The savings are spectacular when you shop like Susan Samtur. The New York native has been honing her coupon skills for the past 40 years. In that time, she has published three books on the topic and offers even more tips through her magazine and web site.
When we took her shopping, Susan offered us the five most important tips to lower your grocery bill.
She starts with the stores' weekly sales circulars -- all the sales, arranged by category. Susan matches her coupons right to the circulars so she can pull off trick #1: Coupon Off the In-store Sales.
Take this store sale for garbage bags: 2 for $3. Susan has already clipped a coupon that gives her $1 off the purchase of 2 garbage bags.
"My final cost was two for $2, or $1 a box," Susan explained, "which is really an unbelievable price!"
Trick #2 is Double Coupons. Susan studies store policies for the days and times they allow double coupons, then scours the aisles.
When she finds frozen dinners for a $1 a box, she says, "My coupon, doubled to a $1, will give me this item absolutely free!"
Trick #3: Couponing Off Specially-Marked Packages. Two cartons of orange juice, for example, are the same brand, but one of them is different. One is specially-marked for a $15 online rebate.
"And it's exactly the same item!," Susan reminded us.
Susan also had a coupon for the orange juice for a free carton! That means free OJ, plus $15 cash in her pocket after the rebate. It's like going to an ATM!
"In a month, I would say I get back about $200 worth of cash," Susan told us. "Or over the year, about $2,000."
Trick #4: No Size Limit. Always go for the largest size available with the coupon.
"I have a coupon for a free Hunt's ketchup, any size," Susan explained. "This is the largest size, 46 ounces, $2.49, and I'm getting it absolutely free."
Finally, Trick #5 involves the Unit Price. Many stores offer buy-one-get-one-free deals. But remember, most stores don't require you to purchase two items. The unit price of just one item should be reduced to half-off.
Now to the big reveal -- the checkout register. How much did Susan save?
Her costs originally added up to $144.08. But when added in the coupons, the final bill was only $16.33!
And she says, anybody can do it. "It takes a little bit of time, a little bit of organization, but it's really a very simple thing!"
To read more about Susan and her coupon strategy, see the links to the right of this story.