This ” 10 Easy Ways To Become an Extreme Couponer ” posts provides a summary of the many steps or strategies that extreme couponers do to save money every time they go to stores to shop.
When I started cutting down on my family’s expenses, I decided to start with our supermarket budget, which during that time took the biggest chunk of our budget outside rent payment. When I say supermarket budget what I mean is grocery, personal effects, and miscellaneous items that we buy from the supermarket or grocery stores (e.g. Walmart, Target, Giant Food, Shoppers, and Food Lion).
I didn’t know a lot about couponing and certainly, I was amazed how a lot of people were able to do a shopping trip worth a ton of money for a fraction of the cost (and sometimes for free). I remember getting glued on the TV because of TLC’s Extreme Couponing. I honestly thought it was the best show ever created on the planet earth. My reaction during that time was like that because I was determined and desperate at the same time to cut down on my ever-increasing supermarket bill.
How To Become an Extreme Couponer
It took me a few months to completely bring our family’s supermarket budget in its best shape. Luckily, we did it through practice, trial and error, discipline, and a ton of research. It took me a while to learn the ins and outs of the couponing world and I’d like to share and summarize those secrets in just one blog post on how to become an extreme couponer. There aren’t that many secrets and they’re all out there. You just need to be more cognizant and take the time to work an extra mile to get those extra savings.
1. Visit free coupon websites
By now, you know that there are a lot of coupon sites that provide free coupons. As a frugal person, I’d rather look online first to see where I can find free stuff, in this case, coupons. These are the coupon sites that I have always gone to for coupons for just about anything and everything I need:
2. Visit fee-based coupon websites
When I was starting with my Master’s Degree in ” How To Become an Extreme Couponer ” (of course, I made the degree up), I didn’t connect the dots between free coupon sites and not-so-free coupon sites. It was only when one of my friends told me that I could get coupons for a fee from a numbers of sites online. I took immediate action upon knowing such fact. The moment I got all coupons I purchased online was the moment that our budget started to change for the better. Here are the sites that I always visit when I need to stock up on my grocery, personal effects, and miscellaneous items.
3. Visit store websites before you visit the stores
I always go to the stores’ websites first before going to the stores. In addition, I go to their sites to see the deals for a given week. Once I learned about their promotions, I immediately buy my coupons online and wait a couple of days before going to the stores to buy the stuff I need. Please be mindful that some stores start their weekly promotions on different days. It’s best to learn when your stores start their promotions. This way you can order the coupons on time and they get delivered before the promotions end.
For example, Giant Stores or, in some areas, Stop N’ Shop starts their weekly promotion on Thursday. So, you can visit their store site on Thursday to see the deals of the week and start figuring out what coupons you need to purchase. You should buy coupons on Thursday or, the latest, Friday so you can get your coupons before the next week’s promotion rolls in.
Some websites post promotions a day or two early before the stores start their promotions. These websites are coupon websites that may or may not be tied to the supermarket or grocery stores. When you check their sites and know what the promotions will be for the stores, then, you can have an extra day or two to buy your coupons online.
Here are some of the sites I go to check the promotions in advance:
4. Learn the coupon policies of stores including double or triple coupons
Stores have different policies on coupons especially when it comes to doubling or tripling coupons. Some stores will only double coupons up to $0.99 manufacturer’s coupons and some do not care. Some stores will triple your coupons and some won’t. Some will only entertain up to a set number of coupons for doubling or tripling.
If you want to become an extreme couponer, you need to learn how many coupons you can use for each transaction. Some stores will allow you to only use a couple of the-same coupons in one shopping trip or transaction. In this case, you will need to do your transactions in batches. Some stores have a limit on the number of printed coupons that can be used per shopping trip.
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5. Buy when there’s a promotion
One of the best ways couponers pay the least amount in their supermarket or grocery shopping trip is that they buy when there’s a promotion and when they have coupons for what they want to buy. If you want to become an extreme couponer and save more or get the products for free, you need to buy them when they are on sale. When you combine both the promotion and the coupons, you are looking at saving a lot of money.
One good example of combining the promotion and the coupons is at Target. For example, Target has a 3 for $10 deal for Pantene and a target gift card for $5. Let’s say you have three $2 Pantene coupons, then, you’ll end making $1 out of this transaction. How? The cost is $10 less $6 for using three $2 coupons less $5 target gift card. That’s a money-making transaction.
6. Ask for a rain check
One of the ways on how to become an extreme couponer is to learn take advantage of rain checks.
Stores have different policies on issuing rain checks. Some will only issue rain checks when the stores are out of stock of the items you want to purchase (i.e. CVS). Some stores will have limits on the number of rain checks that can be issued. Some stores don’t have expiration dates on rain checks (i.e. CVS) and some do (i.e. Rite-Aid).
The idea behind rain check is simple. You get the promotion whether you buy the items tomorrow or a month from now. For example, CVS has a $5 per 2 Aveeno lotions but the store is out of that item. As a result, you can get a rain check for that. A month from now, you can still buy the Aveeno lotions at prices stated on the rain check voucher even when there’s no promotion for the Aveeno lotions.
One of the benefits of rain check is that you can combine your rain check and your coupons at the same time. If you happen to have a rain check for $2 for a cereal, for example, and you have $1 coupon, then, you can use both for that cereal and have a total savings of $3. If the cereal is on sale for $3, then, you’re getting the product for $0. Cha-ching.
7. Don’t throw away your mail inserts
You may find coupons in those mailed inserts that you can use. Since these are mailed coupons, they are free of charge. So, before you throw them out because you think that they are just junk mails and worthless, always take time to go through those mails. You’ll never know what you’ll find there.
8. Use in-store coupons along with manufacturer’s coupons
Aside from promotions, stores have their own in-store coupons. If you want to become an extreme couponer, Always remember to use their coupons along with the manufacturer’s coupons. Those serve to save you money but you should know that they are two different coupons. Most stores won’t accept two manufacturer coupons for the same item. In-store and manufacturer coupons don’t fall into that category. So, you can use them at the same time without any problems.
Imagine yourself using in-store coupons, manufacturer coupons, rain checks, and current promotion for various items. You are looking at a ton of savings.
9. Take advantage of in-store promotions and the clearance aisles
You may find that not all the store’s promotions are online. You’ll find this almost every time. When you visit your store, always be in the lookout for promotions that are exclusively published for that store only. If you happen to find promotions that run for weeks or a whole month and you need those products, then, you should look if there are existing coupons for those items from the websites that sell coupons.
You should also visit the clearance aisles because you will find great deals there. Combining it with your coupons, you are looking at getting the products for very low prices, if not for free.
10. Buy newspapers
This is one of the most basic ways to get your coupons. Sunday newspapers have coupon inserts but not all the time. You can always visit Sunday Paper Coupons for coupon insert schedule before you buy newspapers for coupon inserts.
If you want to buy one coupon insert, then, it’s ok to buy from gas stations, Walmart stores, etc. But if you want to buy a couple of newspapers for inserts, you can go directly to the newspaper’s website so you can avail its discounts. Now, if you want buy a ton of inserts or coupons for the same items, the most economical way is to buy from websites that sell coupons in bulk. See #2 for the sites that I use to buy my coupons.
So, there you have the secrets to become an extreme couponer without really going to the extremes. It may or may not take you a while to learn all these tips and tricks but you’ll eventually thank yourself for learning all these lessons or what-do list because they will help you save a ton of money and you’ll get a lot more for just a few dollars.
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