|Thanks to QueenBeeCoupons for use of the photo|
So, last week (okay two weeks ago...I've been busy, sorry) we covered sources for your basic printed coupons in your Sunday papers and how Internet Printable coupons are great to Alaskans.
Now that you know that, you might ask, where do you get good high value coupons to get cheapies and freebies in this coupon deprived state of ours?
We all know, if you are on this blog for more than like a week (in case it's a slow week I just want to give myself some padding *laugh*) you'll quickly learn about Smartsource.com, Redplum.com, Coupons.com, and other just "standard printing sites". I want to try to focus on some of the more off beat deals today.
Getting high value coupons can require, in some cases, a pretty flexible schedule.
This is honestly where being a stay at home mom or someone with a schedule they can tweak to their advantage really starts to pay off. See, most really high value coupons that are sent directly from companies, especially freebie coupons that are given away by companies for special promotions are usually VERY time sensitive and in many cases only certain amounts of coupons are given away (5,000 to 25,000 seem to be a common number and they go FAST!). To avoid excessive traffic to a site (and crashing it) during these promotions, companies tend to have the coupon giveaways for free products (or free products themselves) at any given time during the day, but I've noticed a trend toward having the giveaways during the middle of the day, although some start as early as 8:00 am our time. Now, before becoming a stay at home mom I worked for many years. And I know the odds of a normal person being home at 8:00 am aren't good and if you ARE home you are probably busy (or if you are lucky asleep) on your days off and odds of any working person being around at like 2:00 pm our time AND available to print a coupon? Not good.
So, if you work and miss out on high value coupons, don't stress about it if at all possible and just do the best you can. My advice is try to hook up with a friend or relative that stays at home and in the event they CAN sign you up for some cool coupons in the middle of the days (like not locking a person's ISP out after one sign up) ask them to. Believe me, hitting the back button and typing for like three more seconds doesn't really bug most people who really want to help you out :). Just think of it this way. I'm a stay at home mom and I miss out on a LOT of high value coupons just because I'm busy when the giveaway goes live or (more likely) I'm crashing from no sleep the night before and just don't feel like getting online at 8:00 am. More deals will come down the pike you CAN sign up for. Just try to keep a positive attitude :).
Another resource available to anyone who has a Fred Meyers nearby (if they are nice) is the Coupon Exchange (some Carrs has these to). A coupon exchange is basically a shopping basket put up on a display at the front of the store and it is a "give a coupon, take a coupon" type of system. People who don't want their coupons can place them in the basket and then those who want coupons can look through the basket to see if there is anything they can use. These coupon exchanges are just great for getting high value coupons upon occasion because nice cashiers at the U-Scans (I've noticed) will place coupons left behind by the people at the check out in the basket, so every once in a while you'll get free product Catalinas (the coupons that print at the register as you are checking out) or OYNO coupons (on your next order coupons...consider it like cash in coupon form because you can use it toward anything...these are Catalina coupons as well). I've gotten more freebies from the Coupon Exchange (via sales with the high value coupons I find there or just out and out free product coupons) the last year and a half than I have from the coupons my mom sends me from the Lower 48...that's telling you something.
Don't have a coupon exchange in your area? Well, why not ask your local store if you can set up one at the front of their store? If you are willing to do the maintenance on it (pull out expired coupons once a month, make sure it's not used as a garbage can, etc) a lot of stores will be more than willing to let you put one in their store since they don't have to do any of the work for upkeep.
Another way that people have been known to get coupons that they can use is through a system called a "coupon train". This is where you get a group of people on some type of forum set up who want to exchange coupons and then you literally set up a chain letter type of format, but with coupons instead of a letter saying how you are going to get rich for doing nothing but sending other people money (I think the coupons give you a better return on your investment). A good way to get one of these set up, I think, would be to utilize Facebook and e-mail to your advantage (just an idea :). This would be a good way to maybe get some coupons from people who get Lower 48 inserts if you can't afford to buy your own.
Next week (hopefully Monday night since I'm a bit behind in this series due to being busy), I'll start getting into the nitty gritty of coupons and how to use them to their fullest potential. Stay tuned for that.