There's a saying along the lines of can't make money w/out money. You can coupon w/out spending money, but it helps to spend a little so you have a good intake of coupons. Everyone has their own way; circular services, ebay coupon buying, checking stores for free mags, buying newspapers or coupon books. Most do a mix of ways. I also do a mix, but my main coupon intake is from magazines.
$21 1x 1yr and 1x 1yr 3mos All You- actually advertises based on it's coupon value and it's hard to find a deal on this magazine. I got lucky, the day I looked at the subscription cost of the magazine on their site was the last day for a 2 for 1 deal. Then my husband had a $5 gift card emailed to him from Magazines.com then the next week there was a deal where you could try 3 issues of All You for $5.97 at Magazines.com, so 97¢ for 3 issues. ~78¢ an issue.
$11 1x 2yrs Good Housekeeping- traditionally been one of the most popular magazines targeting housewives and as a result normally has lots of coupons. I found this on magazines.com using the mypoints click through.Very good prices for it. I bought the first year at $7.97 then received a $5 gift card as a promotion and bought a second year at $2.97, breaks down to around $5.50 a year. Plus 500 mypoints points (~$3 in gift card rewards). Not removing the $3 value of points, ~46¢ an issue.
$5 1x 2yrs Parenting School Years
$5 1x 2yrs Parenting Early Years
We've often found relevant coupons for us in the early years one, and I'm sure the same will be true for the school years one. Found on magazines.com come through a mypoints click through with their coupon code for $5 off. Plus 250 mypoints points each (~$1.50 in giftcard rewards each). Not removing the $1.50 value of points, ~23¢ an issue.
$17 1x 1yr Gluten Free Living- This is normally a $34 magazine, found a half off deal on Living Social for it. I have never gotten it before, so I can't say if this is a good buy or not. It's bi-monthly... so I'm really not sure. Makes it $2.83 an issue, so this may not pay for itself, we'll see.
$4 1x 1year Family Circle ~33¢ an issue
$4 1x 1year Family Fun ~40¢ an issue
$4 1x 1year Better Homes and Garden ~33¢ an issue
$4 1x 1year Natural Health ~66¢ an issue
All 4 of these were a deal is from BestDealMagazines.com from their list of $4.69 magazines. Then there was a popup in their chat menu saying use the code chat16 for 16% off, which made them just under $4.
Coupon Books:$21 1x 1year The Passport Book 2013- I just posted about their awesome customer service when I was blundering on their order form on the site. This book is sorta Mid-MO's answer to having no Entertainment books anywhere in Mid-Missouri. That's $1.75 a month.
Free Coupon Sources:We stopped by Hy-Vee and Clovers here in town during errands and picked up the various free magazines and advertisements they have. These normally have a few coupons each in them. Pretty hit and miss.
Store Programs:Hy-Vee Fuel Saver Card: You have the cashier swipe your Hy-Vee gas card (it's free, you just fill out a form to sign up) every time you shop and for certain products it earns a certain number of cents off per gallon of gas at Hy-Vee or Casey's. Up to 99¢ off per gallon. Next time you fill up you get the cents off each gallon you fill. This clears the card until next time you buy eligible items at Hy-Vee. The cents off expire 30 days from purchase.
Hy-Vee Baby Bucks: We love our baby bucks. Everytime you buy something related to a baby or toddler (diapers, sippy cups, formular, breastpump, toddler snacks, baby food, baby clothes, whatever) you get a print out from the catalina for that much in baby bucks. Once you have accumulated 150 in baby bucks you can turn them in for a $10 card. That breaks down to an additional ~6.67% off on baby stuff.
Big Lots Buzz Club Rewards: You have the cashier swipe your Big Lots reward card (also free to sign up) every time you shop. When you make 10 $20 qualifying purchases in a 12 month period you get 20% off your next purchase when the cashier swipes the card if used within 60 days from earning the 20% discount.
Printable Coupons:Coupons.com, Smart Source, Coupon Network all great printable coupon sources. I use all of these, but I find them through Mypoints. You get 10 points for each coupon you redeem, plus an additional 25 points if you redeem 10. So if you print and redeem 10 coupons that's 125 points (~76¢ in gift card rewards) a month on top of the money you saved from the coupons.
Other:There are tons of other sources. You can get coupons directly from manufacture or store sites, from mailers, from emailing companies, newspaper inserts, buy them off ebay, trade with friends, join a coupon irl or mailing circle, newsletters, special events, from store vendors, inside marked products, store ads, coupon pads on store shelves and really sites like Living Social, Google Offers and Groupon are just another version of printable coupons if you think about it- you are just paying for the item ahead of time to access the coupon value. Also look into programs your work place does. Many companies have discount programs for their employees, both for their own products as well as affiliations with other companies. There are so many ways to save money and coupon, if you just take the time to do it. Time is really the biggest obstacle in couponing.
Money Spent:Without rounding we've spent $95.69. Seems like a lot. Let's put this in perspective per month though. Two of the $4.97 subscriptions were 2 year subscriptions, so that's minus $4.97 from this total since that's for next year. One of the Good Housekeeping subscriptions is for next year too, so that's another $5.47 off this total. Finally 3 months of the All You is for next year, $2.33. So $82.92 applies towards this year. 82.92÷12=~$6.91. So that's $6.91 a month we've spent and $6.91 we have to save in couponing to break even, that's 63¢ of coupons needed to find and use per publication, per month to break even. I don't foresee any issues with that at all ;-)
*About Mypoints: Mypoints is a free program that uses points as kickbacks if you click through from their site. If you would like to sign up please email me (calynl @ gmail . com less the spaces) and I would love to send you a referral link. You can sign up from their site directly, but I would very much appreciate you going through my referral ;-)
**With magazine subscriptions no matter where you buy them from your subscription ends up with the magazine itself. So as long as you use the same first and last name and address any subscription bought by or for you will be tacked onto the end of your current subscription, whether bought one week or 11 months after the current subscription started.
***My husband works at Hy-Vee full time and I help out there every once in a while- so I am more familiar with their programs and practices then other store's.