Like many people who have heard of “Extreme Couponing”, I’ve also wondered “How did they do that?!” Now that I have been doing it for a couple of months, I see that it is real and anyone can do it. You only have to decide how much time you want to put into it because like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
You have to change the way you shop. You can no longer get a Sunday paper and hope that you will find great deals with just that week’s coupons. Also, saving with coupons allows you to step out of your comfort zone and try different brands and products.
It is best to create a Coupon Binder. In this, you will have clear business card or baseball card pages where you will keep your coupons. This allows you to easily see every coupon and have quick access to them.
The binder should have dividers which can be sorted in such sections as frozen items, oral care, medicine, dairy, meats, breakfast items, drinks, snacks, etc.
Here’s a friendly couponing tip. Always keep your binder in the car because coupons are useless if you leave them at home!
Next, collect coupons. This involves getting 2-3 Sunday newspapers per person/ baby/ pet in your home. You can purchase them, get them from family, friends or associates (kids’ teachers, co-workers, neighbors) or “dumpster dive” by getting them from recycling bins. You may even want to go the newspaper distributing site and get the left-overs papers before they are recycled. Unfortunately, less that 20% of coupons are redeemed, so be resourceful.
Each week, you will want to cut all of the coupons that you may possibly use. If you use deodorant, cut the Ban, Sure, Secret etc brands. Brand loyalty should go out the window when couponing because you never know what will be on sale and you may get a better deal by trying a different brand. If you enjoy salty snacks, cut every coupon that falls under that category even if you’ve never tried that product before. Now, if you don’t have a pet, you shouldn’t spend the time cutting the coupons for those types of products unless you plan to donate them to an animal shelter.
Purge expired coupons once a month to keep your binder updated.
The key to couponing is matching your coupons with store sales to get the best deals and then stocking up. So each Sunday, you will want to review the weekly ads. Rite-Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger and Publix.
Also going to the store and looking for sales items aisle by aisle may also prove to be beneficial.
Publix and Kroger are your best stores for couponing because of their sales and their double couponing policies. Wal-mart doesn’t have the typical sales and they don’t double coupon so it’s rare that I will shop there. (***Double coupon is when the store doubles the value of the coupon. Publix and Kroger double any coupon up to 50¢. So a 50¢ coupon will deduct a $1 off of that product.)
Here are some of my shopping experiences.
Kroger has Tyson frozen chicken for $3.99. They had one of their Buy One, Get One Free sales making them $2 each. With my 50¢ coupon that doubles, I got each one for $1.
Kroger also has 10 items for $10 deals all the time. One item was the 3pk of Ivory soap. Again, I had a 50¢ coupon which doubles so the soap is Free!
Colgate is another one of those products that I got for Free with this sale and the coupon.
Publix had Dial body wash on sale, 2 for $3. Luckily there was a coupon for $2. So the store actually paid me 50¢ for each item! These are called moneymakers. You can use the overage for items that never have coupons like produce and meats.
Wal-mart has a 3 pk of Cascade dishwasher tabs for 97¢. There is a coupon for $1 off any Cascade product. That makes it Free!
Food Lion has Marcal single roll paper towels for $1. Fortunately, you can always find $1 off coupon on the product which makes them Free!
Rite-Aid had Purex detergent on sale for $1.99 (usually $5.49). With my $1 coupon, I stocked up on the 99¢ item.
Free Items! You should never have to pay for toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes, pantiliners, dental floss or razors. There is always a way to get these items for free!
Unwritten Rules for Couponing
You may have heard of people clearing the shelves of all of the products available and hoarding hundreds of items. Ethically, you should only purchase what you need. With sale cycles running in 2-3 month increments, you will see those same sales again. For the items that you do purchase in excess, you may want to consider donating them.