Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How to be a Coupon Queenie, Part Four

Questions and Answers, courtesy of y.o.u.!

1. How do I get coupons without purchasing a newspaper?

The best way to get a ton of completely free coupons? Dumpster Diving. (No--I've never gone. Honest. But it has crossed my mind...) Convenience and grocery stores who don't sell their entire supply of Sunday papers throw them into the recycle. (Much cleaner than the trash--does that count?? So go find yourself an environmentally friendly gas station!) If you ask nicely, you may then... ahem... gather... said coupons. If you ask *really* nicely, they might be willing to let you fish them out of the papers prior to dumping them into the trash-ola. Contact the manager at the store of your choice and see if they're willing to work something out. You might also want to peek around and see if a neighbor takes the paper on subscription, and then ask that neighbor if she uses her coupons... or check the recycle bin at your apartment complex for cast aways... (Pssstt! Nikki--that'd be you!)

Lynn pointed out a few other coupon hiding places that I sometimes still forget about. For example, All You magazine, most commonly found at Wal*Mart has a ton of great coupons. She also mentioned looking for a coupon exchange box at your local library (trading with a friend might work nicely too... my mom and I do this sometimes), joining Vocalpoint, ordering samples as they commonly include a coupon, and purchasing them from eBay or other coupon sales sites. My mom does this, and they come to hear all clipped and ready to use!

Don't forget about the coupons you can find in-store near the item they're discounting... but a secret? Unless the item is majorly on sale, SAVE the coupon! You'll likely get a better bargain once the coupons have been removed from the shelf.

2. Are newspaper coupons identical to those found online?

Nope, but good try! Online coupons sometimes carry a higher value, sometimes don't... and you'll never find an identical selection. You might find MORE of what you're looking for online, or you might find less. People who stock up when the price is right, myself included, use newspaper *and* online coupons in order to purchase multiples of the same item. I read online today that about 75% of all coupons for consumables come from the Sunday paper... so you're wise to at least purchase one paper per week. (Consider a to-your-door subscription... our local paper offers Friday-Sunday delivery for about $6/month!)

3. I have noticed that most "general" coupon sites all have the same coupons. What gives?

Again... stocking up. Quite a few of those sites offer the same coupons, but there are printing limits on each site. Usually you're limited to one or two 'prints' per coupon, so if you know of multiple sites, you aren't so limited. If I find a great deal on cereal, which my husband consumes at a rapid rate, I hunt around for multiple coupons in order to purchase more than just a box or two of his favorites. (and then I stash them like a squirrel stashes nuts before winter!)

4. Can we have a hands on coupon lesson?

Sure! But I don't travel... yet. *wink*

5. What are coupons generally for? I follow a modified diet, and I'm not sure coupon clipping is worth the hassle for my family. More specifically, are coupons available for gluten free products?

I had to stop and think about this one for a while, Laura, because some of my biggest coupon items are cereal and quick-prep items for Ryan to take in his lunch. But I definitely think you can still benefit from coupon clipping. Look at it this way: even if you're only able to find or use three coupons during a certain week, each valued at $1, you're saving $3 you would've spent otherwise... right??

Looking through my binder, I can spot several things that are gluten free, or that aren't food items at all. For example... baby products (diapers, soaps, etc.), baking necessities like yeast and oil, tea bags, canned vegetables, cleaning products, dairy items like cheese or milk, eggs, toiletries (deodorant, shaving stuff, toothpaste, etc.), kitchen and household items (foil, sandwich bags, trash bags, tissue, etc.), makeup, meats, pet items, vegetables (really! I have bagged salad mix coupons, tomato coupons, and one for a box of Cuties), and snacks (pistachio nuts, peanuts, etc.).

I want to point out, on a somewhat similar note, that just because I clip coupons doesn't mean we eat a lot of prepared, processed stuff or that we eat junk all of the time. I make a lot of our meals from scratch, and we eat a relatively (especially for having a new baby!) healthy, balanced diet. I don't skip veggies just because I can't purchase them with a coupon... instead, my savings in other areas helps me to balance the high cost of the non-coupon items on my list. I do, however, try to buy produce that is in season and/or on sale.

Ok. So how's that for a start?? Do you have any other questions? Can I explain something else?


Unknown said...

Excellent tips! I didn't even think to look in the recycling cans here at the apts. I swear my brain becomes swiss cheese when I'm prego. lol Those (normally) aren't disgusting, as long as people put the right stuff in the right cans. Maybe the next day it isn't snowy or yucky outside, Lily and I will have a looksee.

Bill's in good with the people at Valero on college & lacey, he stops there every day on his way to work... maybe I'll see if he can ask them about getting coupons from the discarded papers.

Christina Weedon said...

Perfect, Nikki! :o)

...as for your swiss cheesed brain? happens to the best of us. You'll be delighted to know that it's some sort of chemical thing that happens so that your BABY'S brain develops. or something like that.

It was explained to me during MY period of swiss cheesiness, so I'm a bit foggy on the details.

...and new-mommy syndrome is a blast as well, is it not?

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