FOOD & FITNESS / APR. 15, 2014
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Stop Feeling The Pinch: How to Use Coupons to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

We are all aware of coupons, we see them in our local supermarket all the time. Feeding a family of four can be expensive. Groceries are more expensive than ever. There are families that literally cut their grocery bills in half, due to the use of coupons. Here are ways in which you can increase your coupon use, while decreasing the cost of your food.

Where Do You Find Coupons?

In order to use coupons, you need to find them first. Here are some of the most common places to find coupons:

  1. Newspapers: Check your local newspaper. Supermarkets provide coupons that can be found on inserts within the paper. There are inserts provided pretty well every week. If you start taking these coupons out of the newspaper, you'll be surprised how many you have passed by before.
  2. Magazines: Magazines are a great place to find coupons. Most commonly you will find coupons in women's publications or magazines that target food. With that being said, you may have luck finding coupons in your favourite magazine. Keep your eyes open the next time you're flicking through the pages.
  3. In-store: Many stores will provide coupons right at the front entrance of the store. Coupons can also be found on the back of receipts or be given at the register.
  4. Online: There are sites that are literally dedicated to coupons. This website is an example of an online resource. There are also coupons to some of your favourite restaurants and stores. This site will require you to register (for free of course) in order to access vouchers.
  5. Directly From the Manufacturer: Check the manufacturer websites for coupons. You can even email companies directly. Sometimes, they will send you coupons due to valued business. I buy the same organic greens every week. One week they were not fresh at all, but I did not notice until I was home. I emailed the company to let them know that this occurred. They sent me vouchers for three free items, without me even asking.
  6. On products: Coupons are often printed on other products. This is commonly seen on cereal boxes.

These are just some sources of coupons. You will be amazed at how quickly these savings can accumulate. Start being more conscious of these resources.

Organising Coupons

It's great to find the coupons, but what do you do when you have collected them? Some people take their coupon collecting very seriously. In order to use coupons efficiently, it is necessary to stay organised. Here are a few tips to keep your coupons in order:

  • Create a filing system that works for you. Everyone organises differently, and coupons are no exception. You can file your coupons based on food items (e.g. dairy or bakery); you can also file by expiration date. Whatever works best for you, is the filing system that you should use.
  • Use a box or folder. Keeping all your coupons in one location is key. That way, when you need them they're all together. Find a shoebox or folder that will hold your coupons. This is great if you just collect a few here and there. Many people only cut out and collect what they need. A box or folder will hold this limited amount perfectly.
  • Out with the old, and in with the new. Make sure that you are getting rid of expired coupons. They are of no use to you, and will just clutter your current coupons. Sort through at least twice a month and see what can be tossed. This way, you're more prone to use coupons you forgot about.

Some Money Saving Tips

Along with your coupons, there are ways to save money on your grocery items. Here are a few addition tips:

  • Know when items are the cheapest. For instance, bread is always cheaper at the end of the day. There are often times where you can get bread for 50% off just because it's the end of the shopping day. If you shop somewhere that bakes bread daily, you're bound to find a deal or two.
  • Don't go shopping when you're hungry. If your tummy is growling, stay away from the supermarket. You will only fill your cart with foods that you want to eat that very moment. It is much easier to rack up a larger bill on an empty stomach.
  • Buy in bulk. This is a great tip for big families. There are options to buy in bulk; take advantage of this. You will save money doing so, especially with larger packs of meat. You can freeze what you don't use immediately. 
  • Sign up for store loyalty cards. This is a big one. Most of the major supermarkets offer loyalty programs, where you collect points when you shop. These points can be used towards groceries later.

So, if you're feeling the pinch. Start looking into your coupon options. Once you dive into the coupon craze, you'll see what all the fuss is about.

 

Photo credit: Flickr

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