Inbox Dollars

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Ways to Save Series 3 - Coupons

This is the 3rd of the Ways to Save Series and its about the use of coupons - my favorite topic : )

Well I thought the best way to explain how to save through coupons is through an actual example.

I went to Genuardis this week and spent $12.52 in 5 transactions and got over $114 worth of groceries:

Well for those who think coupons are a waste of time or not an efficient way to spend your time well I think the evidence above speaks for itself. 

For the Genuardis deal above the deal was buy 8 of the participating products get $4 off (locate this in your weekly store flier online or one that is mailed to you). I found coupons for the ones I wanted to buy and made a plan with the aim to use as many coupons as I could to lower my out of pocket.

Here is a list of ways to get coupons -

Coupons from Sunday paper inserts
Consider getting the Sunday paper delivered to lower your paper cost. 
Buy the paper from your dollar store
Buy multiple coupons from a clipping service or ebay

Internet Printable Coupons
There are many sites that host printable coupons - the top three are my favorites.  You will need to install the coupon activator onto your computer and generally you can print 2 coupons per computer - of course you need a printer too : )  If you have multiple computer/laptops in your household consider printing from them all.  Many store do take printable coupons but please find out your store policy on internet printable.  For example, my Giants PA store will not take BOGO printables.
Home Made Simple - Online database to search for coupons

Electronic coupons
Electronic coupons are an awesome feature to couponing but only limited to certain stores - it works for Genuardis for me.  Basically, you sign up with shortcuts and cellfire and download coupons directly onto your store card.  The beauty of it is both sites hold similar coupons and they will both be deducted at the same time on your purchase. Plus, you can stack it with your manufacturer coupon.  In my example  transactions above I had loaded the same coupon at various times and for transaction 1 above I had 4 ecoupons for 1 product which was awesome as this made it a moneymaker and the overage was used to cover my total spend.

Store coupons
Don't forget stores have their own coupons which can be found in their weekly fliers, mailing list and emails.  You will need to figure out whether your store allows you to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.  Target, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid allow such stacking.

There are many varieties of coupons that you can actually find in the store:

Blinkies: Pull these coupons from the “blinking” machines at the grocery store
Peelies: Coupons that are stuck to the actual product
Tearpads: Pads of coupons typically found on special displays at the store, tear off one or two or three…

Flick through your regular magazines as you’ll find some provide many coupons. I love All You magazine, its sold at Walmart only and has a great source of coupons – sometimes the coupons are for frees. I subscribe to the magazine to get a cheaper deal.

Home Mailers
One of my favorite ways to get free products is to email the company directly via their website (no stamp needed) and tell them how much I love their product. At best they send a complimentary coupon for a free product, more often than not they mail coupons and other times not. But you have nothing to lose so write away.

Catalina coupons
The grocery stores usually spit out a coupon when you make a purchase. Read these carefully as sometimes if you buy a product the Catalina machine will print a coupon for a free competitor product to entice you to switch. In my example transactions above I brought 4 Kraft dressings and I received a $3 catalina coupon - I rolled this into my next transaction to lower my out of pocket.

Cell phone coupons
Target has a new program where you can receive coupons on your cell phone.  When you pay for your purchase pull out your cell phone and they scan the coupon directly from your cell!  I have not tried this yet but sounds pretty cool!
There are many sites with forums that discuss coupon use and how to score that big deal.  I have listed the ones I use below. 

I do find these sites very overwhelming sometimes and you can spend a whole day on them and still be confused about how to do it.  My strategy is I just browse these sites for the particular store that I want to shop, find the deal I like and and then flick through my store flier and my coupon stash and see if they match up.  

Here are a few mottos that I like:
Don't buy without a coupon
If its not free, don't buy it
If its not on sale this week it will be on sale next week

What is your coupon strategy?  I'm interested in hearing your comments : )


Unknown said:

Thank you! This was very helpful :)

Anonymous said:

Amazing info! Thank you so much!

The Emperor said:

I do not go anywhere without my coupon holder!

Aubrie G. said:

Thanks for the advice about the online sites! I didn't know most stores accepted those!

Unknown said:

Didn't know about the Target cell phone coupons. Sounds very modern and neat. Thanks for the post.

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