Coupons can take bite out of food bill

LOS ANGELES We've all heard of how coupons can save money, but there are a few tricks to using them to get the most bang for your buck. Also, there are a few unusual places to find some grocery savings.

Every time you hear that "beep" at the register as another of your items is scanned, your grocery bill climbs higher and higher. The average American household spends $5,000 a year on food.

There's a way to turn that noise into pennies - and even dollars - saved at the supermarket. It takes a little homework and a little time online.

First, find out what's on sale at your grocery store. Then check for manufacturer coupons on those items. See if the store offers its own coupons, and look to see if the store accepts double coupons on the item in question. Add it all up at the checkout line and you'll see prices come down fast.

Is the item you want listed as "buy one, get one free?" Use two coupons; after all, you are buying two items. Voila, extra savings.

So where do you find all these coupons?

"The Internet is certainly the best place to go," said Brad Wilson from /**/. "There's probably a coupon for 90 percent of stores you would stop at on any given day."

Working out of Chicago, Wilson's Web site offers steals that may come from some unexpected places.

"One of the best places to buy groceries is actually," Wilson said. "Believe it or not; they have probably the biggest grocery store that no one's ever heard of."

If this all sounds like a lot of work, Wilson says when it comes to coupons, time is money.

"It really only takes a minute, five minutes or 10 minutes and you can save 20 or 30 or 40 percent off your total purchases."

If you like to get your coupons online, make sure you double check with your grocery store that they accept those coupons, as there have been problems with fraudulent ones. And make sure to read the printing instructions carefully, because if you do it wrong, the online coupons won't save you a thing.



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