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There are probably hundreds of “how to coupon” posts around the web, as well as entire blogs, websites, and forums dedicated to the subject. Since it’s something that saves me a good bit of money, I figured I’d blog a bit about it here as well. This post has gotten longer and longer, so I’ll post it as part of a series. Who knows how long the series will get.
One of the first things you’ll need to get started is a source of coupons. You could have the paper delivered for coupons, or stop somewhere on Sundays and pick up a paper just for coupons. Another option is to have people save you their coupons. There’s also a gas station by my house where a man comes every Sunday just to read the paper – when he’s done, he leaves the paper behind. The cashier there has told me she’s willing to save those coupons for me. Of course, I just never remember to get them!
The bulk of my coupons come from my father-in-law. He saves me the coupons from their paper, but he also works at a restaurant. He often stops by on Sundays to pick up the paper there after it’s been read, and passes those coupons on to me as well.
The rest of the coupons I use are mostly ordered from a coupon clipping service. I personally prefer eBay, simply because I can do all the searching from one website. You can order coupons in lots (as in “Lot of 75 baby-related coupons”) or in multiples of coupons (search by typing something like “Folgers coupon”). I like to get multiples of specific coupons. Depending on how valuable the coupon is (especially if it will make an item free), prices vary. You can often get multiples of 10 to 20 coupons for somewhere between $1.50 and $2. Shipping ranges from the price of a stamp to over $1 for a set of coupons. Those aren’t set prices, just a rough average of what I’ve seen.
Thecouponclippers.com is another coupon service I’ve used. They’re pretty fast with shipping and have a pretty good selection. I also like that you can order just a few of each coupon that you want. They do have a minimum order, but it’s a pretty low amount ($3).
There are other coupons besides the ones in Sunday papers. Some of those are called blinkies, catalinas, and internet printables (IP’s). Blinkies are the coupons in the little boxes in the grocery store aisles. They have a tiny little light on them that blink to attract your attention. Most of the blinkies I’ve seen usually say Do Not Double on them (more on that later). Catalinas are the coupons that are printed when the cashier rings up your order.
Internet printables are just that – coupons you print from the internet. There are several sites where you can go to print them. I personally don’t use them very often for three reasons. One is because most of the time, there was a better coupon in the Sunday paper. Another reason is they’re often for items I don’t use (more on that later too). My third reason is stores around here are starting to either not accept them or they severely limit the number you can use.
Monday: Organizing coupons