Couponing is a great way to save money, even if you aren’t an extreme couponer. There’s nothing wrong with paging through the weekly ads and clipping out coupons for the items you need! However, if you decide to try to stretch those coupon dollars a bit further, you might go online to see how others do it—and end up totally lost. The first time I visited a couponing site and saw a phrase like “Bogo w/ mfr coupon,” I thought for a moment that my toddler had changed the language settings on my computer again. Here are a few of the most common abbreviations you may run across when couponing:
BOGO – Buy One Get One. Pay attention to what comes after this phrase—oftentimes it’s “buy one get one free,” but stores are commonly switching to “buy one get one half off.”
Blinkie—Those little dispensers with the blinking lights that dispense coupons in the middle of the grocery aisle, often in perfect reach of a child in a shopping cart who will happily pull out all the coupons you will ever need, are referred to as “blinkies” because of the blinking lights.
Catalina—You know when you buy two things at the grocery store and are taken aback when the cashier hands you a mile-long receipt of coupons? Those coupons come from the “Catalina” machine; hence, they are often referred to as “Catalinas.”
eCoupon—In this day and age even coupons are digital! If you often shop at a grocery store that has a loyalty rewards card you swipe whenever you check out, visit their website. You can often download coupons to your card, so when you swipe your card at check out, those coupons are automatically applied without you having to cut out anything. It’s convenient AND eco-friendly!
MFR—It looks like a terrible disease but is actually an abbreviation for “manufacturer(‘s coupon).” These are coupons offered by the product manufacturers, for instance, Kraft or L’oreal, as opposed to specific stores, like Safeway or Target.
So you want to get on the couponing bandwagon? I don’t blame you, once I got about ten cans of air freshener for about ten cents total after applying tons of coupons (with multiple children and pets, air freshener is always appreciated). But you might be wondering where on earth people get all these coupons. After all, you only get coupons once or twice a week in the mail, but people march into stores with files stuffed full of coupons. Where do they come from?
The Mail—As you probably know, coupons are sent a couple of times of week in the mail. Most come in the Sunday newspaper, but oftentimes some arrive along with weekly ads in the middle of the week. Notice your neighbors immediately tossing their ads in the recycling bin without even looking at them? If they’re approachable, try asking them if you can have their extra ads!
In Stores—Stores often have plenty of coupons scattered about their aisles. Current ads are often displayed in the front of the store with coupons attached. Coupons can be found attached to little displays throughout the aisles, either on tear-away pads or little dispensers. Some stores have seasonal booklets of coupons in the pharmacy or at the customer service desk—take a peek next time you walk past one of those departments!
Online—In this day and age, many stores put coupons online. It saves them money and is eco-friendly. These coupons can either be printed at home for you to cut out and bring into the store, or are digital. Some digital coupons download to your specific store rewards card you show for fuel points, etc., when you check out. Some digital coupons can be scanned directly from an app on your phone or tablet—make sure that screen is bright and your battery is charged!
eBay—Yes, some people actually auction off and buy coupons on eBay. You can buy entire inserts or just a few of a certain coupon you really want. Just be careful to not spend so much on buying the physical coupons that you completely negate any savings you are trying to make.
Where else do you get your coupons?