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Coupon-Clipping Creates Cash

The popular myth about coupon clippers is that they are obsessive penny-pinchers who should drop their scissors and come back to the real world. One person's hobby is another's obsession but the reality is, you can save lots of money using grocery coupons and not have to spend all day doing it, says Family Circle Magazine.

In fact, refunding is a way to get food and non-food items almost for free. Disposable razor blades, for example, are used in mass quantities by large families. Take advantage of cash rebates that may refund almost the entire purchase price of a package. That adds up over the year. All that money is tax-free because the IRS doesn't consider refunding to be taxable. Refunds are becoming easier to do now that manufacturers are accepting UPC (product code) numbers in place of the UPC symbol. Instead of cutting out and sending the symbol along with the receipt, simply write the UPC number on the receipt itself.

Here are some other ways to win at the cash register:

    Compare brands.
    Just because a brand has a coupon doesn't mean that a competing brand isn't cheaper, even without a coupon. The same thing is true of sale items and non-sale items.

    Shop around.
    Most grocery shoppers are predictably loyal to one store. Don't stick to your usual store if a competitor has a great sale.

    Cash-in on cereal discounts. Cereals always have coupon deals.

    Organize your coupons.
    Store your coupons in an envelope according to category, i.e., major food products and nonfood stuff. Circle the expiration date.

    Stick to what you need.
    In other words, if you normally don't buy fancy, microwave dinners, don't buy one at 30 cents off.

    Apply coupons to sale items.
    Paying less than the sale price really saves you money.

Some coupon clippers give the term "breakfast of champions" new meaning. Susan Samtur made the Guiness Book of World Records one time for her coupon-shopping prowess. In 1984, she bought $519.66 worth of groceries for only $22.10.