Mastering Coupons (Without Being a Coupon Nut)

I used to think that clipping coupons was a giant waste of time. “Coupons encourage you to buy extra junk that you don’t need,” I thought to myself whenever I saw a batch of coupons from the newspaper.

Then I had a baby, and I discovered the true value of coupons. Hint: if you buy diapers, baby food, and formula over and over again, coupons for diapers, baby food, and formula are as good as cash. It didn’t take long for this to spread out over our other purchases and now we have a nice hefty envelope full of coupons that we take on grocery ones with us (another tip: keep an envelope somewhere handy to keep coupons in so that if you see a useful one, you can just toss it in the envelope and look at it the next time you go shopping).

Here’s five quick ways to find coupons without burning a bunch of time hunting for them:

1. Pick up a copy of the Sunday edition of a major newspaper. There’s usually a few included sections of solid coupons. Clipping the useful ones takes just a couple of minutes.

2. Visit the website of your preferred grocery store chain before you visit. Many of them have coupon sections. I usually shop at Hy-Vee, which has a great coupon section.

3. If there’s something you buy a lot of, Google for it and add the word “coupon.” You’ll usually find something in the first few links. Around here, we buy a lot of Gerber baby food and Pampers diapers, so Googling for “Pampers coupons” or “Gerber coupons” usually points you to coupons or an easy method of getting them (like filling out a form or something).

4. Print multiple copies of any coupons that really wow you. We like to make frozen prepared meals about once a week, because we’re often stretched for time as it is and they are extremely easy to prepare. So when we found a $3 off coupon for Bertolli frozen dinners (which are quite good and very easy!), we printed a bunch of them and take one with us during each store visit.

5. Keep an eye out for double or triple coupon days at local grocery stores. There are a couple grocery stores nearby that have regular double coupon days; you can find out when they are by checking this list and then seeing if any of their chains (or subsidiary chains) are near you, then ringing the store to ask when they do them. Here, two different stores have double coupon days on different weekdays, so I often plan my shopping around these. I often get stuff for free (or very close to it) with double coupons – just yesterday, in fact, I got twelve containers of Yoplait yogurt (a popular item around my house) for four cents apiece.

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12 thoughts on “Mastering Coupons (Without Being a Coupon Nut)

  1. I posted this in another article but i love this new Max Card, http://www.newmaxcard.com

    Membership is cheap and the coupons are all ongoing.

    Enjoy,

    Rebecca

  2. Jamie says:

    When you clip coupons from your local Sunday paper, try to remember the really good and unusual ones. Frequently manufacturers will run coupons for a sales push, and the stores time a sales push about two to four weeks later, when most people have already spent those coupons. I save coupons and stock up during those sales, and often find items that, with coupons, are priced about 60% below regular retail.

  3. Debbie says:

    Coupons are like “free money”……….
    It is amazing how much we save & when we go out we will use a 2 for 1 meal coupon……..
    Thanks Chef Russ for your great newsletter & updates, they are great timesavers

    Happy Shopping,
    Debbie

  4. m says:

    Thanks for the tips. I can’t seem to find any stores in my area that do double couponing :-( anyone know grocery stores in Washington state that do?

  5. paula says:

    Someone told me that there is a website that actually knows what coupons are in circulation and what is on sale at the local grocery. Do you have any idea which site this is? would make life just a little more easy. Thanks

  6. Jihan says:

    I like clipping coupons too.
    Shopping for stuff at IKEA also saves you a lot of money on good furniture too. I was able to set out on everything I need for a new place for only about $2,000. Amazing.

  7. Arin says:

    pinchingyourpennies.com is a great website to match coupons with stores sales.

  8. Nicole says:

    Another good site for coupons is couponmom.com. The creator was featured on Oprah and she has many databases that I find very helpful.

  9. Abby says:

    Some stores don’t accept coupons that were printed from the internet (fraud, etc) so be careful of that when you use coupons that you printed. I once had to return $40 worth of groceries because the store wouldn’t accept my coupons.

  10. Matt Jones says:

    This site often offers clothing coupons (in the form of discount codes) that can be entered when shopping online –
    http://clothingdealsonline.com

  11. Ryan says:

    This is a smart strategy, find coupons for things you know you need. A simple search online for commonly purchased items is a great way to save. It also is a good way of staying focused on purchasing only what you need.

  12. Evansvile Coupons says:

    There’s absolutely no reason not to use coupons. I’ve become very fond of them, especially lately with prices in the grocery skyrocketing. Why wouldn’t you use coupons, its like free money!

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