Coupon Techniques for Sticking to a Food Budget

Most families these days are on a tight food budget, and are constantly looking for ways to trim money spent on food.  One of the most obvious ways to accomplish this is by using coupons.  There are tons of coupons in circulation, millions in fact, that could help you slash your food budget from 30% to 50%.  You can save even more if you become passionate about couponing.

Even casual coupon clipping can help you save quite a bit of money, but once you start, you’ll soon find that you have become a coupon clipper extraordinaire.  In order to do this, you need a bit of patience, and some flexibility.  You’ll need to be willing to try new brands according to what’s on sale, but making this simple change can save quite a bit of money.

You’ll also need to be savvy to use coupons to your best advantage.  Coupons are designed to get you into to the store to buy the discounted item.  But, remember that discounted pricey brands are sometimes more expensive than full price store brands, so shop wisely.

You can find food coupons almost anywhere.  The Sunday paper is a good source, as are weekly ad circulars, online coupon sites, public libraries, and coupon swap boxes at the store.  Don’t overlook checkout coupons; these are handed to you with your receipt when you check out at most grocery stores.  Make sure you keep close tabs on your coupons; you don’t want to let them expire and waste valuable savings.

It’s important to keep your coupons organized so you’ll have them handy when it’s time to shop.  Try sorting them by food type in a file card organizer or other easy to find place.  Before you head to the store, pull coupons that match items on your shopping list.  Don’t forget to use mail in rebate coupons too; these can be easily overlooked.

Sign up for a store loyalty membership, which usually includes coupons and store bonus points that offer rewards like discounts or rebates.  If you shop with a credit card, sometimes the store credit card will help you accumulate double points and even free items.

You can save the most money by combining coupons with sale prices.  If you’ve got a coupon for an item that you don’t need right away, try waiting to buy until it’s on sale.  Keep your eyes open for sale and extra bonus points labels.

Compare advertised specials.  You’ll need to decide whether it’s worth the gas money to drive to another store to get a better price on an item; sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.  Before you rush off to the other store, find out if your local store honors competitor coupons.  Many grocery stores do.

Don’t fall into the two-for-a-dollar marketing ploy unless you really need the items being offered.  Limit yourself to only buying what you need.  For example, you might get 10 lemons for a dollar, but you’re wasting money in the end if you don’t use them all.

In the past, some shoppers felt that the grocery store frowned upon coupons.  Shoppers didn’t want to be embarrassed, or hold up the line for the checker to process the coupons.  With so many avid coupon clippers nowadays, these worries are a thing of the past.  Computerization has made the process of scanning coupons quick and easy.

You may not want to take the time to use all of these strategies, and it will take a bit of patience, practice, and experimentation to learn which techniques save the most.  But, if you need to stretch your food budget, clipping coupons is one of the best ways to do it.

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