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You’ve planned your meals, organized your pantry, and solidified your shopping list. Last week, we talked about comparing sales, and now it’s time to talk about coupons.

Not Your Mama’s Coupons

I am not going to help you turn into someone who spends 20 hours a week cutting out coupons and then buys a cart full of ketchup and toothpaste for $2. You do not need to be a money saving hoarder with a basement full of good deals you will never ever use. If that is what you want to learn, you should check out another site. Even $2 is wasted if you spend it on a cart full of stuff your family won’t eat. Today, we will be talking about maximum savings (on things you actually need) for minimal effort.

When I started couponing, the first question I had was: “where can I find coupons?” The truth is that they are all around you if you open your eyes.

Finding Coupons in Your Local Paper

This is the most obvious source for coupons, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s worth the money. I have a few friends who occasionally remember to save me the coupons out of their Sunday papers, but other than that, I get all of my coupons digitally. If you already get the paper, this is a great place to start. If you don’t already get the paper, make sure the money you spend on the paper won’t be more than you will save from the coupons.

Printing Digital Coupons

Krazy Coupon Lady is amazing. I use her online coupon database EVERY TIME I am looking for coupons. Seriously, click on that link. You will be so happy you did. Once you get to the coupon database, press control+F on your keyboard and search for the first item on your list. First search for the brand name. If that doesn’t bring up any coupons, search for the generic item. For instance, if you know that you need lunch meat and that land o’frost  is on sale at Walmart, you would press control+F and search for “land o’frost”. No coupons, try searching for “lunchmeat”, “deli”, and “turkey”. Do this for each item on your list, and print out only the coupons you will use. When I take the time to do this for my entire list, I usually end up finding $10-$20 worth of coupons. It only takes about 30 minutes, and a couple dollars in paper and ink, so I think it is definitely worth the time. She just added a mobile coupon section too so be sure to check that out while you are there.

Buying Coupons on eBay

You are probably going to think I am crazy, but this is a great way to save additional money on sale items. If you find a staple that your family goes through quickly, and it is on sale for a pretty good price, it might be time to stock up. Go to eBay, and search for coupons for that item or brand of items. Be sure to read the coupon carefully before purchasing. Usually, the coupons come in sets of 10+ of the same coupon which can save you a lot of money with high-value coupons for good-sale items. You will have to pay a little bit of money for the coupons (technically, you are paying for the time it takes the seller to find the coupon because coupons can’t be resold), but it can definitely be worth it if you plan on purchasing multiples of one item. Be sure to purchase coupons from eBay on the first day the sale starts. Sellers are good at shipping the coupons quickly because they know that people only order them when there is a week-long sale going on. Be sure to read seller reviews before purchasing on eBay.

Finding Peelie Coupons On Products

While you are actually shopping, you should learn to look high and low for the best deals. You also need to get good at scanning items for coupons. Peelie coupons are everywhere in the grocery store. These are the coupons that are stuck to a product’s packaging. Usually, they are good for an amount off of the product then or on your next purchase. These are usually not as good as coupons you will find elsewhere, so if you already have a coupon for the item, just peel the peelie off and save it for next month. When you find peelies, either peel them yourself and hand them to the cashier or place all of the items with peelies at the end of your transaction to make sure that the peelies come off of your transaction. You can also find coupons at customer service, store entrances, sample tables, and on shelves. The more you search for coupons, the more you will save.

Things to Remember

You can stack one manufacturer coupon with one store coupon per item. If one of the coupons specifies that the coupon is valid when you buy 2 or more items, then you can only use one of that type of coupon (manufacturer or store) per set of items. For example, if you have 4 yoplait coupons for $0.50 off of 4 yogurts and 4 Target coupons for $0.10 off of 1 yogurt, your transaction would look like this.

Buy 4 Yoplait yogurts
Use 1 Yoplait coupon for $0.50 off of 4 yogurts
Use 4 Target coupons for $0.10 of 1 yogurt
You would save a total of $0.90

If you have a lot of coupons, make sure to scout out a cashier who looks friendly. It is always nice to give people who get in line behind you a heads up that you have a lot of coupons as well so if they are in a hurry, they can get in a different line. Also, don’t forget to check out the coupon policies of your local grocery stores. Some stores may not accept mobile coupons, and others might have a rewards card that you can load coupons onto from their website.

On Thursday, we will be talking about how to use your cell phone to save even more money on your groceries. Until then, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest. Bobbie Gross

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