Extreme couponing can be a full time job. However, it doesn't always have to be that way. Being a smart coupon user versus going to the extreme can save you both time and money. Our shopping world is filled with many different resources, that can help to save us shoppers money. Even if it's just a little discount, the savings can add up over the year.
If you don't want to spend all your time hunting for coupons, there are a few tips that I can offer. If you subscribe to a newspaper, throughout the week, there will be ads and coupons (mostly sundays). Some are even mailed to your home. What you want to do first is decide where you do most of your shopping. It might not be worth it to go to 5 different grocery stores just to use all your coupons, because that's a lot of gas money that can add up.
Once you figure out what stores you shop at most (which are usually the ones that are closest and have the lower prices), then start looking at the ads and coupons for those stores. Look carefully at the things you need and the things you don't really need. You can save yourself a lot of money by holding back from buying something just because it's on sale. What happens with that is, if you purchase something on sale that you already have, it may not get used in time, and ends up going to waste. Being smart about what you purchase and matching that with sales and coupons can save you a lot of money.
The internet is another resource that is especially helpful. Even if you aren't familiar with any coupon sites, you can always use google. You'd be surprised what information you can find. There are other sites with coupons, deals, information, forums to share coupon saving experiences, etc. Using this as another resource can give you the heads up on what kind of deals are out there and if you're paying too much at your current grocery store.
Don't forget to sign up for your grocery store membership. They may not offer amazing rewards, but they do offer some money back or store credit after purchasing 'x' amount. This can add up and is really just free cash/credit to buy more groceries. Also, when you purchase, using a credit card that gives you extra points for groceries can help a lot. Over the year, you probably spend thousands of dollars on groceries. Having a 5% cash back versus a 1% cash back can make a big difference. Always take advantage of stacking rewards and points.
Also, pay attention to store sales. At times, there may be a discount if you purchase say, 10 bars of chocolate for 10$, making it out to be 1$ a bar. However, some stores, like Ralphs for example, do not require you to actually purchase 10 to receive the discount. You can purchase just 1 bar for 1$ instead of the normal price, if you are a rewards member. This can save a lot of money as you may be forced into purchasing the number stated in the sale, just to get the cheaper price, when all you had to do was purchase the amount you needed. If you are unsure if your store does this, you can ask any worker at the grocery store and they will tell you if they do this or not.
Online grocery shopping seems a bit new, but don't be afraid of it. Especially if you shop at Amazon. Amazon prices are usually good, but not always for the grocery section. However, once in a while you come across a pretty good deal. Amazon does not charge tax and offers free shipping over a certain amount. If you sign up for their prime membership, you can get free 2 day shipping for the year. They usually have a month free for new users and you can test out their faster shipping service.
All in all, use all the resources you can, but not up to the point where you are spending your whole day looking. Be a smart couponeer. Not everyone needs to be extreme, nor has the time for it. Saving time often leads to saving money. In the end, it's all about timing and stacking everything together for the best deal. It's kind of like fishing. You're waiting for that best catch of your life where everything just works perfectly and you reel yourself the biggest catch of your life. It can happen to you, with patience, planning, and smart use of resources and coupons.
Good luck and happy couponing!