Using the Internet to cut grocery bill

HOUSTON Her friends call her the 'Coupon Queen' because she walks away from the grocery store paying next to nothing for a full shopping cart. Her strategy -- coupons. But this isn't your mother's method to shopping with coupons. The Internet has changed everything and as more and more Houston women are learning, you don't have to clip from the Sunday paper anymore.

Kanabriel Petteway and Carolyn Jackson are two single working moms. Like most of us, they are looking for ways to save money but don't have a lot of time.

"I just wonder how she finds the time to do it all," Kanabriel wondered.

So when they heard that 'Coupon Queen' Erin Libranda was paying next to nothing on groceries, they had to find out exactly how she used the web to save.

"I look over here and I see Erin's garage, I see Erin's pantry and while I am running out every few days spending $30-40, Erin goes out every few days and spends $5," Carolyn said.

Erin showed the ladies several websites that offer free printable coupons, or link you to other sites that do. Erin's favorite sites are: Hot Coupon World and Organic Grocery Deals. She says these sites are more like communities that allow members to search for specific coupons and offer support at the same time. You can also trade coupons at Hot Coupon World or post coupons you are looking for in the "wanted" section.

Another site, Coupon Surfer, allows you to print hundreds. Here coupons are in alphabetical order by name brand.

Erin says another way to save using the Internet is to email the manufacturers of products you like or want to try.

She said, "They will actually send you coupons, and most of time it's a coupon for a free item."

A third thing Erin suggests is to use the Internet to 'up' your savings on all those store cards. For example, on the CVS website you can use your CVS card to get coupons through email. If you log onto with your savings card number, you'll instantly get a $4-off coupon. At Kroger's website you can actually load coupons onto your savings card, pick the ones you want, then go shopping - - no coupon printing required.

"I love her strategy," Kanabriel said. "It seems time consuming but well worth it."

This is too easy not to try, even if you've never used coupons before.

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