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Tips for using coupons

Try using coupons just one time, Shelly Bowie said. Go through the Sunday newspaper, take note of the “Buy one, get one free” deals and try to find coupons for those items. Then only buy those items — and see how much you save.

Get a coupon organizer — but don’t bring it to the store with you. “You’ll overbuy,” Mary Fiske said. Only bring the coupons you need.

Use coupons when items are already on sale. Combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons.

But be wary that some stores may not allow you to combine coupons, or coupons with sales.

Check stores for “Double Coupon Days.” That’s when they double your discount — for example, if you have a 50-cent coupon, it doubles to $1 on a certain day.

Don’t throw away those coupon envelopes you receive in the mail. Go through them. “Throwing away a coupon is like throwing away money,” Bowie said.

Sort your coupons by expiration date.

Ÿ Share and trade your coupons with family and friends.

Ÿ Be patient if you want good deals. “You have to shop the shelves,” Bowie said. “You have to have time.”

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