Chop dollars off your grocery bill with these tips.
Keep an eye out for stacks of coupon brochures or flyers in odd places around your grocery store―near the pharmacy, in the meat department or on tear pads in front of displays. Check the free blood-pressure machines for health-related coupons. These offers often go untouched because people don't realize they're there―but they can mean great savings for you. In addition, convenience stores frequently give out high-value coupons that you can use at the grocery store. And don't forget to mine the Internet for deals: Register at manufacturers' Web sites for samples or coupons for brands you use regularly.
Purchase a notebook and fill it with clear plastic sheets made for holding baseball cards or photos. Create sections in the binder that correspond to your supermarket aisles, including produce, dairy and meat. Sort your coupons and file them by expiration date, with the earliest in front so you don't miss deals. Make a separate section for rain checks and coupons that don't expire. Designate a sheet or two for coupons from clothing shops or drugstores.
Before setting out, make a shopping list and check your binder for matching coupons. Star items on the list to remind you of discounts. As you place items in your cart, stick the coupons in an envelope taped to the front of your binder so they're easy to access at checkout.
Most new store ads come out on Wednesdays, so schedule shopping trips for midweek―the stores may also be less crowded. Try to use coupons when the item is already on sale, so you get a discount from both the store and the manufacturer.
Pick a date (say, the first Sunday of the month) to go through your binder and remove expired coupons. Instead of tossing manufacturer's coupons, give them to overseas military families, who can use them for up to six months after expiration. Donate through the Overseas Coupon Program.