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Saving at Checkout
Photo: Robert Mizerek
I was immediately intrigued when I saw the receipt. “You bought all this stuff for only that amount?” I inquired. “Yep” she replied, “And here’s best part; this isn’t an isolated incident, I get deals like this all the time.” I could hardly believe what I was seeing. 

A good friend of our family’s is a coupon fanatic, and after witnessing the incredible “buys” she was bringing home I began to understand what I had previously passed off as a complete waste of time. She was actually saving her family some serious dough!

My wife and I discovered that using coupons can be a great money saver if it’s done correctly. Here are some of the best tips that we’ve learned.


1. Check and list the items that your family normally consumes. It’s difficult to remember everything spontaneously. Having a list of all the products your family uses is very helpful. List the item’s normal price from the stores you frequently shop at so you’ll know when a good deal come along.

2. Keep a coupon file handy that lists all your purchase sub-headings (such as paper products, canned goods, frozen foods etc.) The more organized you are the easier it will be to shop. A good filing system is well worth the time and effort it takes to create and maintain.

3. Buy the Sunday paper in your city. Depending on where you live, many Sunday papers contain circulars that have incredible coupons. Clip all the ones that your family is likely to use and put them in your filing system.

4. Check your local store circulars early in the week for great deals on items that you normally purchase. This allows you to plan your buying strategy and to begin lining up all the coupons you will need.

5. Get your coupons in order. Make sure you have coupons for the sale items (if you can get them). One tip is to purchase your coupons through an Internet site that sells them (actually you are purchasing the time and effort they spent in clipping them). Web sites like www.thecouponclippers.com are wonderful resources that have thousands of coupons you can peruse and purchase, and they cost a fraction of the coupon’s face value. This is a cost-effective way to get the coupons you need, and they usually arrive within a couple of days depending on where you live.

6. Stockpile great deals. Recently, our family discovered an item that normally sells for $1.99 for only .59 cents. We purchased 15. We felt that since we would use it regularly anyway, purchasing what would normally cost $29.85 for only $8.85 only made sense. 

7. Learn about upcoming manufacturer’s coupons. Web sites like www.refundcents.com provide a “heads up” about coupons that will soon be “rolled out” to the marketplace. This assessment tool can help you plan ahead.

Even if you could shave off $50. a month using some or all of the techniques above, that totals $600 a year. Couponing works, and we’ve discovered that it’s worth the extra effort.

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By Michael Temple
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