Smart Couponing Tips

At the Store

Don't fall for convenience. There are some items, like produce and milk, that are must-haves each week. It's a lot harder to find coupons for these items, but you can save money by cutting back on prepared food. Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com and author of The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half, says, "A head of romaine lettuce is much less expensive than a bag of the pre-cut stuff. In fact, if you buy prepared lettuce you're paying the equivalent of 57 dollars an hour for someone else to wash it for you."

Look for in-store deals. Clipping coupons doesn't have to stop when you leave the house. Many grocery stores offer Catalina coupons, which print along with your receipt at checkout. And keep an eye out for in-store coupons as you shop -- stores often hang in-store coupons on the shelf in front of an item.

Make the most of your store card. Grocery store rewards cards save you cash with almost no effort -- just swipe at the register and you'll get instant deals and savings. You can even load electronic coupons to your store card on your grocery store's website, or on sites like Cellfire.

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