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The LOWDOWN on Couponing

Coupons are a source of free money!  So lets talk coupons!

Insert: Coupon booklet found in the Sunday paper
RP - Red plum Insert
SS - Smart Source Insert
PG - Procter & Gamble Insert
IP - Internet Printable Coupon
MFG - Manufacturer’s Coupon

Valpak offers numerous local coupons that are mailed to you.  You'd be surprised to find coupon codes too at their website for all your online shopping needs.

Sunday Papers offer a plethora of coupons - I get mine delivered through a subscription as its cheaper than buying them at the store.  However, if you live near a dollar store the Sunday paper can be snagged for yes you guessed it a dollar - much cheaper than from a grocery store.   Get there early as I've heard lines form prior to opening. 

There are so many online sites that offer printable coupons. All you need is a computer, printer, paper, ink and a pair of scissors.  Here are some of my favorite printable coupon sites - the coupons get updated frequently so check back periodically.
Typically you can print two coupons per computer

Check your local store's online website as you may find printable coupons there - some stores even take competitor coupons.  Also, check in-store - there are many varieties of coupons that you can find while shopping.
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 but be courteous and leave some for others
CAT or CATALINA: Coupon that prints at the register after purchase.

are clipless coupons that are loaded onto your store’s loyalty card. They can only be used once and when combined with a sale and paper coupons you can get many items for free.   Sites that I love are Saving Star, Shortcuts, Cellfire and Upromise.

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.

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

If shopping online find a coupon code at Ebates and while there get some cashback.

COUPON MATCHUP: has some great deal scenarios using coupons for every store you could possibly shop!   Take your time and flick through the deal scenarios with your coupon stash.  Don't forget to locate the store coupon policy online so you can be armed with the facts if in dispute.

STACK: Stack a coupon with a sale to make your money go further.

WATCH THE CASHIER - coupons sometimes stick together or get dropped or the cashier will scan the coupon but not realize that it didn’t go through.

STORE COUPON POLICY - Find your store's coupon policy so you can manage your coupon strategy.  My store double's coupons up to 99 cents so I cut out all the 75 cent coupons as they double to $1.50.  However, they will only double the first like coupon per transaction therefore I ensure I do separate transaction if I have more than one of the same coupon.

Happy Couponing

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DealiriousMama said:

Great ideas! Yes, it is so important to watch the cashier with coupons. Sometimes they do make mistakes.

Ellen said:

Great suggestions. I really need to remember to check my magazines for coupons. I always forget those!

kailani said:

Thank you for this mini lesson in couponing. So many of my friends at work coupon and I usually have no idea what they're talking about. Now I can at least contribute to the conversation! :-)

MMAR said:

Great post... I am so bad about couponing I need to try some of these tips!!

Lisa said:

Also, call your local stores before you go with printed off coupons. Where I live, there is only one grocery store that will take them.

Marina@EBMR said:

This is such a great post for newbies to couponing. I really must get back to organized couponing!

Shanaka @ Mama Bee Does said:

A great post to get started with couponing. I've been a couponer for about 4 years now and I wouldn't give it up for anything. I love it :)

Kimberly Storms said:

This is a great summery. I used to be a couponer but with 4 children and homeschooling I can't seem to find the time. I know there are faster ways these days but taking the time to find them even is hard. LOL Love from -

Rita said:

I love coupons. This is great summary for those who are just getting started.

Julee said:

Where was this post when I started couponing. Great post.

David and Cathi said:

I so need to coupon again. I haven't "really" done it for years. It come so far over the years.

Vanessa said:

such a great post for those who are new to couponing!

Karen Coutu said:

I use to try to do this before I had children and then I just never could find the time to do it well.

Sarah@ropeknits said:

I wish I'd seen this great intro when I started using coupons a few years ago!

Funny thing about couponing is that once you start, you begin seeing coupons *everywhere.*

Admin1 said:

Fab tips! I loved all these nice tips. I was just about to do some online shopping and I'm so glad I stopped and read your post first! I'm so about to check out the Matchup one and I signed up for Ebates and never even used it! What is wrong with me? Lol.

Thanks so much for the information. :) Very helpful!

Clarinda Olenslager said:

I wish I could do couponing to save money but we only buy natural foods and foods that don't use UPCs. Those are some great tips and there were ones that I had not heard of. said:

I'm so bad at couponing, I clip them and forget them. I love the great tips you gave out.

Kelley said:

I just finished watching "Extreme Couponing" on TLC. Unfortunately here in Europe coupons do not exist.

Angie Nelson said:

I love my coupons. I usually can't find matchups for our local stores, but with the weekly flyer and the How to Shop for Free coupon database I manage to do pretty good on my own.

Favorite Little Princess said:

I love how Upromise has e-coupons now. I pick the ones I want and then they scan my card at the grocery and it automatically applies! I hear this is going to be a new trend and I can't wait. I have such a hard time juggling a list, kids, groceries AND coupons. Thanks for sharing your tips.

Making Our Life Matter said:

I am so hit and miss with coupons, and certainly am inconsistent. That was a great post, and something I will come back and refer to. Have a great day!

Rahul Kuntala said:

Great ideas as I am also very bad on couponing, I will implement your tips

Glenda said:

WOW, this is a wonderful post that I can really benefit from as I am just now starting to use coupons in my household and some of the tearms confuse me. I will be letting my readers now to stop by to learn about the coupons and what they all are as I am starting a coupon section on my blog.

Lyndsy said:


Thanks for the coupon resource list and the tips. Now, if only I can remember to bring my coupons....


About JollyJilly said:

Good ideas! We don't do this so much in the uk but maybe we should!

Shannon said:

I tried couponing for a while and then fell in love with sweeping. I still use coupons when I can. Do you enter sweeps?

Kerry said:

Great tips! The store that I shop at as perks on line-- you just have to go online and "clip" the coupons, then at check out you input your cell phone number to redeem. This past week I was able to use some of these perks plus actual coupons to try some new products....which is a perfect way to try new products to see if you like them!

Nikki said:

I had no idea that you could get the paper at the dollar store, thank you for that tip and all the others! I'm really trying to get into couponing. Before I had my son, I did okay, but not spectacular. Lately, I've been a bit of a coupon slacker though. I can't use him as an excuse anymore because he's almost seven!

Just Jaime said:

Great tips. I had no idea that papers are sometimes sold at the Dollar Store! Thanks for the insight!

Julie Baswell said:

Great article. I did couponing years ago and did very well.

Stephanie said:

Wow, this is great for those of us new to couponing. This is the simplest explanation i have ever seen. Very easy to understand. Thanks so much for the information.

Britni @ Our Eventual Homestead said:

Great info! I've been couponing for a few years and have significantly cut our grocery expense!

Eleni Poulakou said:

Great tips from a coupon pro!
Too bad I live overseas...

Dawn Storey said:

Great post! It makes me a bit jealous, though - we don't have the same kinds of deals here in Canada! Our coupons are usually pretty wimpy compared to the ones in the US. Hopefully some day that will change!

Anjanette said:

My fave grocer won't accept coupons for free items, it always bums me out! And there's only one local store that doubles coupons - but they don't offer anything organic, which is what we mostly eat. Still, I love that sometimes coupons can help snag some awesome loot! I am a member of Vocalpoint and sometimes they mail me some pretty high value coupons!

Corinne Rodrigues said:

I live in India and we don't have too much of this. But I'm sure your information is very useful.

Hopkins family said:

I've been couponing for 2 years and I wish I could have had this post when I started. It sums it all up so nicely and succinctly. Great job. i do need to try writing the companies for free coupons/products. I haven't done that yet.

Unknown said:

I always watch very carefully to make sure my coupons are coming off right at the register. Just last weekend I had a buy 4 get 2 free dog food coupon come up as 2 cents off, rather than the $3.54 off that it should have been...and you can bet I said something right away because that is a huge difference!

April said:

Great primer! I love coupons, even though I don't use that many. We buy mostly staple items, which rarely have coupons!

Eschelle Westwood Mumfection said:

Great idea for a post you did a great job at breaking down the lingo! Watching the cashier is a good point I never really think to watching them too closely lol.

Carrie said:

I had no idea there were so many ways to save with coupons! Thanks for sharing all of these tips! I live in Northern Michigan, and our local stores no longer allow double-couponing here. It is great to get a list of coupon sites to print off coupons that we can use.

Great blog! I liked your Facebook page as well; I look forward to reading more!

Dianna @ practicingfrugal said:

Great post for those getting started in coupons or even those just thinking about it. Coupons are such a great way to save money when combined with sales.

team keraus said:

I love couponing. Wish I had more time to dedicate to it...

Julie said:

I find myself wishing I could be so simple and straight forward when I try to explain couponing... you have done it so easily! Love it! And I LOVE coupons! :)

Wendy said:

Great newbie tips...wish I had this post when I started out many, many years ago!

Around My Family Table

Mariah @ Formula Mom said:

I learned something new today! I didn't know that Blinkies, Peelies and Tearpads had names! I'm definitely a casual couponer and this was a great post because it was so simple and easy to understand!

Lisa said:

I LOVE the Sunday coupon preview! When I see great coupons coming out I will buy 4 papers!

A few weeks ago I started using a filing system ON my kitchen counter. I have a coupon file.

Since coupons come in EVERY DAY, I have a place to put them along with unclipped inserts and this week's circulars.

It keeps all the coupons OFF my counters!


Erin O'Riordan said:

Not very often, but every once in a while I'll find a Facebook offer I want to follow up on for a coupon. I got a free can of tomatoes like that not too long ago - which was perfect timing, because I made chili that week. You really can save a lot of money if you're consistent with it.

Tiffany HealthynBalanced said:

Thanks for the breakdown. It's great to see all the info in one place instead of trying to get bits and pieces from different blogs or posts. :)

Katie said:

Very thorough article. I find I've always got to watch the stores coupon policy, it seems like it changes so much.

Unknown said:

I saved quite a bit couponing a few months ago, but haven't done it in awhile. I really need to get back into it. What do you mean by getting your sunday inserts through a subscription? Do you just mean paper delivery? or is there a different subscription service that I don't know about?

Krystle said:

Great ideas! I need to learn more about couponing but just never really had the chance to. If I ever write about coupons I'll be sure to point them here. Bookmarking now :)

Unknown said:

I tried using coupons when I first started staying at home, but it seemed like whatever I needed wasn't in the right size for the coupon or the store brand was cheaper. I guess I'll have to give it a try again!

Mary @ The Mommy Job said:

Great summary for beginners! There's a lot tolearn about couponing and this is a great tutorial!

Khairy said:

I am jealous at how easy it is to use coupons in the States. Us Canadians don't have such luck :)

Jacqui Gonzales said:

I am a couponer, but I admit sometimes it seems overwhelming. I often do my own match ups because I will have different coupons or I need something that whomever wrote the coupon match up didn't think was a good deal. Maybe that is part of why it seems so overwhelming!

life...just saying said:

I use coupons. My son works at Kroger, so I get his discount. That's about as far as it goes. Wish I was better at it. Thanks for sharing...maybe one day I'll get it!

Mrs. M said:

Great article! We use coupons every shopping trip and love how much money it saves us! I have learned that watching the cashier scan the coupons is VERY important, thanks for pointing that out!

Erin @ My Mommy World said:

I have had the cashier fail to scan some of my coupons a couple times's so upsetting! Not only do you not get that coupon taken off your total, but then you don't even get it back to use later! Now I always try to stack my coupons with a printable in between ones from the coupon inserts...they are less likely to stick together that way :)

Allison said:

Thanks for sharing!! This is a great intro to couponing. I always get mad at our cashiers at our grocery store because they forget to give us the coupons that print.

Samantha said:

i saw this page was about coupons and i was all over it! i share a lot about coupons with my readers too, including my weekly coupon shopping results. i love coupons!!!!

so great to read this and know other bloggers are spreading the good work about coupons. there is money to be saved out there, people! :-)

andrea said:

I agree with Samantha - GREAT article!

mammamilk said:

I am a huge couponer too - there is nothing like the thrill of saving lots of money!! I love stacking coupons!!

clarissa danielle said:

This is a great post!! I have been looking at getting into couponing, but I see so much jargon I have a hard time following sometimes. This made it so much easier for me to try!! Thank you for taking the time to post it.

See You In The Garden said:

A great overview that was easy to understand. I've been using coupons for years (can't believe I can say that now), but can always use a refresher. Things have changed a lot lately, so it is always good to go back and make sure your stores' coupon policies have not changed. That is one area where I tend to get suprised.

Becca@CreatingFamilyConnections said:

Excellent run-down of coupons! My mom is a big couponer, and because of that... I'm becoming one myself. Why buy at full price when you can do a little research and get the items for so much cheaper?

Great info.

Unknown said:

Great ideas. Lots of tips. Winning combination.

Many thanks!

Lou Lou said:

We don't really have coupons in Sweden, not like how you describe. But after readying all about them, I wish we did! Sounds like a smart and easy way to save money!

Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures said:

Most of the food I buy is dairy, meat, or produce. There's really nothing I buy that has coupons available!

Emily said:

I have heard about doing the comments to your favorite products, but I have yet to give it a try. You might just have given me the confidence to go for it!!

Maura said:

Awesome go to post for Coupon basics. Very helpful post! Thanks!

Jessica, The Debt Princess said:

Great run down on the many aspects of coupons. I am an avid coupon user, the savings is worth the time.

Jing Jing said:

i've been couponing for a long time but i never coupon like those in the t.v. shows. i am liking the whole writing to the compnay thing to get discounts

Unknown said:

Love the coupon 101! When we were just starting dental school, and our budget was more restrictive, I used to Extreme Coupon, but I haven't in a couple years. Maybe I should go back? :)

Kecia | From Mom's Desk said:

Thank you for sharing the lowdown on couponing! I joined a few months ago...I love all the helpful info and match-ups there. I have gotten out of the habit of clipping since the holidays, but I really need to get back into it.

Unknown said:

Thank you for the great coupon info I am going to check into

Millie said:

I had no idea there were so many sources for coupons! Very informative. I don't usually find things in my normal shopping to use coupons but it is interesting to see all of the sources available.

Laurie said:

Just the place I neeeded to find. I am all about saving money at the grocery store. I will definitley be cak here to visit. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Andie said:

Thanks for the great couponing info. I have had problems with cashiers not watching the coupons. They think they scanned and it didn't really go through. My main problem is at Target. I usually have to go back to the customer service desk and get a refund. It's always good to pay attention.

Brenda said:

I go in phases with couponing. This is definately great information. One additional thing to keep in mind about couponing is to find a way to organize all your coupons in some way that makes sense to you. Serious couponing takes a lot of organization.

Tonya Peele said:

This post offers such a wealth of information! Years ago I was an avid couponer, but then got out of the habit. Your well researched post is just the foundation I need to get back into saving again. Thanks!!

Yannie said:

Thanks for sharing the website. Since we saw that program in TLC, "The Extreme Couponing", I and my sister are collecting coupons. It's really amazing how they can save money out from it. But we never used it, 'coz we do not know if the local store here in the town where we live accept those coupons. Some are already expired

Marian said:

before I go to Michael's Craft Store I usually visit there site to see if there are available coupons. At least I can save.

LaVonne said:

I have gotten so behind on couponing. I need to really get back into it. It was so much work each week to plan my trip and collect my coupons. But I did save a lot of money. Now that we are eating less processed foods and more organic foods it is more difficult to find a surplus of coupons too. It can be done though. Thanks for sharing!

Suzy Myers said:

A great summary! I've been actively couponing for about six months now and save from $40 to $80 each trip at the grocery store. It really makes the time spent cutting them out worth it.


Katrina - Edelweiss Patterns said:

Goodness! You are the coupon queen! I'll admit that this is something I need to get better at, so I appreciate the helpful info.

Johnnie said:

Wow! Thanks for all the tips. I will be watching the cashier like a hawk.

Starlene @ GAPS Diet Journey said:

I didn't know there were so many ways to get coupons, and I also didn't know that the dollar store sells the Sunday paper for less! My sister in law has a deal she's set up with the newspaper guy that delivers in her neighborhood, he gives her all the leftover inserts! So she is always getting dozens of things for free and then she shares some of the loot with the newspaper delivery guy. I also didn't know about Thanks for sharing these tips with us!

Michelle said:

I am a big proponent of ebates! If you shop online, it is sooo easy! Printing coupons drives me nuts! But I do attempt it on occasion!

heather said:

lots of great info here! still wish they would make more coupons for produce or fresh meat or cheese...but until then, I'll do what I can, right?

Unknown said:

I never realized there were so many different types and ways to find coupons! Who knew! I'll have to take notes and see what is available in my area!

Anonymous said:

Great tips, thanks for sharing!

Becky Fisher said:

Excellent suggestions -- some stores change their policy mid-stream so it's always good to keep up on that!

Carrie said:

This is very clear and easy to understand. Couponing is such a fun thing to do and it benefits my family as well. :-)

Jenivieve said:

This is a great post, really covers everything you need to know. I have saved so much money couponing I don't know what I would do with out it!

penguinsandladybugs said:

I did some couponing for a while a couple years ago. It became a lot of work and I'd get "behind" on organizing coupons. But I do appreciate folks like you, willing to help others get started couponing...

brett said:

nice, comprehensive explanation of couponing!! thanks for sharing!! i <3 couponing. we save hundreds and hundreds each year and are able to do donations to the food bank and shelters with freebies from coupons!

Amanda said:

Great tips! Thanks! I want to add that while at one time, Kroger would allow stacking of paper coupons and coupons loaded on your store card, they no longer do so. It loads to your card as a manufacturer coupon and apparently uses the same code as the paper coupon. This has happened to me twice recently. At least they did give me back the paper coupon to use later.

Keep It Thimble said:

Great overview of the couponing process! We try to do this in our house, but it is hard for us to stay on top of it all. However, it is definitely worth doing when you can.

becky said:

Thanks for the great info!

I've always wanted to become more knowledgeable about couponing and it looks like your site has some great tips.

I'll definitely be back :)

heidi said:

Thanks for all the tips! I am not a couponer but have been considering it so this was a great starting point!

heidi said:

Thanks for all the tips! I am not a couponer but have been considering it so this was a great starting point!

Judith said:

Where I live (the Netherlands) we don't really have that many coupons - or at least not that I know of. So it's fun to read your post about it.

Jamie Northrup said:

With an extra member coming to the family, I'm going to need any help I can get, thanks for the couponing tips.

Shabby Chic Mom said:

I'm a newbie to couponing, started in January, I'm getting more and more savings and at the very least purchasing when on sale WITH a coupon! Thanks for the tips, I never thought of the dollar store for a newspaper!

Shabby Chic Mom said:

I'm a newbie to couponing, started in January, I'm getting more and more savings and at the very least purchasing when on sale WITH a coupon! Thanks for the tips, I never thought of the dollar store for a newspaper!

113tidbits said:

I had no idea there were so many ways to save with coupons! Thanks for sharing all of these tips!

Mrs. Accountability said:

The one you listed to be sure to watch the cashier and make sure all the coupons are used, that would be a tricky one but definitely you would need to watch for it. It would probably be something you would have to tell the cashier right then so she could count the coupons that she's already scanned. Just thinking about it makes me nervous, lol. I used to coupon years ago but not so much nowadays. I wish I had more time...

sarah said:

Great overview of couponing! I have found that I've adjusted my strategy over the years - I am more strategic in only doing deals I know we'll actually use, instead of trying to get in on all the freebies.

Daily Citron said:

Great compilation on couponing! I'm going to bookmark this to refer to it again. I've found that with couponing I get so many products for so cheap that I end up having to stop grocery shopping for a couple weeks just to use the backlog of food in the pantry. :)
-Viva recently posted Homemade Pizza Dough

Lindsay Downs said:

I go back and forth on whether couponing is profitable or not. I really think it depends on your season of life. Sometimes I'm very good about it, and other times I have to let it go for other things.

Thanks for the roundup of tips!

Jill said:

Thanks for all the info!

kristin said:

Great tips for beginning couponers. I just can't get into it, but I do love ebates, so I love that you included tips like that for those of us who still want to save!

Melanie said:

This is a great list! I coupon every once in a while, most of the time on big purchases.

-Melanie from Melanie's Musings

SalemMomma said:

Awesome list! I get overwhelmed by all the coupon stuff going on, this is really helpful!

Karren Haller said:

Ilove the post you have shared I would like to share it with my weekly Win a Bundle of Coupons, it would mean so much to my readers, thanks for sharing, Karren

Janet K said:

I'm such a coupon addict, but it takes so much time. My husband has tried to take over a little since I started blogging, but he's so disorganized it's driving me crazy!

Unknown said:

Your blog is so beautiful!
I am also an avid couponer (most of the time) and you gave great tips to newbies!

My Favorite Deals said:

I love coupons! Thanks for the informational post. I've been couponing for a few years now so I most of the information already, but it's always good to have another couponing site available to visit to find deals!
Will definitely be following you :)

Tracy @ said:

Coupons are fantastic! You do need to watch the cashiers. I caught a $6 error when the cashier took off the store coupons, but forgot the 3 manufacturer coupons for $2 each.

Katy said:

Hi, Nice, straightforward post especially good for those of us overwhelmed by the jargon and how to get the best deals.

Kate a.k.a. Gwenelle said:

I've been trying to coupon more and you've got some really good tips that I haven't tried before. Thanks!!

My Little Bit of Life said:

What great info for a newbie or as a re-fresher!

Kangaroo Mama said:

Thanks for the info. I've not a big coupon user before 'cause I usually don't save much from them but I also haven't tried many of those tactics. I also seem to have trouble printing some coupons that require me to download their special softwares or am I choosing the wrong coupon sites?!

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