Frugal is chic and coupons are all the rage, but not everyone wants to dumpster dive for extra savings. Fortunately, we're surrounded by a wealth of places to find coupons, including your bank statements, product packaging and that otherwise-useless phone book. Here are 51 places you may not have considered to check for coupons. (Remember some coupons are specific to a region, target audience or other qualifying criteria.)
1. eBay. The online auction site devotes an entire section to coupons, many of which are sold as "Buy It Now" items. This means you can purchase the advertised coupon immediately without waiting for the auction expiration. Buying coupons may sound odd, but you’re paying for the service of a member finding and clipping a coupon for you.
2. PayPal. PayPal is a service that allows consumers and businesses to send and receive payments securely online without sharing financial details with merchants. Log into your account and you'll occasionally find coupons waiting for you based on previous purchases. Over the past two years, PayPal has offered free return shipping to its users during the holiday season.
3. Manufacturers' Websites. Many manufacturers offer printable coupons to use in retail stores. Others offer coupon codes for online purchases. Everyone from yogurt brands to furniture manufacturers seem to offer incentives, though many sites require you to sign up for their email list to receive the offer. Still, if it’s a brand you buy often, it might be worth the sign up. For example, Arm & Hammer has a coupons page for a number of products you can access when you sign up.
4. Retail Websites. Lots of retailers are promo code crazy. Pretty much everyone has started including coupons on their homepages. Some are online only, but occasionally you’ll score a deal that can be used in-store or online. Pro tip: do a page search for “code” to reveal coupon codes quickly.
5. Service Websites. Check out your local salon's website and you may just find a coupon for $10 off your next haircut. Chains like Cost Cutters and Great Clips are known to offer discounts frequently. You can also find coupons for discounted services on local group buying sites.
6. Email Newsletters. Register for newsletters offered on merchant websites and many will regularly send out coupons and coupon codes specific to the merchant. If you plan on signing up for a bunch of newsletters, you might want to create a separate email account, so your personal inbox won't get clogged.
7. Twitter. Follow manufacturer and store Twitter accounts for tweets that include links to useful coupons and deals. Searching hashtags like #free and #promocode can be helpful to find discounts. Coupon Sherpa also tweets about the best coupons or sales going on every day, so be sure to follow us @CouponSherpa!
8. Facebook. "Like" a favorite merchant for coupon links, printable coupons and coupon codes delivered to your newsfeed. Facebook has also recently integrated a deals feature, where you can save coupons to your account. Merchants will often post their latest deals here, and Coupon Sherpa also posts deal highlights daily. “Like” us for the top coupons of the day!
9. CouponSherpa.com. Not that we’re biased, but this is the best one-stop-shop for over 50 categories of printable coupons and coupon codes. Don't overlook the handy Coupon Sherpa mobile app, which allows you to find and use coupons while you shop. We’re also a great source for grocery coupons, so don’t leave home without us!
10. Online Store Circulars. Skip the scissors and forget newspaper subscriptions for clipping store-circular coupons. Many merchants now post these sale flyers directly on their websites, allowing you to download their coupons. Also be sure to check if your favorite grocery store has a mobile app; if so, you don’t even need to print!
11. Cellfire.com. Cellfire.com, another coupon aggregate site, lets you download coupons directly to your grocery loyalty card. The cashier swipes the card at checkout and "poof," instant savings. This service is available for over 3,500 grocery stores across the country. Registration for a free membership entitles you to additional savings and services.
12. Group-Buying Services. The hottest trend in coupons these days is group-buying services, like LivingSocial and Groupon. Register to receive daily emails notifying you of available coupons. You have to pay for the service or merchant coupon, but the savings can be extraordinary. The trick is to only buy coupons you'll actually use.
13. FourSquare. Use FourSquare to log in to specific locations and receive coupons or loyalty points towards coupon-esque offers. For example, when you check into your local Starbucks, you might receive a $1 off deal on a Frappucino. Be sure to download the app so you can check in wherever you go.
14. Newspaper Inserts. Don’t throw away that slippery paper pile that falls out of your weekend newspaper! Newspaper inserts are still the number-one place to find print coupons. You can add to your collection without multiple subscriptions by asking friends and family to pass on inserts they don't use.
15. Magazines. Coupons are one of the best ways advertisers can gain attention amidst a deluge of glossy magazine ads. Just be sure to make sure the magazines you’re flipping through aren’t ancient issues with expired coupons. Ironically, you can also get a coupon to save on magazine subscriptions within the actual magazine.
16. Entertainment Books. Entertainment has helped schools and other non-profits raise funds for nearly 50 years by selling their coupon books. You'll pay anywhere from $5 to $25 for a ton of coupons in categories like dining, shopping, movie tickets, groceries, services, travel attractions, car care and home furnishings. You can also buy Entertainment books directly from their website.
17. Recycling Bins. Ask friends, neighbors, family members and stores if you can dig through their recycling bins for unused coupons. Be careful about hitting commercially owned bins however, as some cities have laws against this practice. Again, be sure to double-check the expiration dates!
18. Phone Books. These print dinosaurs are fairly useless for finding a phone number, but most include a section in the middle or at the back for local coupons. Sometimes they even have magnets on the front that contain offers for local services, so check those, too.
19. Direct Mail Packets. Remember those snail-mail envelopes packed with coupons and delivered to your mailbox every month? Some of the coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on, but others are very useful. The most popular of the direct-mail companies are Valpak and Money Mailer. We recommend setting aside the ones you’ll use and recycling the rest to avoid junk pile-up.
20. Junk Mail. Postal carriers hate loose packets of flyers, but they're a good source for coupons. Some replicate newspaper-insert content, while others offer entirely different coupons from manufacturers, services, retail stores and even restaurants.
21. Free Samples. Manufacturers offering free samples through the mail usually include a coupon or two as a means of enticing you into purchasing their product. This is pretty cool because you can actually try their product before buying.
22. Coupon Clipping Services. Grocery coupons can be found easily on clipping or cash-back sites like Coupons.com or SavingStar. Though these two services are free, there are some coupon clipping services that charge to join.
23. Coupon Trains. Hop on board a coupon train or start your own! Trains are a way for enthusiasts to exchange coupons through the mail. Every train is different, but the rules are basically the same. An envelope of coupons, usually 40 to 200, is mailed from the "conductor" to the first person on the list. They remove their desired coupons and replace them with those of equal value and number before mailing the envelope onto the next member of the train.
24. Store Mailings. Bath & Body Works is one merchant that's particularly frequent with direct-mail coupons. Most retailers gather their mailing lists at the point-of-purchase or when you order from their catalogs. However if you often shop there, these coupons can be a desired mailbox addition.
25. Coupon Forums. Whether you're a newbie or an extreme couponer, these forums are a great way to learn about special deals and coupon links. Member discussions keep you informed about the best and worst coupons while offering tips for their use. Check out WeUseCoupons.com and CouponForum.org.
26. Grocery Receipt. Catalinas are the coupons that print out with your grocery receipt. They're usually tailored to your purchase for that day or, if you use a loyalty card, previous purchases. Many people at self checkout leave these behind, so be sure to check the next time you check out.
27. Supermarket Tear Pads. Tear pad coupons usually hang out next to a product or up front in grocery stores. As the name suggests, you simply tear the coupon off a pad and use it at checkout. Don't be greedy, however; leave some behind for the next shopper.
28. Restaurant Recipe Tear Pads. Search the checkout station at restaurants for tear pads with recipes and attached coupons. You might also ask your server if they have any coupons for future use. Sometimes local coupon books are available in restaurants as well.
29. Blinkies/Talking Blinkies. Blinkies are coupons distributed in stores by SmartSource Coupon Machines. The nickname refers to the machine's blinking light, designed to catch your attention. SmartSource typically changes the coupons every month. Some blinkies actually "talk" at you, which is incredibly irritating in already noisy stores.
30. Loyalty Cards. Many supermarket apps and websites have coupons you can download to your loyalty card. The trick is to remember which coupons you've actually loaded so you don't buy the wrong products. Many grocery stores also link these discounts to fuel points, and you can often save up to 10 cents off per gallon just for buying weekly groceries.
31. Inside Packaging. Look on the inside of cereal boxes and product labels for printed coupons good towards your next purchase. Sometimes even soda lids contain offers, so don’t toss them until you’ve checked for extra savings!
32. Peelies. Peelies are those little peel-off tags found on product packaging. Not every individual container on the store shelf will include a peelie, so make sure you select the right package to receive the coupon discount. You can use peelies for that particular purchase or save them for next time. The cashier likely won’t notice them, so be sure to peel them off the product and hand them over to redeem the savings.
33. Hang-tag Coupons. Most often found on wines and bottled products, hang-tag coupons, naturally, hang off the neck of the bottles.
34. Passport Program. Similar to group buying sites like Groupon, the Passport Program gives you two-for-one drink specials in your city. For just $20 you’ll enjoy savings up to $300 all year long. This is a great one for couples or friends to share.
35. Student Unions. Campus Cash is the most widely represented company offering the coupon booklets targeted directly at students. Pizza coupons abound in these books, which are usually found in a student union or student center, or by aggressively peppy students handing them out on campus during the first weeks of class.
36. Campus Bookstores. College bookstores face so much competition off campus and online that many now resort to coupons as a way to maintain student loyalty. Look for the coupons at checkout or inquire when you go in.
37. Student IDs. Your student identification card is gold for free drinks, discounts at theaters and other savings at local restaurants and merchants. If you live in a college town, keep this on you at all times.
39. Tourist and Visitor Centers. You don't have to be a tourist to take advantage of coupons distributed at the visitor center in your town for hotels, entertainment options, etc. Most centers are located near highway off-ramps. Of course, tourists will also find these savings useful.
40. Airports. So you've got something better to do at the airport than look for coupons? Check out discarded newspapers and magazines for unclaimed coupons. Just be sure they’re still valid before you get too excited.
41. Recycling Electronics. Best Buy and other electronics stores sometimes hand out coupons or gift cards when you recycle your used electronics. Plus it helps keep these harmful products out of the landfill.
42. After Providing Feedback. A lot of companies, like SC Johnson, will send coupons if you provide their customer service departments with feedback on a product. Restaurants often do this as well; check your receipt next time you dine.
43. Credit Card Promos. Before you throw away that hundredth credit card solicitation, check the envelope for useful coupons. When you apply for the card, including store cards, you'll frequently receive coupon savings. Just be sure not to get yourself into debt using this strategy; after all, you don’t need a new credit card to find store coupons.
44. Rebates. The majority of consumers don't apply for rebates because the paperwork is a pain, but your hard work is sometimes rewarded with a coupon for the manufacturer's products. Manufacturers will often advertise rebate options on their products, and it comes in handy for electronics, pet food and more.
45. Coupon Classes. Coupon classes have been around for awhile, but the TLC show "Extreme Couponing" has blown the doors off these private lessons. Most instructors even provide students with starter coupon kits. Check your newspaper for available coupon classes in your area.
46. Referring Friends to a Service. Health clubs, cable TV companies and other services give out coupons for referrals. If you shop online a lot, check for referral programs that can earn you discounts or gift cards.
47. Farmers' Markets. Local farmers markets can be a good source for coupons. Increasingly sellers will offer deals to entice buyers to return to their booths. Ask if you don't see coupons on display tables.
48. Casinos. You needn't gamble to get coupons at casinos. Just look around on counters, in restaurants and next to the one-armed bandits for coupons to events, dinners, and more.
49. Doctors' and Dentists' Offices. Ask before you tear, naturally, but medical offices are hotbeds for old magazines. You'll also want to check coupon expiration dates as some of those mags are totally out of date.
50. The Back of Sports Tickets. Before you toss that baseball game ticket, check out the back for coupons. Most relate to the stadium, like savings on drinks, food or future tickets, but some coupons are good for outside merchants.
51. Instant Win Games. Again, check the back before you toss that losing ticket. Clearly, no surface is free from advertising these days.