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Feeding the Family on a Budget - How to Save Money with Coupons

Updated on November 2, 2011

Extreme Couponing or Not, You Make the Decision

When it comes to using coupons, you can make what you want of it. Extreme couponers typically stockpile bunker size stashes. It is up to you whether that style of couponing is for you or not. You can also use coupons to stockpile just enough to last you until the coupons and sales come around again (typically every three months).

Change the Way You Think About Shopping

Forget the way you currently do your shopping.

  • No more last minute trips to the store to grab something for dinner.
  • No more monthly trips to the warehouse store.
  • No more making a list of items for the week and buying them no matter what the price.

Start Thinking in the Coupon Way

Start thinking in a new way.

  • Plan your meals around what is on sale.
  • Buy products in multiples if you have multiple coupons.
  • Combine manufacturer coupons with store coupons.
  • Combine manufacturer coupons with special deals.
  • Scour the front page of store circulars for loss leaders and combine them with coupons if possible.

Where to Start With Coupons

Your first order of business when deciding to use coupons is to get the Sunday paper. The Sunday paper comes with coupon inserts from companies such as Smart Source, Red Plum and Proctor and Gamble. Pull these inserts out and clip EVERY coupon, with the exception of things you will never need. Check coupon websites frequently to see if there are any online coupons to go along with current sales. Organize these coupons in a binder, by category.

Stick to Your Coupon Plan

Be strong and stick to your plan. Using coupons to save money doesn't help if you end up buying a rotisserie chicken and all the fixin's while you are at the store. Make sure you have a plan for the meals that you will prepare for your family and you will never have to cave in at the store.

In Case You Didn't Know

Manufacturer Coupon: a coupon that is issued by the manufacturer of the product. These coupons can be used at any store that accepts coupons.

Store Coupon: a coupon that is issued by a store. These coupons can be used only at the store that issued them. You will usually find these in the weekly store circular or a special store publication. These coupons can typically be combined with manufacturer coupons for extra savings.

Special Deals: stores will often have special promotions that can be confusing and if you don't participate in the right way, the deal is off. Here is an example of one of these types of promotions.

Buy any 10 items get $5 off - There will typically be a list of many different products that are included in this promotion. The low price that they have listed is the price after the $5 has been taken off. You must buy these items in multiples of 10 in order to get the price. However, you do not have to buy 10 of the same item. These are usually a mix and match type promotion. It takes planning and attention to detail to pull these off. Just make sure you have a plan with your coupons ready when you set foot in the store.

Loss Leaders: a product sold at a very low price in order to stimulate store sales. These items are advertised in the weekly store circular and can be combined with coupons.

Additional Tips

  • Some stores double coupons or round coupons up to a dollar. Find out which stores in your area do this.
  • Get familiar with the stores' coupon policy, most stores have it listed on their website.
  • Some dollar stores sell the Sunday paper for, you guessed it, a dollar.
  • Check with your local paper, they may have a promotion where you can get the Sunday paper delivered for a dollar a week.
  • Buy one get one free deals can be combined with buy one get one free coupons in most stores. This means you get both items for free!
  • Use websites such as The KrazyCoupon Lady to keep you updated on all of the deals that are available.

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