Ins and outs of cutting coupons and prices

Ever wanted to try couponing but found it too hard or confusing? Here's a list of tricks to help you sort out where your best bets are and how to keep track of them as you go about racking up the savings.

Ins and outs of cutting coupons and prices

1. Get more coupons

Coupons are a great way to gradually save big money on your grocery bills each year. So why stop with getting only one set of coupons from the Sunday newspaper or door-to-door packets when you can get two, three or even more bundles of coupon circulars?

  • Ask your friends and family if they receive the coupons but don't use them, and if you can have them.
  • In addition, swing by the supermarket late on Sunday evening. They may let you buy any leftover newspapers at a steep discount.
  • If your main source of coupons is flyers in the supermarket itself or the website of the supermarket chain, you can pick up or print out as many coupons as you want.

2. Combine your savings

You'll never get your grocery store manager to volunteer this information, but when you use your coupons on items that are also on sale, you may get the merchandise for just a few cents — or even free.

  • Most items in a supermarket will go on sale every six weeks or less, says Stephanie Nelson, known as the Savings Mom on ABC News' Good Morning America.
  • Looking at the store's weekly advertisement in your local paper is a good way to find these sales. When you find an item that's on sale, review your coupon file to see if you have a coupon to lower the cost even further.
  • If this is a store that doubles or even triples your coupons, you may have just found a free product. When you find a great bargain, stock up on it so you'll have enough to last until it's on sale again.

3. Watch for the bonus coupons

A lot goes on as you leave the checkout counter — you're paying, grabbing your receipt and preparing to wheel your bargain-laden cart to your car.

  • But don't forget one more slip of paper: many checkout lines have a machine that spits out coupons for items you might be interested in on your next trip to the store, based on the products you've bought on this trip.

It's easy to ignore these coupons in the hustle and bustle of the checkout stand.

  • When the coupon emerges from the machine, tuck it into your purse or pocket rather than putting it into a bag of groceries, where it will likely get lost.

4. Try online coupon flyers

  • Some websites partner with the country's largest retailers and has coupons featured in store flyers listed by province.
  • A quick online search will bring you websites that offer coupons for your favourite brands. Just specify your province and click on the coupons you want to receive. They will be mailed to you free of charge the next business day.
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