This week, readers are looking to make their couponing lives a little easier.
What if you had a crystal ball that showed which weeks multiple coupon inserts would come in the newspaper? Or a shopping guide that revealed which stores in your area have the best prices on what you want to buy this week?
Fortunately, websites that do all of the above actually exist. Here are a few of my favorites. Bookmark them today - they'll become some of your most frequently used couponing tools.
I was wondering which websites are best to check out the coupon inserts before they appear in the newspaper? The past two weeks the paper has been coupon-free. I would like any tips you are willing to share. - Stephanie A.
At the beginning of each year, the three major coupon insert providers -NewsAmerica's SmartSource, Valassis' RedPlum and Procter & Gamble's Brandcaster - publish a schedule of which weeks coupon inserts will appear in the paper.
Usually there is at least one coupon insert every week, but there are a few weeks in a year that we don't have any. Browsing these insert schedules will let you know which weeks to expect coupons. I have a copy of this schedule on my blog at http://www.jillcataldo.com/2013schedule.
Along the same lines, a reader has a related question:
Why are there no coupons in the newspaper the week of a holiday? - Susanne L.
We typically don't see coupon inserts in the newspaper during a week in which there's a national holiday. Why? In one word - leftovers!
Think about what we do when a holiday is approaching. We buy lots of food, entertain, feed our families and then? We've got a fridge full of leftovers.
The number of people hitting the supermarket drops significantly during the days after a holiday, as people are typically eating leftover food and not shopping as much. In turn, marketers don't spend their advertising dollars during the weeks that people are less likely to go shopping.
This reader's looking for a shopping tool to help her find out which stores have the best deals on what she wants to buy - all before she leaves the house.
Is there an app or other tool for comparing product prices? I don't have a lot of time for comparing newspaper ads and am hoping you can suggest another way to make sure I buy at the best price. I shop at three different stores and would love to know who has the best prices for what I need this week. Thanks for all of your great advice! - Veronna L.
You're in luck! All You magazine (which is a coupon magazine - more on that in a moment) maintains a great tool on its website called the Grocery Circular Roundup. You'll find it online at the http://www.allyou.com/static/weekly-circulars.
To use the Roundup, click the tab that says "Search By Item." Type in what you're looking for - anything from steak to strawberries to name-brand products like Cheerios - and the Roundup will return a list of stores in your area, showing the prices at each store. Find the store with the best price and add it to your shopping list. You can even print your completed list from the site. Best part? The Grocery Circular Roundup is free to use.