Couponing Like a New Yorker

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    Couponing Like A New Yorker

    1. I love the idea of couponing and saving food for the future, but I’ve failed epically at attempting to do it several times for the reasons that you mentioned at the beginning of your post. Plus, I have the tendency to eat more junk food than I should and I’m afraid that I would end up buying too much of the unhealthy stuff.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Definitely a good point Addison- a lot of coupons tend to be for carb-y sugar-y items, but I find that SQ (store coupons) tend to have some good deals on fresh fruits and vegis. I also have really gotten into frozen fruits and vegis (just make sure it’s not covered in butter!)

    2. Michelle says:

      I don’t coupon like crazy but occasionally I do use coupons if they are easily there. I especially like the coupons that are attached to the product at the grocery store. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Thanks for reading Michelle! I agree, there’s nothing better than coupons right on the product- in fact- keep an eye out for “coupon fairies”. When my coupons are getting close to expiring and I know I’m not going to use them, I like to leave them right next to the products on the shelves so others can share the wealth! I know of a lot of other couponers who do this too 🙂

    3. Lauren says:

      Great guide to couponing! I don’t go crazy with it, but I do so appreciate it when I run out of something, like soap, and all I have to do is reach into my little stockpile for more. It saves me from having to take trips to Target just to get this or that.

    4. Mike Collins says:

      Nice post Sarah. I’ve never been a big couponer myself because it just never seems to be worth all the effort. But the way you explain it, most of that work is upfront. Perhaps I just give up too soon and never get it working like the well-oiled machine you describe.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Thanks Mike! Yes, most of the work is just getting started, which is why most give up so quickly, but now that it’s up and running for me, it takes about 30 minutes a week to clip and organize everything 🙂 Good luck!

    5. Salma says:

      This post is funny, full of information and the process is explained in a reader friendly way. I absolutely love it! I hope to see more of Miss Cooney’s insights on life in the Big Apple. God knows we can use all the help we can get to make it in this city.

    6. Great guide and great tips. I think I’ll have to give it more of a try than I have in the past. Although I will say that I prefer the online way more than anything else.

    7. Awesome post. I still can’t say I’d do the whole couponing thing…I do stockpile when things are on sale, and I guess that helps for tomorrow, but couponing for me is just too time consuming.

    8. I have definitely wanted to become more of a couponer; however, I realize that my biggest issue is in the organization factor. I am not good at tracking and keeping up with coupons, and I typically end up realizing I have them right after they have expired. I know people who spreadsheet them to stay organized, but it’s just an additional task in my life that I am not sure I can incorporate. Instead I just try to spend less as much as possible.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        There’s nothing worse than having a coupon for a product I’m really excited about, and having it expire on me. If I know it’s a product that I really want to buy, I tend to put the coupon not in it’s “section” in my organizer, but right in the front, so it’s the first thing I see every time I open the booklet. That way I keep being reminded to use it before it expires! Thanks for reading, Shannon!

    9. Bridget Burkett says:

      Thank you, Sarah. You have shared your couponing products with me and I was truly amazed at the savings and the quality of the products! I am on an extremely tight buget and I know that couponing will help me stick to it! Thank you for reminding me that the footwork will pay off big in the long run!

    10. Yep my wife and I coupon quite a bit. She does most of the work now and we usually save a decent amount each week. It really adds up when you start talking in terms of months and years. We organize our coupons in Excel in a coupon database that I created. It’s a pretty popular post over at my blog. If you can get fast at entering coupons it can be a great “electronic” way to manage your coupons.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Wow! I applaud your work ethic, DC! I don’t have a electronic way of tracking my coupons, but I can 100% see how it help, and possibly cut down on forgetting about coupons until after they’ve expired. I too don’t mind the work that goes into clipping and organizing- it’s almost a zen process at this point 🙂 Keep up the awesome work!

    11. Wow, what a great couponing primer! I’ve always been pretty lazy about it. I just make my grocery list and search through some online couponing sites or manufacturer websites before hitting the store.

      I would be pretty excited about CVS paying me $7 for $70 worth of groceries too though!!

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Thanks Mel! The great CVS shopping trip was largely due to “extrabucks” promotions, where CVS gives you a gift card with cash rewards on it for purchasing a particular product, to be used on future CVS transactions (ex: get $5 extrabucks when you purchase 2 bottles of vitamins, or something similar…). These promotions change weekly, so keep an eye out for them! In that particular shopping trip, my coupons brought the total to $0, but I still qualified for the extrabucks! Win!
        Searching online for coupons before a shopping trip is a great start though! I wouldn’t consider that lazy in the slightest! Way to coupon!

    12. I have never done any couponing, but would like to some day. I did watch some of the extreme couponing on television before and was very surprise of how much groceries people were getting and paying.

    13. Lila says:

      I love The Krazy Coupon Lady website, read her book and love it too. One time KCL said that there were two individual Starbucks coupons for $1.00 off at and she told us (her readers) to get the coupons because next week Walgreens would have Starbucks Iced Coffee on sale and with the coupon & store card, you could get it free and get a Register Rewards on your transaction that you could use for another free Starbucks Iced Coffee.

      So I printed two coupons from for the Iced Coffee, I never had it before so I just took one with me, I went down to Walgreens with my store loyalty card and my coupon and I got it free and a Register Rewards printed with my transaction.

      I liked it, I wanted to get one for my bf so he could try it, and got another iced coffee for free for my bf with my Register Rewards coupon. I still had one more coupon to use, went back to Walgreens and used the coupon, got it for free again, and it printed a register rewards. I used that register rewards on yet another iced coffee. So in all I got 4 free Starbucks Iced Coffee and it’s all legal.

      Coupons can be a good way save on products a household needs or to try new products for free or cheap. People think coupons are low finance but they become high finance when you use them correctly. A journalist for the Wall Street Journal said they are worthwhile.

      I try not to use paper coupons. I signed up for store loyalty cards at stores I actually shop at, downloaded their apps on my smartphone and once you login to the apps, add coupons digitally to your store cards. In fact I recommend digital coupons for people who don’t want to worry about buying papers or printing coupons off the net, organizing your coupons and spending money on binders, file accordions, coupon sleeves, etc.

      And I’m not an extreme couponer. I’m just a casual couponer but it still has saved me a lot of money especially because I’m trying to finish my degree and college is not cheap. Coupons have afforded me not only necessities but the ability to do things I enjoy. I have even couponed at Whole Foods. Couponing can be whatever you want it to be, you can coupon as little or as much as you want.

      Sorry for writing a novel. I just feel passionate about this subject. 🙂

    14. I don’t spend too much time couponing, but it’s worth the 5 minutes or so going through the flyers to find the ones that will save me some money. Coupons can make the brand names cheaper than the generics, and who doesn’t like to feel like Warren Buffet with their brand name foods?

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        You’re 100% correct, Ryan! In fact, since I started couponing, I’ve barely ever bought generic items. Only the best, living it up with my name brands and coupons!

    15. Pauline says:

      When I couponed in London in a small space, I stocked up on products I used on a regular basis. Cereals, frozen pizza, yogurts.. and non perishables like toothspaste or TP. I didn’t go try new products I didn’t know how to cook or how much I would like. There are also lots of coupons for arts and cultural events that can save you a lot of money. In Paris there was a booth for under 25 with free theatre vouchers for the same night so we often went when we had no plans and wanted to go out for free.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Absolutely, Pauline! There are coupons for everything, if you know where to look! I know I would have lived at place like that Paris theatre ticket booth, if I had been anywhere near it!

    16. Kassandra says:

      I don’t clip coupons often but I tend to use whatever I get from retailers on future purchases if the timing works out. My mother was a grocery flyer maven and always spent time each week clipping the coupons and saving money in the process. At 76 years of age, mom still looks at the flyers each week and cuts her coupons as needed.
      As you mentioned, it’s in the leaner times when you really see the effects of how your coupon stash helps you out. Thanks for this post Sarah!

    17. I feel like we talked about this a little bit, but I coupon at CVS for toiletries and stuff. But, you’ve got the math down! I imagine it would be really hard to coupon in New York, so kudos to you!

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        I love couponing at CVS! Particularly because they have big red coupon machines in the front of every store that print off fresh SQ’s every time you go in! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    18. Charlie says:

      Thanks for the great article, Sarah! As a recovering grad student, funds are still pretty tight and with the extra time I’ve got this is definitely something I’m going to try out. One question though: I don’t live in a place as densely populated as NYC and commute everywhere by bike, so transporting a lot of goods can be difficult. Do you have any suggestions for finding promo codes and the like for online shopping?

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Charlie- you are wonderful. Thank you for reading and commenting. Of course I understand the living in a city and carrying bags everywhere issue- I have had many a painful hand after trudging home 10 blocks from the grocery store with 40 lbs of groceries, but in the end it’s always seemed worth it to me. Not struggling with that stuff is totally great as well- and online shopping is a great resource for that. is my favorite coupon site for non-grocery items, but for incidentals/groceries, one that looks good is actually which ships directly to your house- they have coupons specifically ON THE SITE to be used for items online, and if you sign up for their extracare card, they will send you extra “online only” coupons as well! Good luck Charlie!

    19. Kim says:

      I don’t find tons of coupons in the paper insert that we use, but Kroger sends me tons every month based on what I buy, so I do love the value cards and could care less if they spy on what I buy. I haven’t paid for toothpaste in about 2 years. I wait until it’s .99 cents and use a $1 off coupon. Those seem to turn up all the time. I wish there were more coupons for fresh things, but whatever you can save is more money in your pocket. I don’t spend a ton of time on it, but I bet I save at least $5 every grocery trip.

    20. I’m not the primary grocery shopper in our home, but if I was, I might make more of an attempt at this. When I have clipped coupons in the past, I had forgotten about them and then they expired.

    21. Couponing is a great idea. .05 off a gallon of gas, $1 off a meal deal. it all adds up to a ton of dough at the end of the year.

    22. I’m always amazed when you have double and triple coupon days, we don’t have that in Hawaii. I often get manufacturer coupons email to me due to some of the programs I’ve signed up for.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Stop and Shop is literally the only store in the NYC area that I know of that doubles coupons, and the notion of a triple coupon day sounds like the most magical thing in the world. In a place where doubling/tripling isn’t an option, I’d recommend stacking coupons (SQ’s and MQ’s) as much as possible (if the store puts out SQ’s… that is!). Good luck!

    23. Mary Ann says:

      We don’t get the Sunday paper but the Rite-Aid flyer comes free in the mail. The flyer has noted when the sale item also has a coupon in the Sunday paper. If it’s an item I want, I have asked friends for the inserts.
      Another storage option is under the bed. The tops of the boxes that reams of paper come in, or similar sized shallow boxes, make good trays for stock ups on sale items and they can slide under the bed.
      Great article, thanks!

    24. I use coupons every now and then but don’t have too much time to put into it! I just try to shop sales instead for the most part.

    25. Anyone can save dollars with coupons, the only thing is to weed out only the things you will use or eat. I saw an extreme couponer get 80 boxes of brownie mix and 121 momentos candy, seriously who would eat all that stuff. By the time you get to the 5th box you might get diabetes, let’s not mention the dental bill you will get by eating all that candy. Keep it simple and don’t go insane is my motto. I used a $2 coupon on Digorno pizza recently and it totaled about 4 bucks for the pizza. (Pretty Sweet)

    26. Love these tips! And also like the idea of couponing for later, not now. I often find myself in a crunch for things when I run out (shampoo! toothpaste! toilet paper!…those are the usual suspects), and it would be great if I had a cheap little stock pile waiting!

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        My boyfriend calls my closet “Cooney’s General Store”, because any time we run out of anything, he goes shopping in there! I love having a small stockpile, because getting caught without toilet paper is just about the worst thing in the world. Thanks for reading, Jess!

    27. Great post and very detailed. I actually do not buy anything without first checking to see if a coupon applies. I also make sure I partake in the savings program/store cards. I’m usually able to combine manufacturer coupon I’ve printed online along with my drug store card and save. I can probably do more but as Jersey bred guy who also lived in Manhattan once – time is money.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        That’s an awesome way to start Jason! I get it- New Yorkers who coupon seem to be an oxymoron sometimes, but now I don’t see how anyone can afford to be a New Yorker WITHOUT couponing!

    28. Couponing is quite different in Canada than it is in the States, and we are fairly limited with what we can do, but I don’t coupon because the quality of food that coupons can buy you (certainly around here) is crap. I don’t want dried box food or .. well, anything from a box. My diet is mainly whole, plant based foods and we aren’t really able to get coupons on fresh fruits, veggies and legumes.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        Hi Daisy- I can’t speak for couponing in Canada, but I’ve found that store coupons tend to be where I get the most fresh products (IE- yesterday I used a Stop and Shop coupon in their weekly circular which made fresh peaches 78 cents per lb, as opposed to 1.99 per lb!)… but if you’re intent on not couponing for food, personal care and household products are definitely still couponable! Good luck!

    29. Syed says:

      This is great couponing advice. As with most things in my financial life, I try to make things simple but try to get the most bang for my buck. So I will just look for things that I normally buy and see if they’re on sale. There are some great sites that do the legwork for you and check if there are any sunday coupons for the stuff on sale at CVS for example. So I just cut the coupon, and get the sale. Once you start a system it doesn’t take much time at all.

    30. Great story! This is similar to what happened to me and my wife. We had accumulated a stockpile of free or almost free food. We went through a period where we were really tight on money, so we didn’t get groceries for a month and decided to eat our stockpile food. It was awesome to be able to do that.

      • Sarah Cooney says:

        I’m not sure what I would have done in that month if it weren’t for my stockpile- it would have been pretty bad. I sure appreciate couponing even more now, having come out on the other side of leaner times! Keep up the good couponing Kalen!

    31. […] * For savings on the day to day expenses of living in NYC, be sure to check out the full guide in Couponing Like a New Yorker! Broke and Beautiful Around the Web… Why Minimalism Makes Financial Sense via VOSA Make […]

    32. Jaclyn says:

      Great article Sarah! I have a friend who is also good at couponing. I wish I had the time to try it! God knows I need the extra money now that Brianna is going to college!!!

    33. Maria says:

      Thank you Sarah for this great article. As a New Yorker holding down two jobs I definitely need to start couponing so maybe I won’t have to work so hard and save $$.

    34. […] Couponing Like a New Yorker from the Broke and Beautiful Life- a great guide to couponing, no matter where you live! […]

    35. […] no secret that I love coupons. They’ve been an absolute savior to me in times of financial stress and an essential tool in […]

    36. […] welcome  couponing master in residence and staff writer, Sarah Cooney back to the blog today. ps. Be sure to catch […]

    37. […] That said, financially, I’ve tried hard, and I’m fairly proud of my budgeting abilities. I coupon (some may say extreme-ly). I do what I can to avoid frivolous spending – cabs, expensive […]

    38. […] toothpaste to deodorant, there’s a long list of must-haves.  I’ll admit, I’m not a great couponer like some of my friends and fellow bloggers. I do, however, save a ton by purchasing all my […]

    39. […] go. You always want more for less and rarely go shopping without doing your research first. You use coupons and promotional codes and you would rather go without at times instead of paying full […]

    40. […] welcome back Sarah Cooney to the blog.  Her guest post, Couponing Like a New Yorker, was so fabulous that I included her top tips in the newly released The Broke and Beautiful Life […]

    41. […] Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Couponing […]

    42. […] discounts just because COSTCO is too much of a pain in the butt to get to. Check out our guide to Couponing Like a New Yorker to get started, or keep things super simple by downloading a few top shopping apps for […]

    43. […] housing, groceries, and other day to day essentials?  For instance, can you get a roommate, try couponing, switch to a less expensive phone […]

    44. Liz says:

      I know this is an old post now, but I used to do the coupon and rebate thing back when my kids were small, but stopped at some point when things got too busy. I find myself looking to take this back up now. Back in the day, I used to belong to an online forum of ladies who all were into couponing from all over the U.S. and we would send each other coupons we didn’t use in trade. I also sent my expired coupons to those who could use them. Seems some stores in other parts of the U.S. used to accept them. Great post!

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