The economy is affecting how consumers are handling their grocery budget. Every penny matters and when there is an item on sale, doubled with the use of a coupon, it could mean getting that item for next to free. A frenzy erupts with the primary focus; we must find more coupons.
People who clip coupons know that it can be a full time job. The television show, Extreme Couponing documents just how challenging the task can be how some families are finding those coupons in mass quantities.The show appeals to consumers in hopes that there is a secret short of breaking any laws.
Twenty years ago, couponing meant waiting every Sunday morning to buy and have the newspaper in our possession so we can attack the coupon inserts. They were cut, documented, sorted and filed. Many found them via dumpster diving, begging the newspaper guy for leftovers or were part of round robin coupon train snail mail. Any unwanted extras were bartered online or at local group meets in town.
Technology has come a long way and now there are more ways to find coupons any day of the week besides Sunday. Redplum.com and Smartsource.com are two major coupon networks available online. A keyword search, ‘grocery coupons’, will produce a plethora of coupon sites. With a trusty home printer, coupons can be obtained by taking a few minutes to join each site. The only caveat to why many join multiple sites is due to the one coupon per household; hence this becomes a full time job. Shortcuts.com is another such site where you register to join and print out the checked off coupons of their choices offered.
Coupons can also be found by the checkout line. The receipt along with choice coupons will print out to use on your next shopping trip. Also, from time to time, a ‘blink’ sensor machine can be found attached by say, at the pickle aisle at eye level shelf. I found these at various locations throughout at my market. This machine automatically rolls out a coupon every few seconds after one is pulled. I stood along-side such a machine once for 5 minutes for $1 off sour cream and that same brand was on sale for 99¢; I made a lovely spinach dip that day.
Is there an easier way still to find them in mass quantities?
We can’t buy coupons; it’s illegal. However, those who are lucky to get them every week in bulk (by having a good relationship with their local newspaper carrier) are able to provide a service and charge accordingly per coupon; ranging from 7¢ to 25¢ depending upon their popularity. This meant they will cut them neatly, sort them together and mail them off. They post on EBAY, they create their own websites and they do really well too. This relieves the coupon hunter from scouting all over the place; just place the number of coupons you want for each item and use PayPal or a major credit card. The caveat though, the coupons are mailed to you which can take 3-5 days; the store specials may be over by then. So if you are brand loyal and know they will be used up despite store sales or not, this is a good way to get the coupons.
Have you tried stretching your grocery dollar by using coupons; were they worth the effort?