I used to think coupons were strictly for grocery/drugstore shopping, but I have recently started to think differently. You can find coupons for a variety of items and services that you might not normally consider.
Did you catch my post here about the great deals I scored by looking at my junk mail? I used to toss the Valpak coupon envelopes that came in the mail until a few months ago there was a free large pizza coupon (no purchase necessary) buried in with all the junk. This week’s Valpak has a coupon for .50/1 Diet Coke 20oz. I wish I had that coupon last weekend when I purchased a Diet Coke at Walgreens and got a free chocolate bar.
Here are a few other areas outside the grocery store that you can use coupons on to really stretch your dollars:
Clothing- I shop at Old Navy frequently for the amazing clearance deals. I always get a receipt with my purchase offering 10% off my next purchase for completing an online survey. Those coupons can be used on your next purchase- even on clearance items. Don’t be afraid of fancy boutiques either. I have a gorgeous children’s boutique near my house. The prices are way out of my price range but I am on the email list anyway. I have received emails announcing 50-75% off sales. I recently purchased See Kai Run shoes for my little girl for $16. That was a bit of a splurge but the shoes are fantastic and have stood up to a lot of wear and tear. I can also pass them on to my upcoming baby girl and they will definitely justify the price. I have found that name brand items can often sell on Ebay or Craigslist for the same price you paid (or more!) by careful shopping.
Many upscale boutiques are struggling right now and offering very deep discounts on merchandise. I purchased a new purse at another fancy boutique for $30. The bag was regularly $75 and I was literally purchasing it at cost from the store owner. I have one purse so this was a good investment for me.
Home Improvement- Lowe’s and Home Depot offer a variety of coupons- click here for 10% off your purchase at Lowe’s (thanks Tara!). Last summer there was a great coupon for $10 off $25 at Home Depot. I have signed up for Home Depot’s garden club and I get weekly coupons for a variety of items. This summer we will be looking for the torn bags of soil/bark/mulch which can be marked down as much as 75%. I have also seen plants marked down 50% toward the end of the season.
Personal Care- I regularly see coupons for a free haircut when you buy a color service at hair salons. I hate spending a small fortune on salon services and am always looking out for deals like these. When we moved into our home last year I got a welcome letter from a fancy salon in my city offering 50% off color services for my first appointment. I was able to splurge on a swanky salon for significantly less than I would normally spend.
I also sign up for email lists at these salons. I just received a message that I can come in on Friday to a salon in my area and get a free brow arch. I have been putting this very service off for ages as I haven’t wanted to spend the extra $20, so the timing is perfect! You can also use your couponing savvy to score cheap Herbal Essences products and take advantage of the free haircut offer. I got in on the manicure/pedicure offer last year and enjoyed a totally free pedicure at a very nice salon.
Activities/Events- We signed my daughter up for gymnastics classes several months ago. This is a bit of a splurge for our normally tight budget at $55/month. I noticed a free magazine by the door that I grabbed after registering for the first class. I thumbed through it at home and found a coupon for the gymnastics studio for $20 off new registration! I called and got a credit for the following month. In the same magazine I found an ad for a FREE $5 gift card to Rite Aid just for stopping by their new pharmacy. It took less than 5 minutes for me to walk in, take the ad to the pharmacist and walk out. If a store/restaurant features these free magazines, they likely advertise in them as well. It almost always pays off to keep an eye out and grab these where you can.
Appliances- Crystal just posted this reader tip on looking for scratch and dent appliances. Did you know many retailers such as Sears have scratch and dent outlets? Our refrigerator is a scratch and dent and was 50% off at Lowe’s simply for being out of the box. The condition was perfect. We also purchased our mattress at a scratch and dent store. I was initially squeamish about a “used” mattress but we got an incredible deal on a brand new mattress. The style was being discontinued so we paid $395 for a mattress and box spring that was brand new- retail would have been $1500.
Home Decor- When we bought our first house I wanted the classic Pottery Barn look without PB prices. After shopping around and not finding anything I liked, I applied for a job at Pottery Barn. I was working full time and spent a few hours on weekends and weeknights working at a retail store. In exchange I got 40% off all merchandise and 20% off clearance items. I took every paycheck and used that to buy the items I wanted. I often stacked the associate discount with sales- such as our sectional sofa, which was a floor model. We got the sofa for over 70% off. While PB is no longer in our budget, we furnished our first home almost entirely by spending the extra income I generated. We have sold several of the items I purchased since then and I have made a profit on every single item. In this post on frugal decorating, I mentioned a desk chair I sold. It was purchased for $27 and I sold it after a few years of use for $40.
So I would encourage you to think outside the box for all of your purchases as well. Do you have any tips on great discounts people don’t normally consider? We’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below…