Learning To Coupon Series
Finding Coupons – They Aren’t Hiding, Trust Me
Couponing can only be successful if you actually have coupons, right? That’s going to be the focus of this post. How to go about finding coupons. It’s really not that difficult, but some methods won’t work for everyone, and can vary based on your location. I’ll start out with the methods I use and those that will work for pretty much everyone, then move on to some of the ways of finding coupons that will vary greatly on your location. So let’s get to it!
Your Local Sunday Newspaper
The easiest way to find coupons is to buy your local Sunday newspaper, if it has coupon inserts. Make sure your paper has coupons BEFORE you buy it. For example, where I live, we have a local newspaper called The Natchez Democrat. It doesn’t have coupon inserts most Sundays. It only has the Procter & Gamble insert once per month. So buying it every Sunday wouldn’t net me coupons very often. There is another newspaper called The Clarion Ledger, which comes out of Jackson, Mississippi, and it’s sold in stores and newspaper boxes in my area for $2 each on Sundays. It does have coupon inserts each week. Coupon inserts are regional, meaning not every newspaper will have the same exact coupons. Areas with a higher cost of living or a really large population density usually get the best coupons. The inserts from The Clarion Ledger that I have access to are ok, but not really that great. Usually not as many coupons and lower value compared to other regions. That’s why I order my inserts from Florida, instead.
DO NOT STEAL NEWSPAPERS from other people’s driveways or from newspaper boxes! This is a growing problem, believe it or not. Not only is it extremely tacky, it’s illegal. Is it really worth it to risk fines and jail time over a few newspapers? I don’t think so!
Coupon Insert Services
This is a way of finding coupons that everyone can use, regardless of where you live. If you don’t have a local paper, or if your paper is like mine and either doesn’t have coupons every week, or only has low quality coupons, this may be your best bet. I’ve tried several insert services over the last year. Some experiences were good, some experiences were bad. Some were way over priced, some were slow shipping the inserts, and some pretty much had zero customer service.
The insert service I’ve been ordering from for several months, now, is located in Florida, and has coupon inserts from the Tampa, FL area newspapers. It’s called Insert Insanity. I absolutely love this insert service and the coupons are amazing! The only problems I’ve had were shipping delays caused by the Post Office, not this insert service. I compared the differences in the inserts from Insert Insanity and the ones from the newspaper here. There were $220 more coupons in the ones I ordered versus the ones in my local paper. And that was just in one week!
My local couponing group and I order inserts from Insert Insanity every week. They ship them on Monday, and we receive them on Wednesday. Lately we’ve been having them ship on Friday and receive them on Monday, yeah! No running around town trying to find enough papers, only to be disappointed with the low quality coupons. The inserts we order are delivered right to my door by Priority Mail. The cost is usually less than the cost of the local paper each week (depending on how many you buy, it gets cheaper for bigger packs). If you always get the same number of coupon inserts every week, you may want to learn about their Auto Bill program.
Coupon Clipping Services
If you don’t need whole inserts for whatever reason (your paper has good coupons, or there are only a few coupons you are interested in that week), you can order coupons from a clipping service. Most clipping services provide you with 10 or 20 of the same coupon for a certain price. Be very careful with ordering coupons from eBay, not every seller is legitimate. Check reviews closely. I will not pay more than $3 or so for 10 coupons and no more than $5 for 20 of them. Anything more than that is price gouging.
I order clipped coupons when I need a large quantiy of the same coupon, but don’t really need to order that many whole inserts. For example, I’ve ordered things like the $0.50/1 Yakisoba Noodle coupon (which doubled to $1, making them free at Fred’s Super Dollar) and $7/1 Oral-B Electric Toothbrush Replacement Heads (which made them free plus moneymaker at Walmart).
I’ve been ordering clipped coupons from WizClipz for months. It’s the “sister company” of Insert Insanity, which is where I order whole inserts. I have been super impressed with the owner, his ethics and customer service. So I was extremely excited to learn that clipped coupons were available from the same place! WizClipz keeps a set price on packs of 10 coupons. I won’t put the price here in this post, in case it changes, and I forget to update here. But check them out, the price is extremely reasonable and more than worth it. A word of wisdom, though. ORDER EARLY! As soon as they list clipped coupons each week, they sell out of the hottest coupons. So don’t waste time, order the ones you want as soon as you can.
A great FREE resource are printable coupons. There are several major providers of printable coupons, and I have all of them linked from menu at the top of my blog, labeled COUPONS CENTRAL, which takes you to a page with links to all of major providers, among other things. I also post new printable coupons as soon as I’m able to after I get notification of new ones being released. Beware, though, there are SOME sites that want you to pay for access to printable coupons. There’s no need to do that, printable coupons are available for FREE right here. The only drawback to printable coupons is that you can only print 2 per computer/IP address. That makes it difficult to stock up on products in larger quantities, unless you have multiple computers or also have insert coupons to use. It’s possible to save a good bit of money just by using printable coupons if you aren’t able to get insert coupons, but I highly suggest getting coupons from every source possible. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any printable coupons that I post, consider joining the Coupons Only Facebook Group. New printable coupons are posted there as soon as they are posted on my blog.
Stores and Manufacturers
Look for coupons on the shelf near products. Sometimes this will be in the form of a tear pad or a blinkie. Make sure you don’t take them all, though. Leave some for others. Just take what you reasonably need for your family. Sometimes there are even coupon booklets at some stores, and/or coupons in their sales papers. Be sure to get those when you can. You can also write to or call some of your favorite brands and ask if they can send you coupons for their product line. You might be surprised how receptive they are to this. Also, check the packaging of any product you have used. There are sometimes coupons inside. And of course, there may peelie coupons on the products themselves. I’m not a fan of removing peelies on products at one store to use at another store. Lots of times, the vendor representative puts them on those products to help them sell at that specific store. Some people see no problem with this, but personally, I don’t do it.
If you have friends, family members, co-workers, or church members that get the local newspaper, but don’t use coupons, ask them for the inserts. Don’t be shy or embarrassed, get those coupons! They’ll be free, and you just can’t beat free. If they’re giving you coupons, be sure to surprise them with goodies you got cheap with coupons from time to time. It’s a nice way for you to thank them for the coupons. Especially if you get coupons from your church members, be quick to donate items when you can. I love being able to donate things I got free or cheap with coupons to Operation Christmas Child and other programs. It’s also been much easier to pull items from my stockpile to send to tornado victims, house fire victims, and regular ongoing food pantries. I’m able to donate so much more than I ever was before I started using coupons.
Coupon Groups and Swaps
Sometimes, especially in larger cities, you can find local couponing groups to join. This has been made even easier with Facebook. Search Facebook and find out if you have a local group you can join. Many times, these groups have coupon trains, coupon swap meets, and things like that. You can trade coupons you don’t plan on using for the ones you want/need. It’s really a win-win for those with access to something like this. It keeps coupons from going to waste and everybody has access to more coupons than without the group. There are even some national coupon swap groups on Facebook, but you’ll have to bear in mind that you’ll incur some mailing costs.
Apartment Dumpster Dive
Let me say, first, check with apartment management and local police to make sure this is legal in your area and that they are agreeable with it. Some cities may have laws against digging in dumpsters. And yes, I agree, this could be a dirty, stinky task. However, if you can go to an apartment complex on Monday or Tuesday, you may find lots of Sunday papers thrown away with the inserts just sitting there going to waste. You’ll need to find out when the trash pick up for that complex is so that you know how to best schedule your dive. I asked around to those who are having good success with this and got some tips from them:
Some apartment complexes have trash cans or junk mail bins near the mailboxes. You could also ask the apartment management if you could put a can near the mailboxes for “coupon inserts”. You’d be surprised how many people will toss them in. Some complexes in larger cities may also have a specific newspaper recycling bin you may be able to get permission to remove inserts from. If there is only general dumpsters, be very careful not to cut your hands or get poked by things in the dumpster. This method can be very rewarding, but has it’s dangers. Use your head, and most of all be safe and legal.
I can’t use this method because my local paper doesn’t carry inserts and when I scouted the dumpsters, I didn’t really see enough of the out of town paper to warrant dumpster diving each week. But I can tell you this…if I lived in an area that this would work in, I’d put on some good thick gloves, some old clothes, and go to work! Free coupons! Just remember, make sure management and the police are good with this.
Make a Deal with a Local Hotel
If you have a local hotel that provides newspapers for their guests, this might be a good way to get inserts. Think about it. Most of those papers go unread, and even more of them will not have the inserts removed. Larger hotels are usually participating in a recycling program for newspapers. Offer to pick up their newspapers once per week and handle the reclycling for them. Don’t just get the Sunday papers, though. They’re giving you free inserts, the least you could do is get rid of all of their papers for them. Once you’ve collected them all, remove the inserts, and take the rest to the recycling center. Unfortunately, this is another method that won’t work for me. But if it would, I’d do it in a hearbeat!
Make a Deal with the Newspaper Delivery Person
Some newspaper delivery people have to purchase their papers at a reduced rate and sell them to their customers. Find out who delivers the paper in your area and talk with them. They may work out a deal with you to buy extra inserts that they have. You might even get lucky and they’ll give them to you. Keep in mind, though, these people get up extremely early and have gas expenses. It would be a nice gesture to offer some form of reimbursement for them. Think half price or so. Unfortunately, this method won’t work for me, either. Since the local paper doesn’t have coupons, I wouldn’t accomplish anything.
That’s a brief explanation of some methods of finding coupons, but it should at least get you started. If there’s a method I failed to list, feel free to let me know and I’ll add it in for other readers. Remember, not everybody will be able to use all of these methods, but it never hurts to try! If you have any specific questions, feel free to send me a private message on my Facebook page, or fill out the contact form here on the blog.
This post is part of the Learning To Coupon series. If you haven’t, already, be sure to check out the rest of the series. The purpose of these posts will be to teach you about couponing, give you some of my personal insights and tips, but mostly to encourage you. Be sure to stay tuned, and never be afraid to ask me for advice or help.
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