I’m a bargain shopper. I love to find deals on things and double up on coupons whenever I can.
However, when I first started couponing, it felt overwhelming. The key I’ve learned over the years is to figure out where to actually look for coupons so you can double and triple up on them to buy things heavily discounted or even get things for free.
Here’s where to start
The best places to start your coupon search is in your newspaper or on online manufacturer sites or websites that specialize in couponing such as I Heart Publix, I Heart Kroger, Coupon Mom, and the Krazy Coupon Lady.
Inserts in your weekend newspapers are another easy way to snag weekly coupons. The most common ones are P&G, RetailMeNot Everyday (formerly RedPlum) and SmartSource. Occasionally, you may see a bonus insert for somewhere like Target or Walmart, too.
Now for the less obvious places to coupon…
Inside magazines you’ll find a variety of coupons, often with good deals like $1 to $2 dollars off. Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living and Good Housekeeping are a few worth glancing through at the checkout line.
2. Store clubs and programs
Check the stores that you frequently shop at to see if they have clubs or coupon programs you can join. Here are a couple that will earn you access to exclusive deals and coupons:
Ulta Beauty members get one point per $1 spent, a birthday gift, coupons in the mail and invites to exclusive events.
Kroger rewards card will earn you discounts on gas and groceries and coupons emailed that you can directly load to your card.
CVS has a free beauty club which gets you access to makeup and store coupons.
3. Coffee shops or libraries
Next time you grab your coffee on a Sunday, keep an eye out for the Sunday newspaper inserts. Most coffee joints that get the Sunday newspaper will just throw out the coupon inserts, so ask if you can have them. Libraries that get the paper will often do the same.
4. In-store grocery store samples
Most of the time people will grab a sample and leave, without talking to the attendant or taking a closer look at the deal being offered. See if you can snag a coupon with your sample to save on your purchase.
I never toss the Valpak’s blue envelope out without picking out which coupons I want to save. If you don’t already get it, sign up for it for free. Most of the time these packs are full of printed coupons to local and national retailers and restaurants. Just last week I pulled out a coupon to Mellow Mushroom!
6. Product packaging
Check the outside of cereal boxes and other foods for coupons. You may find a peelie (adhesive coupon) on the outside of the package or coupons inside.
7. Abandoned online shopping carts
Are you an online shopper who loves to browse and add items to your cart without actually buying them? Well this can be to your advantage and earn you a coupon in your email within a few days. See, most retailers will notice you never completed the purchase and will send you an email asking you to check out with a coupon included, in hopes that you will. It pays to wait sometimes!
Some retailers will print off coupons on the back or in addition to your receipt. Target is known to print off two to three coupons for products you recently bought. I love it because it’s usually for things I buy regularly.
Feature Illustration: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual