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Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Where Do You Get Those Other Coupons?"

If you've been following along with me this week, you know that today I'm going to talk about where I get the coupons that I file in this accordion file:

Of course, most of my coupons come from my Sunday paper, but there are several other sources I use to get others. Some you've probably run into yourself, others you may be hearing about for the first time.

While many of these are never listed in "the list," if you have at least a vague idea of what coupons you have, you can often match them to deals on your own.

Some of my sources are:

  • Catalinas
  • "Blinkies" and tear pads
  • "Peelies"
  • Printables
  • Free Samples
  • Inside Products
Have I lost you yet? Stick with me. This is worth learning.

Catalinas

I'm sure at some time when you've checked out at the grocery store, you've seen those coupons that print when your receipt prints. Most people don't even look at them. You'll often see them lying in carts, on the floor, or left in the receipt printer in the self-check lane. Here's some of the ones we've gotten recently from our trips to Kroger:



Not bad, huh. I've found that when I started couponing a lot, I started getting more and more of these when I shop.


"Blinkies" and Tear Pads

You've probably seen these in your local stores too. "Blinkies" are the coupons that come from the plastic dispensers attatched to the shelves in the store. They got their name because the dispensers often have a little blinking red light to attract attention. Tear pads are similar—in that they are also found attatched to the shelves in the store.

There is a debate in the couponing world about the ethics surrounding these coupons. Some couponers have been known to take all that the dispenser/tear pad holds, while others strictly say you should never take more than one. My rule of thumb is never to take the last one, unless there is only one. If there are a bunch of coupons there, I will usually take what I think I can reasonably use before they expire. (Most often I take about three.)

The important thing to remember about these is that you don't need to use them on that shopping trip. If the item happens to be on sale, and it's a good deal with the coupon, then great. Use it. If not, take it home, file it away, and use it when the product drops in price. Sometimes these don't expire for months!

"Peelies"

Another in-the-store find are called "peelies." These are the coupons you'll find stuck to the front of products. Again, there is some debate about the ethics of these. Some couponers see no issue with taking peelies off of products they have no intention to buy. Personally, I find that to be a bit shady. However, if I'm buying a product that has a peelie attatched, I'll often look through the others on the shelf to see if any of them have two.

For example, a few weeks ago, on my list was Betty Crocker brownie mix. It was on a great sale and I had a coupon. I was planning to buy two. When I got to the store, I was pleasantly surprised to see that certain varieties of the mix also had these peelies attached, for $1 off 2, which was a better deal than the 75¢ off 2 coupons I had with my list. Of course, I chose to purchase those varieties. My husband, who knows and understands my insanity where coupons are concerned, was the one to spot the one box on the shelf that had two peelies on it. I grabbed four boxes of mix, with five peelies attached. I used two of the peelies that day, but since you don't have to use them on the same day you get them the other three came home with me to be filed away and used next time there's a good sale. As you can see, they don't expire until May of next year.

Printables

The first thing to know about printables is you should check your store's coupon policy to see if they are accepted or not. Most stores do accept printables, but every now and then you'll find one that doesn't. Do not take the cashier's word for it. Check the official policy (which can generally be found on the store's website or obtained from the customer service booth).

Usually, you have to have coupon printing software installed on your computer to print these, which helps to assure that people don't simply print stacks of their favorite coupons. Most online coupons can be printed twice though, so after you print one, go ahead and print another and file it away for later if you don't plan on using it right away. Though you wouldn't necessarily realize it, there are a limited number of most of these coupons, so if you see one that you think you might use sometime before it expires, it's best to go ahead and print it and file it. Otherwise when you come back to find it, it may have already reached its limit and be gone.

Printables are a great way to save some extra money. Right now, lots of brands are offering printables directly on their websites or facebook pages. As I come across these, I may post some to this website, but you can find many, many more by simply searching for them.

Some stores also offer printable coupons on their websites. The one I use most is Target, which can be found here. These are a mix of store coupons and manufacturer's coupons, which is important to note if you plan on doing any stacking. (I'll explain stacking in another post later.)

The bulk of the printable coupons I find though, are from the big coupon websites. These include couponnetwork.com, coupons.com, redplum.com, and smartsource.com. There are also places to find digital coupons, which are electronically tied to your store savings card such as cellfire.com, pgesaver.com, shortcuts.com, and upromise.com. These digital coupons are "loaded" to your card rather than printed, and will automatically deduct from your bill when you use your savings card.

Free Samples

One of the things I love best is free stuff. I'm also a sucker for trying new things. When manufacturers come out with new products, they often offer free samples of their products to get people to try them. Coupons for your next purchase are often included along with the sample. Seldom a week goes by when I don't get some free item in the mail. I love these! 

But where to find such things?

Some manufacturers make it really easy. Kraft is a great example. They have a service you can subscribe to where they will email you when new samples are available. It's called Kraft First Taste and I highly recommend it. Vocal Point is another such service where I get a lot of samples.

Then there are samples websites which track down free samples from all over the web and point you to them. All You magazine (click the pink "Daily Free Samples" button) has a new sample every day. Others I use are Free Stuff Times, Hey! It's Free!, and Start Sampling.

Inside Products

Finally, I love it when I open up a product and find coupons inside. Most often it's just a single coupon for the next purchase of the same item, but there have been times when I've found a treasure trove of coupons inside a product. Proctor and Gamble is probably the best brand out there for this type of thing. Last time we bought Charmin Toilet paper, it came with over $20 worth of coupons inside for other P&G items!

In the end, the more you look for them, the more coupons you will begin to find. They're all around you, if you know where to look!

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