You didn't imagine it: Food prices have steadily risen through the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So have prices for just about everything else.
What's a consumer to do? Find coupons and use them everywhere, say the experts.
Stephanie Nelson, creator of CouponMom.com, says you can find coupons everywhere you turn now, but you have to be open to using them.
"Brands and retailers are spending more money than ever to show you how to save money at their stores, so take advantage," she says.
"If you don't use the savings and coupons that are literally all around you, you're simply paying more than those who do," says Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert for Kinoli Inc. and creator of CouponSherpa.com. Woroch says coupons save consumers an average of 12 percent per transaction at the grocery store.
Just 10 percent of all coupons are redeemed, according to the NCH 2011 Coupon Trends Report. Yet it's been estimated that every hour spent couponing is worth $100, according to the 2010 Free Standing Insert Distribution Trends booklet by Kantar Media. Who wouldn't like a return on investment like that?
To learn how to find coupons, read on.