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Off the Record

I bought, I conquered and I saved

While I'm no expert on saving money, I did get a taste of it this past week.

My last week's column was about my brief meeting with the wonderful world of saving money through using coupons.

This last week, I decided to go all out. Checking blogs and asking my crazy couponing friends for tips was just the first step.

Then the real work began.

After all the hard work, I spent about $30 on groceries and household items. The actual value of those items was more than $100.

The best deal was last week; I got a good brand-name salad dressing for 19ยข. I also got laundry detergent for $1.50. It was the best feeling in the entire world.

The best part is when the cashier gives dirty looks to the register, as if it had made some sort of mistake.

While I plan to even further increase my skills in the couponing world, I'm here to give you, the Daily Sun News readers, a few novice tips.

The first thing you want to do is read, read, read. Check blogs like KrazyCouponLady.com or CouponGeek.net. There are, however, several others out there.

The bonuses to these blogs are they help you get started. They are also good resources in finding the best deals right from the comfort of your own home.

The next step I suggest is to think of an organizational technique that will work best for you. Personally, I used a binder, page separators and card holders to organize my cut-out coupons.

It was grueling work, and I wanted to quit. But I enlisted my step-mother to go on this journey with me. So together we gathered our coupons from a local dollar store.

The trick is, inside the store they sell the larger weekend newspapers for just $1. These newspapers are chock-full of manufacturer coupons and store sale ads.

Some of the stores do not have a limit on how many newspapers you can buy, so we bought five copies each. It's important to have multiple copies of coupons so when you find a good deal, you can stock up on the item.

After returning home, we organized and clipped our finds. After an eight-hour job, we were ready to shop.

Then the fun began.

With my entry-level salary and mound of college debt, I've never ate so well for such a small amount of money.

Once you have your system down, you have to keep it up. It's only a few hours a week, to save lots and lots of money.

Though skeptical at first, I do agree, it is well worth the hard work.

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