Frugal is chic and coupons are all the rage, but not everyone wants to dumpster dive for extra coupons. Fortunately, we're surrounded by a wealth of places to find coupons, including your bank statements, product packaging and that otherwise-useless phone book. Herewith are 52 places you may not have considered -- one for every week of the year.
Remember some coupons are specific to a region, target audience or other qualifying criteria.
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. In addition to selling coupons for just about any product, eBay sellers also offer PayPal coupons. The day I checked these eBay pages, there were more than 81,000 coupons for sale.
Log into your PayPal account and you'll occasionally find coupons waiting for you based on previous purchases. PayPal is a service that allows consumers and businesses to send and receive payments securely online without sharing financial details with merchants.
3. Manufacturers' Websites
Manufacturers interested in a cut of the action began offering their own coupons, some are printable coupons you can use in retail stores. Others offer coupon codes for online purchases. The variety of coupons available may surprise you. Everyone from health-food to furniture manufacturers have joined the game. For example, I recently found a $100 coupon for Lane Recliners, usable with a minimum purchase of just $499.
4. Merchant Websites
Merchants are also getting in on some coupon action. Many have started including coupons on their home websites. Some are manufacturer deals, but others come directly from the merchant.
5. Service Websites
Check out your local masseuse's website and you may just find a coupon for $10 off your first massage. Services providing coupons often fall into the same categories as those offered by such group-buying services as Groupon and LivingSocial.
6. Emailed Newsletters
Register for email newsletters offered on merchant websites and many will regularly send out coupons 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 doesn't get clogged.
Subscribe to manufacturer and store Twitter accounts for tweets that include links to useful coupons. Coupon Sherpa also tweets about the best coupons every day.
"Like" a favorite merchant for coupon links, printable coupons and coupon codes on the company's Facebook page. Click here for Coupon Sherpa's FB Page!
This coupon website is a 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.
10. Online Store Circulars
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.
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 thing 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.
As the name suggests, FreeShipping.org offers free shipping codes, but you can also find standard coupon codes listed, as well.
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.
15. Newspaper Inserts
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.
Coupons are one of the best ways advertisers can gain attention amidst a deluge of glossy magazine ads.
17. 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 such categories as dining, shopping, movie tickets, groceries, services, travel, attractions, car care and home furnishings. You can also buy Entertainment Books directly from their website.
18. 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 digging into them.
19. 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.
SNAIL MAIL SOURCES
20. 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. I used one to replace my shattered windshield for just $100 when other glass shops quoted prices of up to $200. The most popular of the direct-mail companies are Valpak and Money Mailer.
21. Junk Mail
Postal carriers hate these 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 and retail stores.
22. 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. Mr. Free Stuff has an ongoing list of available freebies.
23. Coupon Clipping Services
You'll pay a nominal fee for coupons from these services, but you can register to receive coupons in specific categories or for preferred manufacturers and stores.
24. 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.
25. Store Mailings
Coldwater Creek is one merchant that's particularly aggressive about direct-mail coupons. I receive one about every week. Same with Bed, Bath & Beyond. Most retailers gather their mailing lists at the point-of-purchase or when you order from their catalogs.
26. 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.
27. With Your Grocery Receipt
Catalinas are the coupons that print out with your grocery receipt. They're usually keyed to your purchase for that day or, if you use a loyalty card, previous purchases.
28. Supermarket Tear Pads
Tear-pad coupons usually hang out next to a product 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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Loyalty Cards
Many supermarket 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. This trick is beginning to cross over to other merchants. For example, Shell gas stations offer fuel discounts for repeat customers.
32. Inside Packaging
Look on the inside of cereal boxes and product labels for printed coupons good towards your next purchase. (Don't forget to recycle the boxes, cans and bottles when you're done.)
Peelies are those little tear-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.
34. Hang-tag Coupons
Most often found on wines and bottled products, hang-tag coupons, naturally, hang off the neck of the bottles.
35. "Be Local" Coupon Books
Similar to the Entertainment Book, Be Local books only offer coupons for local services and retail stores, but the advantage is you can support smaller businesses while saving money.
36. 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 usually are found in a student union or student center -- whatever your campus calls this building.
37. 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.
38. Student IDs
Your student identification card is gold for free drinks, discounts and other savings at local restaurants and merchants.
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.
So you've got something better to do at the airport than look for coupons? Check out discarded newspapers and magazines, then scarf up unclaimed coupons.
COUPONS IN EXCHANGE FOR SOMETHING
41. Recycling Electronics
Best Buy and other electronics stores sometimes hand out coupons or gift cards when you recycle your used electronics.
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.
43. Credit Card Promos
Before you throw away that hundredth credit card solicitation, check the envelope for useful coupons. Apply for the card, including store cards, and you'll frequently receive coupon savings.
44. With 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.
45. At 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 provide students with starter coupon kits.
This website provides coupons in exchange for community service and donations.
47. Referring Friends to a Service
Health clubs, cable TV companies and other services give out coupons for referrals.
48. Farmers' Markets
I bought fish from a regional company at the Farmers' Market and got a 25-percent off coupon for my next purchase. I've noticed more local growers and suppliers are going this route at markets. Ask if you don't see coupons on display tables.
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, etc.
50. 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.
51. 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 for outside merchants.
52. Instant Win Games
Again, check the back before you toss that losing ticket. Clearly, no surface is free from advertising these days.