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Save Big Bucks by Being Savvy Coupon User

Clipping coupons
AP Photo
Lots of otherwise smart shoppers ignore coupons - whether they're in the paper, come in the mail, or are on websites.

But that's free money you're throwing away!

You can save ten percent or more on your grocery bills by being a "super couponer," according to Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of Consumer Reports' Shopsmart magazine, and she told how on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning."

Long-Term Prep

1. Lisa's first tip is to gather lots of coupons and stay organized. There's tons of different ways to organize coupons in plain envelopes, or in fancier containers. We'll have two types of organizers - one is an accordion folder that has room for LOTS of specific categories for coupons (milk, meat, produce, drug store, etc). The second organizer is a small plastic container with three drawers. Lisa prefers organizers with room for more categories, but the message here is that there are options for everyone. She also recommends keeping your coupon organizer in your car so that you always have it with you in case you make unplanned stops in stores.

2. The next tip is that you can use your cell phone or smartphone to get coupons. Lisa will touch upon three different programs:

a) Zavers: Zavers offers paperless coupons on mobile phones and on the Internet so consumers can easily save on the products they want at their favorite stores. Here's how it works: A consumer can save a coupon to their free Zavers-powered account online, from a mobile website, or by text message. Then, when the consumer buys the product at their favorite participating retail store and swipes their existing loyalty card, their savings are automatically deducted from their bill and printed on their receipt.

b)Grocery iQ: Grocery iQ is an app from coupons.com that allows users to create, organize and manage their shopping lists on their phones (iPhone and Android). Users can also find coupons for their favorite brands and load them directly to their store loyalty card for instant discounts as well as search for coupons by category/supermarket aisle.

c)Cellfire: Cellfire allows users to load coupons and discounts onto their loyalty card by having them enter in their loyalty card ID numbers. That way when the store scans their card, the additional discounts come right off.

Before you head to the store:

3. Lisa suggests that you check out all the circulars before you go shopping so that you know what stores have the best deals on the products that you plan to buy. Websites like www.sundaysavers.com allow you to check out all of the circulars at your local stores without having to check them in the newspaper.

4. Another great site to check out for coupons is www.mambosprouts.com. They feature coupons for all organic and natural products, so you can find savings even if you want to stick with those types of goods. A lot of people assume that eating organic means spending more money, but with mambosprouts, you can keep saving while changing your eating habits.

In the Store:

5. Lisa's big tip here is to shop according to the sale cycle. Most stores put their staples on sale once every 12 weeks, so when one of your favorite products goes on sale, you should load up on those items. Plan to get enough for three months, since that's the next time you'll likely see that item go on sale.

6. Dont be brand-loyal. When you're going through the aisles, choose your items based on the best value and which brands have coupons available. Don't be afraid to go for the store brands either, especially if there are sales and coupons available.