Usually the first question people ask me is where do you find all of your coupons? From several different sources: the paper, magazines, the Internet, tear pads in stores, brochures, dispensing machines in front of product, hanging off bottles, peelies on products, inside packages, inside samples, and trading with friends and relatives.
The easiest way to start your coupon collection is by getting a Sunday paper. In the Sunday paper is something called an insert that is usually with all the sale papers. With the exception of major holidays (coupons usually do not come out on major holiday weekends), you can usually get on average about 2 inserts per week. The two major printers are Smart Source and Red Plum (formerly know as Vlassis). You can even receive Red Plum in your mailbox. I usually get mine in Tuesday's mail. If you want to get on their mailing list here is a link: Red Plum . I get a subscription to 1 Sunday paper and I will either buy additional ones if I see that there are great coupons one week. You can also get friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family to donate their unused coupons to you. Share your "free" stuff with them as a thank you. I put a sign up on the bulletin board where I work asking for coupons and I was amazed how many people started bringing me theirs. If your brave enough you can also search through recycle bins or go to your locale recycling center.
My next favorite way is to go "coupon shopping." In my area Food Lion is my favorite coupon shopping store for several reasons. They usually have quite a selection of "tearpad" and "blinkie" coupons that I can use at other stores for significant savings. You know those blinking little machines that your children always love to pull the coupons out of over and over again as you tell them "please stop doing that, honey?" Well tell your children stop no more, in fact encourage them to pull them! Save those coupons to use for future sales or to take to other stores in your area that double or triple the coupon amount. For example I have three stores in my area that double up to .99 every day: Bi-Lo, Harris Teeter, and Lowes Foods. Those blinkie and tearpad q's that I pick up at Food Lion will usually double at those other stores. (The reason is the barcode on the coupon starts with a "5," any coupon barcode that starts with a "9" will not double).
You can also write companies or email them praising their product and asking for coupons. I stumbled across this listing the other day that someone put together with companies internet addresses to write for q's: Big Big Forums .
There are also several places on the internet to find coupons, but I think I will make that another blog post.
Magazines are a great source for coupons. Family Circle, Women's Day, First usually always have some in there. My favorite magazine is All You . I subscribe to it just for the coupons. It averages around $40 worth of coupons every month. You can purchase the magazine only at Wal-Mart for less than $2 an issue or subscribe.
Start paying attention to store displays. Those cardboard displays that junk up the aisles of grocery stores will often have a tearpad stuck somewhere on them with coupons. My advice take the coupon and figure out when and how you will use it later. Often you will find ways to combine your coupons to make money or get things for free!
However you find them start collecting them, even if you are not sure you will use them. I have found that either I use or trade the majority of my coupons, so I keep them all. I learned my lesson the hard way by throwing away a coupon for a diabetes monitor, thinking I'll never use that. Well CVS ended up having them on sale and with the coupon I would have made $20 just for buying it! I was kicking myself for not saving that coupon!
See you at the sales!