Couponing: Cumbersome or Convenient? — How to save without spending all day clipping coupons

April 2013 View more

N2013_04_01_009FINANFascinated by those who claim they can cut their grocery bill in half by using coupons? Maybe you’ll never be an extreme couponer, but you still want to ramp up your savings without spending hours clipping. Chicago suburbanites Jill Cataldo, syndicated newspaper columnist and founder of Super-Couponing, and Rachel Singer Gordon of, both generously shared practical resources for even the casual couponer.

Cutting grocery bills in half

Cataldo says that cutting grocery bills in half is as simple as logging onto a website that tracks the best sales at your favorite stores and suggests which coupons to use. “If you don’t try to do all of the work yourself and follow a national couponing site or local blog, you can cherry-pick the deals you wish to enjoy. This reduces the time you devote, keeping it to about 30 to 60 minutes per week,” said Cataldo. In the beginning, you may need to allot more than an hour, until you get the gist of it.

Newspapers are still king

For the biggest savings, Cataldo says that newspapers are still king, with 90 percent of food and household product coupons issued in inserts. Singer notes that in Chicagoland, the Chicago Tribune generally has the most coupons. Even if the Sun Times, Daily Herald, or smaller papers have the same inserts, they’re often thinner.

Online coupons

Major supermarkets like Jewel-Osco, Dominick’s, and Meijer now offer e-coupons on their website. But to make it easier to match coupons with what’s on sale at your local stores, coupon match-up sites, or blogs, help identify deals and are real time-savers. Check,,, Singer’s, and Cataldo’s for starters. Before you shop, visit your favorite blog, see what’s on sale, and start shopping around for sales and combining those deals with coupons whenever possible.

“Let’s say you shop at Jewel. On my site, every week I’ll post the deals from the Jewel ad and coupons that match up with them. It tells you: Here’s the deal, here’s what coupon insert a coupon appeared in, or where you can print it. That way you can print or clip your coupons, paperclip them to your list, and head out to the store. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to just check and clip before you go,” explained Singer.

If you’re looking for more sources for printable online coupons, without registering on a particular website, try,, and, or try the hardcopy coupon magazine, All You.

In-store savings

You can also cash in on coupons while shopping in the store. recommends you look for the following:

  • Blinkies, those small red boxes with blinking lights, or pop-up boxes on product shelves
  • Tear pads near battery kiosks or on freezer doors.
  • Peelies stuck on the product, which you hand to a clerk.
  • Wine tags, which may be slipped over the neck of any bottle of beverage, not just wine. 
  • Coupons which print out with your receipt. Some offer $5 or $10 off the next purchase of any store item.