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Saving Money using Coupons!

In a tough economy, more people than ever are turning to coupons in order to save money.  With television programs like “Extreme Couponing” highlighting the extreme way to shop, many people wonder if the savings is realistic and whether the use of coupons is a really good method of saving money.   I’d have to say from my own experience, this past year our family saved almost $10,000 by using coupons and had so much more to show for the money we did spend.

If you are wanting to cut your grocery budget and start saving at the grocery store, there are a couple things you should do if you want to use coupons effectively.

First, a filing system is essential, for keeping coupons organized and accessible. If your coupons are disorganized, you won’t use them.  You can use a coupon binder (with cut coupons) or the insert method (saving full inserts).  I started with the binder method and eventually graduated to the insert method.  I guess it really depends on how many papers you get each week.  You will need to find what works best for you.  Secondly, knowing grocery store policies in coupon acceptance will help to avoid misunderstandings, and overspending. If you are unsure of these policies, consult the store’s website, or ask the management.  Thirdly, it is essential that you study prices and trends, both in the grocery store, and through the study of store flyers.

You need to familiarize yourself with the basics of coupon use.  For example, a coupon’s terms of use are generally printed on the coupon itself.  In most cases, only one coupon may be used on a given item.  However, manufacturer’s coupons are often considered to be different than in-store coupons (i.e. Target, Walgreens, CVS).  This is helpful, because a manufacturer’s coupon, combined with a store-offered coupon, can lead to greater savings.  It’s also essential to know what sizes a coupon is intended for.  If coupons are not restricted to a single size of the product and says “any”, the greatest savings is obtained when the coupon is used for the lowest priced product, many times making the product FREE!

Additional savings can be found when you combine shopping with manufacturer rebates, store incentives or loyalty programs.  Store incentives and loyalty programs often lead to awesome couponing opportunities, especially in instances of increased savings when a given number of items are purchased.    There are many different types of coupons, and by studying and using them strategically, in connection with other rewards and rebates, it is possible to significantly cut your grocery spending.

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