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Have a System
Don't just throw your coupons in a confused pile somewhere. Instead, devise some sort of simple order to your coupon collection. One good way is to file them in a little box, according to product and expiration date. That way, you'll know what you have, can easily access the coupons you need and be sure to use it before it expires. Also, coupons are worthless if you don't have them with you at the store, so keep your coupons near where you usually keep your car keys, so you don't forget them.
Stay on the Hunt
Before you can use a coupon for savings, you have to acquire it. That means always keeping a lookout for coupons when reading newspapers and magazines. Don't forget to look for special coupons on food packaging, your receipts, and of course all over the internet. Money-saving coupons can be acquired everywhere and for practically every product, if you stay alert!
Coupons can save you money, but only if you are using them on products you would have spent money on anyway. Often, the hidden purpose of coupons is to entice you to buy products you would otherwise not buy, creating an extra purchase that over all serves to actually drain money from your wallet. It doesn't matter that you bought it at a reduced price if it's money you wouldn't have spent in the first place!
Know Your Prices
Just because something can be bought with a coupon doesn't necessarily mean it is a bargain. A dollar off is meaningless if the price is already a dollar above the norm. The best protection against phony coupons that fail to save is to know what the average cost of the product is when it is not on sale (again, reinforcing tip #3 – you’re more likely to know a product’s price if you purchase it frequently).
Consider All the Factors
Sometimes, a bargain isn't a bargain once you figure in all the factors of a sale. For example, a dollar off a pizza is no saving if it has to be delivered and you have to leave a two or three dollar tip. Think the sales process all the way through before using a coupon to be sure that the savings given with one hand are not being taken back with the other through hidden costs.
Many stores will match manufacturer coupons if you ask, and thereby double their value. Also you can sometimes get one coupon for a certain product from a store and another from the manufacturer. Using them both at the same time is another way to double your savings.
Join the Club
Grocery stores in particular are known to have savings clubs which often rely heavily on coupons. The smartest shoppers join them not just for the coupons, but because such clubs will also alert you to other non-coupon sales.