Now, I know what you're thinking. Coupons are not cool. Before I started using coupons, I always pictured coupon user as a little-old-lady that takes forever to find her coupons and after she does, she proceeds to pay her $5 total entirely in pennies.
Listen, times have changed. I am arguing that couponing is fashionable, even trendy. Seriously, if I told you that you could cut $20 or more off the stuff you already buy with very little effort, wouldn't you at least try it? Who doesn't need an extra $20 laying around? You could actually go out to a club, or see a movie, or save it to buy extremely overpriced textbooks next semester(don't worry, I have savings tips on textbooks too). Using coupons is smart and economical, maybe they're even cool.
I suggest that you get over whatever coupon aversion that you have and start clipping!
Ok, here it goes
Where to find coupons
1. The Sunday Newspaper
The Sunday Paper is possibly the best resource for coupons. In Chicago, the Chicago Tribune has the most coupons, and the Sunday edition costs $1.99. It seems funny to spend money to save money, but the paper is a great resource for finding sales, getting coupons, and reading about the world. Believe me, professors LOVE it when you read the newspaper and contribute about it in class.
2. In store (at the Blinkie machines, Peelies on the Product or on tearpads)
Another great place to find coupons is at the red blinking machines in store. These machines are very small and placed directly in front or next to the product it is advertising. Generally, these machines have coupons for products when they are at their HIGHEST price. Your best bet is to take a couple and save them until they have a sale. These coupons are Manufacturers coupons, so they can be used anywhere that accepts coupons, not just the store you got them from! Another
Peelies are coupons that you find right on the product! They usually say something like "Save $1.00 NOW!" or "Save $0.50 the next time you buy this product". Generally a compay will put a Peelie on a new product, or when they are trying to reposition the product (make it appeal to a different target market of people), but sometimes a product will have a peelie for no reason at all! These coupons can be very useful. Ettiquette says that it's not right to peel the coupon and not buy the product, but it is a very common practice among the hardcore coupons, so make your own decision! Generally they are Manufacturers coupons, but sometimes they are Store specific coupons that can only be redeemed at that store. Peel at your own risk!
Tearpads are the coupons that are placed in front of a product, or on a product display. Be on the look out for these! At any one time, a grocery store (Like Dominick's or Jewel) might have 2-15 tearpads carefully placed around the store. Most of the time they are manufacturers coupons, so they can be used anywhere coupons are accepted! Many times, grocery stores will have tearpads for Shampoo, or paper towels, or other items that a GENERALLY LESS EXPENSIVE AT A MASS RETILER (like Target, Kmart, or Walmart), so it is in your best interest to take a couple and check the price at another store!
3. Printable Coupons
There are many sources for printable coupons on the internet. With these coupon sites, you need access to a printer, and you need to install coupon printing software on the computer. It only takes a minute, but be warned that you might not be able to install software in your school's computer lab! If you don't have a printer, you can use a friend's, or not. There are enough paper coupons to save major $$
You can also find coupons Manufacturer's websites, store websites, and many many other places. It can be a total pain to sift through these coupons, but I intend to post relevant deals on the site, so you don't have to dig through them!
4. Inside Product Packaging
Before you recycle the packaging from a product, check inside for a loose coupon, or a coupon printed directly onto the packaging! Generally the coupons packaged inside a product have long life (some won't expire for 2-3 years or more!)
5. All You Magazine
All You is a magazine sold exclusively at Walmart. It sells for $2.25, and generally includes $80-$120 worth of coupons! In addition, there are useful articles for being thrifty, saving money, and really good recipes. I have NEVER been disappointed in the coupons that I have gotten from this magazine. Since it is geared toward moms, there are a lot of coupons for snack foods, microwave meals, chicken nuggets, sugary cereals, and other deliciousness. There are also a lot of coupons for new products, and many are high value! ($2-$3)