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Is clipping and using the grocery coupons in the Sunday newspaper a waste of time? No! Using coupons, smart shoppers have learned how to live on a grocery budget of $50.00 a week! Savings may be small in the beginning but with knowledge, time and practice coupon shoppers are saving more than ever imagined. Even if you don't NEED to pinch your pennies, you can still have more than you ever thought you could!

Accumulate Coupons

The first step to these terrific savings and successful coupon use is accumulating coupons. Each week there are usually two different coupon inserts in metropolitan newspapers with a third insert available once a month. Having multiples of each coupon enables a shopper to take advantage of the great deals in bulk. This helps build a food storage. Obtaining multiples of coupons is not difficult. Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are great sources for obtaining multiple coupon inserts. There's a great trading forum here at, where you can trade the coupons from Sunday paper that you can't use, for coupons that you can.

Another source of coupons is the internet. Printable coupons and coupon offers can be found at many manufacturer and coupon related websites. Many manufacturers also offer coupons which are sent post mail.

Additional coupons and in-store savings can be found at most grocery stores. Coupons commonly called blinkies are available in red machines set up in aisles in the stores. Also, apply for grocery store courtesy cards. Most grocery chains have these complimentary cards which provide extra discounts and savings at their stores. These discounts can be combined with coupons for maximum savings.

Get Organized

The second step to successful coupon use is organization. There is a variety of ways to organize and maintain coupons. Successful coupon users have a place to keep and organize the coupons. This can be a box, binder or flexible file. Plastic flex-type coupon organizers can be purchased at many stores. Many coupon users make their own binders using a zippered binder filled with photo pages or sports card pages. A box with dividers can be made or purchased. Whatever is used, the coupons are divided and placed in categories which provide for easy location while shopping.

There are many methods to saving and cutting the coupons and inserts. Some coupon users will cut all coupons and file them in their coupon organizer. This way all of the coupons are available when shopping. If a surprise deal or sale is found, the coupon is ready. Others cut only the coupons they are sure to use and leave the rest in the coupon inserts. When a sale or deal on a specific item occurs, they can go back to the insert and cut the needed coupons. If doing this, find a way to file and organize the inserts. Print or write out a list of which coupons are in each insert.

What is Food Storage?

The third and most powerful step to successful coupon use is called building a food storage. When a great deal is found, buy in bulk. This is why accumulating multiple coupons is necessary. Buying a lot of one thing at a great price can lead to never having to pay full price again. For example, buying six months of cereal at a great price means cereal will not need to be purchased again until you run out. This can be done with many food items and most household goods.

Use Coupons Wisely

Using coupons wisely is another key to successful coupon use. There are many ways to do this and maximize the savings. The first way is to avoid using a coupon just because it exists. If there is a coupon for an item that is not a great deal and is not needed, do not use it. Unused coupons can be traded. Expired coupons can be sent to military bases overseas where they are valid six months past the expiration date.

Watch the sales at different grocery stores. Pair the sales with the coupons to get great savings. Many times items are just a small fraction of their original price when this is done.

Know the coupon policies at local stores. Stop at the customer service desks and ask about their coupon policies. Some stores double and triple the value of coupons. Some stores will combine a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon. If a store has a coupon in their ad or in store and there is a manufacturer's coupon for the same item, both can be used. Two manufacturer's coupons can not be combined. There are some stores that accept competitor's store coupons.

Read each coupon carefully. Most state "one coupon per purchase". Each item bought is a purchase. If 10 of an item is purchased, 10 coupons for that item may be used. It is rare for a coupon to state "one coupon per customer".

When coupons are collected, organized and used in these ways it is easy to slice your monthly grocery budget in at least half. One PYP user has done just that.

Tips of the Trade

Successful coupon shoppers also use the following tips to maximize their savings.

* When at item is Buy One Get One Free, often two coupons can be used.
* If the coupon says "off any size", its often more profitable to use it on the smallest size.
* If the store is out of an advertised sale item, get a raincheck. Use it later with coupons.
* Keep a list of needed items.
* Plan your meals around items in your food storage.
* Avoid trips to convenience and corner stores.
* Don't shop when hungry. This will reduce impulse buys.
* Remember one store does not have the lowest prices on everything.
* Check expiration dates on food items, especially when stockpiling.
* Watch for price discrepancies at checkout. Make sure all coupons are deducted.
* Try different brands. Eliminating brand loyalty increases savings.
* Have fun and be proud of the savings!

Grocery coupons are not the only way to save money while shopping. There are many ways to save money when shopping for almost everything.