Basic couponing is a great way to save more money, but if you really want to save a lot of money, you have to get more extreme. Extreme couponing is using a large quantity of coupons and other saving techniques to acquire a significant number of products at a deeply discounted price. Discounts can range from 50% – 100% off the purchase price. Keep in mind, this is not couponing for beginners. Extreme couponing is a great way to save money, but it is not for everyone. In this post I look at what to consider before becoming an extreme couponer. The couponing tips below are not in any particular order – but they will kick-start your education on how to coupon, so read on for some extreme money-saving details.
Do you have the space to become a couponer?
To get significant savings through extreme couponing, you must buy in bulk – that’s just extreme couponing 101. These purchases need to be stored somewhere. If you have a small square footage to work with, this may be a problem as the products take up space in your home. Like all hobbies taken to the extreme, extreme couponing can be a lifestyle commitment as much as anything else. Be honest with yourself about whether or not your lifestyle can accommodate extreme couponing.
Do you have the time and money for couponing?
Most extreme couponers dedicate a set amount of time each day or week to go through coupon offerings. But you also have to know where to find coupons. Extreme couponers peruse newspapers, magazines, couponing websites, email subscriptions and apps for savings. Check out 6 of the best Apps for Couponing. The level of dedication to saving money can take up hours.
Another factor to consider is the time and gas money or transportation fare needed to shop at multiple stores that offer these discounts. Many extreme couponers can save enough money to make the cost of gas or transportation negligible. It really depends on what is important to you.
Do you know the lingo?
If you follow other extreme couponers you may come across terminology that is unfamiliar to you. Understanding couponing lingo will make your shopping experience a more pleasant one. Below are 10 common couponing terms:
|Stackable coupons||You can use a manufacturer’s coupon in addition to the store coupon for added savings. Stackable coupons can make a product cost close to $0.00 if used correctly|
|Double coupon deals||When a coupon is worth twice its value. So a coupon for $1.00 off will be $2.00 off during double coupon deals|
|OYNO (on your next order)||Also known as a catalina (not to be confused with the island just off the coast of Southern California), this is a checkout coupon you can use for money off your next purchase. These coupons are printed on the bottom of your receipt.|
|MIR (mail in rebate)||A partial or full refund offered by the manufacturer when a certain quantity of their products are purchased. Rebates are mailed after customer sends the manufacturer proof of purchase|
|Coupon inserts||These are coupons that appear in other places like newspapers and magazines.|
|Peelie||Adhesive manufacturer coupons found on products in the store.|
|BOGO (buy one get one)||BOGO deals require the purchase of one item in exchange for receiving the second item at a deep discount or for free.|
|Rain check||A written slip that you can request from a store when a sale item is out of stock. When the store restocks the item, after the sale period is over, a rain check entitles you to the purchase for the previous sale price.|
|eCoupons||eCoupons do not require printing and clipping of coupons. Instead, they are downloaded onto your store loyalty card or other apps on your cell phone.|
|Tear pad||A pad of manufacturer coupons found near a product on shopping aisles.|
Are you flexible on when to shop?
Saving money through extreme couponing can be a thrill. However, it is important to be aware that other shoppers may not share in your enthusiasm to save money. Using multiple coupons when shopping can hold up the line at stores. So, avoid shopping during peak hours and be friendly and respectful to the cashier and customers behind you at checkout. You can also let the other customers behind you know that you will be using a lot of coupons which may hold up the line.
How you organize coupons makes a difference. Here are three common organization techniques and their benefits and drawbacks:
- Organize by expiration date: organizing coupons by expiration date is quicker but its harder to find the coupons you need in a timely manner.
- Organize by category: organizing coupons by category is time-consuming but its easier to spot the coupons you need.
- Organize by category: then expiration date: this method is the most time consuming but provides the best results. By first organizing by category then date, you can quickly find the coupons you need and ensure you do not miss out on deals.
Is brand or store loyalty important to you?
The main objective with extreme couponing is to get the best deals for the least amount of money. If you prefer one brand or store over another, you may find it difficult to save a lot of money. If you have a strong preference for certain products make a note of it and watch for deep discounts, then buy in bulk.
Do you need or want the item?
If you save money on items you will never use, this is actually a cost to you, not a savings. The main rule when learning how to become a couponer is to always ask yourself whether you need or want the item you are purchasing. This is even more important when couponing because it is easy to be fixated on saving money and dismiss this crucial question altogether.
Who knows? Perhaps over time, these savings could go back into investments that you actually wish to make. For instance, why not save the money on unnecessarily expensive brands or impulsive purchases now when you could wait, save and spend this money at an excellent appliance store that helps you outfit your kitchen and service your needs for a long time in the future?
Odds are, you’ll feel much more satisfaction knowing that your efforts contributed to a brand new piece of equipment you may not have owned otherwise. Savings take effort to curate, but they’re always worth pursuing.
Ready to start couponing?
Now that you know the basics of how to become a couponer, it’s your choice how extreme you want to go. And bear in mind, couponing – like anything else – will have its ups and downs, but if you stick with it – you can save impressive amounts of money.
Many people do not use coupons because they find the exercise of clipping to be time consuming, bothersome, and the very idea overwhelming. But they are missing out. Couponing is an excellent way to save money, and get your hands on some goodies for cheap – even if you never dip your toes into extreme couponing. You may be wondering, “how do I start couponing?” The answer, right here, right now. We’ve got some couponing tips to let you know how to start couponing.
Where to Look for Coupons
Most people do not know where to start. In order to find the right coupons, you need to know where to look. If you are just getting started then check out Extreme Couponing, to learn how to save thousands. Otherwise, your mailbox is a great place to start; it is filled with newspapers and flyers. Normally, coupons are delivered towards the end of the week since companies anticipate that families will likely shop on weekends. I routinely collect flyers from stores I usually frequent. Then, I put the flyers on my counter table and make time in the evening to go through them when I am relaxed.
I love online couponing websites. Online couponing websites are another place to find great coupons. These sites offer various store flyers for you to browse on and also give the option to add coupons to your ‘coupon cart’, save them and print them later. EBiz, lists 15 most popular couponing websites in the United States and Canada. The EBiz site tracks the average number of visitors per month on each couponing site, so you know where most people are going to get great deals. For example, Groupon (offered both in Canada and the United States), ranks first with over 30 million visitors each month. For coupons that are ‘Canadian centric’ you may want to check out Extreme Couponing Canada.
Many of the couponing sites also offer a free mobile app version of their website that you can download onto your phone. Once you have installed the app on your phone and logged into your account, you can browse through the flyers and coupons and load new coupons as they become available. Magazines are also great for finding coupons. You can find good deals and save money by using the coupons or by using special promotional codes that are sometimes given out by the companies selling a particular product or service. Here is a list of magazines that offer coupons and great savings. Now that you have an idea of where to find coupons to help you save money, let’s look at how to make clipping coupons effective.
How to Make Couponing Effective
Some people find it too time consuming to actively be on the lookout for flyers, collect them, find time to browse through all of them, and clip the ones they want. I use all the methods I mentioned above to find coupons and great deals. If you don’t want to bother yourself with flipping through pages and pages of paper, I recommend downloading mobile coupon apps like Save.ca and Groupon, to mention a few.
Mobile apps are user friendly and easy to navigate because they are streamlined to display the coupons better than computers. Many of the apps allow you to swipe through multiple pages of products in seconds. The apps allow you to select coupons that you would like to add to your cart. This information is saved in your account so you can login into your computer and print out the coupons that you want. I use mobile coupon apps a lot, because I find the layout less overwhelming. I can browse through the coupons while I am on the transit or during my down time. Since I use my mobile phone for almost everything, I find mobile apps to be efficient.
How to Keep Your Coupons Organized
It may be that you find couponing to be a bothersome task because you have not developed a good system to organize them. Whether you clip coupons directly through browsing newspapers and magazines, or you rely on online websites and mobile apps for your couponing needs, you need a filing system that is easy to use and that works for you. One of the best tricks is to use an expandable coupon organizer or the highly popular deluxe expandable coupon organizer.
I sort my coupons into categories such as: foods, home décor, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, clothing, entertainment, eat outs – and so on. My biggest coupon collection comes from grocery items. In this category, I expand my list into sub-categories; dairy products, meats, vegetable and fruits, non-perishables, and frozen foods. When you use online couponing websites or mobile apps, normally the coupons are stored and arranged by category; when you print them and cut them out, they are easy to sort and file accordingly.
Once you have established how you will organize your coupons, you need to decide how you will store them. You can store your coupons anywhere as long as you are aware of the details such as the expiry date and other special conditions that may apply.
Here are a few items to consider using when creating your coupon filing system:
1) Expandable folder- if you want to do some extreme couponing, then an expandable folder will provide for more than enough room to store your coupons by category. The folders are available in various designs and sizes.
2) Protective sheets and a binder- this is another good method to file your coupons because it is inexpensive. However, be careful of how you store your binder – the coupons may slip through the top.
3) Business card holder books: Though archaic in a way, the partitioned inserts provide for a way to catalog and retrieve coupons in a simple manner. Business cardholder books come in different sizes. They are a relatively secure tool that makes the coupons easily accessible to the user.
In couponing, to catch the best deals, you need to be willing to go through the process of looking for the coupons; selecting them either by clipping them out with scissors or storing them online. You must have a way that is easy for you to utilize the coupons in a timely manner. Couponing works, it saves money!