Grocery shopping? Save money using these tips for coupons, best prices

OSU Extension

By Nancy Lyons

Using coupons and looking for the best prices are great ways to save money at the grocery store. Knowing how to find them is the first step to cutting costs on food.

Use the MyPlate coupon tips to stretch your budget.

  • Find deals right under your nose. Look for coupons with your receipt, as peel-offs on items, and on signs along aisle shelves.
  • Search for coupons. Many stores still send ads and coupons for promotion, so don’t overlook that so-called “junk mail.” You can also do a Web search for “coupons.” Go through your coupons at least once a month and toss out any expired ones. Don’t forget to check out digital coupons and money saving Apps on your phone.
  • Look for savings in the newspaper. Brand name coupons are found as inserts in the paper every Sunday—except on holiday weekends. Some stores will double the value of brand name coupons on certain days.
  • Join your store’s loyalty program. Signup is usually free, and you can receive savings and electronic coupons when you provide your email address.
  • Buy when foods are on sale. Maximize your savings by using coupons on sale items. You may find huge deals as “buy one, get one free.”
  • Find out if the store will match competitor’s coupons. Many stores will accept coupons if they are for the same item. Check with the customer service desk for further details.
  • Stay organized so coupons are easy to find. Sort your coupons either by item or in alphabetical order. Develop a system that’s easiest for you and make finding coupons quick and hassle-free. Ideas for coupon storage include 3-ring binders, accordion organizers, or plain envelopes.
  • Find a coupon buddy. Swap coupons you won’t use with a friend. You can get rid of clutter and discover additional discounts.
  • Compare brands. Store brands can be less expensive than some of the name brand foods. Compare the items to find better prices.
  • Stick to the list. Make a shopping list for all the items you need. Keep a running list on your phone, on the refrigerator, or in a wallet. When you’re in the store, do your best to buy only the items on your list.

Pasta Bolognese

Makes 4 servings

This rich, red sauce combines ground beef, carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes with a touch of milk for added creaminess. The sauce is slowly simmered and delicious served over any favorite pasta.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 carrot (diced)

1 celery stalk (chopped)

1 yellow onion (chopped)

1-pound lean ground beef

1 cup water

2 cans 14.5-ounce low-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes (including liquid)

¼ cup low-sodium tomato paste

1 cup 2% milk

8 ounces whole wheat pasta

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • To cook the Bolognese sauce: Put skillet on the stove over medium heat and add oil. Add carrot, celery and onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to brown. Raise the heat to high. Pinch off tablespoon-size pieces of beef and add a few at a time, stirring well between additions. Cook, breaking the meat apart until it is no longer raw, starts to give off liquid, and no longer clumps together.
  • Add the water, tomatoes, and tomato paste, stirring well. Cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Slowly stir in the milk, a little bit at a time. Turn the heat down to low and cook 45 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Cook pasta as instructed.
  • Top pasta with Bolognese sauce and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! *

Potato, Black Bean and Kale Skillet

Makes 4 servings

A lively Southwestern skillet dish featuring diced potatoes, kale, and black beans spiced with garlic, chili, and cayenne, and topped with a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt.


4 red potatoes

2 ½ cups kale

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic (minced)

¼ cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 can 15 oz. (low sodium) black beans (drained and rinsed)

½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt


  • Cut potatoes into small pieces
  • Chop kale.
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and onions; cook 2-3 minutes until just starting to brown.
  • Add diced potatoes, chili, salt, and pepper to skillet, cover with lid and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add chopped kale and black beans. Cook about 3-5 more minutes, stirring gently.
  • Serve with Greek yogurt.

Interested in free nutrition education classes from OSU Extension EFNEP? Contact Nancy Lyons at 937-224-9654 or