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.
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.