Cutting costs with coupons
March 6: TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe finds out how to save big at the grocery store; TODAY’s Ann Curry talks to Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson about using coupons to cut your costs.
Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com, says it’s possible to fight the rising cost of groceries without sacrificing your favorite foods. Try her simple coupon saving strategies the next time you go to the grocery store:
Plan your meals and shopping lists around featured sale items.
- Use your store’s weekly sales ad flier to plan your menus for the week. Then, write your shopping list around the items and brands that are on sale.
- Taking a few minutes to make a detailed plan will save you the time of making unplanned trips to the store during the week—which can ruin your budget.
- Planning ahead also helps you avoid impulse shopping during your trip.
Know how your stores’ savings programs work.
- Do they have “buy one, get one free” deals?
- Do they double coupons?
- Do they offer a store discount cards that gives you automatic discounts?
- Do they have special store coupons?
- Once you know your stores’ rules, you can combine them to pay the lowest possible prices for your items, such as using two coupons with a “buy one, get one free” deal. Combining strategies can result in free items.
Use grocery coupons, ideally when the item is on sale.
- Buy the Sunday newspaper—75 percent of grocery coupons come from the newspaper. Buy two to three copies per week to save dramatically.
- Go online—grocery stores often have their best deals and printable coupons on their websites.
- Many stores offer electronic coupons that go directly on your store discount card.
Stock up on common items when they hit their lowest price.
- Don’t buy a year’s supply, just enough to last until the next sale (two to three weeks).
- Boneless chicken is on sale every other week at Stephanie’s grocery store, so she buys two weeks of boneless chicken every other week to store in her freezer. This habit saves her family of four $325 a year on this one item.
Be flexible about brands and stores.
- Buy the brand that’s on sale with a coupon, or get the store brand if it’s less expensive.
- Shop at the store with the best prices for your items that week.
- Stephanie Nelson’s website is www.couponmom.com
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