October 6, 2009

Bee-ginners – Where to find coupons

There are so many places to score coupons that I have come up with a list of sources. Remember that the best kind of coupons are FREE, but sometimes you have to spend money to save money.

Approximately 80% of ALL manufacturer coupons are distributed via the newspaper. The Sunday paper can have anywhere from $60 – $300 worth of coupons each week, so the $1-2 you would spend to buy the paper is definitely worth it.

I subscribe to the Sunday News Tribune and I actually get FIVE copies of the Sunday Tacoma News Tribune delivered each week. The Tacoma News Tribune has special multi-copy Sunday newspaper price of $1 a copy, delivered! So I pay $5 a week for my FIVE Sunday papers and they can easily have $500 – $1,000+ worth of coupons!

If you don’t live in the Puget Sound, check with your local paper to see if they offer a Sunday paper special.

The Sunday newspaper inserts is one of the most common and easiest sources for coupons.
The Sunday newspaper inserts is one of the most common and easiest sources for coupons.

Tear pads
Watch for small pads of coupons (tear pads) posted on displays, shelves or end-caps when you are at the grocery or convenience store. These are free! Be courteous of others and take a reasonable amount of coupons from the tear pad.

Blinkie machines
These are generally posted in the aisles at your local grocery store and they blink and spit out coupons. I always grab a coupon when I walk by these, even if I don’t need it at the time,  you never know when it will come in handy. Be careful – I find that often these can be expired because they aren’t replaced frequently.

Peelies on products
Watch for products that have coupons attached to them, these are called “peelies”. They will often times say “Save $1 now when you buy this product.” Don’t peel these off unless you are buying the product – they belong to the person who buys the item and are not for public peeling.

Print your coupons
There are a lot of sources for printable coupons.

Never make photocopies of coupons and don’t print more than the limit.

A lot of companies have e-mail newsletters that you can sign up for and they will e-mail you coupons. A few examples are Borders (often sends 40% off any book), Home Depot Garden Club, World Market (get 15% coupon off any item when you sign up). These are just a few examples, there are thousands. I recommend creating an extra e-mail account through a free service such as Gmail.com to use for signing up for these newsletters – it keeps you from being bombarded with junk mail.

Coffee shops, libraries, hotel lobbies

People leave piles of papers and coupons everywhere on Sundays! Whether it’s a local Starbucks lobby or a breakfast joint, keep your eyes peeled for the coupon inserts. If you know someone who works in a place like this, have them collect them for you in exchange for the free goodies you’ll score with the coupons.

Friends and Family
Tell your friends and family that you’d love to have their coupon inserts! I now get little coupon stacks when I see aunts, uncles and friends. If they are going to recycle them anyway, it’s nice of them to share.

Often times magazines like Home & Garden, Good Housekeeping, People, Entertainment Weekly and other magazines have coupons scattered throughout the magazine. You can subscribe to a magazine called All You magazine, which is exclusively sold at Walmart and is almost all coupons, many of which are high-valued!

Recycle bins
Okay, not classy, but free and effective. Look for newspaper only recycle bins and pull out the coupon inserts. Check your local laws to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules by rummaging.

Entertainment Book
This book comes out every October/November in local communities and is full of dining, entertainment and store coupons. They start out at about $35, but as the year progresses they get cheaper. It’s April now and they are down to $15 with free shipping. You can re-coup this in just one dining coupon. They have four coupons for $5 off your $50 purchase at Safeway, so if you use these four coupons that right there is $20 in savings. If you are going on vacation somewhere, purchase the entertainment book for that location – you’ll find you save a bundle on a lot of the activities/dining that you were going to do anyway while on vacation. (I did this for my honeymoon five years ago to Maui, we used coupons on scuba gear, parasailing and meals!)

Chinook Book
Available at Marlene’s Deli in Tacoma and Federal Way, this local coupon book has tons of organic grocery coupons, entertainment and dining coupons. It’s mostly north Puget Sound oriented, but the grocery coupons aren’t location-specific. It costs $20 and it pays for itself in no time

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