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March 25, 2008

How to Accumulate a Nice Stash of Coupons

One question I am often asked is "Where do you find all your coupons you use?" Well, I don't have any super secret source, but I have come across many different ideas for accumulating coupons. Here are just a few ideas that I've personally used or heard about from others:

1) Subscribe to your local newspaper. This is the simplest way to get started couponing - getting it delivered to your door every week! We pay around $1.00/week for this and it has been worth every penny. I waited until I could get it that cheap before I would subscribe, though. Unless you already get the paper anyway, if you are buying the paper solely for the coupons, don’t pay more than $2/week maximum for it. Also, see if you can subscribe to a Sunday-only edition or at least a weekend-only edition. 

Other things to look into: Check and see if you can get more than one copy of the paper and get a discount. Or, call around to other local towns/cities – especially larger cities - and see if they offer any discounts on newspaper subscriptions for out-of-town folks. You might also call and ask about them just letting you purchase the coupon inserts. And always ask for a discount – there’s usually a way to get one!   

There are a few other online sites, including eBay and The Coupon Clippers or The Coupon Master where you can routinely buy extra coupons from for a fraction of the cost. I encourage you to be cautious when doing this, though, as you can easily go overboard. However, if it's a really good deal and going to save you lots of money and you're able to afford it in your grocery budget, then go for it! I know many people who have saved hundreds of dollars buying coupons from The Coupon Clippers or The Coupon Master.

2) Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for their extra papers. Let it be known that you are an avid couponer and will gladly accept any extra coupon inserts from anyone who doesn't use them. You might be surprised how many you can collect this way. Elderly neighbors seem to be especially eager to save their coupons for others, so be sure to ask them. Also, if you know of anyone who has a newspaper route, this might be another avenue for having access to free coupons. It depends upon the policy of the newspaper company, but sometimes they will allow you to have the extras. 

3) Check out your local recycling bin. I'd heard of this method for awhile but never investigated it until a few years ago. Let me tell you – it really works! In the town where we used to live, I discovered where some very clean newspaper recycling bins were located and hit them on my way home from the store, if I had time. In 15 minutes, I could usually salvage 10-15 coupon inserts. 

4) Get coupons at the store. Keep your eyes peeled at the store and pick up any coupons you find on tearpads or in the blinking dispensers. If there are extras, pick up multiple copies of these. A lot of times, this very item will be on an exceptional sale just a few weeks later and you’ll be more than glad you picked up that handful of coupons!

5) Print coupons out online. If your store accepts “printables,” this can be a great source of coupons. You can do a search for "printable coupons" and it will bring up many different coupons. You can also search for a specific item and see if there are any printable coupons. Most of these sites allow you to print two coupons per computer every few weeks. The coupons offered on these sites usually change every month. Check out the list on the sidebar for some of my favorite links to printable coupon websites.     

There are also many other options for obtaining coupons like trading coupons with others online or offline or coupon trading boxes available at some stores or libraries, and other ways. Start actively looking for coupons and you’ll soon find more sources than you can use!

Reader Tip: Write companies and praise their product and request any coupons they might have to offer.

Reader Rachel wrote and said:

If there is a product we really like, I email the contact email on the package and let them know how much we like it.

My recent success was with Mission tortillas and wraps. They are our favorite because they are always fresh and soft, and we go through a couple packs a month. I emailed them and raved about their product and wrote something like this, "I am a single adoptive mom on a tight budget. Would you have any coupons to help us afford our favorite wraps?"

Today I received two coupons, each for a free pack of wraps. Not bad for about a minute of my time! - Rachel

What are your best methods for obtaining coupons?

This article was revised from Supermarket Savings 101.


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Reader comments copied and pasted from my old blog:

Stephanie @ ATime4Everything.com said...

A question about printing coupons online:
Do they have to be in color?

I cringe using all that ink for a coupon, but I didn't know if they have to be in color. Also printing them online, sometimes one coupon takes up a whole page when the vendor puts the coupon and then a sales pitch at the bottom! I dont print many online but when I do I would like to do it the least expensive way possible!

October 05, 2007 4:27 AM
Blogger rice-dream said...

Great ideas, Crystal!

Those of you in the metro St Louis area may already know this but it's worth repeating-Dollar Tree sells the Sunday editions of the St. Louis Post for 1.00 each, saving you .50 on each paper. Except for weekends that there aren't coupon inserts, I always buy multiples. If you live in a different metro area and have Dollar Tree, it's worth checking into.

October 05, 2007 4:34 AM
Blogger Trixie said...

Hi Crystal,

Thanks for the great coupon post. I love using them; they really help keep my grocery budget low.

I always use the local paper as my first source, but here is my favorite online source for coupons. They have a ton to print and send you emails when new ones are available.


Take Care,


October 05, 2007 7:44 AM
Blogger Stacey said...

THANK YOU!!! I live in St. Louis and I had no idea DT did that! Wonderful! I will be heading there this weekend for papers!!! Also, do you know any stores in STL that double coupons?? I would love to email with you about this - can you click on my name and email me??

I am also not really willing to use up my color ink for a few coupons! BUT, if it is a great deal on something we absolutely have to have, then I will make an exception!

Crystal, thank you for this. I am a newbie to this world of coupons and I am excited to get myself set to save!!!

October 05, 2007 8:23 AM
Blogger Crystal said...

Stephanie: I have heard from others that they print theirs in black and white with no problem. As long as you aren't copying them and they each have a unique code, you shouldn't have a problem. I error on the safe side and just print in color. I have a pretty endless supply of ink and paper since I do so much printing for our business.

October 05, 2007 8:57 AM
Blogger Crystal said...

Great tip, Rice-Dream! Thanks for sharing!

October 05, 2007 8:58 AM
Anonymous Lisa said...

I join all of the company "clubs". They send me larger coupons than those that are offered in the paper. They also send out coupons regularly so that I seem to always have coupons. Just go to the company website and join or go to the grocery store and join the store club. My husband works with many different churches and purchases food from Winn Dixie using our personal Winn Dixie club card along with the company card (to pay for it). I get many different coupons because many clubs give you more coupons if you spend more money.
Good post! I love coupons!

October 05, 2007 9:01 AM
Blogger Kacie said...

The laundromat I use has a coupon exchange box. You simply gather the coupons you want and donate the ones you don't. It's a great way for me to have something productive to do while waiting for my laundry!

October 05, 2007 9:59 AM
Blogger Mothering with Grace said...

A friend gives me the All You magazine when she is finished reading it and it has great coupons that are usually for larger amounts than the ones found in the paper.

October 05, 2007 12:49 PM
Blogger Stephanie @ ATime4Everything.com said...

I actually noticed when I printed a couple of coupons from Smart Source that it says right on it that it can be in black in white. It is a note to the retailer. So that is good! Now if I can get them on one sheet of paper...
The propel water coupons printed huge in blue. I set my printer settings to 2 pages per sheet, and only one coupon printed but much smaller!

October 06, 2007 4:26 AM
Blogger rice-dream said...

I tried clicking on your name to email you but was unable to, just got your profile. I don't live in St. Louis, I'm about an hour north, so I don't know much about who doubles coupons and all that except for Schnucks. You can email me at heidipocketbook at gmail dot com (remove the spaces and all that)

October 06, 2007 5:59 AM
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I'm in the Chicago area, and, while I try to cut coupons, it's not as great a deal, because there are no double-coupons. I don't know if profit margins are tighter here, or if it's just not a part of the marketing "culture." (Of course, logic says that, on average, the price of groceries for the average person is the same -- just like with loss leaders, they have to make up the difference anyhow in their everyday prices -- that just means that the people without the time/interest/energy to cut coupons "subsidize" the couponers.

(I was in Germany for a while, and there the stores don't have loss leader, just relatively small reductions in prices for sales. So the meat, for example, was somewhat more expensive than here (relative to other things, in a cost-of-living sort of way) but it was nice to be able to buy it anytime, rather than watching for a sale and then freezing it!)

But anyway -- the other problem that I have is that it seems like, compared to my prior experiences, the coupons' expiraton dates are much sooner, only two months, or even less, from now. And it also seems that regular food items have a lot fewer coupons -- it seems to be largely cleaning products.

October 06, 2007 6:43 AM
Blogger Mom2fur said...

I haven't done this in a long time, but I've bought coupons via eBay. For a dollar or so, you can get a whole bunch of them. Granted, you won't use every coupon...but I always find enough so it more than makes up for the cost. You can also get multiples of one coupon this way, if there is something you use on a very regular basis. The only thing is to be sure you know the expiration date before you buy. 30 coupons for ketchup won't do you much good if they expire in less than a month, LOL! (Unless you are lucky to have a killer pantry with room for 30 bottles of ketchup.)

October 06, 2007 9:49 AM
Blogger J Kelton said...

We often stop at a McDonald's on our way home from Church on Sunday. They usually have a stack of newspapers on one of their trash bins and if you ask they do not mind at all if you take the coupons. I can usually find three or four coupon inserts. I hope this helps!

October 08, 2007 7:45 AM
Blogger AnneK said...

Hi Crystal,

I am new to all this couponing and am excited to try it out. I was wondering if only the Sunday paper carries coupons. Should I subscribe to just the Sunday edition or for the whole week? I am in the Orlando area.

October 11, 2007 8:12 AM
Blogger InsertWittyBlogHere said...

A great way to get coupons is to by them from one of the clipping services like CouponClippers or similar. There are also a ton of buy and trade boards, but I found that to be too much of a hassle and that it "cost" me too much time. I only use the services if I want a large quantity of several coupons.

One other nice thing about the paper subscription is that if your paper is missing any coupon inserts (and you should know, because there are several preview sites available) then you can usually call them up and tell them what was missing. They will usually drop another paper by, or mail you a set of coupons.

The only reason I stopped bothering with a subscription where I used to live is because they kept upping my Sunday-only sub to a weekend, or all week sub for "free", then trying to charge me for the full price the next time the bill rolled around. I got tired of fighting them to take that off the bill and just stopped getting a sub.

October 12, 2007 3:01 PM
Anonymous Angela said...

A very good way I have found to get coupons is on ebay! You pay like .70 for clipped coupons. Versus 1.50 for the paper and still having to clip them. A lot of the coupons on there are very recent as well like the last one that came out!

October 17, 2007 12:51 PM
Anonymous Jenn said...

If you go to Kroger.com and click on esavers, you can register your kroger card (and I think you can for other stores as well) with their coupons. They are normally the same coupons found in the Sunday paper. The best part is that it takes that discount off with your card but you can also use the paper coupon with it. This week I bought a pack of cascade dish tabs. Reg 3.99, sale 2.99. Loaded coupon was 1 off and I had the paper coupon of 1 off. I paid 1.99 for the tabs. Just an idea of how to get a little more for your money!


November 06, 2007 9:13 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually keep my finger on the cancel button on my printer and after I see that the coupon is printed, then I push the cancel button if it continues to print the advertisement. The only time it doesn't work is if they print the advertisement first and then the coupon on the bottom of the page.

December 23, 2007 10:15 PM
Blogger JennaJLC said...

Here is how I get my multiples of coupons:

1) My local Sunday paper. I subscribe to it and will check the inserts on Sunday morning. If it's a great week for coupons, I go out that night at 11:45 pm to my local gas stations (there are at least 5 within 2 miles). Many will give me their unsold Sunday papers for free! I never come home empty-handed, and have obtained as many as 30 this way.

2) Coupon trading. I trade on Hot coupon World and Coupon Forum. If my Sunday paper only has a few coupons I need, or for example the weather is bad, myself or one of the kids is sick, etc; I will get on these sites and look to trade for what I need. This is why I save every coupon - not all get clipped, but I leave some inserts unclipped and can go get them if someone needs what I don't.

3) Ebay. If there's a great coupon for a sale, or one that doubles at my store and will get me an item cheap or free even without a sale, I will buy multiples of that coupon. A bonus is buying from a seller who has a store, and gives a shipping discount when you buy more than one auction.

February 15, 2008 11:16 AM
Blogger April said...

These are some great tips.

I've been purchasing the Sunday paper at a newspaper stand with no coupon luck. Someone comes through and takes all the coupons out. I will contact the newspaper office and see if they have a weekend subscription only. Thanks for sharing.

April 27, 2008 7:12 PM

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