Follow these tips to get the most out of grocery coupons.
It's virtually impossible to make it through an entire week without being deluged with grocery coupons. Flyers, newspaper inserts and online ads promise huge savings with grocery coupons if only people would take the time to cut them out or print them out. Some simply ignore grocery coupons, while others make the effort to collect them, only to have them mold away in kitchen drawers well past their expiration date.
Though not all grocery coupons might be worth the time and effort, getting into the habit of clipping and using coupons can save hundreds of dollars per month.
Grocery coupons are everywhere. Check the mailbox and there's a good chance it's stuffed with flyers chock full of money-saving offers. If not, the daily paper or the latest issue of a favorite magazine is bound to have some coupons.
Grocery stores are a good place to find coupons. Many supermarkets have their own in-store flyers available near the entrances or cash registers advertising specials and offering grocery coupons. Other stores have in-aisle coupon dispensers which dole out instant savings. Products often have coupons printed on their packaging as well, so make sure to check the inside of boxes and wrappers for money-saving offers. Finally, don't just throw out grocery receipts, as many grocery stores print coupons on them.
The Internet is another great resource for grocery coupons. Sites like SmartSource and Coupons.com provide customizable coupon searches for many different products. Checking out a manufacturer's Web site for printable grocery coupons is also a good idea. Unfortunately, fewer grocery stores are accepting coupons printed from the Internet - check with your local grocery stores to learn their policies.
Finally, tap into the coupon-clipping community by logging on to coupon-sharing Web sites like Coupon Forum, where shoppers can talk and trade coupons with other like-minded individuals.
Finding grocery coupons is one thing. Knowing what to do with them is another. To avoid drowning in grocery coupons or missing out on savings because of expired coupons, design a coupon organizational system.
One popular method for organizing grocery coupons is to file coupons in a recipe box. Some people like to file their coupons by month of expiration date, while others file them by product type. When it comes to coupon organization, consistency is key.
Coupon-clippers sometimes believe they need to use every single coupon they come across. Avoid this error by only clipping coupons for commonly purchased products. Avoid buying unnecessary sundries or treats simply because there is a coupon. Remember that coupons are designed primarily to advertise and sell products, not to help consumers save money.
At the same time, don't forget to comparison shop with generics or other brands. Just because there is a coupon for a dollar off a name-brand item doesn't mean it's less expensive than the generic option. Many generic products are identical to name-brand products (minus the name, of course).
It's possible to save even more money by using coupons in conjunction with store-wide sales -- using a coupon for 50 cents off a product that is on sale for two for a dollar essentially makes the product free. Just make sure to check with the store about its coupon policies. Some stores don't allow coupon use on sale items, or limit the use of coupons under certain circumstances.
Clipping coupons can seem like a hassle, but done right can result in significant savings. Grab a newspaper and start clipping.