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Monday, January 9, 2012

Grocery Saving Lesson 1 - Collect Those Q's!

I'm a mad couponer!  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a shelf-clearing, food hoarding type of couponer.  However, I do enjoy a great deal and feeding my family on a budget.  Let's say you budget $400 a month for groceries and can save 70% with coupons, you just pocketed $280!  That looks like shoe buying money to me y'all...or project money...or vacation money.  You get the idea.

So, without further ado, here is the first installment of my coupon tips.  I'm no expert, but I keep to a pretty tight budget and I'm more than happy to help you do the same!

 * Tip #1 - ALWAYS buy the Sunday paper (except for the 2-3 times a year when no coupons are included).

* Tip #2 - Buy the biggest paper you can find. I always buy a double copy for the same price as a single. This way you are getting twice the coupons and this will pay off when there are BOGO (Buy One, Get One) sales.

* Tip #3 - Remember those blinky devices in the grocery aisles? They have coupons in them. Grab one, no grab 10 and save them for later! Chances are that item will be on sale in a few weeks.

* Tip #4 - At the front of many grocery stores there are store promotion fliers. Grab a few and keep them in your stash. At most stores you can use 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturers coupon per item.

* Tip #5 - Look online! Coupons abound online and with a little searching you can turn up some great deals. SmartSource, Red Plum, and Proctor and Gamble are great sites to hunt.

* Tip #6 - Sign up for products you like online. My family happens to love Blue Bell ice cream so I went to their website and signed up. I was able to print out 2 $1 off coupons, which I then used at Kroger, yielding 2 gallons for $3.98!!!! This is a $6.38/gallon ice cream! Sometimes the brands/products you sign up for will send you coupons periodically as well.

* Tip #7 - Load electronic coupons. Many stores that offer rewards cards will let you load coupons directly onto your card from your computer. The great news is, you can use one paper coupon and one e-coupon for the same item! I just got a box of Cocoa Puffs for .40 cents doing this!

* Tip #8 - Tell everyone you know you are a Clipper Queen (or King)! You'll be surprised at how many people will save them for you. Ask your relatives for their Sunday coupons if they don't use them.

* Tip #9 - Save Catalina coupons. These are the money off coupons that come out with your receipt. They are mostly triggered by buying a participating item. Don't just throw your receipt away! Check and make sure the clerk didn't fold up a Catalina in there. It's as good as money!

* Tip #10 - Magazines have gotten in on the coupon biz too. One of the best is All You. They have over $70 in savings every month and there is a nifty coupon table of contents (TOC) in the front. I save mine in their entirety and always check the TOC before heading out.

Anyone have any other fav spots you pick up coups?  Please share!

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