Get Started Saving With Coupons

You've probably seen the story on TV. It's a slow news day - no long car chases or dogs that play the piano. The producer decides to run a story he's had on tape for a month or two about shopping with coupons. The segment opens with the remote reporter standing in front of a grocery store with a local coupon shopper - we'll call her the Coupon Princess.
The reporter comments how amazed she is that the CP can feed her family of 6 plus 2 cats, a dog and an unspecified number of pet rabbits on only $25 a week. Promising to show you how easy it is, they head out into the store with an empty shopping cart.

The next thing we see is the CP carefully placing two bottles of mustard in the cart as she comments that they're on sale for $0.99 and when her $0.50 coupons double she will get them for FREE. Since this is at most a 2 minute segment we don't get to see much of the acutal shopping. Next we see her adding 3 boxes of PopTarts to her basket which is now 1/2 full. Then the camera moves to CP and the reporter chatting while the checker scans items from her now overflowing cart. Skip to checker scanning the last two or three coupons. Reporter asks the cashier - "wasn't the total before the coupons around $200?" Cashier nods in agreement as she hits the total button. Camera swoops to the new total on the checkout screen - WOW! CP got $200 in groceries for only..........$12.49!!

Is it possible to save that much? Sure it is - I've done it many times when it was a good sale week and I had lots of high dollar and free coupons. But it doesn't happen in two minutes and the Princess probably doesn't save near that much on a weekly basis. She may feed her family on much less than you spend but she's probably using "stockpiling" techniques to do it.

Stockpiling is simply buying more when you can get it at the lowest price. Studies show that stores have specific patterns to their sale ads. Most common items that we buy regularly are sold at their lowest price approximately every 12-15 weeks. So if you buy enough when the price is low to last until the next low price rotation you save. When you combine that sale savings with a coupon that you can double or triple - you REALLY SAVE.

After you've been "stockpiling" for a while your pantry and freezer start filling up with food so you don't need to spend as much each week to feed your family. Your goal is to avoid those last minute trips to the store for "just one or two things". Those trips cost a lot - not only because you probably will come out with more than one or two items - but also because you are probably going to pay full price for what you buy. These days full price on any grocery item is scary. Have you noticed how much full price is for a box of cereal or some Kraft Mac and Cheese?

Couponing is a wonderful way to save on food and household items. It doesn't take a PhD to figure out how to do it. It does take some time and attention to details. If you're willing to work at it - you WILL SAVE $$$. To save consistently you must clip the coupons, file the coupons, take coupons to the store with you and remember to give them to the checker.

But first, before you can start clipping coupons and saving $$, you have to know where to find them. For some suggestions click on the Finding Coupons tab.

Simply Cut Your Grocery Bill. Guaranteed.

Heather / CA
I only shop at stores that double coupons.That way, I can stock up on an item when it's on sale, and I never have to worry about running out and having to pay full price. If I can get something for about 50 cents or less but I wouldn't use it myself, I donate it to the local women's shelter.

Susan / TX
Make sure you count how many coupons you plan to redeem. I have had cashiers not scan coupons and didn't notice until I left the store so I now keep an eye on the screen and count the beeps to make sure everything goes through. Also make sure coupons are doubling/tripling! And if you're supposed to get a catalina, make sure you grab it before you leave the register!

Kim / SC
I have started a Coupon Notebook that I even have my children using when we grocery shop. It is sectioned off for some of our most popular items :Cereal, Baby Stuff, Personal Items, Cleaning / Laundry / Pet Food etc. etc.

When one or all of them are with me in the grocery store, I tell them (for example), to go to the Pet Food Coupon section if we are in need of such and they flip on over, feeling very big and helpful, and then they can help me figure out what the best deals are with our coupons.

Toni-Lynn / OH
Check your store for B1G1F policy. Some are Buy 1 at full price and get 1 for Free and others are 2 at half price meaning you don't HAVE to buy 2. Also means you can use 2 coupons usually.

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