Back when I was just Frugal Liz, I never used to bother with coupons. I had $150 a week in my grocery budget, so it just seemed like more trouble than it was worth! After I became Frugal Divorced Liz and my grocery budget became $40 a week, then I started looking into coupons. Honestly, coupons are the only way I can stay within my budget! When I saw how easy they are to use, though, I started to wish I'd used them before! Here is my best couponing advice to make using them as easy as possible.
Only clip coupons for things you will use A lot of times I see $1 or $2 coupons that are a GREAT deal. The only problem is, they are for things I wouldn't normally buy! This can be good and bad. Sometimes it's a coupon for something I can't normally afford, but then that $1 or $2 off means it drops down in price enough to be within my budget. A good example of this is yogurt. Dannon probiotic yogurt is a delicious luxury that at $1.68 for four, I can't afford to buy. Enter a cleverly clipped $1 off coupon and suddenly that yogurt becomes a fast, frugal snack! I also use $1.50 coupons to buy frozen fries. The coupon is $1.50 off if you buy two packages of a certain brand of the fries. The thing is, each individual package costs $1.50, so with the coupon it's like I get one for free! I also regularly clip $1 off juice coupons. The juice I like to buy is $2.68 per bottle and since I would buy it anyway, getting $1 off is a pretty sweet deal!
Look in more than one place for coupons The Sunday paper can be a great place to find coupons, but the Internet is an even better one! I regularly visit http://www.coupons.com/ to find awesome manufacturers coupons. Another good Internet resource is actual product websites. I often get great deals from juicy juice, welches and uncle ben's this way.
Pair coupons with sales for even more savings! If you wait for the lowest sale price of an item and then use a coupon, your savings can really be significant. This requires some advance planning, but I've really been able to save a lot of money or even get things for free this way.
Go to stores that double coupons Not every store will double coupons, but if there's one in your area, it can really be worth it to go there. Publix and Bi-lo are the stores around where I live that double coupons. Both of these stores are more expensive, so I only go there when items I want are on sale AND I have a coupon I can double.
Separate out the coupons you want to use on a given shopping trip! If you go into the store with a huge wad of random coupons, your chances of a successful, stress free shopping trip pretty much disappear. To avoid this problem, I first make a shopping list of all the items I need that week. Then I check my coupon stash to see what I have coupons for and I separate those into a different envelope. (I keep my coupons in envelopes!) After I find the useful coupons I already have, then I search the Internet for even more coupons to use. If I find any, I cut them out and put them in the separate envelope as well. This makes it so I go to the store armed with a list and the coupons I want to use ready to hand to the cashier. I take my other coupons with me too, in case there's an awesome sale and I have some extra money to take advantage of it.
I hope this coupon advice helps someone. If you're still thinking it's too big of a hassle, just try it for a week or two and see if your grocery bills go down!