For the first time in my life I've been clipping coupons as I try to become more responsible with my money. But being the disorganized person that I am, I often end up at the store and the coupons are still sitting at home on my kitchen table.

Some area grocers are now giving shoppers like me another way to get coupon savings – electronic coupons. Now you can download certain coupons onto your grocery store value card. That way when you go to pay, the cashier swipes your value card and you get the savings. Convenient.

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This doesn't mean I'm advocating people stop cutting coupons from the newspaper. Electronic coupons are still in the early stages and somewhat limited. For one, not every grocery store offers it. Giant and Safeway do, for instance. Wegmans doesn't and has no immediate plans to change that. ShopRite is exploring the option. You're also not going to get the same variety from electronic coupons. But electronic coupons can enhance your coupon cutting.

To get Giant's coupons you have to sign up for their electronic monthly newsletter, which the grocer will email to you. The newsletter will include monthly coupons you can download. A recent special was three free ears of locally grown corn.

Safeway rolled out electronic coupons to all its stores in June. Safeway partners with shortscuts.com, cell fire and P&G eSaver – all providers of online coupons. Consumers log onto Safeway's website and connect to the couponLink page. They then browse coupons on the above sites and download them to their value card.

I haven't tried either service yet, but plan to do so. Have others out there tried electronic coupons? What do you think? Any tips for us newbies? What other advice do you have for using coupons?

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