1. Sign up for specific brands. Many brands have newsletters that you can sign up for online and have delivered to your email regularly. Often these mailers come with various coupons for you to print and use, but your membership may also qualify you for free samples by mail in exchange for filling out surveys.
2. Join the store club. Most grocery stores have clubs that allow members to secure savings on everyday items by simply swiping a card at checkout (and they’re usually free). In addition, most of them will also print out coupons at the check-stand that you can use on your next visit (and they are often for items that you buy frequently, making them undeniably useful). Plus, some clubs even offer a points system whereby you receive regular coupons by mail as well as benefits like money off future shopping visits based on the amount of points you rack up in a set period of time. And all you have to do is shop the store and swipe your club card.
3. Join online clubs. Some sites like Groupon and Living Social (deal of the day sites) will send you daily emails with deals and offers in your area, so that you’ll always have access to discounts at a wide variety of local businesses, from restaurants to spas to retail stores. In most cases, you can save 50% or more over what others are paying. Some of these sites will even allow you to input preferences so that you don’t end up with an inbox full of emails for products or services that you have no interest in.
4. Look for discounted gift cards. You might be surprised to learn that many people who receive gift cards they don’t want are willing to sell them for less than their value in order to get the cash instead. So you could end up with a $100 gift card to Target, for example, for only $50-70. And while you can certainly shop on EBay or Craigslist for these items, you’re better off using a guaranteed club to ensure that once you get the gift card, it actually works.
5. Start a coupon co-op. If you can’t find a club you like, think about starting your own. Simply build up a surplus of coupons by clipping all that you come across, and then post a message on a public bulletin board (most grocery stores have one) advertising that you would like to start a coupon-trading club. Many of these exist already in cities across the globe (oddly, they are known to meet in public libraries on a weekly basis) so you’ll probably find it isn’t too difficult to start one on your own.