Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Are Coupons?

I have a new feature, "CouponsCouponsCoupons" about Coupons.  Thanks CouponsCouponsCoupons!  She posts between 1-2 posts a day on how to save using coupons.  So today, in her first post, she'll be discussing What are Coupons? and Where to find Coupons?
What Are Coupons? 6/21/2011

Everyone knows what a coupon is, right?  Right!  But you need to change your thinking about coupons a little bit.  Coupons are payment for an item rather than a discount on an item. Got that?  Coupons are “money” from the manufacturers that help you pay for your purchases.  The price of the item is the same, only the retailer can give a  discount on the price.  When you pay with a $1 coupon for Brand X toilet paper, Brand X toilet paper reimburses your grocery store that $1.  There is no loss for retailer at all.  So don’t let any cashiers give you crap about using coupons, most of the times they are just jealous or having a bad day.

Where Can I Get Coupons?

Lots of places!
  1. The Washington Post-Obvious, right?  The good old WP has the best coupons in it every weekend.  If you have home delivery (like me!) you can get your coupons on Saturday.  If you don’t have home delivery, you can pick one up at any grocery store or paper box Sunday.  It is a lot cheaper to get the WP delivered (Sundays only) than to go out and buy it every week.  Every once and a while, there is a Groupon for the WP, but usually you can find a good delivery rate on their website.  I pay ~ $15 a year?  Maybe less.  Anyways that is a great deal since I get >$15 in coupons every week from the paper!  There are no coupons in holiday weekend papers though, just as there won’t be any coupons in the July 4th weekend paper.  I don’t know why they do this; it’s annoying.
  2. Free Papers- You can also find coupons in free papers in our area.  El Tiempo Latino’s Friday edition has the Red Plum coupon circular in it.  There’s an Alexandria free paper and a Fairfax County free paper too.  I don’t know much about them because I’ve never found them but I do know that they have coupons.  You can find El Tiempo Latino near metro stations or I just usually grab a couple copies at the Shirlington bus center.  It is in a big yellow newspaper box.  The coupons in these free papers are usually lower value coupons than in the WP so they aren't always go great.
  3. Online- Printing coupons online is a great way to get free coupons!  Most sites require you to download a small piece of software and then you can print any coupon you want from their website.  Most sites will let you print two copies of a coupon, print it once and then hit the back button on your browser to print it again.  Many companies offer coupons on their homepages and Twitter and Facebook so check those places too in addition to: http://www.coupons.com, http://www.smartsource.com, http://www.redplum.com, http://www.mambosprouts.com/free-coupons/ 
  4. In Store-  I always look for tearpads, coupons stuck onto products with stickers and those little blinking coupon machines (called blinkies) that dispense coupons and grab a couple.  Don’t be a jerk and grab all of them.  I once saw a lady take one of those blinkie machines and shove the whole thing in her purse.  YES the whole machine!  I thought "Lady, seriously!"
  5. Mailers- I always seem to get random coupons in the mail.  I don’t know how to get on lists but I make sure to go through the mail and check for coupons. 
  6. http://www.vocalpoint.com is a website where you can sign up for samples and coupons.
  7. Ebay/Clipping services- You can buy coupons if you know of an upcoming sale.  This might seem strange but I can show you times when it is a good idea to invest $3 in coupons to net over $100 in savings.
  8. All You Magazine- This is kind of a niche thing but this is a magazine…for couponers!  It’s kind of expensive, like $20 a year but I got it from a Groupon or something and it’s totally worth it.  It has dumb articles about like how to lose weight or activities for kids and then it is packed full of coupons, glorious high value coupons!  I’ve never read one article in it, just clipped it all up.  All You magazine is part of a special fundraising effort for those effected in Joplin, MO.  You can get 30 issues of All You for $25; I think that's 2.5 years worth of issues.  In addition $10 from each purchase is donated to Joplin victims.  Follow this link to purchase/donate if you are interested.  You can also renew for the same price/donation.

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