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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where do all those coupons come from?

Here is a question I am commonly asked. There are so many great places to find money saving coupons on your every day items, you might be surprised. Here are what I consider the 8 most common places to find coupons. (That's right there are more than 8 places to find coupons!)

1. Internet This is my number one source of coupons. Sites like and smartsource are great places to get coupons on various products. Most internet printable coupons require you to download software, but not to worry this software is only to stop you from printing an innumerable number of coupons for the same product. Most coupon sites allow you 2 prints per coupon. Some specific product websites also offer special coupon promotions, so it is a good idea to check out the web sites for your favorite products, or join a website like Afullcup that has a database of available coupons.

2. Newspaper Inserts: Each Sunday edition of your local newspaper usually has coupon inserts in them. Almost every week there will be a Smartsource and a Redplum insert. Once a month there is a P&G insert and from time to time a General Mills, Unilever, or a Kellog's insert with coupons good on their specific family of products. I usually buy multiple copies of the paper, which is almost always worth the savings. Don't worry about inserts on national holidays though, there are usually none.

3. Magazines: Some magazines also have coupons in them. My favorite magazines for coupons are Parenting magazine and All You magazine (only available at wal-mart). If you have kids, a Parenting magazine subscription is likely a worthwhile investment.

4. Direct Mail: That's right, they will ship the coupons right to your front door. I get a lot of coupons in the mail from mailing list I have signed up for online, including Huggies, Pampers, and Carter's. We have a Carter's outlet store where I live, and the 25% off direct mail coupons have helped me with some great savings. I also receive direct mail coupons from P&G, Target, Buy Buy baby and a few other stores available to me locally.

5. In Stores: Grocery stores can be a great source of coupons, a lot of products will have coupons stuck right to them (peelies) that you can peel off and use at the register and some products may have coupons hanging from them (hangtags). Don't forget about those Smartsource machines with the coupons (often referred to as blinkies) sticking right out for the taking, and tearpads found on store shelves. Often these coupons will have extended expiration dates, great for saving until a great deal comes along. Also, be sure to be on the lookout for booklets and pamphlets there are often valueable coupons inside.

6. Friends & Family: Don't underestimate the power of a helpful friend! Friends and family can be an excellent source for extra coupons. Let them pass along to you the Sunday insert coupons that they don't need. Ask them to sign up to be on a mailing list and then share and swap those direct mail coupons. Know of a coupon that can only be found in stores? Have your friend/ family member keep a look out for you.

7. Inside Packages: This is pretty self explanatory so make sure to check inside those boxes before you throw them out.

8. Catalina Coupons: These are printed at the cash register much like a receipt. Catalina machines are designed to print out coupons and advertisements based on your current purchase or purchase history. So next time you see that machine spitting stuff out at you, don't just walk away.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it is a great starting point and something that I think would have been useful to me when I was first starting out using coupons. I would say just be friendly and polite because you never know when a customer service rep or a vendor is going to have coupons to share. Also, be aware of your surroundings so you don't accidentally leave some poor coupon behind :)

Happy Saving!

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