Friday, January 8, 2010

HOW TO BECOME A FRUGALISTA!!!

PART 1: WHERE DO YOU GET ALL THOSE COUPONS?

By far the number one question I am asked by people who witness my deals is "Where do you get all those coupons?" The answer: ANYWHERE I CAN! The fact is there are a plethora of places you can find coupons. But first let me point out that there are two main "types" of coupons: manufacturer and store. Manufacturer coupons are coupons released by the manufacturer for which the store actually receives reimbursement from the manufacturer when they accept these coupons. On the other hand, store coupons are coupons released by the particular store themself and can only be used at that store (unless of course another store will accept them as competitor coupons). Moving on....so where can you look?

SUNDAY PAPER: Nearly every week there are several inserts full of coupons in the sunday paper.These are generally about the size of regular notebook paper, usuall glossy, and at least several pages thick. I recommending keeping these inserts whole, other then perhaps cutting out the coupons you will most definitely use immediately (but we will get more into organizing and storing your coupons later). Now I also recommend getting several copies of the Sunday paper (at least 2 so you have 2 of each coupon for buy one get one sales). You don't necessarily have to purchase several copies. You can get them from friends and family members who don't use coupons or check your neighborhood recycling bin (I know what you are thinking... ewww that't garbage picking... but hey coupons are addictive once you realize how much you can save, plus it's only a recycling bin... there shouldn't be any "real" garbage in there). Another possibility is checking local coffee shops and breakfast places. Sometimes these have a bin where others toss their papers after they are finished reading them (in the past I have found Panera to be useful for this).

PRINTABLE COUPONS: Printable coupons are coupons you can find online and then print out to be used in the store. These printable coupons can be found in severeal different places. First place you can look is the manufacturer's or store's website. Many manufacturers and stores have coupons for their products or stores located directly on their website. Others use sites specifically designated as coupon sites to distribute their coupons. There are 3 main sites where many manufacturer coupons can be found: coupons.com, smartsource.com, and redplum.com.

PRODUCT PACKAGING: Many products have coupons either for the same products or similar products in the product packaging. These can be found either inside the package as a seperate coupon or as part of the package itself where you have to cut it out.

PEELIES: These are coupons located on products in stores which can easily be peeled off and used when buying that particular product (and sometimes even for other products instead). When you see peelies on items you normally buy I suggest grabbing a few even if you do not currently plan on buying it. You can always hold onto these and wait for a better sale. One exception to this is peelies that say on THIS box, products, package etc. which specify that they must be removed by the cashier in order to be valid.

TEARPADS: Tearpads are pads of coupons found on displays in stores. These are made so that you can tear of the coupons and use them at that time, but again you can always take a few of these and keep them to use with a late sale.

IN-AD COUPONS: These coupons are generally store coupons by can occasionally be manufacturer coupons as well. These are located... well just guess... in the ad (also sometimes called the circular). Generally these are only good for the time period of the ad (approximately a week).

BLINKIES: Blinkies are coupons found in little machines with blinking lights (hence the name) on store shelves. You can pull a coupon out and within seconds another one pops out! And again, I recommend grabbing a few of these and saving them for future use if it is a product you will buy.

MAGAZINES:  Many magazines have coupons hiding within the pages just waiting to be clipped and used! This is one of the reasons I subscribe to every FREE subscription I can (even if I have zero interest in reading opera news).

WRITING THE MANUFACTURER: Often times if you write the manufacturer of a product you love (evene if it's just to tell them how much you love the product) they will send you great coupons in return!

EBAY: If you are willing to pay for coupons then ebay is a great resource. There are many sellers offering many different types of coupons for great prices. This option is best for items you buy regularly that do not often go on sale. For example, I buy dog food coupons on ebay since I rarely find coupons for the type of dog food I buy.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. The best thing you can do is keep your eyes peeled at all times and grab those coupons when you find them!

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