“Extreme Couponing” seems to be a popular fad lately brought on by TLC’s show “Extreme Couponing” combined with the economy and the need for people to save money. If you have ever watched the show, many of the people interviewed have a back story on how they got started couponing in the first place and it usually has a tone of desperation or pure need to survive to it. Many times we need to be put in to a really bad situation in order to realize that even when we think we have cut the budget and cut it again until we just can’t cut anymore, there IS always room for more cutting. I have been a coupon queen for many years and have been on friends and family members about how much you can really save with coupons if you do it right. Some of them listen and some don’t, thinking that it isn’t worth the time or that you can save a dollar or two with coupons. Little did I know I could have started a show to demonstrate to people how to coupon and exactly how much you can save! The show is a great demonstration of exactly what coupons CAN do and that it really is worth doing. Of course, those people and cases demonstrated on the show are exactly what the title claims it to be-EXTREME. The situations pulled off on the show similar to $600 worth of groceries for $0 is not something that happens every day, that is for sure and those that do pull off a feat like that are making a full time job out of couponing. For those of you that don’t have an extra 40 hours a week to spend on couponing, don’t be discouraged you can still save a lot of money without it turning in to an obsession.
- First check out a post I did a while back on how to Save Money Couponing
- After that, find out what the coupon policies are like at your local grocery store chains and compare them. Sometimes you can do a search online and bloggers will have them posted or you can simply ask your store manager next time you are in there. This is very important because coupon policies vary greatly from store to store. Some chains will double coupons with no maximum while others don’t double at all. Some offer other discounts on certain days such as military or senior discounts. On “Extreme Couponing” I have seen a store that gave money back to the customer because their total went in to the negative after coupons which our stores here would never do but it would be an important factor to know.
- Obey the rules of couponing or else you make all of us couponers look bad. There have been a couple people on the “Extreme Couponing” show that have been accused by the blog world of couponers of cheating. I have not looked in to it enough to say one way or the other but if hand over a pile of coupons to the cashier and she starts scrutinizing every one of them you will know why, people try to cheat. Don’t try to use expired coupons. Don’t try to use coupons for something you didn’t buy. Understand the store’s coupon policies and abide by it. Don’t make copies of coupons. Don’t alter the coupon in any way.
- Read and watch Coupon Mom’s Learn to Coupon Tutorial or check out Krazy Coupon Lady’s Beginner Section.
- Decide how you will start organizing your coupons. Some people suggest simply pulling the coupon sections out from the newspaper each week and marking the date on the front. When you use Coupon Mom or another couponing site or blog each week to find out what the best deals are they will tell you which coupons you need for each deal and you can then pull those and clip them. Others make huge binders using a three ring binder and those pages used for collecting sports cards to sort the coupons in.
- Find a site that can give you the best deals each week for the stores in your area. Coupon Mom’s Grocery Deals by State section is great but some people prefer the layout of a blog that covers the stores in your area.
- Coupons are a great resource for items outside the grocery store too. Many stores like Home Depot accept competitors coupons and one of their local competitors here has $10 off a $25 or more purchase coupons that print on the back of the grocery store receipt. I use these to not only buy home repair items at Home Depot but all of our household cleaning items as well. The Entertainment Book is a great resource for restaurant and activity coupons.
- If you own a business check the local Sunday paper for coupons to the office stores in your area or you may find better deals on the basics using coupons to your local drugstore. Also ask your local office supply store about reward cards to earn credit with each purchase. Also, using something like the Home Depot deal to get cleaning supplies can save you a lot of money too.