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Save Money with Coupons

Lately, a new hobby of mine has been using coupons. For years, I didn't use coupons very often. I thought that coupons were a waste of time and that I would not be saving money because I would have to buy things that I would not normally buy. Well, my local grocery store changed my mind when they decided to implement a double coupon policy. They now double any coupon - up to $1.00 - meaning that if I have a $1.00 off coupon for something, then I actually get $2.00 off of that product!

My next door neighbor started giving me his Sunday paper every week, and he does not take the coupons out before he gives it to me. I started going through the inserts and picking out a few coupons here and there. I was not really saving much money, but I was having a little fun.

After a while, I decided to try to save more money with coupons and see what I could do. I started going to Coupons.com and printing coupons. I also use RedPlum.com and SmartSource.com

I decided it might be beneficial to some of my visitors if I would share some of my tips and tricks for saving money with coupons. First, it is very important that you gather sale fliers from the stores at which you like to shop. Stores put certain items on sale each week - usually at a loss, or for a price less than what the store paid for it. These items are often called loss leaders. The purpose of loss leaders is to get customers into the store. The store will usually lose money on these deals, but they are counting on you - the consumer - to buy other things while you are in the store. Resist the temptation to buy other items just because you managed to score a great deal on the loss leaders! Loss leaders are usually on the front and back of the flier, but can occasionally be found somewhere in the middle. For example, my local grocery will sometimes have Toaster Strudels on sale for $1.88 a box. I do not usually buy Toaster Strudels for my kids, but when my store has them for $1.88 a box and I have a $.55 off of 2 coupons that the store doubles, that makes them $1.33 a box. Not bad!

When you are browsing through the fliers, make a note of which items you are interested in buying, which items you have a coupon for and which items you think you can get a coupon for (I will explain this in a moment.) Some items are just a great deal, like grapes for $.99 a pound. These deals should be taken advantage of. If you have a coupon for an item that is on sale, it is an item you want and you are certain you would not be able to get it cheaper somewhere else, then it it probably a good buy. Take notice of name brand items that you think you may be able to find a coupon for. It is often possible to find coupons to print on manufacturer websites. For example, last week my local store had Hills Bros coffee on sale for $2.97. I went to the Hills Bros website, and I was able to print off 2 coupons for $.55 off of 1. Since they double coupons, this made each can of coffee $1.87. That is WAY cheaper than the store brand!

Another point to remember is that when using coupons, you cannott be brand specific. You may find that one week you are eating Yoplait yogurt, and Dannon the next. You may use Pampers on your baby even though you prefer Huggies for a week because you got such a great deal on them. One of the things I love about coupons is that I get to try new products that I might not normally buy because I found a good coupon for that item. When a company comes out with a new product, they will often offer higher value coupons than you would normally expect to find.

Pay close attention to the amount the coupon is worth, and how much you have to buy. Personally, I do not like coupons where I have to buy two, three, or more items to get the discount. I do have a few exceptions, of course. I still use the $.50 off 6 for the Yoplait yogurt cups. Since I am nursing, I need some extra small snacks around the house to keep both my milk supply and energy level up! Also, I have noticed that sometimes companies will have coupons that are the same dollar value, but are for different sizes. For example, at the moment, I have 2 Pampers wipes coupons in my coupon book. One is for an 60-count tub and the other is for a 180-count bag. I am going to use the $2.00 off a 60-count tub first, because I know that with that coupon I can get the wipes for free at the HEB that I go to for my big trips.

Finally, get a coupon organizer. They really do make using coupons much easier. You can label the individual pockets however you like. Some people like to organize their coupons by type of food, by the meals in which they are used or by section in the store. Just do whatever works best for you! Good luck!

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