In Are Grocery Coupons a Waste of Time?, I came to the conclusion that low-value coupons are not worth the hassle.
While I still remain leery of coupons in general — in essence their purpose is to get us to buy more — they can be valuable when a real need arises. As opposed to manufacturer coupons for specific products, high-value store coupons applied to the item of your choice can be quite fruitful, saving you tens of dollars instead of tens of cents. And most don’t require you to jump through hoops to get the dang discount.
Here are my favorites:
Bed Bath & Beyond distributes so many of their 20% off coupons that it doesn’t make sense to shop there without one. (They clearly jack up their prices to allow for the ubiquitous discount.) Considering that sheet sets, kitchen knives, or furniture can be expensive, your savings are substantial. If you aren’t on their mailing list, you can sign up here. (Look out for coupons in magazines like Real Simple.)
- Expired coupons: Don’t throw them out! They accept them all the same.
- Competitor coupons: Bed Bath & Beyond also accepts coupons from similar stores. (Too bad Linens N’ Things went under.)
- Multiple coupons: Most coupons are good for a single item, but you can use as many coupons as you want at one time.
- 20% Entire Purchase: Watch out for these special coupons — they are worth much more than the single item coupons. Wait to use them when you need to buy a lot at once, like when you’re redecorating or moving.
- Downside: You can’t use Bed Bath & Coupons online.
3. A.C. Moore &
4. Hobby Lobby 40-50% Off Coupons
When I lived in the real world (i.e., not New York City), I used to get these in the mail every week or find them in the newspaper. These craft stores carry pricey toys like Thomas the Train, so if you need a present for a child, you can save over 5 dollars with just one coupon.
Downside: They expire each week so you have to clip them regularly and keep them with you. Also if you don’t need craft supplies, you end up making a trip just to use the coupon.
Thanks to cousins and friends, we take care of virtually all of our kids clothing needs with hand-me-downs. But when my children do need something, I have combined sales at Gymboree with one of their 20% off coupons and have gotten some really darling clothes for $5 to $10 a piece. You can find coupons in magazines like Parenting or you can get them sent to you by signing up for their e-mail list.
Warning: When you buy a certain amount from Gymboree, they will send you a coupon for Gymbucks: $25 off when you spend $50. Note: You must keep your receipt or packing slip from your last purchase to get the discount.
Because Gymbucks only work within a specific time period (maybe a month or so after your purchase), you can get caught up in an unintentional buying cycle, just to get the 50% discount (which is not a good deal if you didn’t need anything in the first place).
And you know how it is — just like with Amazon’s free shipping on orders over $25 — how often does it work out that your bills adds up to $50.01?
6. Buy Buy Baby &
7. Babies ‘R Us
Every few months theses stores will send out coupon books for all sorts of products you may not need. Look out for the one that says 15% or 20% off anything in the store. While these coupons do have expiration dates that the stores adhere to, you can save a significant amount on a high-ticket item.
Plus, being competitors, Buy Buy Baby and Babies ‘R Us will usually match each other’s prices and accept each other’s coupons. You can call ahead to make sure, but I used to just go to the one that was more convenient to me, with the other’s one’s ad/coupons in hand.
Tip: You can use your Bed Bath & Beyond coupons at Buy Buy Baby, which is now owned by the mega home furnishings chain. However there are some restrictions and, from what I understand, the coupon cannot be expired.
What are your favorite store coupons?