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The best way to start saving a substantial amount of money with coupons is to start matching them with sales. For example, this week, Birds Eye Steamfresh Vegetables are on sale at Giant Eagle for 5 for $5.00. When matched with the 50-cent coupon (which doubles at Giant Eagle) from the September 13 Smart Source insert, they end up being FREE! Guess who’s stocking up on veggies this week?

You’re probably thinking, ” I don’t have time to match sales with coupons!”¬† The good news is you don’t have to do the work. There are literally hundreds of websites out there that will do this for you.

My favorite website for matching coupons with sales is www.CouponAllies.com. It’s a local (Northeast Ohio) blog that takes the time to match the sales with coupons for you. You can routinely get the best coupon-sales match-ups for Giant Eagle and Target on their site. They will also post deals they find at other stores as well.

Another great blog to follow if you’re looking for Kroger and Meijer deals is www.stretchingabuckblog.com. This blog is out of Central Ohio. In addition to Kroger and Meijer deals, it also includes Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, Giant Eagle and Target.

There are also websites that require a paid membership to access the deals and other money-saving information. I have found that, in general, what you can get from the free blogs is just as good as the paid sites with one exception: I love RefundCents.com! I do not use this very much for grocery deals but for information on saving at drugstores and other places. Watch for an upcoming post for a review of this site.

One thing to note is that stores run different sales in different regions. So when you follow a blog, if it is not in your region the sales may vary slightly, so it is best to check it against your local store’s ad. Also, not everyone gets the same coupons. In Northeast Ohio, there are different coupons in Cleveland than there are in Akron and Canton. There are many bloggers throughout the country that match sales with coupons, so it’s best if you can find one in your region.

When you first go to a coupon-matching blog, it’s going to seem like they’re speaking in a foreign language! Everyone is pretty familiar with BOGO, but what does RP or OYNO mean? CouponAllies.com has a great primer in learning to speak the coupon language. Go here to start speaking the language in no time!

Coupon InsertsOK, so you’ve started¬† following a coupon-matching blog and learned to speak the coupon language. What next? You’re going to need to start clipping! There are many different coupon-clipping methods out there. When I first started clipping coupons, I did what my mother taught me. You clip them all out and then file them into a little coupon-size accordion file. Then I had kids. The coupon inserts would sit around and never get cut.

Once I found the coupon-matching blogs, I found that what works best for me is the no-clip method. This means that you don’t clip the coupon until you need it. As much as I would like to get to the store every week to take advantage of all the free and cheap offers, it just doesn’t happen. So when the inserts come in Sunday I stack them up in date order in a basket.

When I check the blogs I follow I see which deals I want to take advantage of and go to my stack. The blogs will tell you what date and in which insert the coupon ran. I find the coupon and clip it. The downside of this method is that I don’t have all of the coupons while at the store and sometimes miss out on unadvertised deals.

I am currently exploring a new method for myself as I get a little more serious about my couponing called the binder method. I am going to try this out for several weeks and will write a review here of how well I liked or disliked it.

If you have a favorite website or blog for matching sales with coupons, post a comment and share it with other readers. Or share your favorite method for clipping and filing your coupons.

In the next part of my coupon series, “Playing the Drugstore Game,” I will discuss matching sales, coupons, rebates, and register rewards programs for even more savings and to sometimes even make money!

4 Responses to “Coupon Series Part 2: Matching Sales With Coupons”

  1. Jessie says:

    I’ve been coupon crazy lately… I think you saw my post about the dozen-plus boxes of free cereal I got! I’d love to know of a coupon matching website for Indiana (or do you think the Ohio ones will be the same?). I only have Kroger and Wal-Mart in my town and I haven’t been in a Wal-Mart in over 5 years (and don’t plan on starting anytime soon)!

  2. admin says:

    Hi Jessie,

    I was very impressed with your free cereal catch! I did a quick search for “Indiana Kroger Deals” and found a blog that uses a Kroger ad from Central Indiana. It’s http://bargainbriana.com/ If this blog doesn’t work for you, you could do a similar search to find one you like.

    Thanks for leaving a comment!

  3. […] to name a few. The great thing about freebies is that they often come with high value coupons which matched with sales can often lead to more free […]

  4. […] couponing and playing the drugstore game, I often get things for free. Currently we have over a dozen bottles […]

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