Shopping with Coupons is the rage

Friday, July 09, 2010 Hand-posted by Jennifer

The following is a guest post from Julie at Sharing Savings With You. Enjoy!

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Have you noticed that shopping with coupons is all the rage? Actually, coupons have been around quite a while. According to Time Magazine, “Coca-Cola was the first product to get customers hooked via coupons, starting in 1887.” Guess there must be something to them since they are still around!

MSNBC reported a few recent trends in couponing, “The expanding availability of printable coupons online, of paperless digital coupons that can be accessed from cell phones and store loyalty cards, and an explosion of Web sites and bloggers focused on sharing coupon information are also feeding a comeback of what had been a fading Sunday tradition in American households. But it's mainly the economy that has people of more diverse ages and income clipping and clicking.” They also found “a younger demographic getting involved in an activity traditionally dominated by 50-plus women.”

It seems like all types of shoppers are now looking for more ways than ever to save.

I have vivid memories of my mom using coupons at the grocery and drug stores. She always had her coupon organizer and was very proud of her savings. I fondly remember my grandmother being complimented on an outfit or piece of jewelry. She would brag about getting it at a thrift store or on sale. She wouldn’t let the conversation end without letting the person know exactly how little she paid for it! Now I find myself doing the very same thing!

So, it seems that I come to this naturally-this desire to save every little penny I can using coupons and combining them with sales. Yes, I too have all of the common monthly expenses like most people I know such as car payments, mortgage payments and the like. It really helps when I can save a lot of money on my groceries and everyday household items. I don’t think believe a week goes by that I don’t get something for free. Saving money on these things makes paying those bills a bit easier!

Here are some places you can find coupons:

  • The Sunday newspaper is a great place to start. Almost every Sunday, you can find several coupon inserts in the newspaper. You can visit the website, Sunday Coupon Preview, to see a list of the coupons that you will find in the upcoming Sunday paper. Keep in mind that the list is regional and can vary, so you may not find that all the coupons are listed. Another suggestion is to buy more than one copy a week. During a buy-one-get-one-free sale, most stores allow you to use a coupon for each item, which equals double the savings! The cost of the extra newspaper will be quickly offset.
  • The internet has many sites that offer printable coupons. A few are: Coupons.com, Redplum.com, Coolsavings.com, and SmartSource.com . Internet printable coupons usually have a slightly higher value than the coupons in the newspaper. You are often allowed to print each internet coupon twice.
  • Another great source for coupons is right in your grocery store. Keep your eyes peeled for these little gems. Here is the scoop on where you can find these. Look near products for a tearpad, a ‘blinkie’ machine, or a ‘peelie’. The term ‘blinkie’ is the nickname given to the machines on the shelves that hold coupons and have a blinking light to get your attention. Peelies are attached to a product and are only to be used immediately upon check-out. So, whether you choose a tearpad, a blinkie or a peelie keep an eye out for them. Most of these coupons are manufacturer coupons and can be used at any store, not just the store where you found them. Also, don’t feel guilty about taking a few of the coupons. The manufacturer just wants you to buy their product, so they will be happy no matter where they are redeemed. Don’t wait to pick them up! If there is a sale they will be quickly gone. They usually expire in about a month. There are also ‘catalina’ coupons which are named after the machine that prints them out at the register. These are automatically generated and are usually based on your previous shopping trips. They are often on products that you previously purchased so it’s a win-win situation for you! I love it when the coupons keep coming out of the ‘catalina’ machine! I just do my everyday shopping and am rewarded with more coupons. You can’t beat that!
  • Also, you can email or write a company directly for coupons. Most companies really like hearing from customers and will send you coupons. Sometimes you will hit the jackpot and get a coupon for a free item. You can also sign up for email newsletters that often include coupons. Don’t forget to look through any magazines that you have as most of them contain coupons as well.
  • You know those cute little loyalty cards that you carry on your keyring? Be sure to use them each time you checkout for additional store and promotional savings. Also, be sure to take just a few minutes and register your loyalty card at the store’s website you will often get coupons in the mail. Additionally, there are digital coupons available on Cellfire.com and Shortcuts.com. These will be loaded directly to your store’s loyalty card. These coupons will automatically be deducted at checkout and you don’t even have to clip anything.
  • Think about trading coupons with friends or family. We all don’t use the same products, so check around and see if someone’s willing to trade with you.

So, sounds pretty simple right? Couponing really is just that, simple! Taking a little time each week will result in great savings that will make you want to learn more and the good news is that you can do just that!

Hannah is a full time children’s librarian in Knoxville, TN and she blogs at Sharing Savings With You.  She has a feisty little two year old son that keeps her on her toes at home and she loves sharing Smart Shopper tips about saving money.  So, stop by her blog if you have any questions!

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