Especially when you know how to use them!
I definitely have to credit the right place for this post. Once again, it comes from my budget genius best friend.
Using coupons on their own saves you money definitely, especially if its items that you already buy. Many coupons on essential sites like http://www.couponsurfer.com/, http://www.coupons.com/, http://www.smartsource.com/, and http://www.coolsavings.com/ stock coupons on name brand items, often only making their price comparable to cheaper off brand items. But when you combine coupons with items that are on sale, you maximize your savings. Store like Albertsons even offer special coupons that double the value of coupons you already have. To use this method simply, follow the following steps:
1. Check out your local grocery store's flyer. Pin-point items you already use and need.
2. Hit the web! Search the above coupon sites and any others you use for coupons on the items. For instance, cereal often goes on sale for 5/$10 (2.50 each). By using coupons for $1 off two boxes, I reduce the price to $2 each. Not a screaming deal, but better than the regular price of $3-$4 dollars. Now if you had a coupon to double the value, it would be $2 off 2 boxes, making them only $1.50 each, which is a pretty good deal.
2b) If you really want to get into it, you can search sites like ebay for coupons. They sell in lots of 10 or 20 for around $1-2. I usually only try to go that route when it's something we use a lot and the price is great. For instance, when Capri Sun went on sale at our local supermarket for $1.88, I couldn't find coupons on my regular sites. I hit ebay and found coupons for $1off 2 boxes, which made the juice drinks $1.28 a box. Since my kids would drink a box a day if I let them, this was a good deal for me. If you don't want to buy 10 and 20 (That adds up to a lot of Capri Sun!) you can try http://www.mycouponhunter.com/ which sells coupons individually for 5-10 cents.
An invaluable site for coupon crazies is http://www.pinchingyourpennies.com/ which tracks sales for supermarket chains like Albertsons and lists the sales along with where to get the coupons you need and calculates out the final price for you to decide if its worth it.
Something to remember: Don't use coupons for the sake of using coupons. If you're buying something just because you have a coupon for it, it doesn't mean your saving. Use them for things you're already going to buy. Use them in tandem with your menu planning.
But, if anything, use coupons when you're shopping. Fifty cents is fifty cents! :)