On Wednesday, I talked about how I became a couponer after years of scoffing at coupons as worthless. Despite my misgivings, once I decided to start using coupons, I hit the ground running. I’ve been couponing every single week for a few months now, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned about finding coupons online.
This blog isn’t really a couponing site, and I won’t be posting coupon matchups — there are far better sites for that, like The Krazy Coupon Lady or Passion For Savings. Instead, I’ll be talking about the process of couponing and how to get the most from it and maximize your savings.
So where do you find coupons?
The biggest source of online printable coupons are big sites like Coupons.com, Smart Source, and Redplum. Smart Source and Redplum, of course, also put out the coupon inserts that you’ll find in most newspapers. The coupons from these sites are usually manufacturer’s coupons, although occasionally you’ll find a store coupon in the mix. Most of these sites ask for your zipcode (because companies try to target their promotions to certain locations), and you can sometimes find different coupons by using alternative zipcodes.
Many grocery stores offer printable coupons from their websites. Target, Walmartand Publix all have coupon sites, as do many smaller grocery chains. You do have to pay attention when using these sites — some of the coupons will be considered store coupons (meaning Target/Walmart/Publix is paying for the promotion) and some will be considered manufacturer or vendor coupons (meaning the company making the product in question is paying for the promotion). You can generally use one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon on the same product.
Hit Up Manufacturer’s Websites and Facebook Pages
Although some companies are more free with their coupons than others, it’s always worth checking out the company website to see if they’re offering any coupons. Companies like DiGiorno, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Bird’s Eye frequently have coupons on their websites — you just have to stop by and print them off. Occasionally, you’ll have to watch a video or fill out a small survey to get the coupon. If you don’t find any coupons on the company’s actual website, check out their Facebook page too — more and more companies are shifting their promotional materials over there, usually in exchange for a “Like.” (You can always unlike the page as soon as you print your coupons.)
Be sure to check out parent companies, too. If you’re looking for Cheerios coupons, for example, you’d check Cheerios.com, but you might also have luck looking at General Mills’ website.
Sign Up For Promotional Mailing Lists
Speaking of manufacturer’s websites, these days, just about every company has a promotional mailing list. Just look up the company’s website, then look for an Offers or Promotions page. Once you subscribe, they’ll send you information about their products and sometimes include a coupon, especially if they’re launching a new product. It’s usually worth it to sign up for these mailing lists, although be prepared for a mountain of promo emails you’ll never read. I set up a filter in Gmail to skip my inbox and send those emails into a dedicated folder. That way, I can scan it quickly to see if there are any coupons I want to use.
Email Companies And Ask For Coupons!
I’ve honestly never done this, but I do know some couponers do it regularly. If there’s a product you really like, hunt down a contact form and let the company know. A lot of times they’ll send you a coupon or two. Obviously, this isn’t the sort of thing you want to abuse, and you probably shouldn’t make a habit of it. That said, it can be a good way to find some coupons that aren’t usually available to the general public.
If a company is running a sweepstakes linked to one of their products, sometimes they’ll pair that with a free coupon if you enter. You get a chance to win a few prizes, and you get some extra coupons, too. It’s a win-win! Just make sure you plan ahead if they ask for information like your address or phone number, to avoid unwanted spam.
Finally, if I know a product is on sale — DiGiorno pizzas, for example — I’ll do a Google search for “digiorno pizza coupons” or “digiorno pizza promotions” or “digiorno deals.” This, of course, will turn up lots of results, but many of them will be expired or outdated, so I make use of Google’s advanced features to limit my search by a date range — usually within the last week or month does the trick.
Sometime next week, I’ll explain how to get multiple copies of printable coupons. Tomorrow, Crystal’s post about coping with emotional spending goes live, and on Sunday, I think we’ll share some of our favorite posts this week from other personal finance blogs around the web.
Photo by Chris Potter