Jan 28, 2010
Sometimes we just can't live without a particular brand, or a certain food item. My brother-in-law is notorious for the fact that he can only stomach one specific brand of milk! But it is still possible to reduce your food budget and get the brands you love, and not just by purchasing the Sunday paper!
Get creative about where your coupons come from!
Everyone knows the Sunday paper carries coupons - usually two to three different circulars (Mommy Snacks has posted a 2010 Coupon Insert schedule if you want a heads up on how many there will be!). But your local paper is FAR from the only place you can pick up great coupons!
*Regional Papers - Don't just pick up your local paper if you live in suburbia. Often the paper for the nearest major city (Boston in my case) will carry more, or more comprehensive, coupon inserts. I noticed a while back that the Red Plum insert for my local paper was MUCH thinner than the Boston paper. And most big city papers will do Sunday-only deliveries straight to your door!
*Internet coupon sites - The internet is FULL of great places to pick up printable manufacturers coupons! My personal favorites (less advertisements to click through) are Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, and Redplum.com. They usually update the coupons available at the beginning of every month, and offer a limited quantity of high value or unusual coupons - so visiting them early is your best bet.
*Manufacturer websites - Have a favorite brand? Go straight to the source! Most food brands offer coupons right on their site, and many (like Pillsbury, Betty Crocker and Proctor & Gamble) have special websites that offer several coupons, newsletters and special deals. They are free to sign up with as well!
*Coupon clipping services - I'm just starting to explore this option, but I know many who use it regularly. The basic idea is that someone takes their time to find and clip out coupons, and charge a nominal "clipping fee" per item. You choose ONLY the coupons you will use, and purchase as many as you need. eBay has many coupon clippers, and websites like The Coupon Clippers, The Coupon Master and Coupon Clipping Crew specialize in the service. They are a great resource if you want many of the same item, but do require you to plan shopping well in advance to allow for shipping time.
*Friends, relatives, neighbors - Chances are good that in your circle of infulence, SOMEONE is throwing away coupons you need, and vice versa! Get a coupon swap going - let people know what you need and find out what they need, and trade around the horn when the circular comes out! Everyone benefits, and fewer coupons go to waste.
*Freecycle - It's a little unusual, but there are many times I've either posted or responded to a request on Freecycle for specific coupon, or unused coupon inserts. When I miss buying the paper I ALWAYS post on Freecycle, and I ususally get more than a few responses!
*Tear-pads in the store - They're in almost every aisle, those little tear-pads with coupons to entice you to try a new product. I don't advocate grabbing the whole pad - I will NEVER need 50 bottles of salad dressing - but take a few! They usually have long expiration dates, and will come in handy if the item goes on sale but there aren't other coupons available.