When did you start couponing? Was it after watching TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” or was after you began to feel the effects of the recent economic recession? Whatever the reason, extreme couponing is all about saving money. If you are new to couponing, here are some tips that you can use to ensure that you get the most for your money.
Tip 1: Collect coupons
The first thing an extreme couponer will need to do is collect the coupons they’ll use on their shopping trip. Newspapers are the best source of coupons. Subscribe to at least one paper where you can collect your coupons. You can opt to have several subscriptions to different papers, but there are other ways to get more coupons without having to pay for more papers.
If you live in an area that has recycling bins, you can collect other people’s unwanted coupons by collecting coupons from them. If you don’t live in an area that does recycling, you can also opt to use a coupon clipping service.
You will need several sets of coupons for the same item to do extreme couponing. This is where a coupon clipping service comes in handy. You can order most coupons in sets of 5, 7, 10, and 20. Decide how many you will need and order.
The next way to get coupons is by liking the products company on social media places like Facebook and/or following them on Twitter. Companies often have high value coupons on their websites. An extreme couponer also knows to visit the company website. Some companies offer coupons and discounts to people who sign up on their websites.
Couponing clubs or coupon trains are another way to nab those much desired coupons. Members of these clubs or trains exchange unwanted coupons with other members in exchange for the ones that they need.
You can also get coupons straight from the company. Simply call or write the company and explain that you are a loyal fan of their product and ask for coupons. Coupons from the company tend to have a longer expiration date and be of a higher value that those found in your local paper.
You can also find valuable coupons right next to products in the store. One of the ways that companies promote new products is by offering valuable coupons for them. They will sometimes send those coupons to the stores along with the product. These are placed right next to the product or even right on the side of the product as a “peelie”.
Tip 2: Getting available discounts
An extreme couponer will always find any available discount. You can get great discounts by joining store loyalty clubs or signing up for store loyalty cards. Stores like CVS, Walgreens, ToysRus, and Winn Dixie give discounts to their customers. Some even load the shopper’s cards with discounts that can be applied toward gas or other items.
Couponing websites like Couponmom.com, The KrazyCoupon Lady, and Cutclipsave.ning will alert other extreme couponers to great deals. Sign up on their sites, and they will notify you of any great coupon deals for the week. They will help you plan your mega shopping trip by telling you where the sales are and which coupons to use.
Tip 3: Organizing coupons
Once you have got your coupons and check the couponing websites for deals in your area, you will need to organize your coupons so that they can be found easily. There are many different ways you can do this. Some people like to cut their coupons as soon as they get them while others like to simply place the inserts inside the binder and only cut the coupons as they need them. You can label your coupons as food, cosmetics, detergent, personal care products, and beverages. It doesn’t matter which way you choose, just make sure that you can find your coupons when you need them.
Tip 4: Planning your trip
Being able to have a successful shopping trip all depends on how well you organize your trip. Planning can take only a few minutes or several hours depending on how many items you are trying to get in one shopping trip.
You will need to gather your sales papers from the stores that you are planning to do your extreme couponing at. Make sure to see where the best deals are and make a list of the items that you will be purchasing during the trip.
Tip 5: Check the pantry
You should always check your pantry and see what items you need before heading off to the store. This will ensure that you don’t buy items you already have enough of. You should also make a menu for the coming week, so you will know which ingredients you will need to purchase.
Tip 6: Write out transactions
Now, you should gather your coupons for your trip. You can places these in store labeled envelopes or folders. It is wise to write out each of your transactions if you will be doing more than one to make sure you don’t get confused.
Tip 7: Go alone
One of the best ways to do make sure you don’t distracted why couponing is to shop alone. Bringing friends and children along will only be distracting and can cause you to make unnecessary purchase.
Tip 8: Bring friends for mega trips
Shop with friends only when you plan to do mega shopping. Most coupons now have a limit on them. Most state that you can only use four identical coupons per shopping trip. If that is the case and you want to purchase more than four items at a time, then a friend will be able to purchase the extra items for you. You may also want to consider shopping at more than one store for your item or making a second trip to the store to grab that super deal. Just remember to always follow the coupon’s guidelines.
Tip 9: Do price matching
You should also be aware that some store like Wal-Mart will do “price matching”. They allow you to purchase an identical item for the same price that it is on sale at the competing store. This can make shopping a little easier if one doesn’t want to shop at multiple stores.
Tip 10: Do price checking
Be sure to check prices on items like dish detergent, washing powder, and paper towels for at least two to three weeks. Sometimes stores will list items in their sale circular that are actually at regular price.
Tip 11: Stack coupons
Stacking is when you combine manufacture’s coupons with store brand coupons and discounts. Couponers will do this to maximize their savings on staple items. This is what extreme couponers call “the perfect storm.”
Tip 12: Double coupons
Extreme couponers will not just haphazardly shop. They not only stack coupons. They wait to purchase some items on Double Coupon day. Certain stores will double coupons up to a certain amount on a particular day. If you have a coupon that says $0.50 off, the store will double it to $1.00. So, instead of just getting $0.50 off of the product, you can get $1.00 off. A great way to get the absolute most out of a shopping trip is to be able to get an item that is on sale on a double coupon day. Combine this with a store discount from their store loyalty program and you can get an item either for free or at an all time low.
Tip 13: Stockpile
When a product is at an all time low, you should stock up on it if you have the space. It is best to purchase enough to last for at least three months or longer. Store sells generally follow a three month cycle, so get enough to last until the next sale.
Tip 14: Learn grocery sales cycles
Also, become aware of what items go on sale at the different times of the year. BBQ sauce tends to be cheapest in the summer around the 4th of July and can soups and cake mix go on sale right before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In conclusion, extreme couponing is about saving the most money on items that you use every day. In order to get the most out of couponing, an extreme couponer must watch the sales circulars, collect coupons, organize them, and careful plan his or her shopping trip.