Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated November 22, 2011)
Couponing can be time consuming. If you truly want to reap the benefits of using coupons you must be extremely organized and plan your menu ahead of time. If you need to cut back on some expenses you can take a bite out of your grocery budget by clipping coupons.
Couponing usually works best if you are a stay at home mom. It is essential to go through coupons weekly to find the ones you need and use, and discard any that many have expired. Only pull coupons for items that you regularly use. Do not be tempted to buy items just because there is a coupon, this can back fire and actually entice you into spending more money than you intended. You can find coupons in weekend and Wednesday newspapers, online couponing sites and near the customer service area of most major chain grocery stores.
Make a shopping list. To gather ultimate savings, it may be necessary to split your list between two or three grocery stores. This may be time consuming and not fit into your lifestyle. It is also important to check store special versus the saving that coupons offer. The store special may be the better deal. This is where being a discerning shopper comes in.
Educate yourself on coupon terminology. Some manufacturer coupons allow you to use them in conjunction with store specials. This can offer additional savings on your grocery bill. Some stores offer double or triple values on your coupons. Know which stores offer these programs and schedule your time accordingly to take advantage of additional savings.
Find a system for storing your coupons in a methodical easy to find manner. An expandable accordion file will work nicely. File by product name, not by expiration date for easy retrieval. Some couponers like to use binders with clear photo sheets so they can just flip through pages and find the desired coupon at a glance. Whichever system you use, take your coupons with you on every outing in case you make a sudden stop at the store. Take your list with you and make notes which items have coupons and which store you intend to make the purchase.
If you are a spontaneous shopper, this might not be the best fit for you. Couponing takes time and effort to reap the possible savings offered through coupons and store specials. But, if you are looking at ways of stretching your grocery dollars, if done wisely can pay off.
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