Wield Grocery Coupons Like A Pro

Becoming a committed coupon wielder is one of the best ways to reverse the damage of rising costs and shrinking portions. Nancy Rivera Brooks has slashed $250 from her family’s grocery bill this year by using a handful of tricks to get the most from her coupons…

  • Make A List: Bet you never guessed this would be the first item. Always, always, always make a list. Any gain from coupons is easily offset by wasteful list-free shopping.
  • Know Your Prices: You can’t tell if you’re getting a good deal if you don’t keep track of prices. Diehards rely on spreadsheets and pounce with coupons when prices plummet.
  • Stockpile!: If it isn’t perishable, buy without shame. Reach high and aim for your pantry ceiling.
  • Get Organized: Highlight coupon expiration dates to avoid checkout counter letdown.
  • Be Selective: Coupons don’t automatically mean savings. Compare discounted prices against other brands and generics to make sure you’re getting the best price.
  • Use Multiple Coupon Sources: The Sunday paper is still the most popular coupon source, but that shouldn’t keep you from checking sites like CouponMom.com, TheGroceryGame.com, and MyCoupons.com.
  • Combine Coupons: Mix manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons for extra savings.
  • Leverage Loyalty Programs: We don’t like grocers tracking everything we buy, but we do love the savings they offer loyal customers. We always happen to conveniently forget our card at home, and cashiers are always more than willing to swipe through their spare discount card.
  • Pay Attention: Look for “redeem now” coupons stuck on products for extra savings.
  • Be Shameless: Dented can? Ask the manager for a discount.
  • Ask For Coupons: Take a minute to whip-up a gushing letter of praise for your favorite brand. They’ll send you coupons as thanks.

All this work to buy cheap food really makes us reconsider foraging. Is that berry poisonous? No? Boom, lunch! We don’t live near bushes, so share your expert coupon-wielding tips in the comments.

Confessions of a dedicated coupon clipper [The Los Angeles Times]
(Photo: Getty)