budget talk

September is National Coupon Month

September is National Coupon Month so what better time to use these little slips of paper to help stretch your food dollar. Here are some ideas and hints on finding coupons, and how to use them for maximum benefit.

Newspapers and Magazines
I get about 50% of my coupons from the Sunday newspaper. If you’re looking for coupons for food items, it can’t be beat. Magazines, especially women’s magazines, are another good source. And if you want to buy items like natural and organic foods, try picking up a copy of Delicious Living. My local co-op has free copies at the information desk and every issue has at least two coupons I can use. The best part is they often have a face value of $1, which is great news when it’s double coupon day at my local supermarket.

And Speaking of…Your local supermarket is also a good source of coupons. Look out for those little red machines that are attached to the shelves along each aisle. They usually have a flashing red light so you can’t miss them. And if your store has a double coupon day, these can be a goldmine. And don’t forget lots of stores produce their own coupons. If you don’t receive a newspaper containing a flyer, make sure you check the one at the store before you head down the aisles.

New to the Stores
If you see a product that’s brand new, there’s a good chance the company who makes it will be giving away free coupons and samples to introduce it. Check their Web site.

Just How Much am I Saving?
I’m guessing these days people who never shopped with coupons don’t read the newspaper without keeping a pair of scissors by their side. If you’re still not convinced just how much you can save think about this. If it’s only $10 a month, that’s $120 a year…money that could be pay another bill or even money you could add to a mortgage payment. Believe me; using coupons isn’t a waste of time.

Coupon Swap Groups
If you really need more coupons and have no way of finding them, why not start a coupon-swapping group. You could put a notice up at day care centers, the supermarket notice board, or even the local coffee shop. Get a group of people together and meet once a month to swap coupons. Let others know what you’re looking for, and even swap money saving tips and recipes.

Straight to the Source
Before I head to a store, I not only check their flyer, but their Web site too. Sometimes that has special coupons that are only available online.

Hot Coupon World
If you haven’t already visited www.hotcouponworld.com Do it today and sign up for their newsletter that arrives in your e-mail box twice a week alerting you to deals and links to lots of great coupons. These days I find at least 50% of my coupons through this site.

All You
You might remember me telling you that during a recent trip to Walmart I bought a copy of a magazine called All You. It’s not only a great read but a goldmine for coupon hunters like myself. www.allyou.com
And speaking of Hot Coupon World, one of the links this week was to Amazon.com. Currently they’re offering a two year subscription to All You for $29 (after cart coupon).

Flattery Gets You…coupons
We all like to receive a pat on the back from time to time. And being nice to companies and manufacturers can sometimes reap you rewards in the form of coupons. If you’re pleased with a product, let the company know. And check if they have a loyalty program or newsletter so you can receive e-mail alerts about specials and coupons.

And Remember…
Don’t let your coupons just sit there. At the beginning of each month, pull out the ones that expire in the next 30 days and work out your week’s menu with the coupon items in mind.

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