Monday, January 14, 2008
I don't clip coupons. I *chop* them.
As I've said before, I'm not exactly the resource for devotees of extreme frugality.

I like convenience. And I don't like paper.

All of that means that dealing with Sunday circulars for the sake of 75 cents off my pineapple-orange-banana juice is really not my thing.

But I DO approach certain retail transactions with coupons, given an appropriately low level of effort and a relatively high percentage haircut. Ergo, the coupon chop.

Chop 1: Email subscriptions

I have a junk mail account that I use for very little other than retail registrations. Currently, I'm subscribed to the lists for a major bookseller, a clothing retailer, a floral delivery service, and a few others. A lot of these offers are not worth downloading, but periodically you'll get the "25% off items already on sale" email, and then it's on. The best I've seen for floral delivery is 15% off, but given the price of flower arrangements (which I sometimes send as gifts), that's not too insignificant. Fast to read, easy to delete, and occasionally sizable discounts: What's not to like?

Chop 2: The Entertainment Book

I received my local edition as a gift last year, and it was FANTASTIC. The books don't just cover restaurants and admission tickets (although there are plenty of those). Groceries, car maintenance, and pet supplies are items that most people are almost guaranteed to purchase anyway (and those help the book pay for itself right off). Of course, being a more-than-occasional movie viewer, I snap up the discounted ticket coupons. And I'll be renting a car later this year, so getting the third day free will be a nice bonus. Since I got a discounted price on this year's book (see Chop 1), I expect that I will be able to get three times my money out of it just on groceries and car servicing. And the tidy little book means that the coupons don't get lost.

Chop 3: Google

If there is a store with a web presence, searching on "[name of store] coupon" will almost invariably turn up decent discounts for online or store purchases. I'm currently in the market for new sunglasses (using my grace period for my flex spending). I like Lenscrafters. A two-second search landed me with a "$100 off frames" coupon, which will mean that most of my spending will come from the flex account and NOT my pocket. There's also retailmenot, but I have to admit I haven't used it much.

There are obvious caveats: Don't purchase things you wouldn't normally buy just because you have a coupon, and don't let the fact that one store offers a coupon on an item keep you from comparing to another store's regular price.

But for big-ticket items, these three simple methods give me a fair amount of bang for the buck.



Blogger Dylan said...

I find a lot of my coupons at

Blogger Jerry said...

Those are good ideas. You can live within a budget and not clip coupons. If you're creative with your meal choices it leads to freedom with your budget. It's our little insurance policy for health and our wallet.


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