Frugal Lifestyle Guide 1

How to Start Extreme Couponing

Everyone gets coupons in the mail but very few of us actually use them. We throw them away and are literally throwing money away every time we do that. Most people have seen the extreme couponers, even bought the spoils ourselves off yard sale pages after someone else has done the job, but why not just get free and cheap stuff yourself for very little time put in?

Find Coupons

The first step in starting couponing is to simply start collecting. When you go to the grocery store there’s always a magazine at the door if you haven’t got one from home, and there’s probably coupons in it. Many stores have coupons placed near items that are on sale and others will print out coupons when you’re finished shopping too. Check your mail, check the paper. You can also check company’s websites and discount sites for coupons that you can print or email to your phone.

Johnson and Johnson for example has a loyalty program where you sign up and they will send you samples, coupons, and ask your opinion on products. You can also email companies you like and tell them about the products you enjoy or want to try. The same is true of letters, many companies will mail you back coupons if you send in a letter telling them what products you enjoy or about a problem with any of their products.

In many cases you can get or print multiples of the same coupon and while you can only have 1 coupon per item buy buying X numbers of items with coupons the price means you’ll get X of them free depending on the value of the coupon.

Sort Coupons

Couponing requires being organized. You’ll need a binder or folder that allows you to sort your coupons. These can be sorted any way you want but the ideal way is to sort them by department e.g pets, and then again by when they expire with the ones expiring soonest at the front. If you have multiples of the same coupon with different expiration dates you’ll want to make sure they’re not mixed up so sorting by the soonest date will make it less likely you’ll forget them until some are expired.

You can also sort them by shop or store, however since most stores take competitors coupons this is a little redundant.

Research Stores

Not all store policies are alike when it comes to coupons. For example, some stores have a policy that means you can only have 4 similar coupons per transaction, while others will allow you to have unlimited coupons. However, it’s often up to the manager what “unlimited” means so it’s a good idea to shop during the hours when the shop isn’t busiest so that they don’t cut you off for holding people up. You don’t want the cashier or the store to get frustrated with you so it’s important to know the policies before you shop and know what your limits are within any transaction.

Another thing you need to research is whether the store carries the items you want. Strategic shopping often means buying one item at one store and another item at a different store. We all do that normally, but it’s often not the smartest and it can make couponing harder. If you can coupon all at the same store with competitors coupons to make the item cheaper then that’s saving you time and gas between stores. If an item is significantly cheaper in another store then you’re better off shopping strategically.

This also applies to coupon stacking and using more than one coupon per item. Not all stores allow this but by doing it you might even end up with money back. Doubling coupons works the same way. If the coupon doesn’t say “may not be doubled” then you can use two or more per item, making it free or cash back.

Planning The Store Visit

When you’re in the store you’ll need to be smart about how you shop. There’s no point in using a coupon on a full priced item so looking for sales or items that are on a “deal” like buy one get one free is what you should look for. Most stores don’t actually check if you bought two, they simply mark the scan price as half the normal price for that promotion. For example, a $1 item that is buy one get one free will scan at $0.50 regardless of whether you buy two. This means that if you have a $0.50 coupon for that item you will essentially get it for free if you wait for that promotion. Sites like Krazy Coupon Lady will give you a heads up on promotions but your local store also has a weekly flier that does the same.

While this isn’t necessarily “extreme couponing” it’s a great way to save you money off your shop. Even if it’s not the same brand you would normally buy you can end up saving more by switching.

Posted in: Tips

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