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10 Tips for Beginner Couponing

Coupons are a great way to lower your grocery bill. If you think coupons aren’t worth the time, the hundreds of dollars I save at the grocery store could change your mind.

Or, maybe you already clip the occasional coupon but have been blown away by the amazing savings on Extreme Couponing. Perhaps you’ve been in line behind a coupon queen but think you could never get there.

By mastering the art of couponing, anyone can wear the crown. Here are 10 beginner tips to get you started with coupons:

  1. Clip coupons. Duh. To get beyond occasional coupon use, you will need more coupons. They are everywhere — in the newspaper, on products, at the store, in your mailbox. (For even greater savings, find those coupons through discounted newspaper subscriptions.)
  2. Signup for loyalty cards & discounts. Many stores use a loyalty card to offer a grocery discount each week. You will need the card to get the sale price, but be sure to provide the store with accurate contact information. They use it to send offers & coupons, based on your shopping habits!
  3. Learn the store coupon policy. Does your store double or triple coupons? Will they only accept one or two identical coupons per visit? Are printable coupons accepted? What about expired coupons — did you know some retailers will still take them? Check online for an official coupon policy, and ask at the customer service counter for any details or clarification.
  4. Find a storage solution. So, you have a lot of coupons. Now what? Decide how you want to store them. By category? Alphabetically? Uncut? I go through phases with my coupon storage system. The important thing is that it works for you — if you can find the coupon you need, when you need it, it’s the perfect coupon organization for you.
  5. Print more coupons. Printable coupons offer added savings — since you don’t need to take the time to clip & store them, it’s an easy way for beginners to save money.
  6. Wait for a sale. To maximize your grocery savings, hold onto those coupons until the product appears in the weekly ad. You’ll lower the price even more when by matching coupons to a sale price.
  7. Watch expiration dates. Be sure to move awesome coupons nearing their expiration date to the front of your file so you remember to use them before they expire. This week, I received several free product coupons in the mail. I headed straight to the store to “buy” my freebies because I worried I would lose them or forget. Use your awesome coupons quickly, but don’t stress out if you do miss out. There’s always another deal!
  8. Try something new. If you’re very brand specific, it will be a little harder to get the kind of coupon savings TV shows are made of. But, branching out and trying new products with coupons is how I’ve found some of my favorites. (Magic Eraser, anyone?)
  9. Stock up. If you have 3 coupons, you can buy 3 products. Stock up on items with a sale & coupon, and you’ll never pay full price again!
  10. Buy only what you use. Don’t get so caught up in couponing that you buy something you’d never use or buy so much of an item, it will expire before you can get to it. Buy what you need, donate what you can and leave the rest for someone who will use it.

Find the scissors, start clipping coupons, and watch the savings add up! Then, check out more tips for extreme couponing.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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