Tough economic times call for extreme measures for families trying to find savings in the grocery aisles.
Coupon search engines such as Couponing 101 are a great place for beginners to start. The site has 50,000 followers.
“When I’m doing couponing full-force, I can feed my family for $200 a month, and that’s a family of five,” follower Anna Molder said.
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Stephanie Rector, who runs Couponing 101, said shoppers can regularly save $100 to $200 every week.
‘It can seem tedious, cutting out coupons,” she said. “But when you go to the store, and you save a lot of money and you get products for free, it gives you a thrill.”
Rector and Molder also say shoppers can find coupons without buying the Sunday paper.
Secret Spot No. 1: Gas Stations
“Anytime I stop at a gas station I go in and check,” said Stephanie Rector, who runs coupon portal Couponing101.
She said she sometimes finds 50-cent-off drink coupons that can also be used at grocery stores.
“If your grocery doubles or triples coupons, you can get yourself a free drink,” Rector said.
Keep an eye out for the coupons by the refrigerated drinks.
“You can sometimes find tear pads with coupons for soda, Propel or Gatorade,” Rector said.
Secret Spot No. 2: Airports
Travelers often buy newspapers they don’t take on the flight.
“If you fly Sunday, those papers will have coupons worth getting. Just take the paper with you,” said Rector.
Secret Spot No. 3: Coupon-Clipping Services
Do an online search to find services where you pay someone about 10 cents to clip each coupon.
“You do pay for postage, but if you’re buying several at a time, you save overall,” Rector said.
“For example, if you know you buy diapers every week and there’s a $3-off coupon, if you buy the coupons, that’s 10 cents a coupon for the clipping. You still have almost $29 in savings when you go shopping for those diapers," she said.
Secret Spot No. 4: Facebook
The social-networking service is Rector's favorite.
“I love Facebook right now, because manufacturers are trying to get lots of people to 'like' their pages," she said.
From Nabisco to Nivea to Kashi cereal, manufacturers offer free products along with deep discount coupons. Many coupons can be printed at home.
Molder said she got a $5 coupon from Bounty.
“It was almost a game," she said. "You sat on the computer waiting for them to announce this coupon was being put on live. I was lucky -- I just happened to be on the Internet and got it.”
Bounty in return had more than 1.7 million fans on their page, more traffic and buzz about its product.
Secret Spot No. 5: Recyclebank
Recyclebank where shoppers can watch videos about recycling, take a quiz about what they learned and earn points toward coupons for their favorite products.
Rector said she saved nearly 75 percent off on Kashi cereal.
“I had a $2 coupon I got at Recyclebank," she said. "I think the cereal was on sale [for] $2.99, so I got this for 99 cents a box."
Rector and Molder said shoppers can allot 30 minutes to an hour a week and reap significant savings. They recommend using portals such as Couponing 101 to make it more efficient to track down the coupons you want.