Friday, January 7, 2011

Couponing Tips

After a very successful trip to the grocery store this week, my husband did a little bragging on my coupon skills on Facebook.  I've gotten a lot of questions about where I get my coupons from and I'm going to give you the long and the short answers in this post.  There's no magic to it, I've just been through a lot of trial and error in the couponing world and figured out what works for me.

First, the most obvious answer for coupon location is the newspaper.  We used to get the Sunday paper every week.  Loved the coupons, but hated the mess it created when trying to forage through it all.  If you've got a lot of space you can devote to couponing, or you have a high tolerance for paper clutter being strewn out on your dining table, go for it.  I still get coupon inserts from a friend every once in a while once she's gone through them and picked out her favorites and use them when I can. 

You can pick up a free paper on Sunday afternoons at your local Starbucks (or wherever people have coffee on Sundays).  Most grad students and middle-aged men that read the newspaper are not dragging them home after they've enjoyed their Venti Caramel Macchiato, so they lovingly leave it on the table just for you coupon-addicts.  Ask the barista or clerk if they mind you cleaning up the leftover newspapers off of the tables for them.  I'm sure they won't mind.

If you've got any neighbors that get the paper, and if you're friendly enough with them, you can ask if they'd mind passing on their coupon inserts that they don't use.  Just be sure to thank them and stop by with a free bag of coffee you scored.

As for me, I prefer to print out all of my coupons from various websites, and I'll outline that process to make it as simple as possible for you.

1.  I start out at and find the store at which I plan to do my shopping that week. 

2.  Click on that store link!  This will take you to a brief list of coupon and sale "match-ups."  A matchup is simply the biggest bang for your buck, and it what you will usually see listed on most of the sites.

3.  At the bottom of that list, you will see a link that says "See the full list of deals at ShopRite this week here."  Click on that link!

4.  If this store is where you ALWAYS do your grocery shopping, bookmark that page so you don't have to go through each time.  (But be sure to frequent money saving mom for fun deals and great tips for managing money and time!)

5.  Now that you've got the full list of "match-ups" for the circular week at your favorite store, you've gotten to the fun part.  Remember, you do NOT have to buy everything that is on sale and has a coupon.  Buying fruit snacks when you don't have a 6 year old or a bag of prunes when... well, when you don't need them is not saving you money. 

6.  Here's the break down of the standard match-up post :

This is the name of the product and it's current sale price.
use $1/1 Maxwell House Coffee printable This is a link to a coupon that is for $1off of 1 Maxwell House Coffee
or use $1/1 Maxwell House Coffee or International Cafe (RP 11/14/10) This is showing you that there was a coupon in the Red Plum insert on 11/14/10 for $1 off of 1 Maxwell House Coffee
or use $0.75/1 Maxwell House International Cafe, exp. 12-31-10 (SS 10/10/10) This is showing you that there was a coupon in the Smart Source insert on 10/10/10 for $.75 off of 1 Maxwell House Coffee
or buy 2 and use $1/2 Maxwell House Coffee or International Cafe (RP 11/14/10) 
or use $0.50/1 Maxwell House Coffee or International Cafe (RP 11/14/10)
or buy 2 and use $1/2 Maxwell House printable This is a link to another online coupon for $1 off of 2 containers of Maxwell House Coffee
as low as $0.99 each after coupon This is telling you the final price you will get if you use the highest dollar coupon when you purchase.
~This match-up is from

7.  When you click on the link of the online coupons, you will be redirected to a variety of sites.  It might be or a site specific to the product or brand of the product.  If you are directed to a site such as, sometimes the coupon you need will only be under certain zip codes. One is usually listed for you in the match-up.

8.  You will often have to look for the coupon.  It might not be on the first page of the site you've been directed to, but be patient and look from page to page.  Remember the hundreds of dollars (seriously, hundreds) you can save a month with the time you are taking to find that coupon that will get you free pasta.

9.  Have your printed connected and ready BEFORE you clock "print my coupons."  Sometimes you only get one chance.  
10.  Usually the first time you print from a particular website, you will be prompted to download a "coupon printer" or the like.  You have to down;pad this if you want coupons from that site, but use discretion.  I have yet to download anything malicious from these sites, but be sure your anti-virus software is up to date and that you trust the site from which you're downloading.
11.  Print and cut and cut and cut.  Someone suggested getting ergonomically designed scissors for this process, and I agree that they are a must if you are diving full force into the coupon=clipping world.
12.  Hit your back button and print again!!  Some sites with single coupons allow you to hit the back button once or twice and print multiples of the coupon.  But, don't worry, they'll let you know when you've reached your limit.  For sites such as, go back to the main page and check off and print your coupons again until you have the desired number or until you reached your print limit.  You can use any additional computers at your disposal to get even more coupons if you so desire.  Just be prepared to go through the same process when you get on the next computer.
I'm sure there are tidbits I've left out or questions you might have, so please PLEASE leave a comment and I will address your questions in this post or another, if applicable.

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