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For decades, coupons have helped shoppers on groceries and household items. But the number of ways to find them has grown in recent years.
Now, discounts are available almost everywhere, including inboxes, websites and smartphone apps. Here’s , in both paper and digital form.
Enroll in or sign up for the mailing list for the retailers you frequent most. Many stores send returning customers exclusive coupons or apply discounts automatically during checkout.
“Those are savings that you’re going to get without doing a thing except for swiping your card,” says Cindy Livesey, frugal-living expert from coupon website . Livesey says coupons have saved her family about $11,000 a year, on average, on groceries.
Exercise caution, though, when signing up for rewards programs. Retailers may flood your inbox with unwanted messages or use your information, such as demographics and shopping habits, for marketing purposes.
While you’re catching up on current events, look for coupon inserts in your local or national newspaper. The Sunday edition usually contains $50 to $300 worth of savings, Livesey says. Typically, larger or more expensive publications will have bigger inserts with higher-value coupons, she says.
Before you pay extra for a subscription, make sure it’s worthwhile. You might be able to get access to newspapers through friends, businesses and other sources free of charge. Free papers often have coupons, too.
If you favor certain brands, contact the companies directly. They’ll often send coupons or samples when you provide feedback (or simply request them). As a plus, you can use a manufacturer's coupon at any store that sells the featured product, barring exclusions.
Here’s how to get in touch with the manufacturer: Look for a “contact us” link on the company’s website. This should direct you to an email form, live chat feature, customer service phone number or mailing address. Another option? Leave a comment on the brand’s social media page.
Coupon databases are websites that compile printable and digital coupons, including rebates. You can use them to search deals by brand, product or store and save time. Search “coupon database” on Google to get started. For on-the-go savings, try a .
If you plan to purchase an item, check retailer websites first. Most major merchants have a weekly ad, coupon or offers section online. Or you might see a limited-time discount code on the homepage or a banner ad.
Livesey recommends downloading apps for the stores you shop at regularly. Some have features, like , that make it easy to find store and manufacturer coupons in one place.
Watch for weekly circulars on display near the front doors or registers. These might include store-specific offers that you can redeem immediately or during a future shopping trip.
When shopping online, use a to track down discounts on your behalf. The plug-in Honey, for example, locates coupons and automatically applies the codes to your cart, so you can save money without putting in extra work.
Some discounts hide in plain sight at the grocery store. Inspect items, like meat and cereal, for a peel-off coupon attached to the box or packaging. You could get instant savings.
Don’t see a voucher on the product itself? Check shelves and other locations in the store.
“Usually when they have a new product coming out, they’ll put a display with a tearpad on there enticing you to get that product,” Livesey says. Don’t let a good deal tempt you to buy something unnecessarily, though.
Follow social media accounts for stores, brands and products you like. Many share coupon codes on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Take a close look at your receipt after every transaction. Some stores print coupons on the back. The cashier might also hand over a few extra slips of paper printed from a machine next to the register. These offers, known as Catalina coupons, are usually based on shopping habits. For example, if you buy a toothbrush, you may receive a voucher for toothpaste.
No matter where you find coupons, be sure to read the fine print and familiarize yourself with store policies.