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Chocolate Prices Soar: How to Save Now

Chocoholics looking to satisfy their cocoa cravings this Easter may notice some sticker shock in the candy aisles. Prices have jumped to 30-year highs following political warfare in the Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa exporter. The disruption in supply has forced Lindt and Hershey to raise their prices, while competitors big and small are expected to follow suit.

Here are some ways to get your chocolate bunny fix for less.

Google a Manufacturer's Coupon
A web search for your favorite chocolate brand plus the word "coupon" sometimes yields great savings results. I just did a generic search for discount+chocolate+coupon and fell upon this deal from See's Candies that gives you $2 off any $20 store purchase, valid until April 24.

Shop For 'Seconds'
"Seconds are simply chocolates that might have a design on them that didn't come out perfect, or the box is dented," says Jeanette Pavini, savings expert at "They can't sell them at the full retail price so they sell them at a discount." These less than perfect chocolates still taste great, but can help you save up to 50%. Walmart and major stores won't carry these, but you can find "seconds" at your local chocolate store or chocolate manufacturer.

Find Deals on Facebook
Like restaurants and retailers, chocolate manufacturers are trying to grow a fan base on Facebook and offering discounts in return. "Many times you can get special coupons by becoming a friend," says Pavini. For example: Green and Black's Organic Chocolate will give you a coupon for $1 off a bar of chocolate if you "like" their Facebook page. Similarly, if you "like" Peeps' Facebook page, you'll get an instant coupon to save $1 on any 2 Peeeps chocolate items - just in time for Easter!
Join the Rewards Club
Godiva offers members of its Chocolate Rewards Club a free sample each month and a free gift each month you spend $10 or more. Lindt also has a rewards program called The Chocolate Connoisseurs Clubs, which gives members free chocolate after certain spending milestones.

Lock in Prices With a Chocolate of the Month Club
If the supply demand crisis keeps up, locking in a monthly rate through a chocolate-of-the-month club today may be one way to offset rising prices this year. Shop around and compare offers through web sites like Flying Noodle, Amazing Clubs and Chocomize. Or, you can stop in to your local chocolate store - be it Godiva or a mom and pop - and ask about monthly membership deals.

Start a Chocolate Club
I fell upon the Berkeley Chocolate Club's Web site and got inspired. Just like you might have a monthly book club or a wine tasting club, why not regularly gather up with a group of friends and share in the joys of chocolate? Each person brings one or two bars but you all get the chance to taste a wide variety of chocolate for less.

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Photo courtesy: SpratMackrel's photostream on Flickr
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