A recent trend has revolutionized the way that many individuals save money on their grocery bill. Popularized by the television show of the same name, extreme couponing is the practice of combining deals and vouchers at grocery and drug stores to drastically lower your grocery bill. The best part is anyone can do; it’s just going to take a lot of work on your part to make it successful.
To start, extreme couponing can take a big time commitment. As you might have seen on the show, some individuals spend several hours every day researching deals, looking through various newspapers and mailers and finding the most cost-effective ways to feed their entire family. Most people don’t need to go that in depth. Start by spending 30 minutes every day browsing sites such as this one and your local paper for values and savings. Be frugal and focus on items that your family will actually use; don’t just purchase items because it’s a good value. If you don’t get a local paper, you can usually get either a weekend only or Sunday only subscription for just a few dollars per week. Another place to look is in your mailbox. The weekly ads and circulars offer many great deals and, combined with the coupons you have already clipped, will help you combine your savings and be even more economical with your shopping list.
While you are clipping, it is important to stay organized and keep track of your coupons so you know exactly what you have. Use a binder or a pouch and organize it by type, date or whatever is easiest for you. This will also make check out time much easier.
After you have finished your clipping, make your shopping trip. Try to stick to one grocery and one drug store to start off. That way you aren’t wasting too much time and money in order to be thrifty. While at each retailer, be on the lookout for unlisted coupons that are only available in-store. These can help you save even more on many great trusted brands. When you are shopping, there’s one important fact for first timers to remember: don’t go overboard.
Some extreme couponers try to amplify their savings by buying items in bulk and stockpiling them for later. While there is nothing wrong with this practice, it typically requires multiple transactions and not everyone has the space to hold many extra items. Be more efficient and just buy what you need and what you will use. It’s also helpful to learn the specific policies at each store. By learning what vouchers you can use in conjunction with other deals, you can multiply your savings and prevent a headache at the check out stand if your coupons aren’t accepted.
The most important thing to remember about extreme couponing is to be realistic. Don’t expect to get 90% or even money back from the store on the first trip. A practical goal would be to save 40-50% on your grocery bill, which would still provide you with hundreds of extra dollars a year. By doing a little bit of work everyday, you can find great values and have more money to spend for fun and adventure. If you have any tips or tricks that you have used at retailers in the past, feel free to leave them in the comments below.