What to Know About Extreme Couponing

The concept of extreme couponing resonated with many viewers when TLC debuted a show in 2011 that revolved around savvy shoppers who paid very little for a lot of goods at the grocery store. Although that show has long been off the air, the idea of saving money with coupons is still appealing today.

Time to save

If you really want to save big with coupons, you have to put in some serious time and effort. A few coupons clipped here and there or a couple ones downloaded from a store’s app will not put a significant dent in your grocery bill. Also, collecting coupons that you won’t use will just waste your time.

“For many, it is more than a 40 hour work week just collecting, organizing, and strategizing the best scenarios for redeeming coupons,” reports The Balance writer Donna L. Montaldo. “Many die-hard couponers will get up before dawn to be the first customers at the stores so that they do not risk losing out on items advertised as being on sale.”

Check the fine print

Every coupon is unique from the amount of money it saves you and its restrictions. Some coupons are only applicable if you buy a certain number of products, while other coupons apply only to specific brands. Coupons from manufacturers vary greatly, so it is vital to your budget to read the fine print so you get the value you expect from each coupon.

You will also want to be clear about the store’s rules about coupons, which are typically available on the store’s website, according to The Balance writer Erin Huffstetler. You might want to print out a copy as well, just in case you run into problems at checkout, she adds.

Store policies will dictate how many times you can use a coupon, too. “For example, going in with 144 coupons and purchasing six cases of one product would not be allowed at most stores,” Montaldo reports.

Maximize sources

Even if you prefer digital coupons to paper ones, combining multiple sources of coupons will help you save. And if you shop at stores that honor double coupons, you’ll save even more, adds Huffstetler. She advises scouring newspapers, magazines, coupon apps, your store’s website, mail, and on in-store products.

Don’t leave without checking out the store’s clearance section. A coupon on an already-marked down or discontinued item can yield quite a deal.

Create a filing system

Once you dive into the extreme couponing mindset, you’ll probably amass a ton of physical coupons. You’ll not only need something to contain them, you’ll need a way to organize them. Huffstetler suggests categories that correspond to grocery departments, expiration dates or the aisles in your store.

Successful extreme couponing requires a lot of work. You must scout out deals from multiple sources, keep up with store and manufacturer policies and stay organized. However, all your work can pay off. You will secure all the supplies you need for you and your family without stressing over the final dollar amount.

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