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12 OYS: Coupon policy changes shouldn't stop you from saving

Coupons

Using coupons can help you save money, as long as you remember to do it and go to the best stores to find the deals. (WRDW-TV / July 8, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, July 8, 2011

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- You've heard the stories, but those who say they save thousands on groceries are easy to doubt.

Southern Savers blogger Jenny Martin's desire came from desperation.

"I started saving money, because we had to," she said. "I haven't really met anybody who saves because they think it's a blast -- like, 'I'm going to start couponing, because this is awesome.'"

But it's not so awesome for stores. Because of lax policies, they've watched some customers grab groceries cheap.

Stores like Target and Rite Aid are stopping the stacking of buy one, get one free coupons. Publix is limiting how many coupons you can use on one item. Some stores, like Kroger, double coupons but others don't. And there are restrictions on Internet and competitors' coupons, too.

"I want to go and look at what's on sale, then I want to try to match some coupons with items on sale," Martin said. "The best way to do that is really try to focus on, 'OK, what is 40 percent off or more in the store?'"

But Martin says couponing doesn't have to take a lot of time. She spends about 45 minutes before a shopping trip clipping and printing.

She says finding the real savings depends on when you go.

"What saves you the most money is buying items when they're on sale and remembering to always do it," Martin said.

Remember, never pay websites for coupons. Martin says 88 percent of them come from the newspaper.

Stores are being helped by a brand new bar code which went into effect this month. It's supposed to help with coupon clarity and cut down on fraud.

And don't forget about News 12's Maxing Your Money blog on wrdw.com for more ways to save.


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