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How I saved $325 on my grocery bill


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I saved more than $325 on my grocery bill on Sunday by using coupons and a little planning. I paid just $177.66 for loads of food and staples to stock my pantry.

Many ask me how I do it, so here's a quick primer to get you started on the road to super-saving:

Enjoy the City coupon books: I buy these to get the $5 off $30 purchase coupons good at Winn-Dixie. They also are accepted at many Publix markets as a competitor coupon. Enjoy the City books are on sale for 80 percent off through Tuesday. Right now, you can get 40 books with $800 in grocery coupon savings for $100.

Newspaper coupons: Buy at least two copies of the Sunday Sun Sentinel (here's a 50-cent off coupon) to take full advantage of buy-one-get-one-free sales. Use two coupons on BOGO sale items to get them for super cheap. Clip coupons for anything you use regularly and all coupons for free items. Then, hold them until the BOGO sales are held, which usually cycle every 10-12 weeks.

Store flyers: Winn-Dixie often has coupons in its flyer. Publix allows you to stack a manufacturer coupon with a Publix coupon or competitor’s coupon, but not both. (Be sure to grab at least two slick Publix flyers as you enter the store and combine them with manufacturer coupons. This is how you get items for nearly free. Learn more about Publix's coupon policy and be sure to follow the rules.

Online coupons: I regularly print at least two coupons from brands I use Coupons.com, Target.com, Whole Foods, on manufacturer websites and on Facebook.

Reward programs: Save big on on sales items with a Winn-Dixie reward card that also helps you save on gas at Shell with Fuel Rewards Network program. At Publix, which doesn't have a reward program, use Upromise e-coupons.

Match-ups: Use the weekly sales flyers which come in Wednesday's newspaper to match BOGO sales to your coupons, add in a few dollar-off coupons from Winn-Dixie, Doris Market, Whole Foods (often in the newspaper) and you're on your way to super-saving!

Coupon classes: South Florida savings expert Mary Pat Pankoke of CouponClasses.com shows you how to get started.

Let us know how much you saved!

Three ways to keep up with the latest deals: "Like" our Sentinel Deals page on Facebook; follow Doreen Christensen on Twitter@PrettyGoodIdeas and sign up for Deals text alerts.

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About the authors
Doreen Christensen has never paid full price for anything. If there is a way to save on something, she will find it and share how you can save, too. Doreen is a senior reporter covering consumer news, health, beauty and features for the online and print editions of the Sun Sentinel. A 32-year veteran of the newspaper, she previously was a senior copy editor on the universal copy desk. Doreen spends her time off hunting bargains, clipping coupons, gardening and traveling.

Justine Griffin covers retail and marine business for the Sun Sentinel. She is a Tampa Bay native who graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2010. After spending a year covering crime in St. Augustine, Fla., she moved to Fort Lauderdale and made the switch to business journalism. When she’s not writing, she’s riding horses and spending time with her whippet puppy, Josie.

Marcia Heroux Pounds is the Sun Sentinel's workplace columnist when she's not shopping for shoes. She also writes about small business, which allows her to visit many of South Florida's unique shops and boutiques.

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