11 Things You Should Never Buy Without a Coupon

Man shopping for tools in a home improvement store
Stocked House Studio / Shutterstock.com

I discovered coupons in the 1980s, when I was a college student working nights and weekends as a grocery-store cashier.

Extreme couponing wasn’t a thing yet, at least not at our store — no one wheeled multiple carts up to my register and ended up paying $5 for the whole lot. But I still saw coupon-using shoppers saving big bucks over other shoppers.

Once I had a home of my own, I incorporated coupons into my shopping.

Couponing is more challenging during the coronavirus outbreak. With online delivery on the rise, I’m just not hitting stores as often, and I often race in and out without thinking over the best savings strategies first.

But there are some items I still won’t purchase without a coupon — whether it’s a paper coupon, a digital coupon or an online coupon code. Here’s a look at some of them.

Almost anything at Bed Bath & Beyond

A man shops at a Bed Bath & Beyond store
Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock.com

Bed Bath & Beyond coupons are like zucchini in season — they’re everywhere. I clip them out of magazine ads and receive them in BB&B printed catalogs every couple of weeks.

Some are for a percentage off an item, usually 20%, and some are for a flat dollar amount off. You’ll want to save both.

I’ve used the 20%-off coupons on big items such as a vacuum cleaner, and the smaller ones on kitchen gadgets. You can learn more about my favorite BB&B purchases in “7 Things I Always Buy at Bed Bath & Beyond.”

Not getting BB&B coupons? You can sign up to receive them by mail, email or text.

HelloFresh meal delivery as a new customer

Woman unpacking a home delivery meal kit
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

I’ve tried a variety of meal-kit home delivery services, but HelloFresh is my favorite. The dishes are tasty and easy to make, and the company regularly tosses numerous coupons into my weekly ingredient box so I can get a friend started with a free trial.

Ask a friend who subscribes to HelloFresh to share their deals — you might get a discount on one box, or even an entirely free week of meals.

Two tips from an old pro at bringing in new members: Choose your meals immediately or you will be sent the defaults, and if you don’t plan to continue using HelloFresh, cancel the subscription as soon as your free box arrives.

Makeup

Woman applying makeup
Subbotina Anna / Shutterstock.com

I don’t buy much designer-brand makeup, but drugstore makeup brands frequently offer manufacturer coupons through third-party coupon services like Coupons.com, and retailers like CVS and Walgreens themselves offer manufacturer coupons and store coupons, as we detail in “7 Places to Find Free Manufacturer Coupons Online.”

Ulta Beauty also frequently offers coupons that you can use on drugstore brands — and occasionally offers coupons that are valid for high-end makeup brands, which the retailer refers to as “prestige” brands.

Almost anything at Kohl’s

Kohl's store
QualityHD / Shutterstock.com

Kohl’s is another store where I never shop without coupons. Bookmark Kohl’s coupons page — unlike on some retailers’ sites, the deals are clearly explained and easy to find.

I don’t carry a lot of store credit cards, but some Kohl’s coupons offer bigger discounts if you pay with a Kohl’s Card. Cardholders also get access to additional discounts that are not offered to non-cardholders.

For more ways to save at this department store, check out “9 Ways to Get More for Your Money at Kohl’s.”

Certain things at Harbor Freight Tools

Harbor Freight Tools store
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

You don’t have to be a dockworker to shop at Harbor Freight Tools. This retailer sells everything from the obvious (tools) to decorative outdoor lighting, kitchenware and even toys. But don’t pay full price.

Check if there’s a deal you can use on Harbor Freight’s coupon webpage, or sign up to receive coupons by email. Some coupons are for specific items, some offer 20% off any item (with some exceptions), and sometimes there are coupons offering small items for free as long as you purchase something else.

Pizza

pizza pie
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Delivery or takeout, who doesn’t love hot, gooey pizza? Both local and national chains are competing for your appetites, and they know coupons help. So, before you place that order, check for deals.

National chains such as Domino’s put their deals online, and some smaller chains mail coupons to people who live nearby. Don’t throw away that blue Valpak envelope — it may be serving up pizza coupons. And even my favorite small Seattle chain attaches coupons to its pizza boxes for use on my next order.

Almost anything at Hot Topic

Hot Topic store
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

If you or your family members are fans of the trendiest TV shows, movies, music or anime, you probably already know about Hot Topic. Its coupon program is one of my favorites.

For every $30 you spend, you earn a $15 Hot Cash coupon good for use on a future purchase. You want to mark your calendar for that return visit, because the Hot Cash isn’t valid instantly — there’s a set period of time during which it can be redeemed. But the returns are sizable enough to make a little wait worth your while.

Oil changes

Car service by mechanic
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Gas-powered cars can’t run without oil, and unless you plan on changing it yourself, you’ll have to budget for oil changes.

The car dealership where I bought my car knows when I need to visit, and craftily sends a flyer offering a deal on oil changes and other procedures if I take the car back to them. But it’s not close to my home, and sometimes I just choose a national chain, such as Jiffy Lube or Grease Monkey. These chains frequently have online coupons that vary by location but can be substantial, and may also offer military or senior discounts.

Almost anything at craft stores

Mother daughter doing crafts
Flamingo Images / Shutterstock.com

Pre-pandemic, I could linger for hours in craft stores, pondering everything from fuse beads for my daughter to cake-making supplies to seasonal decor.

Major craft chains like Michael’s, Joann and Hobby Lobby are all big on coupons. Somehow, I forget to save their printed mailers, but that doesn’t matter these days. Just pull out your smartphone and look up the current deals. They’re prominently linked to from each store’s main webpage.

Food delivery services that are new to you

A woman receives a food order from a delivery driver
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com

Food delivery options have exploded during the pandemic. Sometimes the restaurant itself handles delivery, but other times, you’re shunted to a service such as DoorDash or Uber Eats.

These services want you as a regular customer and often offer a percentage-off discount or even free delivery when you try them for the first time. Look for this type of deal when you first log in to the ordering site, or check their menu for a “promotions” page. You might also receive an offer like this by mail on occasion.

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaner worker
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

The clerk at my regular dry cleaners is pleasant enough, but I’m not against switching from cleaner to cleaner to use a coupon or promotion. Check the blue Valpak envelope that likely comes in your mail for a dry-cleaner coupon — they always seem to have one or more. And when you pick up your cleaning, check your receipt — sometimes there’s a coupon or deal to bring you back.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

12 Ways to Never Pay Full Price for Anything
12 Ways to Never Pay Full Price for Anything

Stop paying retail prices. Here are plenty of ways around that.

8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart
8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart

Are you aware of all these ways to boost your savings in Walmart stores and at Walmart.com?

60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It
60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It

Millions of people overlook this potentially potent condition that tends to strike women and older adults.

12 Expenses You May Be Tempted to Claim as Tax Deductions — but Shouldn’t
12 Expenses You May Be Tempted to Claim as Tax Deductions — but Shouldn’t

Thinking of trying to deduct a few of these things on your federal tax return? That could be a costly mistake.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.