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Using Coupons and Rebates

 

by Nikki Willhite

 

There have been many articles and reports written explaining ways to cut your grocery bills. Donít go shopping on an empty stomach, cook from scratch, buy generic brands, shop at warehouses, etc.

Then there are coupons. There are some products that just taste better if you buy the name brand. When we are in a hurry, or perhaps not feeling well, it still is cheaper to make something at home from a box than to buy fast food.

Many people are very skillful at using coupons. They know where to get them, and where to use them. I was offered a coupon distributorship, and as I was thinking it over I decided to ask a few people who subscribed to my previous newsletter, The Pennypincher, to see if it would be something I should do. The answer was a resounding "no".  They all responded that they get them for free.   Some of my readers even told me they climb into dumpsters to get discarded newspapers.

Here are some tips on making the most of coupons- without climbing into dumpsters!

The first thing you need to do is to get organized. Use envelopes. Label them with the different categories of food you buy regularly, such as pasta, canned vegetables, etc. Every time you see a coupon, clip it, and then file it.

Sunday newspapers are a good source for coupons. So are magazines. If you know your paperboy, find out what happens to his leftover papers. There are also coupons you can get off the internet and print. There are also clubs both on the internet and in neighborhoods where people exchange them.

When you see items on sale that you have coupons for, that's the time to buy. If you use something, and you have 3 coupons for it, buy 3 of them. This is how you will save the most money in the long run.

If a coupon has an expiration date, you need to either circle it and keep it in the front of the envelope, or make a special envelope for coupons about to expire.

 Your big savings come when stores offer double coupon days. Then you can double the value of your coupon, usually up to 50 cents. Find out which stores do this with regularity, and be prepared to take advantage of it.

Rebates

This is more work, but if you want to save money, it's worth it. When you use any canned or boxed item, save the package. Do not just save the UPC code. Stores are making it harder and asking for different parts of the packaging now.

You will need some boxes, and it will take some room, but file these things away in an orderly fashion. Put them in your garage or somewhere in your home, being mindful not to create a fire hazard.   Keep your receipts also, as you will need them for the the rebates.

Always check out food boxes for special offers. Many cereals offer little toys or other things that can be used for birthday parties or small gifts. It may be worth sending off for them.

It's a lot of work, but if you are organized and skillful, you can save  a lot of money on food with coupons and rebates.

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! 


 

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