The most common question asked of me by non-couponers: Where do you find all those coupons?
The answer in its most simple form: EVERYWHERE!
Once you begin extreme couponing, you’ll start to notice that an abundance of these money-saving tools can be found in the most conspicuous places, places to which you were once oblivious.
But for now, we’re only going to focus on the two most common sources of coupons: the newspaper and the Internet.
Coupon inserts can be found in the Sunday edition (or early Sunday edition, released on Saturdays) of the newspaper. The four companies who typically distribute them are
- P&G (Proctor & Gamble)
- General Mills
Before you jump the gun and subscribe to your local newspaper (if you don’t already do so), head to a nearby newsstand to check out the Sunday editions of every available paper. Depending on the newspaper and the market in which you live, you may find all, some, or none of these. You may have to subscribe to a newspaper from the nearest big city in order to receive your savings.
For example, when I lived in the larger market of Indianapolis, I received the SmartSource, P&G, and General Mills inserts in my Sunday-only subscription to the Indianapolis Star. RedPlum inserts were mailed directly to my house. Now that I live in the smaller market of Michigan City, I’ve found that The News-Dispatch only distributes the P&G insert, which comes out about once per month. So I subscribe to the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune in order to get my other coupons. (Fellow MC residents: Other Chicago papers probably would work also, or you could try South Bend newspapers. To be sure, just look through them at a newsstand this Sunday before subscribing.)
The general consensus among extreme couponers is that you should get four to six copies of the Sunday paper. (I choose to get four.) When you can get items at rock-bottom prices with your coupons, you’ll want to stock up. That’s difficult to do if you only have one coupon. I strongly suggest you do this by subscribing to your desired newspaper, not buying it at the newsstand. When I first moved here, I was buying four copies of the Chicago Tribune at my local Walgreens for $3 each. Now that I have a subscription, I only pay 50 cents per paper. That’s a savings of $10 per week!
In order to find the best rates for newspaper subscriptions, visit DiscountedNewspapers.com. Before ordering your subscription online, be sure to call the newspaper. They may be able to offer you an even better promotion. This Web site would have allowed me to get the Chicago Tribune for 99 cents per paper (a good deal), but by calling and just asking, I was able to get my four copies for only 50 cents each.
You will find two kinds of coupons on the Internet: printable coupons and e-coupons.
These are often of higher value than you will see in your newspaper inserts. The trick with printables is that – usually – you are only allowed to print two coupons per computer. So print from multiple PCs (or Macs) if they are available to you.
The most commonly used coupon databases where you can get assorted printables are
Many stores and manufacturers also offer printable coupons directly from their Web sites. (One of my favorite sites for store coupons is Target.com. I’m sad there isn’t one in Michigan City.) If you are on your way to a particular store or looking for a specific brand or product, visit the store or manufacturer’s Web site, and search variations of the term “coupons.” Also consider “liking” them on Facebook. Many companies periodically release high-value coupons or free samples exclusively for their Facebook fans.
E-coupons are coupons that you access online, but instead of printing them, you upload them to your store loyalty cards (think the Kroger or CVS tags hanging from your key ring). There’s no clipping! The catch here: typically, you can only use each e-coupon once per card.
The most common places to find these types of coupons are
- Kroger (I used these frequently when I lived in Indianapolis. It seems they now offer printables as well. We don’t have a Kroger here, so I’ve never gotten to use that feature myself.)
If you are a parent, I strongly suggest checking out the UPromise e-coupons. Every time you use one, the savings amount will be deposited directly into your child’s college fund! I haven’t used these yet (shame on me!), but the company is run by Sallie Mae so I feel comfortable enough to recommend it to you.
Until Next Time…
If you are serious about extreme couponing, then pretty soon, you’re going to have more coupons than you know how to manage. I promise. You’ll find that it can get a little overwhelming if you don’t keep them organized. Join me in my next post when I teach you a few basic ways to keep your coupon clutter under control. See you there!