There were a couple of questions in the comments the other day when I shared my cute new coupon box that I wanted to address.
"...where do you find most of your coupons? Sunday paper/ads? Online? Particular stores? We used to get the Sunday paper, but I really would just take the coupons out and recycle the rest with hardly even reading it. I've tried some online coupon sites, but I find once I subscribe, my email in-box is soon cluttered with spam/junk mail because my email address was given to affiliated sponsors of that site."
Here are my favorite sources for coupons:
* Sunday paper: think of it this way - if the paper is $1.50 and even one or two coupons that you use are worth more than that, it is worth it even if you do recycle the rest. One time I bought a paper for a little more than one dollar and one coupon alone was worth $10 that I used!
If your local paper is known for being skimpy on coupons, like ours is, I would suggest trying a different regional paper. Often grocery stores will carry several papers and this would be a great place to find a different one.
One idea if you'd rather not recycle is to use the black and white pages for kindling in your fireplace. I roll several sheets together in a tube and tie with twine so they are like paper "logs" that can be tossed into the fire.
* Online coupons: I go against the grain on this one. We have decided in our home not to download the coupon printer required by many sites to print their coupons. So, if a coupon is offered in PDF format, I can easily print it off - but otherwise I skip internet coupons.
* Vocalpoint: I read about this many times before I finally decided to sign up, but am so glad I did! I am not swamped with e-mails from them - one or two a week is all. But, the coupons are really worth it! Coupons arrive by mail usually with a free sample of the item being advertised. One time it was a Venus Embrace razor! Then in addition to the sample are five high dollar coupons for you to share with friends. When it doesn't arrive with a sample, one of the coupons is usually for a free product for you to try it before you give the coupons out to your friends. I've gotten the razor, toothpaste, Kashi cereal bars, fruit cups, etc... And, it is fun to be able to share great coupons with friends too!
* Store websites: Is there a store you love to shop at? Perhaps they offer a quarterly mailing or magazine that has coupons in it. I like to shop at Publix and they have multiple magazines that include magazines as well as a great Baby Club. Each of these things includes coupons. I would encourage you to visit the website of your favorite store to see what they have to offer.
* E-coupons: These coupons are downloaded onto your shopping card! They can be used in conjuction with mfr. coupons making for some really great deals! The two I've used are P&G and Shortcuts. You simply enter your Kroger (or affiliate) shopping card number and download coupons right to your card.
* All You magazine: This is another one that I read about for a long time before finally trying myself. I ordered mine through something similar to this and have been receiving it for only a few months. So far, I've already made back about half of my first year in subscription fees and it looks like it is really going to be worthwhile. If you'd rather not subscribe, you can purchase single copies at Wal-Mart. NOTE: I'm not a big fan of this magazine and I only purchase it for the coupons. I have found that the ads alone make it a magazine you would not want to leave laying around for young eyes. As with all things, use your own discretion.
As far as online coupon sites - I'm not very familiar with this, but I do have a suggestion and I've read other couponers say this too. Set up a free account on hotmail or gmail that is simply for sites you need to log in to and give an address. All the junk mail ends up in one spot and is not interfering with your home or family messages. Also, when you are signing up - there is often a small box that you can check that says "do not share my information with affiliate sites" ~ I ALWAYS check this box!
Melissa also had a great question:
"...how do you handle the grocery shopping and coupon saving with three little ones in tow? Where do you keep the coupon box in the cart (assuming that a little person is sitting in the cart)?"
Yes, this is a biggie! I usually have a very specific list planned out before we go and have pulled out the coupons I am planning to use. These are either paper clipped to my list or put in an envelope that has my list written on it. I do take my box along, but more for back up or if I see an unadvertised sale.
We usually have one of a couple of scenarios with the cart. If it is the little-preferred cart, it has a car on the front with two seats and two steering wheels. Emily and Rachel sit here and Samuel sits in his carseat either in the basket or up in the top of the cart. Depending on where he is, my coupon box is in the other spot.
If we are using a cart without the lovely, yet difficult to navigate cart ~ one of the girls walks and the other rides in the basket with the groceries that are not underneath while Samuel is in his carseat in the top part. In this case, my coupon box would either be in the basket or underneath where I can get to it easily.
Where do you find the best coupons? And, how do you manage with small children?