Money-Saving Tips From Coupon Queen

Can't be bothered clipping coupons? According to Stephanie Nelson, of www.thecouponmom.com, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars each year.

"Regular coupon users can save as much as $5,000 a year if you know some basic tricks," Nelson said on ABC News' "Good Morning America."

"The real trick to saving $5,000 a year is combining all of the offers."

Nelson says that most coupons end up getting discarded because most people can't be bothered clipping coupons.

"They think it will take too much time and it will be too much trouble. That's why the markets call people like me 'ultimate deal finders.' "

To make it easier for people to find and use coupons, Nelson created a free Web site that's all about coupons. Through the site, www.thecouponmom.com, Nelson shows interested users how to drastically reduce the cost of their grocery bills by using coupons.

Nelson's Web site, created with help from Georgia Tech, features a virtual coupon organizer that is kept current with help from volunteers, who provide information on grocery sales in 18 states across the country.

Nelson, of Marietta, Ga., hopes satisfied shoppers will share their savings or a few of their purchases with local charities, which are also listed online.

Check out some of the money-saving tips Nelson shared on "Good Morning America."

Read the Fine Print

Coupon values are determined by their wording, not by the item pictured. Look for words like "any variety" and limiting terms like "applies to 1.4 ounces size and larger." If the size or variety is not specified, then the coupon works for any size or variety. The coupon needs to state specific varieties/sizes or exclude specific varieties in order to limit its use.

Understand What "Buy One, Get One Free" Means

Know your store's "Buy One, Get One Free" (BOGO) policy. You may not need to buy two items to save. You may be able to only buy one and still save and still get half off. Ask your store manager. Buy one get one free is good if you need two items, but what if you only need one? Many times you can still save without buying two. Don't be fooled into thinking you might need to buy two.

Look for Special Coupon Deals

Coupon policies and savings programs vary by store chain, and vary by store within the same chain and city. Doing your research can help you save money.Ask your store specific questions about coupon policies and limits to learn where you can save the most money. Many stores double the face value of coupons, and some stores accept expired coupons. You can call your store manager, ask friends, or e-mail questions via your store's Web site.

Internet Coupons

Online coupon sites allow you to print free coupons for the same products found your Sunday newspaper's circulars. Offers are added frequently, they are available nationally and can be printed immediately. Some of the sites mentioned by Nelson include smartsource.com; coolsavings.com; valupage.com and coupons.com.

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