Since the extreme couponing show has popped up on TLC, I’ve gotten lots of questions from friends and family, and even some from new readers who’d like to know the ins and outs of coupon usage from a sane person. Here is a question from a reader:
Hello my name is Len and I came across your site while doing a search for shoprite couponing. I really would like to have a better game plan when food shopping and currently trying to get my hand on as many coupons as possible. Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated. I think my main question at the moment is when to know the best time to use your coupon is, trying to utilize it at the lowest price offered over a given period of time. I am following your blog but any links that you can share that you feel may be beneficial will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
A big thanks to Len for posing these questions. There were a few people with the same queries so let’s discuss them a bit.
If you are looking to get the maximum amount of coupons you can, here are the following things you can try:
1. Buy a few papers on Sunday. Everyone goes and gets a paper on Sunday morning or has it delivered to their house, but one paper just isn’t enough when you want to become a serious couponer. I get 4 papers every Sunday and sometimes 6 if the inserts are really good that week. To offset the costs, I get the cheapest paper possible, which is 1.25. I know there will at least be 1.25 in savings in each paper, so that’s how I rectify spending the 5.00 every Sunday.
2. Printables. These used to be the untapped resource for real couponers since everyone used to be leary of printables and had issues getting their stores to accept them. After real couponers talked to managers and “schooled” them on the proper use of a printable and how to verify the validity of the coupon, everyone and their mother started using them. Coupons.com, Redplum.com and Smartsource.com are the 3 main sites for great coupons, with Couponnetwork.com now popping up as a contender. If you are going to take advantage of printables, make sure that you have a great place to get cheap ink; before you know it, you’ll be out of it!
3. Friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for any coupons they may come across that they won’t use. Let them know that you are on a mission to really lower your grocery bill and you need some help. Those that care about you will have no issue helping you out.
4. Recycling bins. I personally don’t partake in this, but I know that a few couponers do. If you have a place in your city that collects recycling, you may get lucky and find inserts in the bins where the Sunday papers are placed. Mondays and Tuesdays are supposedly the best days to go. One thing I do from time to time is check the recycling areas in apartment or condos. We have quite a few where we live, so there are usually a good amount of Sunday papers placed in there. Please make sure that there are no “No Trespassing” signs posted anywhere and that if it’s a huge metal bin, that there aren’t any signs that say “No Climbing.” Obviously, if you do these things you may be in violation of a law. If your budget is tight, I’m sure bail money will mess it up, so just be careful.
5. Check the post office. This is a hidden secret that most people don’t know about! There are many people that use P.O. boxes instead of having mail delivered to their houses. These people also get coupons delivered to those boxes and about 80% of them don’t use them. Check the garbage bins right next to the P.O. boxes to find some treasures.
Tomorrow, I’ll delve into Len’s question about when to use your coupons for maximum savings.
How about you all? Do you have any tips for Len on where to get the coupons?