Monday, April 28, 2008

How to Save Money using Coupons when Grocery Shopping for Food

Oprah’s last Debt Diet show on March 24th, discussed how two families are coping with budgeting and learning to eat at home. One of the families had spent $29,000 last year eating out for all of their meals. While many of us do find our way in the kitchens more often than that there are things we can do to help keep our grocery food bill low.

One way that most of us know about is using coupons. Coupon clipping can be an amazing money saving technique. It takes organization to really save substantially with coupons. If you are serious about coupon clipping you will learn what Sunday papers have the most coupon inserts. Usually just before a holiday the coupon section is stocked full of good coupons. It can really pay to buy multiple newspapers for the coupons if you having savings on your mind.

When you clip the coupons you will need to have them organized based on the store isle layouts. You should purchase a mini expanding file folder to organize your coupons. Put paper clips on the coupons to group them even further. That way when you are in that section of the store you will be able to scan your coupons and match sale items without a lot of stress.

Usually it pays best for coupons in stores that have double coupon pay outs. These stores are on average more expensive to shop at if you are not using coupons. If you watch for the sales in the mail for the grocery stores you could preplan what items to pick up before even entering the store. This could save a bunch of time.

The reason for the duplicate coupons is that when you get one item free with double coupon, wouldn’t you want more than one for free or almost free? I remember one time getting a large size applesauce for free; it was due to the double coupons. It does add up, but it also takes more time to shop when coupons are in mind. If you have a baby it can pay to clip the coupons for the baby food. It is something that you will need a lot of and if you are not willing to make all the pureed food it will save you a lot of money.

Not all coupons are great coupons, and you will learn which coupons are good ones as well as the not so good ones. If you have favorite foods that you can’t live without then you might find some great coupons to help offset the cost.

Coupons expire so you need to be ready to get rid of the expired ones. Usually when you put in the new coupons it is a good time to get rid of the old outdated ones. You can also trade coupons with friends and also online as well. There are coupons you can print off of the internet as well. In the store those coupon dispensers that are all around the store can have some good discounts. There are also sometimes excellent coupons in the store’s flyer for the week. If you don’t get one in the mail they usually put them at the front of the store.

Learn to read the fine print on the coupons. Sometimes coupons are difficult to understand. There are so many different flavors, and sizes. Watch for coupons that specifically state the flavor and size. If you don’t get the right size or flavor you won’t get the discount for the item. Grocery stores sometimes put the non-coupon items that would be mistaken for the coupon item at the end caps of the store isles. It is common for sale items to go on the end caps. Make sure you read the coupon.

Even better than coupons is making your food from whole foods and avoid buying pre-made kits and ready to go food. But this also takes time too. If you invest in a large freezer it can help to store your homemade foods for ready to go meals for your family.

I used to do the coupon clipping until the kids out numbered my husband and I. This got us to join a wholesale club to buy food in bulk. It is not always a deal at these stores, but if you know what to look for you can save a lot of money this way as well. You won’t be able to get everything at these stores. It is a good idea to keep on with the coupon clipping at the regular grocery store as well to fill in where the wholesale club missed.

With young children it can be frustrating to clip coupons. It is helpful to either have your husband come along with to help or to leave the kids at home or school when you go to the grocery store. It is worth a try if you haven’t clipped coupons it can be rewarding to see how much you can save. You will be amazed how much coupons can discount the cost of food.

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