More Less Than Extreme Couponing Tips

by Justin Weinger on July 31, 2011

In continuing with my new obsession – and hopefully yours as well – I thought I would write more about some less-than-extreme couponing tips that I think will help you save hundreds of dollars per week and thousands of dollars per year.

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CouponMom.com is one of the best resources to learn about couponing.

Considering the economy is growing at a much slower than expected pace, being able to save every dollar you can is certainly a great idea.  And when you take into account the fact you can cut lots of money per week from your grocery bill by taking just a few minutes to clip coupons and plan your meals around good deals, there’s really no good reason to justify not making the effort.

In an article in U.S.A. Weekend entitled “How You Can Become a Coupon Queen” – which, to be perfectly honest I do take some issue with considering I’m a 30 year old man who clips coupons and most certainly is not a “queen” – Jean Chatzky offers up the following couponing insights and tips:

When it comes to grocery shopping, the New American Pantry study says 48% of us are now willing to wait for a sale. Shoppers have tuned in to the fact that prices change frequently. For them, the sale price has become the only price they’re willing to pay.

Do it right: You have to know how much the items you buy most frequently cost when they are on sale. This may mean keeping a log of the best price you paid for a particular product (sometimes called a “price book”) until you commit those prices to memory. Then you stock up when items are cheapest and shop in your own cupboard until they go on sale again. Take apple juice, for example: Mullen knows if she can get it for $1 a bottle, that’s a good price. Note: The website grocerypricebooks.com can help you get started.

She then goes on to write:

There’s couponing — sitting down with the Sunday newspaper and clipping those offers your family will use — which saves the average family about $1,000 a year, according to NCH Marketing Info, which tracks coupon use.And then there’s organized couponing — spending hours clipping and organizing coupons, buying an extra copy of the Sunday paper because the deals are so good, downloading and printing coupons from the Web and using technology to clue you in on which stores in your area have the best deals each week. That, as Mullen has learned, can save you much, much more. Last year, there were 332 billion coupons and 3.3 billion redeemed, which put $3.7 billion in consumers’ pockets. “The overall face value savings per coupon is $1.46,” NCH vice president Charlie Brown says.

Do it right:Despite advances in digital coupons, the biggest bang for your couponing buck is still the Sunday paper. Those shiny inserts contained 88% of all the coupons issued in the past year.

Clip the ones you’ll use and start a file that will help you keep track of them. Watch expiration dates, Brown says.

Next, hit the Web and spend a little time on couponing sites. Nationals such as couponmom.com and thekrazycouponlady.com, and locals such as ppgazette.com in Los Angeles, can help you keep track of where your coupons match up with the best sales. These websites also will point you to digital coupons — the ones you can download and print at home or load onto your smartphone.

As you know, I’ve raved about CouponMom.com and TheKrazyCouponLady.com before on this site, and believe they are great resources for anyone — again, not just coupon queens — interested in learning how to cut their grocery bills by up to 60%.

As Chatzky points out in her article, extreme couponing is tough and, more or less, is a full-time job in and of itself.  If I had the time to do it, I’m sure I would try, but having a full-time job and wanting to enjoy my remaining free time with my wife and friends, I just can’t do it.  But, I’ve also learned how spending just 30 minutes every Sunday morning clipping coupons and planning our weekend meals can save my family thousands of dollars per year.

If I were you, I would certainly give it a try!

Do you clip coupons?  Do you extreme coupon?  Leave your comments and share your best couponing tips below!  And, as always, please share this post using the social bookmarking buttons – especially Facebook and Twitter!

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