Home Sweet Home: Super Saving Tips for Everyday Items

It can take a lot of stuff to fill up the modern home with all the necessities. If you're not careful, you can easily spend hundreds more than you should each year on groceries, personal care items, kitchen essentials and the like.

Many people, though, neglect to look for savings opportunities for a simple reason - they don't believe that the savings can be large enough to be worth the trouble. If this is the way you think, you should watch a couple of episodes of Extreme Couponing, the reality show on TLC that shows you exactly what's possible. In one episode, for instance, a shopper pays about $50 for around $1200 worth of groceries. You may not be able to take your savings that far without true dedication. You can still notch up some impressive numbers, though.

Your first step - learn to not be picky

Many of the successful coupon savers on Extreme Couponing manage their savings by completely shutting out temptation, including the desire for specific kinds of product. If they find coupons for a certain kind of ketchup or mustard that they never use, they switch to them. If they find that pasta is on sale at very low prices, they decide to put pasta into practically every meal and buy up large quantities. You need to be flexible if you want major savings.

Learn where to find the best coupons

While newspapers and magazines still have coupons, the best ones are found online. Sumo Coupon, for instance, has coupons for thousands of stores. Facebook is an excellent source of coupons, too - you need to head to the Facebook page of every brand that you wish to pick up at the store and look for coupons.

Learn to be organized to use your coupons to the best effect

Successful couponing can take planning and organizing. For the best deals at any store, you need to head to four places:

1. At the website of the store and the brand, you'll find not only coupons but also information on special sales and deals. For instance, on Target's site, you learn that you get to save 5% on each transaction if you use the store's own debit card.
2. Their social networking presence (Facebook and Twitter) - they can have coupons.
3. A good coupon website should give you additional coupons to add to the coupons you already have.
4. A newspaper can offer you information about weekly sales.

It's important to read the fine print on your coupons and on sale announcements. Sometimes, it may seem like a coupon on sale is only valid for multiple-unit purchases. If you read carefully, though, you'll find often that you get the low price even with single-unit purchases.

Once at the store, you'll need to pick up the right number of products for your coupons and organize them for a quick check-out experience. This is all the preparation you need to do, though, to save as much as a third off your grocery bills.

Be sure to go in at the most crowded and unpleasant times of the week

Many people who complain about never seeing a sale don't realize that they can never hope for one if they choose to go in at times when the store isn't crowded. Going on a Sunday afternoon when the store is a zoo may be unpleasant - this is when stores announce their best promotions, though.

There's another reason why you should go when it's crowded - research shows that it's when you're alone that you are usually tempted to make unplanned purchases. You get to look around and consider buying all kinds of products then. If it's crowded, you simply get what you need and leave.

Russell Matthews loves being a stay-at-home dad with his two daughters. He often blogs about the challenges of balancing home, family, and career from budgeting time to making a workable financial budget.