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What every beginner needs to know when you start couponing

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 9:25 a.m. MST

Susan Samtur, 65, from New York, known nationally as the Coupon Queen, shops at Meijers in Allen Park, Michigan, August 13, 2010.

MADALYN RUGGIERO, MCT

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SALT LAKE CITY — If done right, couponing can save thousands of dollars like it did for Andrea Deckard, who saved $6,500 her first year with couponing, according to a Life Hacker article.

Deckard gives advice on couponing for beginners. She likes printable coupon sites like couponnetwork.com for grocery coupons, and she also pulls them from her newspaper subscription, which she said is cheaper than the weekly subscription and has better coupons than an in-store newspaper.

Look at spending over the last three months and make a goal to reduce by 10 to 20 percent in three months. Don’t spend more than an hour each week looking for coupons.

“In the beginning, it could take a little longer to scope out where the good deals are for your favorite stores," Deckard told Lifehacker. "Setting a goal for one hour, once you figure that out, is realistic."

After her first few months she tries to spend another 10 percent less. The challenges can realistically save 50 to 75 percent on her grocery bill.

To avoid wasting time and gas running around, Deckard said to not go to a store if it doesn’t have a minimum of five sale items.

Other ways to be coupon effective include: keeping an organization method to see what coupons you already have, only focus on one store to start out with, clip coupons based on what is on your "to buy" list, stockpile on non-perishable items when they are a good discount and read the fine print on coupons from drugstore retailers. Stores like Walgreens and Rite Aid have their own reward system so look into what store offers the best rewards.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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