Monday, August 15, 2016

How to Get Coupons (With Minimal Effort)

You don't have to dedicate hours a week or be an "extreme couponer" to use coupons, find good deals, and save a ton of money every month.

Confession: I used to be an extreme couponer. I even ran a couponing blog once upon a time. Multiple transactions, huge shopping trips, filling up a cart or two, and having to "tetris" everything in the trunk (and find a place for it all when we got home). That was just a normal day for me. I continued to coupon until I moved clear across the country, bringing my stockpile with me. (Thank you, TMO)

At our new station, I continued to coupon, but on a much smaller scale. I would look at Commissary deals on forums and take advantage of the deals, but the all day shopping trips were over and the extremeness was gone. I originally lessened my extremeness due to having an abundance of stuff we needed to go through as well as increasingly tightening rules, regulations, and honestly, being treated like a criminal or like I was trying to "pull one over" on the cashiers.

But then life got real and I had to stop altogether. A year after we got to our duty station, we were in a car accident that changed our lives and caused me to not be able to do much of anything let alone do large coupon trips. I still wanted to coupon and save wherever I could, but I had to find other ways to save that didn't require as much time and focus.

These are 7 ways I find (or have found) coupons that require very minimal effort!

How to Get Coupons

Buy the Sunday Newspaper

The first way to get coupons is perhaps the best known way, the Sunday paper. Depending on your area, time of the year, and any special promotions going on, you can get as many as 5 inserts in each paper.  This is not something I personally do anymore, but when I was still extreme couponing, it was one of my biggest sources of coupon savings. One way you can save on the cost of the paper is to see if your Dollar Tree will sell it to you the next day at half price. Some stores will gladly do this and others won't, but it's worth a shot.

Ask for More Inserts

An easy way to get coupons it to just leave a note in your mailbox for your mail carrier (or talk to him or her personally) and ask for extra ads and RedPlum inserts. Many of them will gladly give you extras if they have any vacant homes on their route.

Print Coupons

The next way to get coupons is to print them. In order to save my paper and ink, I only print coupons for things I know I am going to buy. I do this by searching The Krazy Coupon Lady's database for exactly what I am looking to buy. If I am looking to buy King's Hawaiian Rolls, all I have to do is search "King's Hawaiian" and if a coupon is available, it will pop up! No hunting needed on my part!

Get on Mailing Lists

The third way to get coupons is to get on mailing lists for your favorite companies, whether that be physical mailing lists or e-mail lists. You will get coupons sent straight to your house and be one of the first to know about new products or upcoming promotions. For some companies, an e-mail list is the only way you can get coupons for their products so be sure to sign up!

Email (or Call) Companies

My favorite way to get coupons is to email or call companies and just ask for coupons. If you love their product, let them know! If you've never had their products, ask if you can have a coupon to try it! You may get some no's, but the yes's far outweigh the no's! I have received dollar off coupons (which when combined with sales and money saving apps can lead to free or almost free stuff), coupons for 100% free products, and even huge boxes of samples and full sized products! I recommend writing a couple companies a week and before you know it, you will be getting coupons in your mailbox regularly!

In-Store Coupons

This way to get coupons requires little to no effort on your part and can be done while you're already at the store! Coupons in the store can be found in the following ways:
  1. A communal basket near the entrance.
    • See if your grocery store has a basket near the entrance where people can put their unneeded coupons. Drop off any coupons you won't be using and feel free to sift through for some coupons you will be able to use.
  2. "Coupon Fairies"
    • Along the same lines as the communal basket, are the coupon fairies. These are the people that have a coupon for a product and leave it near that product in the store. I have found coupons taped to or set next to the products we were already buying. I have even scored free stuff because of coupon fairies! Keep an eye out for coupons laying around your store left there by another shopper for you to use!
  3. Peelies and Tearpads
    • I am going to put peelies and tearpads together. Peelies are coupons that are attached to the product itself and tearpads are on the shelf in front of the product. Both of these types of coupons are no-effort ways to save on products you were already buying. Bonus points if the product is also on sale!
  4. Weekly Ads and Other Promotional Items
    • Weekly ads often have coupons that drop products prices significantly and if you skip grabbing an ad at the entrance before shopping, you may miss out! Many times, the coupon price is not listed on the shelf and you may miss a deal because you didn't know there was a coupon for it!
    • If you are able to shop at the Commissary, check out the "magazines" at the entrance for some good coupons! (I don't remember what they are called, but the next time I go to the Commissary, I will update this.)
  5. In-Store Events
    • Find out when your local grocery does sampling events and attend! Not only do they offer some great coupons, but the product is usually on sale too! And you don't have to worry about buying something and not liking it because you've already tried it!

Loyalty Card Coupons

Many stores, including the Commissary (although it's not very well known) have rewards or loyalty cards that can be loaded up with e-coupons! Most of these stores also have apps which make adding e-coupons to your card even easier and you can even add coupons while you're at the store! These coupons come off automatically at checkout!

Stay tuned for more ways to save on groceries in the weeks to come!

Question of the Day:

What is your favorite way to get coupons?

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