Extreme couponing has gotten a lot of media attention lately – and why not? People save hundreds, even thousands of dollars by compiling coupons and redeeming them on enormous supermarket runs. Extreme couponing is a tempting practice, but it can seem daunting to get started on something that takes up so much time and attention. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though.
Where to Find Coupons
The best place to look is the Sunday paper. Major newspapers have anywhere from one to three coupon inserts included in the Sunday paper every week. It’s a good idea to ask family and friends to save any coupon inserts for you. To acquire even more, you can visit coffee shops in your area that get a lot of traffic on Sunday mornings and take the coupon inserts from discarded newspapers. You can even ask area gas stations and grocery stores if they would mind giving you the inserts from unsold papers. Local newspaper recycling centers will often allow you to take the coupon inserts from papers, as well.
A large number of coupons can be found online. There are many sites dedicated just to printable coupons. Coupons.com, ClipNGo, CoolSavings, and even The Fabulous Shopping Mom Coupon Center have printable coupons that can be printed online.
Daily rewards programs like MyPoints can provide you with online coupons. The MyPoints Bath and Body Works coupons are one of thousands of online coupons that can be found.
Buy cheap printer paper and ink to use for any printable coupons to save money (if your printing a lot of coupons ink can add up, so opt for the cheapest ink). After printing a coupon once, hit ‘back’ on your browser and you will often be able to print the coupon a second time.
Pay attention to the packaging of your products. Many manufacturers print coupons right on the package or include a coupon inside the packaging, often in a slip of cellophane to keep the coupon safe from moisture. Some supermarkets have coupons available right in the store – ask about it at the service desk.
Understand Coupon Basics
Some stores double coupons automatically or have double coupon days. For instance, if a coupon saves you 50 cents, you’ll save a dollar on double coupon day. You can use this to your greatest advantage by buying smaller packages. Many items come in smaller amounts that cost a dollar or less. You can get these for free with a good coupon on double coupon days. Be careful, though, as some coupons restrict by which size you can buy with them.
Often, individual coupons restrict use to just one item, but store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons can both be used on the same item because they are different varieties. Coupons are labeled by which variety they are. Also be sure to know the expiration dates on your coupons, though some stores will take expired coupons for a limited amount of time after the expiration. Some stores will also apply coupon overage (for example, if you have a 75 cent coupon for a can of beans, but the can is only 50 cents, you will have a 25 cent overage left) to the total of your items at checkout. You should ask your local supermarkets about their coupon policies. Things to ask include:
• Does this store double coupons or have double coupon days?
• Is there a limit to the number of coupons I can use per checkout?
• Does the store apply coupon overages to the rest of my order?
• Will this store accept expired coupons?
• Are there any bonuses or restrictions on coupon use at this store?
While tossing all of your coupons into a box or baggie might work when you only use a few on a shopping trip, it’s not feasible for the level of extreme couponing. When just beginning, you can use a small card file box that you have divided into categories such as cleaning supplies, drinks, frozen foods, fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, and so on.
You can also create a binder or album for your coupons, using sleeves that are usually for inserting photographs to sort your coupons by product. This is often the easiest method for extreme couponers because you can open the album and see your coupons right away. If you become a truly advanced extreme couponer and your coupons outgrow a single album or binder, you can always dedicate a binder to each area of the supermarket.