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10 Secrets of 'Coupon Queens'

You can clip a lot more off your grocery bill if you know where to look.

There are approximately 300 billion coupons distributed in the U.S. every year, and they offer $3 billion in savings. While there is a lot of free money floating around, only 1.26% of all those coupons are actually redeemed , according ICOM Information and Communications .

You may have read articles or heard about people who save 50% or more on their groceries using coupons -- they call themselves "Coupon Queens." You have also probably tried to use coupons at some point and failed at getting the savings that these people are able to accomplish. The reason is that most of us are conditioned to use coupons the way that the manufacturers want us to use them, rather than to our advantage.

Here are 10 secrets of so-called "Coupon Queens" and how they are able save so much:

1. Stack coupons: Coupon Queens don't use a coupon unless they are able to save more than the discount on the coupon. They end up "stacking" the coupon upon other discounts that are available. The average consumer uses a 50-cent coupon when he or she happens to be in the store, has the coupon and needs the item the coupon is for. If that item costs $2, then the shopper would use the coupon and buy the item for $1.50. Not a Coupon Queen. She would instead wait until that $2 item is on sale for $1 and go on a day when the grocery store is doubling coupons to get the item for free. If the item is offering a rebate at the same time, the Coupon Queen might even make money buying it.

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