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$ave Me: Clipping grocery bills, without coupons

Bid farewell to some easy coupon savings.

More stores are tightening their coupon policies, eliminating policies such as doubling—which automatically doubled at checkout the value of manufacturers' coupons up to a certain amount. Kroger stopped that perk Sept. 22 in its stores in Kentucky, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, among other areas. Chains Dillons and Meijer also have scaled back.

The good news: You don't have to be an extreme couponer—or a couponer at all, really—to see substantial savings on your grocery bill.

One simple trick among those we recommend is stocking up on store sales. According to TheGroceryGame.com, most items go on sale just once every 12 weeks. That means you're better off stocking up on the kids' favorite cereal when you spot the sale, instead of paying full price when you're actually out in two weeks.

By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant. Follow her on Twitter @KelliGrant.

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