This is my February update to the Grocery Coupon Experiment. Follow along to learn more about couponing and how you can shave off some money from your grocery bill.
My coupon experiment is off to a slower start than I initially intended. Nevertheless, I did spend the last few months trying to find coupon-rich “centers” that could save us some money, and made good progress.
One important parameter has changed since the experiment kicked off in January. While our intent was always to avoid pre-packaged and processed foods, we have recently increased our focus on eating healthy, organic, and local foods, more than ever before. That’s going to present an added challenge to reducing our grocery costs by 50% but we’re up to that challenge.
About Today’s Post
Today’s post covers some of the basic places I found coupons, and roughly what you can expect from each. For many of you, this post might be a boring review. But my idea is to approach this from scratch, so I’m taking you though every step of my journey.
This is basically how I started—spending the first few weeks in search mode, finding and organizing coupons that I thought I might be able to use.
So let’s go through some of the places I found coupons, shall we?
The most obvious place to find coupons is right in your own mailbox! They come in many forms, the most common being:
- Coupon collections like Valpack that might feature 40-50 local restaurants, car repair shops and stores, and get mailed out every 30-60 days.
- Weekly coupon catalogs (like Redplum) that might have local grocery store flyers, BOGO deals, pizza ads, cable deals, and more.
There’s so little work involved, it’s almost laughable. You just need to keep an eye out for these coupons in the mail and search through them before you toss the papers in the trash.
After searching through coupons that come to you, the next most obvious place to look is the local Sunday paper. The reason you only need Sunday’s is because the majority of the coupons you want are added to the paper only on this day of the week.
This method costs a little bit of money, since the Sunday edition is usually a little pricier than a weekday print, but you can usually save enough on the coupons alone to make it worth your while.
Online Coupon Aggregators
To see and clip many grocery and personal care coupons all at once, coupon aggregator sites seem to be the best place to start online. Most of these make searching, browsing, saving, and printing your coupons simple, and they update their stock of coupons regularly.
Some of the more notable sites I have found have been:
Another place I’ve had some success are manufacturer’s websites. It makes sense—manufacturers want you to try their product so you get hooked on a brand and continue buying their stuff.
In almost all cases, there was some kind of sign-up process in exchange for getting the coupon, so you might have to live with occasional emails about the product and in many cases also be limited to your initial coupon (unless you sign up with multiple emails, you trickster you).
One surprising source of coupons has been the actual store where we do our grocery shopping. Actually, I have found this to be the case at two different grocery chains.
At the front of the store, there’s a rack (typically with the week’s sales circular) that has a bunch of coupons in a handout-format sheet or all separated and ready to be scanned.
There are also coupon machines (the pull-out kind) throughout the store, and typically located by their respective products. You just have to keep your eyes open.
Where have you had the best luck?
So that’s it—those are the main places where we’ve been able to find a good amount of coupons for things we would actually consider buying.
If you’re just a beginner learning along with me, or an experienced “couponer” who’s been at this for a while, where have you had the best luck finding coupons?
5 thoughts on “GCE Update: Basic Coupon Resources”
I usually find the best deals right there at the store …. in the front, as you were saying.
However, coupons are usually for name-brand products; I often buy store-brand for cheaper prices (even AFTER the name-brand discount, store-brand is often cheaper).
Just remember to comparison-shop “per unit,” e.g. price per ounce!
Great point! It’s very important not to get blinded by the fact that you’re “getting a deal.”
I have a handful of couponing blogs that I try to read regularly. They are a great resource, because they scout out the deals for you and put them right up where you can find them. They also provide links to online coupons that I’d never take the time to find myself. Some I really like: moneysavingmadnessdotcom, commonsensewithmoneydotcom and moneysavingqueendotcom. There are tons of others out there, too.
Just remember, it’s easy to get caught up in what you think is a saving game and, instead, end up spending a TON. You can rack up so many “bargains” in the thrill of “saving,” that you have nothing left at the end of the month! Be selective–and only buy what you really need!
Here’s what I tell myself: Until or unless I use it, a coupon is nothing but a piece of paper. If it expires or it’s for a product I don’t need, it’s no big deal. Other deals will come around later. It’s better to make sure it’s something you really need before shelling out the cash–even if it seems like a great deal. 🙂
Of course, I completely neglected to mention blogs! (Thank you). These have been instrumental for me in the past not for directly finding coupons, but for pointing out coupons that I could find and where to look.
I agree with the above poster. I prefer coupon blogs to commercial coupon sites that send you to other sites for stuff that you are not interested in. I like to be able to select what I want and get educated on how to find coupons. I like the blog: real savings for you with coupons.
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