How to Use Coupons to Cut Your Shopping Bill in Half

Coupons. You’ve heard about them. You’ve watched television shows about them. You wonder what it is like to walk into a grocery store and be able to hand over a stack of coupons and walk out with a cart-full of groceries costing you just $8.10. That’s what others do. How can you get 60, 70, or even 90 percent off your bills? It may be easier to do than you think. In fact, depending on the extreme level you hope to use, you can easily cut those bills down and be able to save more than half of your shopping expenses without even spending more than a few minutes on the process.

Step 1 – Get Coupons

The first step is to find and use coupons. Depending on how extreme you want to be, you may be looking for as many coupons as you can get. Start slow and build up so you are not overwhelmed initially by this process. Here are some ways to get coupons.

1. Your local newspaper is the best source for coupons. Sunday papers often have some, but there are others throughout the week. You’ll want to subscribe to at least one. Moreover, keep in mind, if you go into the grocery store or drug store the day after the paper comes out, extra copies may be a fraction of the cost.

2. Sign up for various couponing groups online and swap them out. You can find blogs, forums and message boards full of coupon swappers ready to sell or trade them with you. This is serious business.

3. Look for sites you can download and print off the coupons you need. Coupons.com is one of them. It’s a great site for coupon offers of all types.

4. Some magazines have coupons in them. Be careful. The cost of the magazine has to be factored into any savings you’ll find here.

5. Buy them on eBay and other auction sites. You can often buy them for a fraction of their value and use them as much as you want.

Getting coupons is the first task. The next is knowing what to do with them.

Step 2 – Be Rational

This is where some people fall out of line. In order to save money, or cut your shopping bill in half, you need to make wise buying decisions. Not every coupon is a good deal. Additionally, if it is a product that you do not need, spending even one penny on it is not worthwhile. In other words, go through your coupons, cut them out, and organize them. Use only those that are actually going to be valuable to you.

Step 3 – Know Your Store

Contact your retailers and find out what their coupon policy is. Some will restrict how many you can use in each transaction. Some will double or even triple the amount you save. You also have to watch for printed coupons, like those you get online. Some companies will not allow you to use these. Know your coupon policies, limitations, and exceptions before doing anything else.

Step 4- Getting the Ads

Depending on the extreme level you plan to coupon, you will need to be very organized in this process. The goal is to do some matching.

- Find out what’s on sale. If you want to keep yourself even more frugal, it is a good idea to only buy what you need that’s on sale. That way, you are not spending more than you need to at all.

- Next, compare the coupons you have to what is on sale. For example, if you see that cereal is on sale and you have a coupon for it, set aside those coupons to use. This doubling up of the sale and the coupon is where the significant savings comes in.

Put aside as many coupons as you can for each of the items on sale that are a good deal. You can do this same process to any other grocery store you plan to visit. Some companies also price match. For example, a very big discount department store that’s likely in your area price matches what others offer. This is a good way to get more savings if your retailer has limitations.

Once you work through this process, you’ll be able to save a substantial amount of money. The key is to look at the savings. If you notice that peanut butter is on sale and you have a coupon, you’ll save big time. If it costs $2 a jar, you have a coupon for $1 off, and your retailer doubles coupons, that jar of peanut butter is free to you.

It’s a process that takes some getting used to, but if you do it right and stay organized you can easily slash your budget in half or even more than half. That could be one of the biggest opportunities for you to save money on groceries. Why didn’t you think of this sooner?