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Twice the Fun:

Last week, I mentioned that pairing dollar coupons with dollar sales at the grocery store are one of my favorite ways to get items for free. Another easy way? Double-coupon days.

Coupon "doubling" occurs when a store matches a coupon's face value and passes the added bonus savings on to you, the shopper. Here's how it works. When you go to the checkout and hand the cashier a 50-cent coupon during double-coupon days, the cashier scans it and the cash register automatically doubles the value of that coupon to $1. You receive a dollar savings on one item with one 50-cent coupon.

Grocery stores handle double-coupon promotions differently. Some stores double coupons up to a certain amount every day. Others offer double-coupon promotions on certain days of the week or certain weeks of the month. Still others offer double coupons on some days and triple coupons on others. During a triple-coupon promotion, a 50-cent coupon is worth $1.50.

These sales are definitely worth checking out because stores that double coupons make it very easy for shoppers to get groceries for free or at big discounts. However, in my experience, many stores have specific rules for the ways they double coupons. You'll want to refer to your store's coupon policy to determine exactly how your store handles these promotions. Visit the store's Web site for the information or ask for a copy of the guidelines next time you're shopping.

For example, one national grocery store chain will double all coupons worth up to 55 cents every day of the week. Another national chain doubles coupons up to $2 each, but they only run this promotion for one week each month. Some stores will double Internet coupons, others won't. It's important to find out exactly how your store handles doubles so that you aren't disappointed at the checkout.

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