Beaufort News

Coupon Queen: 'Clipless' system best way to start

Question. I read your column every week and I just can't wrap my mind around what you are saying. I cannot envision how you save so much with coupons. Is there some way that would show me, step-by-step?

Answer. I love teaching other people to cut their grocery bills with coupons. Coupon shopping has changed so much since the "old days," when coupon shoppers would cut out every coupon they received in the paper then tote them around and stand in store aisles madly sorting, trying to match coupons to products. With the "clipless" system, we only cut exactly the coupons we need, and we know precisely what we're going to buy before we get near the store.

There are three essential tools any coupon shopper should have in his or her arsenal: an accordion file, a computer and a printer.

Here's an example entry from a popular grocery list matchup site:

Campbell's Soup

On sale for $1 a can.

Use the 75-cent coupon from 2/3 SS

Pay 25 cents = 75 percent off.

The "2/3 SS" is an abbreviation that indicates the date the coupon insert appeared in the newspaper (Feb. 3) and the name of the insert it appeared in (SmartSource).

If I want to purchase this item, I simply pull that insert from my file, cut that single coupon, then move down the list to the next item. The lists show pre- and post-coupon prices of products, making it easy to spot the best deals.

I have a list of popular grocery list matchup sites on my website, Click the "Getting Started" link on the home page to learn more.

Jill Cataldo is a coupon-workshop instructor, writer and mother. Her website is