Secrets of Coupon Clipping

Coupon Clipping is in my genes, what can I say?!  My mom was my chief mentor in the coupon clipping world.  She always sat down on Sunday with the newspaper and carefully clipped coupons.  As I grew up and moved out on my own, I followed in her footsteps.  Many of my friends have said that they aren't sure it's worth the time and trouble to clip the coupons and then try to remember to bring them to the store with you.  One of my record coupon savings in one transaction (without any double coupon promotion) was $13. . . that's not chump change :-)  Here are my secrets to coupon clipping. . .

Secret #1
:  First and foremost, do not clip unless it's for a product and brand that you use or will use to substitute for something you normally use.  Keep in mind that the manufacturer's main purpose of coupons is not to save you as a consumer money but to get you to try a different brand or buy more than you would normally buy.  

That leads me to Secret #2:  Don't clip coupons for quantities of items that you do not normally buy or that you cannot use/store.  Example:  My husband and I occasionally eat Cheerios.  I was having a craving for them one week and saw a coupon but stopped before clipping it . . . I could save a $1.00 if I bought 3 boxes.  Very clever of General Mills to try to get me to buy 3 boxes when I only wanted 1.  I knew that we would not eat all of that cereal before it went bad and my cupboard had no room to store 3 boxes.  On the other hand, when my deodorant company offers money off the purchase of two deodorants, that is worth it because I can easily store the second one and use it next month.
 
Secret #3:  Buy a small inexpensive expandable folder to keep your coupons in.  Separate the coupons into categories and label each divider in the folder accordingly.  This helps you be able to easily find those coupons you clipped when you go shopping.
 
Finally, Secret #4:  Envision actual money sitting there instead of a piece of paper that says $1 off.  It's easy to dismiss coupons when you only think of them as a piece of paper.  But if you see a dollar bill laying there or two quarters, why wouldn't you want to pick those up and put them in your pocket to spend on something other than laundry detergent?
 
My final advice is to be a responsible coupon clipper . . . meaning don't try to use coupons that have expired or try to use them for products not included in the discount.  Read that coupon carefully and make sure you are buying the right product.  Stores are extra careful with coupons these days . . . play by the rules and you'll be saving $$ in no time!  Happy Clipping!