July 30, 2011

Couponing Resources: Part 2 - What is a coupon database?

In my last post on couponing resources, I mentioned how couponing has come a long way in the 12 years since I started.  One of those ways is by the availability of online coupon databases!  There are people out there who apparently sit down and input all the available coupons, from Sunday newspaper inserts, online printables, and other sources, into a searchable format for your free use!

First, let me point you to the ones I use, and then I'll explain a few scenarios in which you can benefit from them.

Coupon Mom Database - you have to log in, then choose your state or region (because different regions get different coupons) and you're ready to start searching!

Springs Bargains Database - not all coupons may be available in your region, but I sometimes find more printable coupons listed here than on the Coupon Mom one.

Scenario 1: You have made your grocery list for the week, and you want to save some money.  Go through your list one item at a time, and start searching.  If you need ketchup, you can either search for "ketchup" in general, or if you prefer only one brand, like "Heinz", search for that.  Once it brings up results, you will see either a link to a printable coupon website, or a description of where to find that coupon.  For example, it may tell you "7/31 RP".  That means you'll find your coupon in the July 31st coupon insert from the Red Plum company.  "4/17 SS" means it's in April 17th's SmartSource insert, and "11/6 PG" means it's in the November 6th Proctor & Gamble insert.

Now, I don't go clipping coupons until I need them.  Instead, like CouponMom suggests, I keep my inserts in order of date for reference when I need them.  For me, this saves time, and saves me sorting through a bunch of coupons I may never use when I need something.

Scenario 2: You saw in your store ad that yogurt is on sale, and your family uses a lot of, so you want to get a good deal on as much as possible.  You search for that yogurt brand's coupons, clip as many as you have, print some more available online, and you are ready to stock up!

Scenario 3: Your husband just ran out of shaving cream, and mentions he's going to stop by the store for more on his way home.  You don't want him to pay full price if he doesn't have to, so you do a quick search, clip the coupon, and hand it to him to stick in his wallet.  Voila!  (This actually happened to me recently.  I gave him a coupon, and he saw that the military Exchange was having a closeout on his brand of shaving cream, simply because, it appeared, they were repackaging the product.  Between the closeout price and the coupon, each can cost 65 cents!  Therefore, I clipped 4 more coupons for the product, sent him back for more, then asked my sister to mail me any she had, and sent him for still more.  He is well-supplied for shaving cream until the end of 2012!)

As you can see, having coupon databases available are a valuable resource in saving us money.  Without it in the past, I'd spend a lot of extra time going through all the inserts individually, or clipping all the coupons and organizing them in a categorized binder.  But this easier method and free resource really works for my life.  Hope it helps you too!

Click here for Part 3 - "Where Do I Get Coupons?"

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