By Jill Cataldo
Q: "When I go to the grocery store and see people with stacks of coupons, I ask myself, where do they get them all? Where is the best place to look for coupons? How do you obtain more than one coupon for the same item?"
A: Once you start using coupons, it's only natural to pay more attention to the coupon habits of other shoppers. The people who save the most in the checkout lane are also the ones handing over large piles of coupons to the cashier. Where do these super-savers find so many great coupons?
I always begin planning shopping trips by clipping my newspaper coupons. There are many other places to look. I always keep my eyes open at the store. Supermarkets and drugstores are excellent places to find coupons! While many people ignore the coupon dispensers and tear pads that can be found in the aisles, I always look for them. Even if I don't need or want to buy that product in a given week, I'll pick up some coupons to use on a future shopping trip.
Look for in-store coupon books, too. Many supermarkets offer multiple-page coupon books tied into seasonal promotions, such as dairy month, grilling season or back-to-school. Whenever I see coupon books like these, I'll pick up a few.
There are numerous coupons on the Internet. Portals like coupons.com, smartsource.com and redplum.com offer legitimate coupons that won't require you to register or disclose personal data before printing. Remember, most online coupons may be printed just twice before they hit their print limits. After that, a message pops up and the site blocks the user from printing any more.
But some coupons have higher print limits, so always revisit the links of coupons you're interested in and try to print them out until you reach the limit. More coupons for the same item are better than one, especially when it's perfectly legal and you're stocking up!
To obtain multiple coupons for the same item, look for in-store coupons and multiple print limits on Internet coupons. Serious coupon devotees almost always get multiple copies of one or more newspapers each week in order to avail themselves of the many coupons. For some reason, new coupon users often express reluctance to buy (or subscribe to) more than one copy of the week's newspaper, but it's a strategy that can quickly pay off.
I receive two copies of my Sunday newspaper and some weeks, I purchase additional copies. The investment frequently pays off nicely. Several weeks ago, I noticed that the newspaper inserts contained several high-value coupons for products I like: a $1 coupon for salad dressing, $1 coupon for a smoothie cup, and a $1.50 coupon for two deodorants. Based on these three coupons alone, I picked up two additional copies of the newspaper at the newsstand for $1 each.
This week, the salad dressing went on sale for $1, the deodorants went on sale for $1, and the smoothie cups? Also $1. The extra two dollars I spent on additional newspapers enabled me to take home four free salad dressings, four free fruit smoothie cups, and eight deodorants for 25 cents each! I won't buy salad dressing for a couple of months now, and I'm well stocked on deodorant for the better part of a year. But if I had just one set of coupons for that week, I'd have taken home just one salad dressing, one smoothie and two deodorants. And I have multiples of many other coupons, too.
I can't wait to see what sales they line up with!
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her web site, www.supercouponing.com. E-mail your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.