• How to Use the Coupon Mom System

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With The Coupon Mom System
by Stephanie Nelson, The Coupon Mom 

New!  Watch our Video Tutorial to learn how to save big in less than 5 minutes!

"Strategic Shopping is not about changing the way you eat, it is about changing the way you buy the food that you like."
I have been a Strategic Shopper for over 16 years, and save 50% or more on groceries by combining grocery items' lowest prices with store promotions and coupons. However, being an expert Strategic Shopper is a real skill, and it can take time to learn how to combine every possible savings program to pay the lowest prices, or to get groceries absolutely free.
The great news is that you don't have to be an expert Strategic Shopper to save 50% or more on your groceries when you use the Coupon Mom website. In fact, over 2 million members take advantage of the site's free tools to save big with very little effort. Member comments like this one are common:
"I am a huge fan of CouponMom.com. . .every time I go shopping and use my coupons I get shocked looks from the cashiers wondering how I do it. I always refer them to CouponMom.com and let them know they can do it too. Thanks for your team's hard work and guidance...I couldn't have survived this economy without it!"
This tutorial will teach you how to have the same success by using  these free tools every week:
1. The Grocery Deals by State section
2. The Grocery Coupon Database section
3. Printable and Paperless coupon sources
How to Use The Grocery Deals by State section:
Our team of professional Strategic Shoppers figure out the best deals for 43 store chains by combining all available promotions and coupons with featured sale items every week. The deals lists are available by 10 am on the day prices change at each store. 
In addition to printing free coupons from the site, your first step is to start getting the Sunday newspaper, because 80% of grocery coupons come from the newspaper. However, you do not need to cut out all the coupons if you use the "Coupon Mom System" described here. With this system, you will spend about 15 minutes per week cutting out only the coupons you'll need for each trip. 
Look for 2-3 coupon circulars in the paper each week. Write that Sunday's date on the front of the coupon circular. When you see a deal on the list that you like, it will reference the coupon circular date in the first column to make it easy for you to cut out and use only the coupons you need. Print your list of selected items and sit down with your stack of dated coupon circulars. 
If you already have a coupon system that works for you, that's great--you can use our Grocery Deals lists to save regardless of the type of coupon organization system you use.  Knowing when to combine the sale items with coupons available is the most important key to saving.
This is an example of what a Grocery Deals list on CouponMom.com looks like:

1-Cpn. Out
2- Item Description
3-Cpn. Value
5-Sale Price
6-Final Price
7-% Saved
03-21 RP
Smart Balance Sour Cream 50% Off
03-21 RP
Smart Balance Spread 50% Off Full Line Sale (lowest est price shown
03-28 S2
Dannon Kids Multipack Yogurt
03-28 RP
Snuggle Fabric Softener 70-80 ct sheets or 32-40 oz liquid
03-28 RP
Sally Hansen Lip & Nail Products 25% Off (lowest price)

Column 1--"Coupon Out" refers to the date that coupon came out in the newspaper. The coupons are noted by date and the first initial of the circular's name in our Newspaper Coupon Database.  For example, a coupon that came out on March 21 from the RedPlum circular would say, "3-21RP" and a coupon that came out on the same date from SmartSource would say "3-21S".  If there are 2 circulars from the same company that week, which happens a few weeks a year, we number the circulars.  You would see "3-28 S1" and "3-28 S2".  Procter and Gamble circulars (PG) appear once a month.
Circular names and codes:
S : SmartSource         RP: Red Plum           PG:  Procter & Gamble
Column 2--"Description" refers to the name of the item and information about any special promotion that lowers that item's price in addition to the coupons shown.
Column 3--"Coupon Value" refers to the total value of the coupon based on the store's coupon policy. For example, if a store doubles coupons up to 50 cents, and the coupon's face value is 25 cents, then the total value shown in this column would be 50 cents (25 cents doubled).
Column 4--"Quantity" refers to the total number of items to be purchased based on coupon quantity requirements. If a coupon is not available, the quantity would be one.
Column 5--"Sale Price" refers to the item's sale price before taking off the value of the coupon. The item's full price is not shown on this list due to space restrictions.
Column 6--"Final Price" refers to the final price per item after the coupon value is deducted. If the quantity requirement is 2, the final price would be on a per item basis, not the total cost of both items.
Column 7--"Percentage Saved" refers to the percentage savings of the final price as compared to the item's full price (which isn't shown on the list but is in the database that calculates the savings).

How to Use the Grocery Coupon Database section:
The  Grocery Coupon Database is an interactive database listing all of printable and newspaper grocery coupons.
The printable coupons are listed at the top of the database and are easy to identify because they have pictures by each coupon description, as well as a link that says "view coupon."
The majority of the listings are referencing coupons from the Sunday newspaper and show the date and circular coupon code next to the coupon description (read instructions about the coupon codes in the previous Grocery Deals by State section). 
The key to saving the most money is to save the entire newspaper coupon circular each week, writing the date on the front, to be able to find coupons easily when you need them.  You do not necessarily have to use coupons every week, but you will want to get the coupon circular every week to have a full inventory of coupons available.
If you choose to cut out some coupons for your coupon organizer, be sure to save the rest of the circular because you never know which items will go on sale in future weeks that could end up being free deals with the coupon. Even if you haven't purchased the item in the past, you may be willing to switch brands or try a new item when it's free. Saving the entire circular is the key to maximum savings. 

1. Preview the Sunday coupons to get a jump on planning. New coupons will appear the Friday morning before the Sunday issue date.  
2. Sort the list in order of coupon issue date, and see the grocery coupons that have come out in your city's Sunday paper that week.  Select and display the grocery coupons you'd be likely to use, and determine if it makes sense to get extra copies of the newspaper that week.
3.   Sort the list alphabetically and create your own list of "Best Grocery Deals" using any grocery or drugstore's advertising circular.  When you see an item you need on sale,  you can quickly see if a grocery coupon is available for the item. 
 4.  Sort the list by expiration date, to make sure you take advantage of grocery coupons you need that will be expiring soon.
 5.  Use the Search Box to find grocery coupons quickly.  You can search by brand name, or by generic name.  For example, search the word "cereal" and you will see a list of every brand of cereal coupon issued in the paper that hasn't expired yet. 
6. Sort the list by Coupon Value to find the highest-value coupons easily.
More Benefits of CouponMom.com:
Save with Printable and Paperless Coupons:
CouponMom.com works with the most reputable companies to provide free printable coupons as well as electronic coupons that you load directly on your store card. Links to our online coupon sections are at the top of the CouponMom.com homepage as well as on our Printable Grocery Coupon page.
Free Membership:
When you register for the Coupon Mom website, you can be sure that we will not share your email address with any other party, as stated in our Privacy Policy. Members gain access to our Grocery Deals by State section. Members also will receive our Coupon Mom newsletter letting you know about free deals and new coupons twice a week. When you register, you can also opt in to receive the Super Saver printable coupon newsletter that highlights new printable coupons available.
Member Support:
Learn from experienced members via the Coupon Mom Forum. Beginners are welcome to ask questions in the forum, and expert members are happy to answer. We post up-to-the-minute deals on our Blog and Twitter feeds several times a week. You can find links to our community resources on our Forum and Blog page.
Coupon and Deal Alert:  You can create a customized list of items and/or brands you buy and when there are coupons or sales on those items at your stores, we will send you an email alert!
We give away free Coupon Mom books and cash prizes regularly, and announce those giveaways in the Coupon Mom newsletter. Be sure to check yours every week!
Educational Videos:
Watch more Coupon Mom videos demonstrating savings strategies in the News Video section.
Join CouponMom.com today  to start saving--membership is always free!
To learn more about Strategic Shopping, be sure to order a copy of Stephanie Nelson's New York Times best-selling book, "The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half."

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