Coupon clipping can be a real drag at times — particularly if you’re busy or in a hurry. But focusing on the potential savings (and where you might use that savings) could be enough motivation to keep you disciplined and clipping on a regular basis.

The Los Angeles Times is out with an article about ways to save using coupons. Writes the article’s author, Nancy Rivera Brooks:

I love saving money and getting a deal that someone else isn’t getting. There’s nothing like standing in line at the store and hearing the groans from other shoppers when you pull out a big wad of paper, followed by the gasps when the checker knocks $20 or $50 off your tab.

But the time it takes to cut out coupons is a drag, as is the time it takes to prowl around online to find even more coupons. Then too, supermarkets keep tightening the rules to reduce their customers’ coupon take. And few things are more annoying than a cashier who grimaces and challenges each coupon as if it were coming out of her or his salary.

But at the same time, coupons are a gold mine. Since the beginning of the year, my family has saved nearly $250 by using store coupons. That’s enough to buy an iPhone (with tax) or to gas up my station wagon for a month.

The article combines advice from the author, along with advice from coupon expert sites CouponMom.com and TheGroceryGame.com. Some of the tips and advice have been posted here on TipHero.com before, such as making a shopping list before you go the store. But there are a number of good ideas that haven’t received as much coverage, such as:

  • Know what things cost. Supermarkets move prices up and down all the time, so the trick is striking when the price is low — and adding an extra wallop with coupons. Some experts suggest lugging around a list of the prices of things you usually buy so you know when you’re really getting a deal.
  • Stockpile. This rule is related to the previous two. When something from your regular list goes on sale, buy lots of it and use those coupons. Keep in mind that one frequent supermarket trick, the multiple deal, doesn’t always require multiple purchases. A two-for-one price could mean you need to buy two to get the deal or it could mean each item is half-priced even if you buy only one. Check carefully.
  • Be selective. Manufacturers often issue coupons to get people to try new products. But even with the coupon savings, there could be better deals on the shelves from generic or older brands. On the other hand, a store brand isn’t always cheaper once you figure in the coupon savings. You have to pencil it out. Who knew shopping could be so math-intense?
  • There are several more tips, so we suggest clicking through the link below to read the full article and find out how you can be all the wiser when it comes to using coupons: Confessions of a Dedicated Coupon Clipper.

    Do you know of any good tips for using coupons to save money on groceries or other times? Please share them by submitting a tip of your own or commenting on this tip by using the comment form below.

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