How to Be a Savvy Coupon Clipper

Efficient ways to clip and organize coupons.

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Many people facing rising food costs are considering coupons as a way to save money on their grocery bills. Some aren't sure how to get started, or may not want to deal with clipping coupons because they don't believe the savings is worth the time it takes to cut and organize. Clipping and organizing coupons can be a time-consuming task, but it doesn't have to be.

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There are lots of 'mommy bloggers' and deal sites that track current coupons and store deals and list them online each week. You can also look up your local grocery store and find a list of the best deals, and the sites will match sale items with coupons.

A couple of the bigger sites that do this are MoneySavingMom.com and DealSeekingMom.com, but there are many more sites that track deals. The sites make matching coupons even simpler by including links to printable coupons and E-coupons. This makes using coupons easy because you only "clip" the coupons that match a sale and that you know you will use. You don't even need to bother cutting coupons out of the newspaper inserts until you know you are going to use the coupon.

[See Does Shopping at Costco Save Money?]

There are several sites that offer printable coupons. If you print them through a site like MyPoints, you can receive points for using the coupons you print in addition to getting the coupon savings. A few sites that offer coupons online are Coupons.com, Redplum.com, and Smartsource.com. You can also get E-coupons at Cellfire.com and possibly at your local grocer's website.

You can also go to the manufacturer's websites of products you frequently use. There, you might find coupons or sign up for a mailing list that will periodically send you coupons. You can also email the manufacturer directly and ask for coupons--they'll usually be happy to provide them.

[See How to Save on Back-to-School Shopping.]

Buying coupons from a coupon-clipping service is an easy way to acquire coupons, but it is not recommended. Buying coupons is not illegal, but it is in violation of most manufacturers' coupon policies and makes the coupon void (and you can't ethically use a void coupon). If you have a local grocery store that doubles coupons, you can get some really great deals. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the store's coupon policy, as there are typically limits on what dollar amount can be doubled, and there are sometimes restrictions on the use of printable coupons or how many coupons can be redeemed during a visit.

There's no need to spend hours organizing your coupons like extreme coupon users--it's easy to get started with a minimal time investment.

Andy Hough writes about frugality and living well on a small income at TightFistedMiser.com.