There are many resources you can score some really great coupons from. Whether you are all about saving money food shopping for your groceries, retail shopping (at stores or online), dining out at restaurants with family, friends or even that someone special, travel& lodging for business or vacation, or even special events...there are so many ways to obtain coupons & coupon codes. We have some very basic ABC's of Couponing for you here.
It can be daunting as many publishers and advertisers promote such a variety of great coupons, you may not know where to start. When it comes to locating coupons, always remember to be true to what you really value and what you want.
There is no right or wrong! It honestly comes down to your budget and your values. If you and your family are flexible on certain food items, then you'll be more open to trying a different manufacturer brand you can find coupons for. If you are not open to this, then you have to be firm in sticking to the items you truly like. If you value an item and are willing to pay more for it, then there is nothing wrong with that as long as you can afford it and it doesn't throw off your budget. The more willing you are to try different things, you'll see you can maintain your budget and save money.
A few pointers if you are printing coupons from your computer. Coupons have evolved from many years ago. Now there are different varieties of coupons. Some come in the form of "Coupon Codes" or "Promo Codes." All this means is if you enter a certain code at a websites "check out" section after placing your order, a certain % off or dollar amount will be taken off your total order. Once in a while, coupons that come to you by email may have a "limit" on the amount of times you may print the coupon; or even view the coupon. So my suggestion to you is if you are opening an email with a coupon offer, do not open the coupon offer itself unless you have enough ink for your printer to print the coupon at that moment. Make sure you have enough ink so you don't run the risk of loosing the opportunity of printing your coupon.
There are so many ways to score coupons, we have a quick Top 10 list of ways we score coupons. You may find coupons already by using these methods. That's great - keep up the great savings; however, if you aren't trying all of these methods, here are some great ideas that will help you save money.
1. Subscribe to your local newspaper! Advertisers like to promote sales and their own coupons in newspapers. Many newspapers have a weekend option where they include the RedPlum and SmartSource coupon inserts for you. You will also receive weekly circulars from your favorite grocery store, retail stores and occassionally restaurants too. We occassionally come across some steep discounts to obtain local newspapers for weekend delivery (i.e. Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach Post). I see offers like this from time-to-time, but these offers come and go quickly! It's rare and available on a limited-time basis but when I do find this, I order two subscriptions so I can double my couponing experiences. :)
2. Mail: Yeah, can you believe it...you can actually get coupons in the mail. Many people tell me they never see coupons in the mail. Then I will ask them to show me their mail from the past week. Sometimes I'll ask to see their recycle bin. In their recycle bin what seems like non-wanted mail (aka: junk mail) actually contains coupons. For me personally, I can tell you I occassionally get Wendy's coupons. I have a sweet tooth for their grilled chicken sandwiches so when I get their BOGO coupons, I really enjoy them. We also have received coupons for Winn-Dixie which are accepted at most Publix stores as they accept certain competitor based coupons. There are also have a lot of local vendors in some sort of mini-publication packet such as a Money Saver or Val-Pak. I haven't seen Val-Pak's anymore but I'm sure they are out there. Keep your eyes out for coupons in the mail. You don't want to throw out or recycle potential money savers for you or your family!
3. Medical Buidlings and Doctor's Offices: You wouldn't think this would be a viable place to find coupons but keep your eyes open. You'll be surprised on this one. Sometimes there are local publications (i.e. Delray Forum or Boca Forum) in our South Florida area that comes out once a week. This publication also has some coupon inserts. Usually they are delievered in huge quantities; so look for a stack of publications that look like newspapers or magazines. Who thought going to the doctor's office couldn't help you save a few bucks here and there! :)
4. Your own Clubhouse in your Home Development: This might not apply to everyone and that's okay too; but for anyone who lives in a South Florida community who has a clubhouse, you might receive the same local publication as I described above for Medical Buildings and Doctor's Offices. Sometimes they get delivered in the middle of the week. Take a peak the next time you go to your clubhouse and see if you can find any coupon inserts.
5. Shopping Malls, Outlet Centers: Head over to the information booth at your local mall or outlet center. Ask them if they have any coupon booklets. Sometimes they have them free of charge. Sometimes you have to pay a nomimal fee for a booklet. If you know you are going shopping at a specific store, don't be afraid to ask the information booth representative if "x" or "y" store is included in their booklet. If it is, then ask them while they have the booklet open what is the discount/coupon involved for that store. If you know you are going to that store and the coupon is for 20% off of $100, then you know you will save $20 with this coupon (at minimum). If the book costs $5 to obtain and you can at least $20 in the process, who cares about the cost. The reality is, you should purchase their coupon booklet for $5 and still save a minimum of $20 with their coupon. So it cost you $5 to score the $20 off. Get over it! :) Would you rather not save anything at all or pay $5 to still save $20? Exactly...so when you go to your local shopping mall or outlet center and IF they happen to have a coupon booklet, ask for it. TIP: I wouldn't go up to them and ask them about more than 3 different stores. That's kind of rude if there is a long line behind you. At that point, just know which stores you plan to shop at during that day. Don't forget to ask for their store directory layout while you are there! :)
6. Chamber of Commerce: I bet this isn't something most traditional couponers would think about. Come to think of it, it's not something most people would think to go to if they were looking for coupons. I mentioned earlier about how coupons come in different varieties. Another form of coupons come through sales & discounts. Chamber of Commerces have a mission to help their local businesses grow. If they have an office, then there is a good chance they may carry some literature from businesses and restaurants that are a part of their Chamber of Commerce.
This is the perfect place to consider looking for coupons OR discounts because they can promote themselves through their direct affiliation through the local Chamber of Commerce. The next time you are looking for a coupon or discount, don't be afraid to introduce yourself to the person behind the desk and ask them if they have any businesses that are offering discounts in the type of store or restaurant you are interested in. If you are looking for someone that can fix or upgrade a garage door to your house, don't you think the Chamber of Commerce already has a connection with them and there might be a discount available? It's better than looking through the yellow pages simply because they have a relationship with these businesses. More than likely they can refer you to a place to score a nice discount. Occassionally they might have a booklet in place complete with their directory of businesses and restaurants with a discount mentioned in their booklet. It's worth inquiring about.
7. Social Media and Phone Apps: Go to Facebook or Twitter and connect with your favorite stores and manufacturers. Occassionally, they might promote coupons or discounts for you. Here is something I recently published about how to "Eat Healthy & Save Money on Produce with the Help of Facebook." If you don't have a Facebook or Twitter account, what are you waiting for? The same goes for Instagram & Pinterest. While you are at it, did you know you can save money with your smart phone? You can find coupons by using your smart phone. Just head over to your App Store located on your phone. In the search section type in the word "coupons." Search for all of the FREE phone apps and review each one carefully. There are plenty of popular ones such as RetailMeNot, Groupon and Ibotta that will help you save money by finding the coupons you use for products you purchase.
8. Grocery Stores: Head into the major grocery stores and in some of the aisles if you look carefully, you will see coupons in the aisles. A manufacturer coupon that prints out at a mini-machine in the store aisles is called a "blinkie." They are located by the product associated with that particular manufacturer coupon. Coupons that are found ON the actual products in the store is called a "peelie."
So if you are buying mouthwash, look very carefully as sometimes they have coupons in the form of a "peelie" on them. Don't forget to pull these off and hand them to your cashier when you check-out. Don’t rely on the cashier to notice them for you. It will only aggravate you later when you come home to find it’s still there! :)
9. AAA: If you own a car you should have AAA, with the exception that you belong to another auto club. If you visit your local AAA office, go in and locate their brochure section near the front of most stores. You can find tons of brochures, flyers and post cards with discounts being promoted. These offers are mostly for family outings and getaways such as trips to Busch Gardens and Disney World; just to name a few. Some offers are for discounts that are standard; meaning it's automatic they give you the deal. Some offers are coupon based which are not standard; meaning you need to redeem a coupon to score the deal. Head over to their travel specialists who handle discounts for hotels, cruises, rental cars and plane reservations. Check into it, and while you are at it, don't be the person that is out and about and stranded out on the road then needs assistance. ;)
10. South Florida Savings Guy: Of course I can help. It's a big task but I am up to it. I have many companies on the large scale that provide me and my company with coupons, coupon codes, discounts, etc. to help you save money. Check out our offers on our website and also definitely like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We sometimes promote some quick offers that we receive at the last minute that we promote directly through our social media pages that will save you money on the spot!
These are some of the very basic ABC's of Couponing. This is such a passion to me. Along with this being a large topic, I have plenty of suggestions to offer you to help you save money. Stay tuned for more of our money saving ideas and my company and I will help you & your family turn coupons and money saving discounts into cash saved! :)