HOW TO ACQUIRE COUPONS
The most obvious place to get coupons is the Sunday Newspaper. I recommend buying the biggest city newspaper that you can find. For our area that would be the Kansas City Star. Why do this? Because it generally has more coupons and they are higher value coupons. I've found that it's well worth the extra money! I also recommend purchasing more than one paper so that you can have more coupons. This helps aid in "stockpiling."
Internet Printables (IP's)
I get a huge portion of my coupons from the internet. There are several sites to print from, but I've listed my favorite sites on the PRINTABLE COUPONS page. That page also gives many tips for printing coupons and much more helpful information.
Also, you can find many on the manufacturers sites. For example, if you're looking for Kraft coupons, just type in Kraft coupons in your search engine and you'll most likely find some kind of coupon to print.
Magazines are a great resource for acquiring coupons. The magazine that I recommend the most is ALL YOU. It can be purchased exclusively at Walmart and has roughly $40 worth of coupons in it. You can subscribe to it also at a discounted price!
Order coupons online
Yes, this is paying to get coupons! Now why would anyone want to do that? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of saving money??? Believe it or not there is a reason to do this....
For example..not long ago All laundry detergent was on sale for $2.99 and there were $2.00 coupons in the newspaper. That's $1 per bottle after the coupon!
Most coupons sites require that you purchase a certain amount of coupons...like 20 coupons for $3 plus shipping. If you actually bought 20 bottles you would certainly be saving money. If you purchased less than you'd have to figure out the math and see if you're actually saving.
It does pay to buy coupons in some instances, but you really have to know the sales and plan in advance in order to take advantage of these kind of deals.
Here's a list of reputable coupons sites where you can order coupons:
coupons by dede (highly recommended)
You can find coupons just about anywhere you go! It's funny how when I started seriously couponing I would see coupons in places that I never noticed before. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box to acquire coupons. Here's some ideas to get you started...
At the grocery store...there are blinkie machines, tear pads and peelies at the grocery store. One caution: peelies are affixed to the product and the manufacturer intends them to be used by the person that purchases the product. Don't peel them off the products leaving the purchaser w/o a coupon!
Recycle Center...I've heard that many people recycle their newspaper with the coupon fliers still in them. If you don't mind digging you just might come up lucky with a whole stack of coupons.
Neighbors/Family/Friends...I get many of my coupons from my neighbors that don't want their coupons fliers.
Coupon Swap...I swap coupons with friends. What coupons I don't want I give to her and the coupons she doesn't want she gives to me!
Restaurants/Hotels...these places always have newspapers. You could ask the managers if you could have the coupon fliers
Doctor offices...These places have newspapers and magazines. Flip through them and if you find a coupon ask the secretary if you can cut it out.
HOW TO ORGANIZE COUPONS
Once you've acquired a bunch of coupons you need to have them organized in order to use them to their maximum effectiveness. There are so many different methods to organize coupons, but one thing very important is that there must be some kind of order or you'll miss out on tons of sales. You'll just have to experiment and see what works best for you. Click here to find a great tutorial on different organization methods.
Coupon "stacking" is the practice of using 2 coupons for 1 item being purchased. To do this, you will need a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon and follow the terms of each. If a manufacturer's coupon reads "save $1.00 on 2" but the store coupon states "save 50 cents on 1", you will need to purchase 2 of the item. It is a great way to save money and sometimes even get free items. Some stores will allow-and even embrace-coupon stacking while others forbid it. Here is a breakdown of several local stores from my personal experiences: Note: You CANNOT stack a manufacturer coupon with another manufacturer coupon and in most cases you cannot stack a store coupon with a store coupon (except CVS).
Target-will accept stacked coupons. You can find Target store coupons at www.target.com and also read a great article about Target right HERE.
Walgreen's-will accept stacked coupons. You can find Walgreen's store coupon's in their weekly flier and monthly coupon booklet located inside the entrance to every Walgreen's store.
CVS-will accept stacked coupons and in some cases may allow you to triple stack*
*Dillon's no longer accepts stacked coupons.
WalMart-will not accept stacked coupons
Price Cutter-will accept stacked coupons. You can find store coupons for Price Cutter in the AdNews magazine located at every customer service desk or online at www.springfieldadnews.com
There are several ways to go about getting store coupons so you can begin stacking.
In store ads
Sunday newspaper inserts
Printable coupons from the company website
Joining the store's mailing list/rewards program
Coupon stacking may add extra time to your pre-shopping routine, but it is well worth the extra time in cash savings and free products. With a little patience and practice, you will become a pro in no time.
*Triple stacking at CVS requires a manufacturer's coupon, store coupon and a "save $X on $XX purchase". These coupons are usually a thank you for participating in online surveys. Some managers allow it, some do not.
WHAT IS STOCKPILING? (Mandie, at iheartcoupons was kind enough to write the article below explaining this in detail.)
Stocking is buying enough of an item at a low price for your family until it goes on sale again! Over the course of a few months, it is not unusual for a grocery item’s price to fluctuate by 50% or more. One week your favorite box of cereal will cost $4.00, and a few weeks later it may be on sale for $2.00. If you only bought cereal all year, at one box a week, for two dollars a box, you would save about $100 in a year on that one item alone. The average household may buy 100 different items in a typical week. Imagine how much you could save if you bought every single item only when it is at its lowest price? Every item is not at its lowest price every week, but you can learn to pay the lowest price on all of your items every time you buy them when you know how to use the stocking up approach. I can’t believe how much prices fluctuate, but have been tracking and comparing prices and the price of an item truly changes so much over the course of a year. When you know the price range for your common items, you will be able to spot when they hit their lowest price. At that point, you would be smart to stock up by buying four to six weeks’ worth of that item, whether you have a coupon or not. You will find that when you take this approach you’ll be stocking up on a few of your common items every week. By the time you have gone through your supply of any particular item, you’ll most likely find that it is at its lowest price again! Just in time to stock up again. The key to really saving money is to buy items when they are at their lowest price, not necessarily when you run out of the item. By taking this “stocking up” approach, you will be saving an average of 50-70% off of these items. You can see that when you get in the habit of using the “stocking up” approach, you’ll never pay $4 a box for your favorite cereal again!
Hot Coupon World (Dillon's forum)-gives updated Dillon's deals that other couponers are finding. I personally find this forum very helpful.
Coupon Lingo (frequently used abbreviations that are found on coupon blogs, forums and websites. A MUST READ for beginning couponers)
Price Book (Mandie at iheartcoupondeals does has a fabulous price check book on her blog that will aid you in comparing prices to see if you're getting a good deal. Check it out...you'll learn a lot!