Using coupons can save hundreds monthly and thousands annually. Couponing only works if you are organized and carefully plan. The key to saving with grocery coupons is to acquire them from multiple locations and maintain a large supply. Several strategies are important for getting free coupons on grocery items that you will actually buy.
Ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, and relatives if they use the grocery coupons in the Sunday papers or in magazines such as Family Circle, Women's Day, Redbook, or Good Housekeeping. Most do not. Offer to pick up the papers and magazines from them at a convenient time. Make it easy for them; don't ask them to bring all to you.
Join a coupon train. This is a group in a close geographic area participating in coupon swapping via snail mail. The Internet has facilitated finding coupon trains, participating and communicating among members. One person starts the train, sends the next rider coupons. The second rider then takes the coupons she wants, adds hers and keeps the train going. The only cost to participate is the postage for sending coupons each week. You can score hundreds of great coupons for the items you actually need and find a home for coupons you would have thrown away. You can find coupon trains on coupon forums such as The Grocery Game.
Take coupons from the "blinkie" dispensers in grocery stores — the little blinking coupon dispensers right on the grocery store shelves. Watch for them wherever you go.
Pick up unwanted free newspapers. If your neighborhood receives a free weekly paper full of coupons and you notice most do not get picked up, gather as many as you want. If the coupons are particularly lucrative — $2 to $5 — then broaden your newspaper search to other neighborhoods.
Get printable coupons online. Visit sites like Money Saving Mom, Sisterly Savings, The Grocery Game and The Coupon Mom for links to printable coupons. Participate in the forums; hundreds of members are posting printable coupons.
Dumpster dive. If you are a die-hard coupon collector, check out newspaper recycling bins. Since they contain only newspaper, this task is not actually distasteful. You can usually just take Sunday paper coupon inserts lying on the top few layers. Check these bins regularly and stock up.