Friday, December 31, 2010

Where to Find Manufacturers' Money Saving Grocery Coupons

There are lots of different ways to obtain money saving coupons for your grocery and household needs and as we know they are one of the foundations of great savings on CVS deals.  I have heard over and over that using cents off grocery coupons is too much trouble, that they don’t really save that much money, that there are only coupons for items I don’t use, that buying store brand is cheaper, and that they are hard to find.  After couponing for quite a length of time I have found that all of these barriers
can be broken with anywhere from a little to a lot of work, and substantail savings can be obtained.

This post is dedicated to “I don’t know where to find them.”  I will give simple steps to take to start saving with coupons.  As with the CVS Shoppers Series, I advise starting with #1 and working your way down the list until you reach your time limit or your savings goals.  Remember, by the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard.

#1  Collecting Coupons in the Store

The easiest way to save, in terms of time and simplicity in organization, is to look for coupons while shopping.  Most stores have coupons available right next to some products.  Coupon etiquette is expected and practiced by most couponers in not taking more than a couple of each coupon each time they shop.

 Blinkie Machines are little machines maintained by SmartSource.  They are attached to the shelf in the store and have a little red light blinking to draw the attention of the shopper.  Small, shiny coupons “pop” out of the bottom.  You can pull the coupon out and within a few seconds another one will pop out.  Then there will be a couple minutes before it repeats this process.  It is timed so that one shopper cannot just pull them all out (nor a playful child).

Tearpads are just that, pads of coupons found hanging near the products or often on a stand-alone display of the product that shoppers are free to “tear” off to use.

Peelies are coupons stuck to the actual package of the product and either the shopper or the cashier removes them and uses them when checking out.

Stand-Alone Displays are rarer, but sometimes there are display boards with several pads of coupons attached.  During Frozen food month and Dairy month displays in these areas can often be found.

Store “Magazines” are often put out with manufacturer coupons in them and sometimes store coupons (like the Reinventing Beauty Magazine at CVS).  These can usually be found near the ads.

Free Sample Tables usually offer coupons with the samples.

So you can begin to use coupons without any extra time added other than reading the coupon when you find it to be sure you purchase the correct product.

#2 Printing Coupons Online

I think the next easiest way to save using coupons is to print coupons available online.  Be sure to check with your local store to see if they take printable coupons.  Most grocery and drug stores do and a lot of the big box stores will...but all individual stores have the option of saying no.  I save a LOT of money by using printable coupons.  I will list below the online sources in steps from easiest (least time) to hardest (most time).

 Coupon Printing Sites offer dozens to hundreds of coupons each month.  They update them the first of the month, often resetting coupon limits from the month before.  They also add new coupons off and on throughout the month.   When there is a great coupon the print limit will be reached early—so if you see a coupon you think you might want to use, print it when you first see it.

These are the easiest to print in terms of time spent.  You scroll thru the pages of coupons offered, check the ones you want to print and on the last page click print coupons now.  Most coupons are allowed to be printed twice, so after printing go back and check them again and print them a second time if you’d like more than one.  The main sites are:  Coupons, RedPlum, and SmartSource.  You can find hints for printing at each of these in these posts: Coupons, RedPlum and SmartSource.

And there are counterfeit printable coupons out there, too, so be alert.  If it seems too good to be true, it often is.  The three sources above are safe to use.  See the details in this post about counterfeit printables.

    .....

Manufacturer Websites often offer coupons to be printed for their products.  If you are in need of a certain item visit their website and look for coupons.  They also often offer email sign-ups for receiving coupons thru emails.

#3 Buy the Sunday Paper which includes inserts of coupons.  The bigger the city the more coupons offered so purchase one from the largest city around you.  Often dollar stores have them for less than in the paper boxes.

#4 Neighbors will often get a paper but not use the coupons or only use some of them.  Ask your neighbors for their inserts.

#5 Friends and Family Members can be a great source for extra inserts from the Sunday paper, too.

#6 Co-workers, Church or Club Members or any other people you are in regular contact with may have Sunday inserts they won’t be using...ask them.

#7 Online Programs
are available to sign up to receive coupons for new products.  Manufacturers want new products used and consumers to tell their friends about the product so they provide different programs with coupons to send out.  Usually they send one free coupon for the member and several high value coupons to share with friends.  And free sample programs often include coupons.  One such program is Freefly's.  I am not personally familiar with this program but have read good reports.

Individual companies also offer sign up programs, like Pampers RewardsP&G Everyday & Kellogg's Family Rewards.  I have signed up for these latter two and enjoy the extra coupons emailed directly to me...usually a little higher value than the Sunday paper inserts.

#8 Manufacturers will almost always send coupons when contacted by a consumer.  Email, phone or write a company and compliment them on one of their products you have used, comment on a product you’d like to try or just ask if they offer coupons in the mail.  I think I have received coupons from probably over 75% of the companies I have contacted and they are great coupons to have.

#9 Buying Coupons is illegal.  But paying someone for clipping, sorting and mailing coupons is legal.  There are several clipping services available.   Many Ebay sellers also offer coupons.  Using a clipping service instead of Ebay is useful when you want less of one coupon.  Ebay sellers usually sell at least 10 and more often 20 in a batch of the same coupon—great for long time couponers who want to build their stockpile, but for beginners being able to pick a few of each different coupon may be more desirable and a clipping service would be better.  There is usually a minimum order total of $2.50 with a clipping service, but not always.

#10 Obtaining Extra Inserts is a great way to build a supply of coupons.  Many people approach paper carriers or stores (especially convenience stores) and gas stations which sell Sunday papers and ask for extra inserts from the papers that do not sell.  Apparently only the front page or section needs to be returned to the paper to get credit for the papers that have not been sold and the rest of the paper is thrown out, including the coupon inserts.  It is usually necessary to pick these up first thing Monday morning.  EDITING 7/2/2011:  Insert companies are working on cutting down on this and many newspapers have contracts that they will destroy the extra inserts--so this may not be allowed in some places or much longer, so you may want to check into this further before practicing this.  I will leave it in here until I hear that it is unethical coupon practice.

#11 Hunting Down Extra Inserts in various places net many people many extra coupons.  I have read of people eating out Sunday mornings and looking around the tables as people leave who have been reading the paper and may have left the inserts.  Hotel lobbies are another favorite of couponers traveling.  And a big one is “dumpster diving.”  This is the term given by couponers to the act of digging thru the trash for inserts—either a recycling center (permission is needed for this), their apartment building trash or any other place people may throw away the Sunday paper.  EDITING 7/2/2011:  Same as with the note above, "dumpster diving" may become unethical if newspapers are to destroy the extra inserts and the inserts people are diving for are from unsold newspapers and not recycled individual papers.

#12 Trading Coupons with other couponers is a major part of the super couponer’s strategy.  This step can be actually very simple or very complex--from trading with a local friend to a local group of friends to trading with an online group like the ones trading on We Use Coupons or Hot Coupon World.  The basis for trading is that one couponer has coupons they will not be using but another couponer wants and vice a versa. I met a gal online that I regularly send and receive envelopes of coupons and rebate forms.  When a local store has a deal or triple coupons we send each other our wish lists and if we can, we send on the coupons we have on it.  We also have learned many of each other’s favorite items and automatically put any of those coupons we find in an “envie” waiting to be filled up to mail.
Get All You Plus a Free Gift!
#13 Subscribe to All You Magazine for a great supply of coupons.  Each month All You Magazine has between $50 and $100 worth of coupons. Often these are coupons with much higher value than the average insert coupons and with longer expiration dates.  And many of them work for CVS deals.  I have read of some couponers who have five or more subscriptions delivered to their homes each month so they can have the extra coupons. All You is sold exclusively thru subscriptions or at Walmart--Walmart is about $2.28 each, subscriptions normally run $1.67 each. Click here for your Subscription to All You Magazine

So as you can see, couponing can take virtually no time at all to quite a bit of time (as recently seen on TLC's Extreme Couponing).  And there are savings to be had at each level.  The friend I mentioned who I trade with kept track one year of her spendings.  For feeding herself, her husband, her two cats (and stray cats she happens to encounter—like living at the local library) and many donations to friend ands family members (including gifts) she spent only $500 on groceries for the YEAR.  This included all cleaning, paper and health and beauty items, too.  This is her hobby and she lives in a metropolitan area with lots of stores so this is extreme, but I share it to let you know what coupons can do for a household budget.

So keep your eyes open while shopping to increase your coupons and thus increase your savings on CVS deals as well as at the grocery store.

All You is a Simply CVS affiliate marketing partner. 

Disclosure: Links in this post may be Simply CVS affiliate partners or personal referral links.

5 comments:

JRFrugalMom said...

Wow, $500 a year! That is fantastic!

Cheryl said...

Yes, JR, she lives in a "no beer purchase necessary" state where she can do lots of meat/produce/grocery refunds without buying the beer. Saves a lot in a year.

Anonymous said...

Please explain this meat/produce/grocery refund without buying beer. I'd like to learn more and have never heard of that...???

Cheryl said...

Sure, Anon. There are rebate forms in grocery stores for beer (just like you might have for shampoo). They are in the beer aisles usually (often in convenient stores, too). It may be $10 on $20 worth of beef and a 6 pack of beer. Well, in some states, I don't remember which (NC &VA are two I am pretty sure), it will say "no beer purchase necessary." So you can buy $20 worth of meat and send in the receipt and the form and you will get a $10 check in the mail whereas in most states you have to also buy the beer. So if you normally buy beer and are in those states you can also do these--just look in the alcohol aisle for them. My friend happens to not drink alcohol but she can still use them because of the state she lives in. Hope this helps.

Smileybabs said...

Mycokerewards.com has an offer of a 1-year subscription to "All You" Magazine for 333 points. This is as of 3/4/2012.