The average American family of four spends $8,513 a year on groceries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That's $177 a person each month. Let's start 2012 by saving on groceries and personal items.
Sunday's Herald-Leader has up to $300 worth of coupons, giving us a big chance to start clipping.
Here are more tips:
■ You must be organized. Organize coupons by categories in an accordion-style file. Everyone's file will be different. I don't have young children, so I don't have a baby category. I do have pets, so I have a folder for pet coupons.
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■ Bring your coupons with you at all times. You will be surprised how many times you go to a store and an item has been unexpectedly marked down, allowing you to save more if you have a coupon.
■ Drugstores often have good deals on food and on cleaning and personal products.
■ Loyalty and reward programs, combined with coupons, result in huge savings.
■ Most stores will let you use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for one item. A manufacturer coupon will say so on the coupon, or the UPC code will start with a 5.
■ Check out a store's coupon policy. Most stores post their policies on their Web site and have printed copies at the customer-service desk.
■ Maximize the buy-one-get-one-free deals. You can typically use two coupons for a BOGO deal. For example, if Quaker oatmeal is priced at $2.50 with the second one free and you have two $1 coupons, use two coupons. You will get the two boxes for 50 cents.
■ Some stores match prices. Wal-Mart and Target will match sale prices from other stores. Also, ask your store if it will accept a competitor's coupons.
Here are some deals to be had by combining sale items with coupons from Sunday's paper.
■ Get a free $10 CVS cash card when you spend $30 or more on specially marked items. One scenario: Buy six Pantene Pro-V shampoos or conditioners for $19.98 plus two 12-packs of Charmin for $10.98, for a total of $30.96. Use two $3 Pantene coupons and two 25-cent Charmin coupons. The final price for all eight items is $14.49, plus you get the $10 cash card.
■ Ivory soap bars are on sale for 99 cents. With a 35-cent coupon, the final price is 64 cents.
■ Oral-B floss is on sale for $2.99. A $1 coupon makes if $1.99, and you get $1 in CVS ExtraCare Rewards.
■ Olay body wash is on sale for $6.99. A $1 coupon makes it $5.99, and you get $2 in CVS ExtraCare Rewards.
■ Buy four Nivea lip-care products for $10. Two $3 coupons make the total $4 and receive $5 in CVS ExtraCare Rewards.
At Rite Aid
■ Pantene shampoo or conditioner is on sale, two for $7. With a $3 coupon, you get two for $4, and you'll get $2 in +UP Rewards.
■ All Olay skin and bath products are on sale: Buy one, get a second one for 50 percent off. Pair this deal with Olay coupons for more savings.
■ Dawn dish detergent is on sale for 99 cents. A 25-cent coupon, makes it 74 cents.
■ Tide laundry detergent is on sale for $5.99. Use a $2 coupon for a final price of $3.99.
■ Lysol all-purpose cleaner is on sale for $2.99. With a $1 coupon, it's $1.99. Lysol toilet bowl cleaner is on sale for $1.99. With a $1 coupon, it's 99 cents.
■ Buy two Lysol no-touch hand soap systems for $16 and one Lysol disinfectant spray for $4. With two $3 coupons for the soap systems and a $1 coupon for the spray, it's $13, and you'll receive $6 in register rewards. Also, get $5 toward a flu shot when you buy one Lysol product. Go to Lysol.com/flufree123 for more information.
■ Two Nivea body washes are $7. With two $1 coupons, they are $5, and you'll receive $2 in register rewards.
■ Two Head and Shoulders shampoos or conditioners are $9. Use two $2 coupons to make it $5, and receive $2 in register rewards.
■ Herbal Essences hair care products are on sale for $2.99. With a $1 coupon, it's $1.99, and receive $1 in register rewards.