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Updated Dec 28, 2012 - 10:40 am

Best tips for coupon clipping and organization

They're not your granny's coupons. You can find them offered on multiple websites -- printable coupons. Just enter your zip code and instantly you have access to dozens of coupons good for use at restaurants, businesses, and grocery stores in your area. Pick the ones you like, hit print, and there you are!

Of course then comes the old fashioned clipping and organizing. There really isn't much way around that. However with a little attention to detail you can turn those scraps of paper into the extra dollars and cents you've managed to save for your family.

Develop a system that works best for you.

You can:

• Cut out every coupon even if it's not for something you use. Some people become involved in coupon exchange groups with other heavy couponers;
• Cut out only coupons you know you will use; or
• Leave printouts or circulars intact until needed. This is nice and simple, but could be a problem when you are in a hurry.

Then you will need to organize your coupons; experiment to find the method that works best for you. Some methods that have worked for others are:

• By expiration date (regularly throw away out of date coupons);
• Alphabetically; and
• By category - Dairy, Frozen, Canned, etc.

Once you decide on your method of organization, find a container for your coupons. Such as:

• An envelope;
• A shoebox;
• A child's pencil box; or
• A binder.

Whatever you decide to use, it's a good idea to keep your coupons with you. You could run into a bargain anywhere.

Next, you need to learn to use you coupons. You have read articles about people known as "Extreme Couponers." They have been on TV news segments and starred on reality shows.

The truth is that their success as couponers doesn't come just because of their ability to match coupons and bargains. Part of their success comes from the fact that they live in an area where the stores have policies that support their endeavors. If you don't live in a place where grocery stores double coupons for instance, you are not going to be able to replicate the outcomes that these star couponers enjoy.

Still with a little planning on your part you can come up with some pretty nice savings of you own. (One of the easiest ways to save money is to combine a store sale item with a coupon.)

Check the circular or website for every store where you plan to shop. Learn their policies for standard and printable coupons.

• Do they double coupons?
• Can you combine coupons?
Do they allow printable coupons? If so they must be scannable. No barcode, no coupon. There will also need to be a manufacturer's address printed on the coupon just as there is on standard coupons.

Good luck and happy couponing.

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