Coupons, both online and print

I’ve two questions for the Teeming Millions[sup]tm[/sup] regardng coupons:

  1. What are some good (read: FREE) websites for grocery coupons? All the ones I’ve managed to find lately want me to pay.

  2. Once I’ve got the things printed (either from the web or the ones I cut out of the newpaper, etc.), what’s a good way to organize them so I’ll actually use them and supposedly manage to save some cash on the shopping excursion?

I use print coupons, and usually I have multiples, which is great IF your store allows it. Here, I could buy 10 boxes of cereal with a coupon for each–some stores will limit you to one item/coupon per order.
I organize mine in a small plastic folder thingy that has several compartments…think I picked it up at Office Depot. I labeled each compartment according to the type of coupons I use most…Canned Vegs/Fruit, Convenience Foods, Cereal, etc. Once you start collecting coupons you’ll notice them falling into particular categories.
As far as saving money goes, there seems to be two philosophies: a. Never clip coupons for items you don’t normally use (What fun is that? I prefer Option b), or b. Clip everything, in hopes that you can combine sales with double/triple coupon days and get new or different items for next to nothing.
When I find a coupon I’m not sure of, I ask myself if I would buy this item if I got it for under a buck? If yes, then I clip the sucker and hang onto it.
The trick is to use your coupons on items that are already loss-leaders: Find Hamburger Helper on sale for 2/$3.00, and use your $1 off 2 boxes for a better deal. If you’re lucky enough to have a store that doubles or triples coupons, you’d get $2 off and go home a very happy shopper.
I don’t get a lot of online coupons. There are a lot of online coupon clipping services, where you can “buy” coupons for .05 each. If you know your stores and their sale cycles and need to buy in bulk, it might be worthwhile to check them out.

I’m not a heavy coupon user, as coupons usually seem to be for packaged and convenience foods, which I try not to use, or toiletries and cleaning products, which I use few of (but regularly, of course!). But for the items that I do buy, like Hellman’s Mayo or Pert Plus shampoo, the savings can be substantial.

I have a plastic envelope with compartments–I think it’s called a “check organizer.” I got it at Staples or some such. I’ll second the notion that you will notice your coupons falling into your own categories that make sense to you. In other words, don’t get a pre-labeled organizer. I just re-labeled my organizer because “my categories” have changed since I had a baby.

You’ll have to decide on your own whether you will cut out coupons for only those things you’d buy anyway, or whether you’ll cut them out for things that you’d be willing to buy at the reduced price. I try to err toward the side of clipping fewer coupons. I also don’t cut it out if I am unlikely to need the product before the coupon expires. In other words–I have a ton of dish soap in the house. I saw a coupon for it in this week’s paper, but I certainly won’t be anywhere close to running out until long after the coupon expires. And I’m confident that there will be more coupons for that brand in the future. I like to have fewer coupons in my envelope rather than more. YMMV. I will cut out coupons for any old thing that I can get for free. If I don’t want it, I can donate it to the food bank or shelter.

And yeah, double coupons are key.

The only online source I know of is I’d like to learn of others.

I third the organizer idea. I organize by aisle, so as I go through the store, I can say, aha, I am in the cereal-and-coffee aisle . . . what cereal and/or coffee coupons do I have this week? (This works best if you shop predominantly at one store, natch.)

I also try to limit my clippage. Throwing away old unused coupons bums me out for some reason, even if it’s not something I would really buy. Holding on to coupons you won’t use unless items will go on sale strikes me as very organized and thrifty, but for me the time I had to take keeping them organized and sorting out the expired coupons would not be worth it. I only keep coupons for products I know I use–I feel like I’m stickin’ it to the man, that way, 'cause aren’t coupons meant to get to you to try something you wouldn’t normally?–or things that I figure there’s a 50-50 chance I’d try anyway.

My proudest coupon moment involved “Big Bowl” instant soups, which are very tasty, by the way. For the longest time, they had a 35-cent off coupon on the lid of every bowl, which my store doubled to 70 cents, which brought the price down from, $1.25, a bit above average for bowl-'o-instant-soup, to $0.55, quite cheap for instant soup, and they had a rebate, buy three soups get a coupon for one “free”–which actually made it one soup for 32 cents [Grandpa Simpson] which was the price of a first-class stamp at the time [/GS] and of course the free soup had a 35-cent coupon, so on average I was paying $0.50 for a quality instant soup, saving $0.75 cents a bowl, or, since I ate one every day, $3.75 a week. That’s quite a lot in graduate-student dollars. :slight_smile:
Any coupon-printing site I’ve tried fail for me because I use a clunky old browser, so, sorry, no help there.

Well, I just visit the store online & look for coupons on their website. e.g.
Even at Albertsons B&M (means brick & mortar, the store you go into on your feet) they list some online coupon sites they accept.

Thanks to everyone! What would make life a tad easier would be if I were a bit closer to an Air Force base. They have “double coupon value” days during August. But I really don’t feel like the hour drive to get there to save the 50 cents.

Podkayne: Since I usually only frequent two stores, I think I’ll follow your aisle-based organizing and keep a set for each store. That’s easier than it sounds since I buy the Sunday papers (two) for this area and they have the same adverts.

I love coupons. Here’s a site I use occasionally Beware, you have to register and they will mail you 3-4 emails a day. They don’t have that may coupons, but they always have Nutrigrain bars and toothpaste. I clip them out of our local Sunday paper, and any fliers I receive in the mail.