Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coupons, Coupons, Coupons

As you may have heard, it's the 1st of the month and new coupons are available for print. Here are some tips for using Internet coupons, plus the websites that I utilize for locating what's out there.

If' you've got some paper and ink in your printer, now is the time to hunt for coupons online. There are many websites available. I usually just stick to a few coupon websites and the product manufacturer websites because there are some scam artists out there who will doctor up an invalid coupon, and that's something you don't want to risk.

Most coupon sites will only allow you to print up to two copies per coupon; some will let you do more. Depends on the product manufacturer. Often the manufacturer will only allow a TOTAL number of coupons to be printed nation-wide, not necessarily on your printer, so once that total is met, that's it, they pull the coupon and it can't be printed. So it helps to check on the 1st of each month for the large coupon generators because some of the more popular coupons will go fast.

A word of warning--just because there are coupons available to print, doesn't mean you need to print them all. Also, just because you print a coupon doesn't mean you need to use it. It's important to stay within your budget. Use sales ads plus coupons to stockpile on items you know that you'll need, but don't overdo it. For example, you might save $300 using coupons during a shopping trip where you spent $500...yeah you saved a lot of money, but did you really have to spend $500?

If you do decide to print "all" the coupons, keep in mind printer toner/ink and paper costs. Fortunately for me, I'm allowed to print coupons at work during my lunch hour, and I only print a handful at home, so I don't have to spend a lot on paper and toner/ink.

I like to have a giveaway every few weeks on the blog, and I'll give away stacks of coupons that I've printed or received in the mail. I know that I can't use them all, and it'd be foolish of me to just throw them away. So if you subscribe to my blog, you'll be "in the know" for my next coupon giveaway. *hint, hint*

Here are several good coupon websites (I apologize in advance for the length, but wanted to cover all the sites I use). --
Enter in your zip code and you'll find pages & pages of coupons that are available for your area. These are Bricks coupons and you can usually print up to 2 copies of each coupon. Yesterday, 6/30/09, there were two different coupons for Smithfield pork chops and ham, and I was able to print 4 copies of each coupon. As of this evening, those coupons for Smithfield pork chops are still there. If you register for the website, you can sign up to receive a newsletter letting you know when coupons are available. They do add new coupons each week, and there will always be a large number of new and reset coupons on the 1st of each month. For example, if you printed up two coupons (the max allowed) for Nature Valley granola bars last month, don't worry because the coupon will be reset and you can print two more the following month. You can print coupons directly from the website, and there's also a list of Bricks coupons that will take you directly to the product manufacturer's website, where you can print the coupons. Also, don't panic if you try to print a coupon and you receive a message that says "print limit reached" even though you haven't printed a copy. Remember that the nation-wide total might have been reached.

Smartsource coupons --
If you get the Sunday paper, then you probably receive coupon inserts, one of which will be from Smartsource. They also provide Internet coupons. New coupons are added each week, and on the 1st of the month there will be a whole new stash for you. You can also print most of these coupons at least 2 times. Which is really nice if you want to stockpile on something like cereal, shampoo/conditioner, etc. Often there will be the same coupon at Smartsource and, so you could end up with 4 coupons of the same item. And when you use those 4 coupons when the product is on sale, you'll really save!

Redplum coupons --
Your Sunday paper may also contain coupon inserts from Redplum. They, too, have Internet coupons. They don't provide nearly as many as Smartsource and, but an extra coupon or two is still nice. I've found that I can only print these coupons once during the month until they are reset the following month. The website also will give you coupon codes for online shopping, tips & deals.

Eat Better America --
You can print coupons after registering for this website. They'll also send you a monthly newsletter with recipes and healthy eating tips. I've found that after logging into the website, I have to enter "coupons" into the search field. I haven't found the exact link to the coupon page, so searching for coupons on the Eat Better America website is the easiest, for me.

Organic Grocery Deals --
I use this website for the Target coupon generator. It's a forum with all kinds of topics, but I stick to the Target coupon generator. You don't have to register for this website in order to print the coupons. When you go to the home page, click on the link "coupon resources." Then click on "coupon generator." You'll be routed to a list of all the current Target coupons. Print as many of these as you like and use them in conjunction with a sale at Target. Remember that you can "stack" the Target coupons with a manufacturer coupon. So if toilet paper is on sale at Target, and you use both a manufactuer coupon plus a Target coupon for this particular brand of toilet paper, you can really maximize your savings!

Hot Coupon World --
This website also has a coupon generator for Target coupons, but I rarely utilize it. I prefer Organic Grocery Deals for the Target coupons. No real specific reason, just how I roll. :) You can sign up for the H.W.C. newsletter, and they'll email you a few Internet coupon print opportunities. The website also has a huge coupon database for both Internet coupons and coupon codes. You can also preview sales ads for Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc., BEFORE the sales ads come out in the Sunday paper. Nice so you can plan your shopping trips ahead of time. :)

Betty Crocker --
This website is great for yummy recipes, and, you guessed it, coupons! Register for the site and you'll receive a newsletter packed with recipes, tips, and a link to print a few coupons. Or if you go to the homepage, look for the "Coupons" link in the top right corner. You do have to be a reigstered member of the website in order to print the coupons. These are Bricks coupons, so you should be able to print two copies. My kids like to eat Lucky Charms cereal several days in the week for breakfast, and I usually print the manufacturer coupons for this cereal at this website. Target had a really good deal on Lucky Charms last week, and after coupons, I paid only $8 for 4 of the large boxes of Lucky Charms.

Vocalpoint --
I don't get very many coupons from Vocalpoint, but when I do, they're usually really great. When you register, you'll get offers for free stuff, either something that Vocalpoint will mail to you, or a coupon to purchase a product for free. I've received in the mail a headband and breath mints (were they trying to tell me something??), among other things. For coupons, I've received Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal, Kashi Waffles, Del Monte fruit cups, and others. Right now if you go to this website you can print a coupon for $1.50 off Kashi TLC cereal bars. And you don't even have to register for Vocalpoint to print the coupon. And it's a Bricks coupon, so you may be able to print two copies. I've seen the Kashi TLC cereal bars on sale for 2/$5 several times, so with the coupon, it's like paying 2/$3.50.

Kraft First Taste --
Want to try new products before anyone else? Well, supposedly that's what you can do at Kraft First Taste. Although I've found that the product is already on the store shelves when I get offered to try the new product, so I can only assume someone out there has tried it already, right? :) With Kraft First Taste, I get about one offer each month for a new product, and when I sign up to try it, I'll receive a coupon to purchase it for free, plus one or two more coupons for $1 or so off my next purchase of the same product. I've gotten to try for free Velveeta Shells & Cheese easy mac, DiGiorno Flatbread Melts, Oscar Mayer Deli Creations, Jell-O rice pudding, and Jell-O Singles, among other things.

Earthbound Farms --
You can receive coupons in the mail for organic produce grown by the folks at Earthbound Farms. Really nice because it's so rare to find a coupon for produce, and nice too because it brings down the price of organic produc which is usually more expensive than the non-organic version. Register for their newsletter, and you'll receive it in the mail along with your coupons. They also have opportunities for freebies. I got a free reusable grocery bag about a month or two ago, and I also received a free packet of lettuce seeds.

Mambo Sprouts --
Another website with coupons for organic foods. You can print new coupons each month, and also register for a newsletter that they send out in the mail about every quarter.

Startsampling forums --
Not sure what other coupons may be out there? The ladies at Startsamping will point you in the right direction. There are so many coupons out there, especially directly at the manufacturer website. You could register for the manufacturer to email you when coupon offers are available. Or you can go to this forum. These ladies will let you know what's out there and warn about possible scams. There's also a thread about stuff you can get for free (totally free/no strings attached as well as "free with registration" stuff).

MyPoints coupons --
Register for MyPoints (I'd recommend creating a "work" email address for this, one that's separate from the email you use for friends and family). They'll send you a newsletter letting you know when coupons are available at their website. For each coupon you print and redeem, you'll earn 10 points. There are lots of other point-earning opportunities, and the website can tell you more about that. Collect enough points and you can redeem them for gift cards. I've gotten too many gift cards to count--Kmart, BP Gas, Bass Pro Shops, list goes on. I like to use the gift cards as Christmas gifts, or to buy Christmas gifts, or simply to get something we need.

Now for the folks who don't have time to surf the Internet, print and clip coupons, there are websites where you actually buy coupons that will be mailed to you. These are the same type of coupons you will find in your Sunday paper coupon inserts. You don't actually pay for the coupons--you are paying for the time someone takes to clip the coupons and the cost of shipping them to you. And the price is really cheap (often 10-15 cents, maybe a little more, depending upon the coupon value). it's nice because you could buy 10 copies of the same coupon and use it to stockpile a product. Whereas, you may get only 1 copy in your Sunday paper coupon inserts. A couple favorites:

The Coupon Clippers --
Ebay -- Be careful using Ebay. Never buy Internet coupons through Ebay. They could be fraudulent. Also, shipping costs might get expensive, so buy coupons in bulk if you use Ebay.
Ebates -- If you decide to buy coupons through Ebay, make sure to stop by Ebates first, then find their link to ebay. You'll get paid back a percent of what you spend on Ebay (and it's also good for other merchants). At one time they had a $5 sign-on bonus when you register. I'm literally brand-new to Ebates (just signed up this week) so I don't know a whole lot about it. Maybe some of you professional couponers can comment a little more about Ebates, or add a link to your blog post about Ebates...?

Great coupons you can print now:
Save 50 cents off a Del Monte pineapple (can't beat a coupon for fresh produce!) here:

Save $3 off Huggies Pull-Ups here:

Get a $55 savings booklet and calendar from Nabiscoworld here:
Require registration, then they'll mail it to you. Good while supplies last.

Well, I know this is a long list. Like I said, there are a LOT of coupon websites out there!

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