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Power-shopping tips

August Miller, Deseret News

There are hundreds of coupon sites online and tons of consumer-friendly blogs, too. Here are some tips we gathered to help you save the most as you combine coupons and sales:

Don't shop hungry.

You'll save money if you can get over brand-name loyalty. If the brand-name coupon doesn't make the item cheaper than the store brand, skip it.

You'll usually get the best coupon deal on the smallest size package.

You can build your menus around what you have in food storage or around advertised specials. Those approaches are quite different.

Healthy staples like fresh vegetables and fruits are far less likely to have coupons attached than processed foods. But more organic and healthier items now have coupons. And you can use savings on other items to buy more fresh produce.

If you have a buy-one, get-one-free deal, you can usually use two coupons.

"Limit one coupon per purchase" means one per item. Coupons almost never limit you to one coupon per customer, just per purchased item. A surprising number of clerks we encountered did not know that.

Don't skip coupons inside food labels or the product package.

Make sure you get the right item and size to match the coupon. Computers catch those errors and ignore the coupon.

Coupon or not, if you won't use it, don't buy it.

If you have to buy two or three items to get a deal, it's probably not that great a deal.