Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Quick and Easy Guide to being a Coupon Queen, Part 2

The Quick and Easy Guide to being a Coupon Queen in 5 basic steps.

Step #2. Getting coupons. Here's where to find them.

  • The Sunday paper, but don't just buy a single paper each week. Buy extras. Some people say to buy one paper for everyone in your family, even children and infants. I don't do that because newspapers cost money. I buy two each week, but I do it in the morning. Then I skim through the coupon inserts and if I see something really great I buy more later in the day. Some stores will sell you their leftover papers on Monday for a fraction of the cost, but I haven't had any luck with that. Never hurts to ask, though. And there are websites that post what coupons will be in upcoming papers. But I've found that the coupons in the paper vary from region to region and those previews are not accurate for my region. So don't buy extras based on what you think is going to be in the paper. Buy extras after you open it up and look. And always be sure to make sure your paper hasn't had the coupons stolen from it before you buy it. I usually grab mine from the bottom of the stack.

  • All You magazine sold at Wal-mart is filled with coupons. Again, buy extras if it has coupons you want. Some other magazines have them (although not as many), so key an eye out as you read.

  • Catalinas. These are the coupons that some stores print out at the cash register. They often have the name of the store that printed them on the coupon, but some of them can be used at other stores. Read the fine print and don't count on your cashier accepting them if it's from a different store.

  • Tear pads. Some stores have pads of coupons and you can tear one off to use. People usually just take a single one, thinking this is all they are allowed to take and that they have to use it right then. You can take more. You can use them on that trip OR you can take them home for later. But don't go crazy and take the whole pad. Leave some for the rest of us.

  • Blinkys. These are the same sort of deal as the tear pads, only these are the ones with the light that blinks and the machine that spits out a new coupon when you take the one sticking out. But like tear pads you can take a few for a later use.

  • Peelies. These are the coupons that manufacturers attach to the product for the cashier to peel off and scan. Again, for the most part these are just regular old coupons. The way you get them is different, but the coupon is the same. So there is no reason that you can't peel off the coupon to use later. I usually peel one side so that I can see the fine print and make sure that it doesn't say it has to be detached by the cashier. If it does, I leave it . If not, I take one or two. And no, cahiers don't usually care.

  • Friends and family. Seriously, hit them up for the coupons they're just tossing in the trash. Trade for them on coupon sites. Snag them out of your neighbor's recycling (assuming they're on top or you don't mind dumpster diving). Join a coupon exchange where you swap the coupons for stuff you don't want for coupons for things you do want. This works especially well if you're sharing with friends from a different area of the country. Sure you have to pay for postage, but the flip side of that is that you get coupons that aren't in your local paper.
  • The internet. You can print them out from the manufacturer's website, as well as from sites dedicated to couponing. My friend Tara just blogged about this. Great minds think alike, LOL. Check out her post here. You can even buy coupons on ebay if you want. Whatever works for you.

  • The drawbacks: You have to cut them out and organize them or you'll never be able to find the one you want. On top of that, printable coupons take paper and ink. Couponing takes time. It's not a full time job. But it can't be done in 15 minutes either. Plan on spending 2-3 hours a week on clipping and sorting and reading the store flyers. On the plus side you can have a conversation or watch a TV show while you work on it. It's not hard, just tedious.

Coming next... Step #3: Using coupons to your best advantage


Tara said...

I still get no post a comment button and the space to click around got larger, I swear, LOL.

Hubby is just no good at checking the paper before buying it when I send him for extras. I swear I tell him 30 seconds before to be sure there is (1,2,3) inserts and every now and then he brings back a $2.75 useless paper (I really only need one copy of the news) and says he forgot. Ughh Sometimes the store is goos about fixing it, other times I get well you should have looked first....

Tara said...

Oh and sometimes the in store AllYou has more coupons than the one that comes in the mail so it never hurts to flip through in the aisle even of you are a subscriber.