Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clipping Coupons for the Grocery Store

By Alex Pastlin

Nearly everyday, people across the country receive sales papers scattered with coupons. If you're trying to grocery shop on a budget, going through the papers and cutting out the coupons that you can use is an excellent way to save money at the grocery store. Knowing which ones to keep, however, and which ones to toss is the key.

Coupons have actually been around since the 1800's when Coca Cola and Grape Nuts figured out that they could use them for advertising strategies. In the new millennium, customers save almost $5 billion dollars per year on their grocery bill by using coupons.

Although it takes time to go through the papers and look at all of the coupon options, using the coupons found in your local newspapers can save you as much as 50% on your overall grocery bill if you stick to a shopping list and find the right coupons for the products that you are going to buy.

In order to get the most out of your coupons, create a shopping list first. Afterwards, go through your papers and search for coupons for the items that you want to buy. If you go through the papers first, you might end up with items that you weren't going to buy to begin with, just because you think you've found a "good deal." You don't always end up saving money this way and sometimes you spend more.

As far as newspapers go, your local Sunday paper is one of the best bets for coupons. Sunday papers often have inserts, too, which usually contain coupons for local grocery stores.

If you rely on the Sunday newspaper for coupons, then it might make sense to buy an annual subscription to the paper, rather than to go out and buy it every Sunday. You can generally get a substantial discount on the overall price of the paper this way.

Other sales papers, called circulars, usually come in your mailbox throughout the week as well. Check them for coupons, too, as they generally contain a few worthwhile ones. Clip out the ones for items that are on your grocery list and keep them in a coupon organizer.

A good reason to use your Sunday paper or local circular for coupons is that they are usually targeted to your local neighborhood store, which means that your store is more likely to accept the coupons.

Some grocery stores keep various forms of media with coupons at the front of their store, so don't forget to check this out when you go shopping. If there aren't any coupons available, you might still find sales papers that advertise promotions and values, which can give you a good idea of what deals that you can get on that shopping trip.

Consider the expiration date when clipping coupons, and before using them. You don't want to check out, only to find that your coupon is not usable.

On a final note, if you watch for sales and use the coupons then, you might even find that you can get the items at a rock bottom price-or even for free in some cases.

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