This article is a resource piece to show you where to find printable online coupons, as well as pros and cons for that particular site. This article does not speak to the pros and cons of using coupons for grocery shopping overall. It also will not speak to how to use coupons successfully.
The why/why not of using coupons to grocery shop as well as how to use coupons for maximum benefit will be covered in other Frugal Facts columns. Please check out my Contributor page to find money-savings articles, including several on creating and using a budget.
Part of saving money on groceries involves using coupons. You’ll find printable coupons from a number of sources: Grocery stores, Department Stores, General sites and manufacturer sites. This article will review those general sites that are not related to specific stores or manufacturers.
Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom featured on Oprah and The Today Show, among others, for her money saving ways. Her site is especially useful in that in addition to printable coupons for grocery items you’ll use, she adds links to other printable coupon sites.
Her materials can be localized. She includes a tab “Grocery Deals by State.”
She also includes a “Free Samples and Coupons” site. The free isn’t exactly free on most of them, so read the print top to bottom. Gevalia makes an offer where you pay $3 (shipping is free which is rare in these kinds of orders). The enticement is that you will get a “free coffee maker” after placing your third order with the company. It may be a great deal, but it’s not free. If you start signing up for all of these special deals you wouldn’t have done otherwise, you will be defeating the purpose of using coupons to shop.
Overall, CouponMom.com is a good, varied site. It will lead you to other money savings ideas and sites, a plus for any shopper.
CouponClippers is a bit different. You’ll find many printable coupons, but for a price, literally. Yep, you’ll be paying for coupons. You can check out sections (baby, paper products, etc.), and a list of those coupons along with the expiration dates will pop up. You’ll see all of the information about the coupon, including the savings available, as well as what CouponClippers charges as a handling fee. (For a $1 coupon handling fees of .12 and .15 cents were listed.)
The lists include boxes so you can list the quantity of the coupons you want to buy. While it seems annoying to buy coupons, get past that. If it’s a product you use, perhaps the fees are worth it. For example, a deal on French’s mustard had a .50 cent coupon, with a .12 handling fee. Remember many grocery stores double manufacturer coupons, so for .12 you’ll save $1. Not a bad deal. Even if you can’t double it, that’s not a bad deal for a product you use. It all depends on the time you spend getting the coupons. Spend an hour to come up with the .50 cent coupon that’s worth .38, and it’s not worth so much.
CouponClippers includes a Tracker that is a calendar page. There are only a handful of listings on any month—past, present or future. The footer under the calendar says, “It is our goal here at TheCouponClippers.com to provide you with all the best ways to save at the grocery store. Sometimes you just need to know in what section a coupon was originally located.” It then includes a sort of key to use the calendar. If you click on the date on the calendar, you’ll get a list of newspaper coupon supplements, including the names of all offers in that supplement. If you click on the individual item on the calendar, you can see expiration dates as well. It’s quite cumbersome and a time waster. If you are interested in newspaper coupons, odds are you’ll be checking out the newspaper sections before they are listed here. Since you won’t be able to buy old newspapers to get the supplements, the use is questionable.
An interesting feature on the site is some add on information next to the coupons. I found one that listed the item as being “gluten free.”
Penny Pincher Gazette
This site allows you to search for printable grocery coupons from Valpak, Coupons.com, within your particular zip code. It includes name brand products: All, Nabisco, Welsch’s.
In addition to the printable coupons, it includes a tab to allow you to link to your local grocery store where you can match the coupons you have to local sales. It’s a great one-two punch.
Beyond the coupons, you’ll find a few articles such as Pantry Essentials for Nutritious Cooking. There are recipes which may or may not relate to the current coupons. The past recipes are listed so odds are you’ll run across matches.
The site is well organized in that you can search coupons by category. When you set up your account, you can individualize what you choose to see.
Under a “Free” category is information on Pell grants, as well as a section that lists itself as information, but the opening lines involve sweepstakes. You can get lost in these offers, so if your aim is to save money with grocery coupons, watch that you don’t veer off, signing up for things that may or may not be legitimate. While there are lots of things to sort through, the coupon section is readily available, so those offers don’t get in the way.
This is just Volume 1, a jumping off point for general, printable online coupons. Look to the Frugal Facts column in the future for more sites for free coupons you can use to save your family money on things you use regularly. More importantly, use it to save time by eliminating bogus deals.