can get them at Meijer Mealbox. These are coupons specific to Meijer, and you can combine them with manufacturer coupons.. Last week, Kraft salad dressing was $1.58 at Meijer. There’s a coupon for $1 off at Meijer Mealbox, and there is a $1 off coupon at coupons.com. You can use both of these on a single bottle of dressing, and you’ll actually end up getting $2 off the item that only cost $1.58! That’s called overage. When you have overage, you have to make sure you have other items in your order so that your order doesn’t come up showing a negative total. You can use more than 1 coupon in a transaction, so you could print off 2 sets of the $1 off coupons from coupons.com and the Meijer Mealbox coupons, get 2 bottles of free dressing, and some money off something else you need to buy. Does that make sense?

Walgreens —
Walgreens also has store coupons you can combine with manufacturer coupons. Walgreens also has a promotion called Register Rewards. For instance, last week, Right Guard Professional and Clinical Strength deodorant was $5.99, and when you bought it, you got a coupon for $5 off your next purchase, so it’s like getting the deodorant for $.99. If you have a manufacturer coupon, you can use that when you buy it, and you’ll still get the $5 coupon. I had a $2 coupon, so I basically paid $3.99 and got $5 back!

CVS has similar program. You can read about that here.

Well, I hope that’s helpful. Please send in any more questions if you have them. I love to hear from my readers.

1 comment to Coupon Lesson: Gathering, organizing, and using coupons

  • Jennifer

    I love my Coupon Binder! And know what?

    I plopp that big ole orange 4-5 inch thick baby down on top of the child carrier of the buggy…every time I shop. LOL!

    And, it’s not embarassing. Most of the time I’m mistaken for a store employee and it strikes up conversation about what my binder is all about and I’m able to share my business card for my blog. Love it!

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