Extreme Couponing Isn’t As Difficult As You Might Think! (Starter’s Guide)
Blog | July 23rd, 2021
Let’s start with the “first things first” when it comes to extreme couponing. There are couponers and then there are extreme couponers! The difference is what level you are willing to take it to. Do you want to save a few bucks or do you prefer 70% to 90% off of your total grocery bill? If the latter is better, and of course it is, you must first have four necessities to be successful: time, space, organization, and commitment.
Learn the Lingo
Start by understanding the coupon language. It was a long time before I knew what “SMH” meant and you don’t want cashiers, managers, and especially other customers doing just that from their irritations of you clearly being a coupon rookie. Know your stuff before you get started in the actual checkout line! Here are a few examples:
BOGO: means buy one get one (free)
Double Coupons: means the coupon is worth twice its face value. For example, a 50% off coupon becomes $1.00 off!
Stackable: means you can combine your manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon to save the total of both!
Once you have your self-acclaimed coupon degree you’re ready to actually get started!
Organize by coupon value or by specific items. You certainly don’t want to miss out on high-value coupons but on the same token, time is money. Wasting precious time fumbling through multiple categories can become frustrating. In my experience I find myself thinking, libraries have done just fine for decades by putting things in categories and alphabetical order. If it works for them it will work well for couponing!
As you clip or print your coupons, put them directly in your preferred storage. I’ve had great success with something similar to this coupon organizer. Choose something sturdy that will last yet is not so pricey that it eats into your profits.
Do This, But Not That!
Making a list will never steer you wrong when you head into a grocery store. Having a goal and a clear mind will keep you on track in buying only what you need. Then there’s the obvious…never, ever shop hungry! Hunger will suddenly have you in a state of not caring how much it costs, coupon or not! If you spend money on things you’ll never use or don’t need, you’re just wasting time and money. Also, sort through your coupons weekly and discard those that have expired. Save your dignity and conserve your time at the checkout by only allowing in-date coupons in your pouch!
The More the Better!
Clip and collect as many coupons as you possibly can! This is where “stacking” coupons come into play! Never rely on a simple Sunday paper for a handful of items. Instead of dipping into your savings for extra newspapers, ask your friends, family, church members, neighbors, recreation, and school parents that don’t clip to pass them along to you! In frequenting stores, the staff will know you and most likely be happy to give you their coupon inserts rather than having to bother with discarding or recycling.
More is always better in this case…why save on one package of toilet paper when you can bundle up on ten? After all, you will use it! Scour the Internet for even more savings outside of the newspaper realm! Always check the back of the receipt for those hidden, gold mine deals as well as the ones that pop up at the checkout on items similar to those you just purchased!
Buying in bulk will be one of your best extreme friends when it comes to saving money. Obviously, you have to have storage space for your purchases, otherwise, your savings celebration will lose its joy in other areas…or lack of areas. Your coupons are not the only thing that needs organization, your storage area is a must as well!
Shop the Familiar
Here’s that time factor again! When you trek out with determination to hit the couponing frontier, strive to be in familiar territory. Know what you’re going for and know where to find it! Make your list with the same item headings as your coupon file. This combo will have you zipping up and down the aisles and checking out with a plump wallet in no time! When you’re ready to try a new store, no worries!
Just familiarize yourself with your new adventure before you get extreme! Know your way around, while also being sure to know what’s on sale. Go online and check out the bargains before you hit the road. The internet saves gas! Don’t play store favorites when huge money savings or at risk! It’s worth a short ride to save a bundle on big sales!
As they say, technology is wonderful…when it works! One version that works beautifully and is used by many extreme couponers is software with trackers that alert you of deals in your area! Savings Angel, Coupon Sense and BeFrugal are great to get you started on this money and time-saving road. A penny saved is a penny earned and time works pretty much the same way!
Play by the Rules
Last but not least is being absolutely certain of your store's policies. Jot them down on a notecard along with the name of the person you spoke with. This way you will deflect any future issues from cashiers or store managers, especially when new ones come on board. You’ll have their rules and their word in writing!
The more you do something the better at it you’ll become! Follow these rules that really are quite simple. You’ll soon get the hang of it and the process will no longer be as overwhelming as you thought! Very soon you’ll turn your frown upside down when you see those receipt totals and your monthly bank statement!