Couponers of America unite! It's time once again for September's National Coupon Month, when we celebrate Sunday circulars, direct-mail booklets and the modern technology of online printable coupons and coupon applications.
Thanks to an increased interest in frugal living, $485 billion worth of coupons were distributed in 2010. That figure can only grow by the time 2011 is over. In appreciation of these handy money savers, here are seven coupon tips.
1. The New FrontierOver 88 million consumers said they'd use Internet coupons in 2011. If you haven't tried out this techno method of coupon clipping, it's time you gave it a try. Websites such as CouponSherpa.com allow you to search by category for online coupons to hundreds of popular merchants.
2. Thank You for Your PatronageVisit the websites for supermarkets such as King Soopers and Safeway and download coupons directly to your club or loyalty card. When the cashier swipes your card, the savings are automatically deducted from your total bill.
3. Catalina Isn't Just an IslandNo scissors are necessary to use a Catalina. Printed out with your store receipt, these paper coupons offer savings on products you've just purchased or those from similar manufacturers. Most have longer expiration dates than standard coupons -- an added bonus.
4. Look Beyond DinnerThink coupons and you're mind likely skips directly to food, but there's a world of merchants and services longing for you to use their coupons. Read about "7 Expensive Things You Should Buy With Coupons."
5. There's Always an App for ThatMaking a shopping list and checking it twice isn't for everyone. Many of us make purchases without a great deal of forethought, and that's where the Coupon Sherpa app comes in handy. You can access coupons using the app while in a store and show it to the cashier at checkout.
A new feature on the app allows you to type in your ZIP code to find grocery coupons at the store in which your shopping. It will then download the coupon to your store club card, automatically registering the savings when you swipe the card.
6. BOGOs and DoublingCoupons aren't always good for just one item. BOGOS let you buy one product and get a second identical one for free. Some stores allow doubling up, so your 10-cents-off coupon automatically becomes a 20-cents savings on a single item. Check out this list of 94 grocery stores that double coupons.
7. Raincheck, PleaseAsk for a raincheck when a rude extreme couponer has cleared the shelves, or legions of shoppers have beat you to the punch. Sometimes you can actually save more by waiting to use your raincheck coupon until an item is offered at a deep discount.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satelite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ShopSmart Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.