4 strategies for getting manufacturer coupons

grocery couponsManufacturer coupons are amazing because everyone from chain stores to local grocers accept them. You can often combine them with coupons individual stores have published in their fliers or Web site. Here are four sources, including one secret source, for manufacturer coupons.

1. Most people turn to the Sunday newspaper for manufacturer coupons. If you look closely they are printed by SmartSource, P&G, or RedPlum. These coupons generally last for two weeks to three months and are for a wide range of products. Some stores double coupons, others may limit doubling to $1 off or not double at all.

2. There are also a ton of Web sites where you can buy coupons (technically you're just paying a processing fee because buying coupons is illegal). My favorites are thecouponmaster.com and thecouponclippers.com.

The awesome thing about buying coupons is that you can purchase multiples of coupons, instead of just getting one from the newspaper (or two if you subscribe to multiple papers). If you buy coupons on eBay, be very wary because copies of coupons are almost never accepted. You want to be buying hard copies or insert coupons.

The drawbacks of buying coupons online are that you have to watch expiration dates carefully because it takes about a week for your coupons to arrive. Plus, there is no way to predict when a sale is coming, so if you wait to buy coupons for sale items, the sale will probably be over by the time your coupons arrive.

3. A rarely used way of acquiring coupons is to request them directly from the manufacturer. Look for an 800 number on the food label or track down the manufacturer Web site.

Here is a huge list of manufacturer Web sites and phone numbers, courtesy of a blog called GroceryCouponGuide. The blog doesn't have much personality, but the above list is golden. When I interviewed a coupon expert at RedPlum, she said manufacturers send coupons to about 30% who request them. That's not bad at all.

4. There are also a ton of Web sites that offer free printable coupons and facilitate coupon trading.
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