Extreme Couponing: How to Buy More & Pay Less in Stores

Extreme Couponing: How to Buy More & Pay Less in Stores

Coupons are like cash just lying around your house ready to be used. Some people get coupons from the store, product launches, and in trade events. There are also coupons easily within their reach at the shelves, but they choose to ignore these slips of paper and pay full price for their groceries as they normally would. But when you try to find value in coupons, you can actually use these pieces of paper to build your stockpile and save money at the same time.

Before you start clipping coupons and make a huge mess in the living room, it is important to understand how coupons work. First, you bring a coupon to the store and buy the product it is applicable to. The cashier will subtract the amount of the product with the price of the coupon, therefore saving you some money. Therefore, if you have a coupon worth $1 of your favorite cereal and the original cost of the cereal is $1.50, you only need to pay $0.50.

When you only use one or two, the savings seems negligible, but if you have a bunch of coupons for various products or stores and you plan your shopping trip when some or most of these products go on sale, then you can pocket as much as 90-98% in savings! Extreme couponers even get away with a cartful of groceries and pay only a small fraction of their total bill, all with the help of coupons. As a result, they get to save large amounts of money from their grocery budget and have an impressive stockpile of non-perishables at home.

HOW TO SAVE BIG WITH COUPONS

Saving big on coupons takes some strategy, patience and a little arithmetic. Start with being realistic with your needs and if possible, plan your meals around products on sale to get the most of your savings. Most extreme couponers start with the very basic items they need at home and this is also the recommended path if you’re using coupons for the first time.

Only Buy What You Use / Need

Coupons give you a discount so you don’t have to pay the full price, but there’s still a price to pay. Don’t hoard items or brands that you don’t like or use because you’ll end wasting both the money and product. Start with products you use at a daily basis, like cereals, cleaning products, and toiletries. Look up their websites and social media sites where coupons are often shared. You might also want to send them a short letter of appreciation. Brands are likely to give you coupons in return.

Combining Coupons

Combining coupons is also called stacking coupons. To maximize your savings and minimize the cost of your bill, consider stacking coupons. For example, let’s say that you have a store coupon and manufacturer’s coupon for the same brand of detergent soap. If the store doesn’t allow stacking or using both coupons for the same purchase, purchase two detergents and use one coupon for each.

Apart from combining physical coupons, you can also stack coupons with money-saving apps and cash back programs. For instance, you have a coupon for your favorite chips worth $0.50. You also found out that you can earn cash back from checkout51 by purchasing the same brand of chips from this specific store. Using both coupons, you’ll get the chips at a discounted price and win some cash at the same time.

To further maximize your savings, consider stockpiling on your favorite non-perishable products.

Match Coupons With Sales

Aside from the coupons you have at hand or in your loyalty card, look through the aisles to see if there are other deals, discounts, or promotions that you can use in tandem with your coupons. This will certainly help bring the price down even more.

Products typically have a 12-week sale cycle. Check the store or product’s website first to know their sale schedule. Time your trip when the store or product goes on sale and bring numerous coupons so you can buy discounted products in bulk.

Coupon experts like the Krazy Coupon Lady suggests that this is also a very fitting time to stockpile on non-perishables. Buy enough toothpaste, detergents, tissue rolls, and other items to last you 12 weeks and use your coupons to get more discounts. You will have enough stock to last you until another sale starts and you wouldn’t have to pay the regular price in case you run out.

Be Patient

You will be able to snag all the best deals if you know when to wait. If you’re going to use the coupon now while the product is at regular price instead of waiting for it to go on sale, you won’t be able to pocket as much savings.

Extreme couponer from the UK, Jordon Cox, believes that patience is an important virtue in couponing. If you’re so excited to to use your coupons right away even if the store or product on sale, your savings will be minimal. However, if you hold onto your coupons long enough before they expire and within the period when a sale is anticipated, you will only pay a fraction of the total price.

Planning Your Coupon Trip

Extreme couponing may seem like a lot of work (it is), but with a streamlined system in place, you should be able to go through your coupons and use them without getting stressed out. With that said, it’is important to plan your shopping trips properly and practice organization at home and in stores.

Planning

Have a good plan in place before you leave your home for a shopping trip. Otherwise, you’ll end up picking products you don’t need and go well over your budget. Be a proactive shopper and anticipate your family’s needs within they arise, get a good deal, and pocket the savings for the future.

For instance, if you have coupons for your kid’s favorite socks and they go on sale, you can purchase several more pairs while the price is very low. Even if your kids have two more pairs of unused socks, they will eventually need some in the future and you wouldn’t have to pay the full price.

Great Plans End up Saving More

This is a classic example of buy now and save later. You can apply the same principle to other items like buying clothes one size bigger, stockpiling on linens for the guest room, and purchasing pantry essentials in higher quantities while they’re on sale. Of course, you need to consider doing this only when you have coupons or during sales because that’s the best time to maximize your savings.

Buy Gifts in Advance

Another event when planning becomes very essential is when there are special occasions and you need to spend on food and gifts. If you can purchase children’s books, art materials and toys at super low prices, you can gift them anytime and not worry about how much they cost. Also, buying pasta, canned goods, and other dry goods with a long shelf life while you have coupons will help reduce their cost than buying them the day you need them.

Don’t worry about food going to waste or toys being unused. If you did purchase more than you can reasonably consume, consider giving them away to a shelter, the Salvation Army or the less fortunate before they expire.

Planning will get you far, save you more, and even allow you to help as far as shopping coupons are concerned. Now to take the more concrete steps of planning, consider the following:

Find/Cut Coupons

While at home, find and cut your coupons. Browse through the Sunday paper, magazines, and mailers to find coupons. If a store is a giving away free magazines at checkout, get a copy and cut the coupons out when you reach home.

Prepare Your List

Having a list is important in sticking into your budget and not missing any item while shopping. Prepare your list and see if you have coupons for some or most of your items.

Know The Deals Before You Shop

Visit the store’s website or Facebook to know what deals are going when you shop. There are also price aggregator websites that compare prices for the same product across stores. This is very useful in knowing where you can find the cheapest price.

Extreme Couponing Tips

People who are serious about extreme couponing know that this activity can get time-consuming without a system. But with a sound system in place, you’ll know which coupons to use and when to use them. With the ultimate goal of buying more but paying less, paying attention to the following tips will certainly help you maximize the benefits from couponing.

Choose time of Day Wisely

Try to pick a time or day of the week that’s less crowded at the stores. Although coupons are now rising in popularity, people who don’t appreciate it might be annoyed if you’re taking a lot of time in the counter just to get all those coupons scanned. Plan your shopping trips to when you know there are fewer customers so you don’t stress out the cashier, people in line, and yourself.

Know your Coupons

There are certain things that you need to know about your coupons. First, you need to know its expiration date. You also need to know if it applies to a certain size or variant of the product. If you’re taking printable coupons, it’s a great idea to print in color than in black and white because some stores are paranoid about coupons being photocopied and re-used. Although each coupon should bear a unique barcode, wiping away suspicions about using fake coupons will certainly help you finish your shopping faster.

Know the Store Policy

Stores have different policies when it comes to redeeming coupons. Visit the store’s website and read about their rules in redeeming coupons. If you can’t find this information online, make sure you’ve read the terms and conditions of the coupon before using it. Some stores may let you to stack or double coupons, but it’s not always the same across the board. Some cashiers may not be as well-versed about the use of coupons in their store and if this is the case, consider talking to the store manager or someone at the customer service. Remember, you have the right to use coupons as long as you’re following the policies and it helps speed things along if you’re nice and friendly.

Be Organized

Organization can’t be stressed enough when it comes to extreme couponing. If you’re considering bringing your couponing game up from casual to expert, you know you need to have some sort of organizational method to keep track of your coupons and keep them from going to waste. Take note of your coupons’ expiration dates, how much savings you can get from it, and what store you can redeem it from.

Be Calm & Nice

It’s not just you who’s benefitting from using coupons, but also the store and the manufacturer as well. But you can’t help people about feeling indifferent about couponing, who also sometimes happen to be the cashier or the store manager.

Still, you will need to deal with them when the coupons exchange hands at the register. Also, you need to talk to the manager about getting a rain check voucher, though it will be to his/her discretion. Being nice, friendly, and calm will help you get the voucher you need and ensure that all coupons are properly scanned at the register.

Buy What You Need

With a heaping pile of coupons in your file box or binder, it would be so easy to go overboard and spend a lot. However, true savings mean buying a lot of things at rock bottom prices so that you can stockpile at a minimal cost.

Still, you need to realistic about what you need and how you much you need. You really don’t want to stockpile on dog food if you don’t own a dog, even if using the coupons will make the dog food cheaper by 70%. It’s better to give that coupon to someone who owns a dog and will find the product much useful.

Second, consider how much you can reasonably until the next sale season. Wouldn’t the kids get tired of pasta every dinner? If you already know what the deals are in your favorite store and you have the coupons for them, consider building a meal plan with those deals in mind. You need variety in your meals, but you don’t always have to pay full price if you know where to look. It’s also a great idea to give away or donate surplus products to the less fortunate as a way of paying back to the benefits of couponing have given to you.

RECAP

Extreme couponing is an effective way of reducing the cost of your groceries. Coupons are widely available and used and a number of extreme couponers have proven the potential savings from it. If you’re new to couponing, you can begin with using just a few coupons for your favorite products. If you can carve a few hours each week managing your coupons and taking them when you shop, you can purchase a lot of items without paying full price. It is indeed a rewarding method that saves you money, but you do have to perform your own legwork to cut your grocery bill significantly.

SOURCES
http://www.livingrichwithcoupons.com/beginners/extreme-couponing-101
http://www.moneycrashers.com/extreme-couponing-101-three-ps-save-money/
http://www.moneycrashers.com/coupons-from-casual-to-extreme/
http://thekrazycouponlady.com/beginners/
http://thriftynomads.com/couponing-for-beginners-guide/

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