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Learning the Best Way to Clip Coupons

And how to know when mustard is on sale

Two years ago Chrissy Pate spent $700 or $800 a month on groceries and cleaning and personal care supplies for her family. Now the Kansas City, Mo., mom spends half that.

How? Pate learned the smart way to take advantage of coupons and sales. And now, she and her friend Kristin McKee are teaching others to do the same through their company BeCentsAble.

The pair have a network of educators in 40 states hosting workshops known as coupon parties, which are also offered online. The idea, Pate says, is to teach you in two hours what she and McKee learned over eight months.

Here are some of Pate’s top tips for saving:

• Know where to find coupons. Look online at sites like and, which direct you to coupons and deals. Or, check the manufacturer’s Web site for items you use.

• Figure out which items you use most and watch for sale cycles at stores near you. For example, Pate knows that about every 12 weeks shredded cheese is on sale for half price. There are also seasonal trends. Condiments are cheapest around July 4 and baking supplies are cheapest at holiday time.

• Know your store’s incentives. Wal-Mart, for example, will match prices on items advertised by local competitors.

Michelle Diament is a freelance writer based in Memphis.


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