Many major newspapers publish an array of glossy manufacturer coupons each Sunday. These coupons will be valid from a few weeks to a couple months and vary by the page and brand. It’s important to read the coupon policy, as it often explains whether you can use one coupon of that kind per individual item or one coupon per shopping trip. If it’s per shopping trip and you manage to get a hold of several coupons, you can simply space out your shopping trips or separate your purchases with checkout dividers and pay for them individually.
Many shoppers note that newspapers cost $1 each at discount stores like Dollar General, which may be cheaper than the regular pricing at grocery stores depending on where you live, so plan to buy your newspaper wherever it costs less in order to save more.
“As far as the biggest tip I have I would say you don't actually need a lot of coupons to coupon,” says Kensee Dunn, who runs a popular couponing group on Facebook with several thousand members. “I recommend one Sunday paper per member of your household. We have three members in our family so I buy three every week and that is absolutely plenty for us. I have seen in the past people who buy $100 worth of coupons a week and it’s just not necessary at all. Sometimes in the coupon world less is more.”
Make sure the money you spend acquiring coupons doesn’t outweigh the amount of savings you will reap by using them. Dunn also recommends shopping with intention, sticking to your must-have groceries and products. She cautions couponers not to “buy what you don't need. Even if it is ‘on sale.’ All deals will come back around eventually and spending $1 on something you won't actually use is still a waste.”
Another extreme coupon tip is to search for printable coupons. Many brands offer these if you sign up for their mailing list. These companies may reward brand loyalty by sending couponers offers when they stay on the mailing list. A few brands have a designated section on their website where you can print online coupons .
If you know you’re going to buy a particular brand’s product, it’s wise to browse its website or other coupon sites first for online coupons, promo codes, or other offers. You can also search the brand name and product with the word "coupon" to see if there are any printable offers available. If you don’t have a printer at home, save the coupons as PDFs and print them elsewhere. For example, FedEx Office locations charge 14 cents per page, and many local libraries charge even less.
Many grocery stores, like Sprouts, Safeway, and Fred Meyer, have apps that let you "clip" digital coupons specific to that store. You can then use them at check out by entering the phone number connected to your account with the store’s loyalty program or by scanning a barcode or QR code connected to the account. You can sometimes even use these coupons in addition to paper manufacturer coupons to maximize your savings on a particular product.
Shoppers can find mail-in rebate offers in a variety of places. This includes hang-tags placed on the item itself, such as the neck of the bottle. You can also find rebates attached to an in-store display, in the ads of a Sunday newspaper, and on a brand or store’s website. Stores like Walgreens will highlight deals and products that are part of current rebate programs.
The rebate can be in the form of a check or a prepaid gift card and can often range from a portion of the money spent to the entire purchase price. Checks and gift cards are regularly issued in the range of $5 to $15.
Pay close attention to the rebate terms, including when it expires. Some rebates require you to send the UPC code from the product as well as your original receipt(s) from the store. For deals that require you to spend a certain amount on the brand’s products over the course of several months, you'll need to collect and safely store these proofs of purchases over time to qualify for the deal. Make sure you have a secure spot to store your proof of purchases before mailing them or entering them on a corporate site so you don’t lose track of the pieces before it’s time to earn your rewards.
Couponers should search out which deals are going on at which store and then cross-reference with any paper manufacturer coupons they have on hand. To best maximize savings, make a plan to buy certain products at certain stores. For example, save any paper coupon you might have for a certain toilet paper brand to use at whichever store has it for cheapest. Another planning tip is to hold onto a coupon until the item is on sale, just as long as you use it before its expiration date.
Use shopping apps like Instacart to check current pricing at particular stores or keep track of costs when you’re shopping. Many stores publish a weekly sales flyer in advance of price changes, and you can often pull this up online to see upcoming deals.
Stores frequently have coupons available in-store affixed to shelving. You can browse down aisles to search and look for these. These offers can range from manufacturer coupons that stand out like a flag or special store-specific coupons attached near price tags that offer a percentage discount. Coupons for buy one, get one free offers (or similar deals) are also common. Sometimes these are otherwise unadvertised specials and often they can be stacked with other related coupons. The terms will clearly state the policy of whether they can be used in conjunction with other coupons.
Coupon groups exist on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These can be a great place to trade tricks with fellow savers and get inside tips about great deals and new sales. Depending on the group, you can even trade paper coupons with others to get ones for products you personally buy. In these cases, it can be smart to clip coupons for items you don’t necessarily need in anticipation of a potential future trade.
Whether you’re keeping coupons for yourself or for trade, organizing your stockpile with a binder similar to those for trading cards, which helps keep track of what coupons you have on hand. They’ll be easier to see instead of paging through an overstuffed envelope.