If you have ever watched the show "Extreme Couponing", you've probably sat in awe wondering "How did they do that?" I mean wouldn't we all want to purchase hundreds of dollars in products at a 90% discount. Can this really be done? Yes it can but it takes a lot of time and dedication and it just doesn't happen overnight. But no worries because you too can save money by couponing, and I'm here to give you the beginners guide to get you started to saving!
-The first step is to collect coupons. This can easily be done through coupon inserts in the newspaper. These are commonly found in the Sunday Paper (however other papers may carry them as well). These coupon inserts vary from week to week so purchasing a paper each week will give you a variety of coupons. The prices of these papers vary from place to place. I purchase my Sunday paper from the grocery store for $2. Some places charge more and I've also heard that the paper can be purchased from Dollar Tree for $1. Just be on the look out for these papers. I typically buy 2 so that I can have double the amount of coupons. That's $4 for the papers but the coupon savings are so much more so they are worth it. Some people suggest that you purchase 4 to 6 papers starting out and that's fine as well, if that's what you're willing to do. Some people also get these inserts for FREE (I wish) and can get multiples at a time. If you can get them for free, get as many as you can and start clipping. While getting coupons from the newpaper is the most common way, it isn't the only way. There are people called "Coupon Fairies" that you can just purchase the inserts from and you can purchase multiples so you can easily get 10 coupon inserts at one time, giving you 10 of each coupon. Just be careful that you find a supplier that is loyal and trustworthy so that you get all the coupons you pay for. But if you can find a coupon fairy, use them.
-Coupons can also be printed from online. Coupon services such as coupons.com is a great way to clip the coupons you need. Simply go through the list of coupons and choose which ones you want. Once that is done you can just print them. Receiving multiples of these are difficult because you can only print from one device. DO NOT MAKE COPIES OF COUPONS! Making copies of coupons are illegal. Online printable coupons are also available from the manufactor. If you know of a product that you use or like, then visit the website and see if they offer coupons. Tide and Gain coupons are often retreived through their websites. There are also sites that allow you to purchase coupons that will be mailed out to you. For instance, there is a HUGE sale going on now or OXI CLEAN at RITE AID. The sale is for $3.99, but there are coupons for $3.00 off making those $0.99 each. Thats right....Laundry detergent for less that $1. These sites are great to purchase these coupons from because you can buy a large number. Some people get 30 at a time! The prices of these coupons vary but there is a small charge for each. Some additional sites that you can get coupons from are Klip2Save.com, PGEveryday.com, and SmartSource.com.
Find The Sales
-Now that you have the coupons clipped and ready, it's time to find the sales. Sales allow you to maximize your savings. Sale papers are a great way to find the best deals. If you purchase the Sunday Paper then there typically are some sale papers in there. You can also browse a store's sale online. Finding the sale is very important. I shop Bi-Lo often because that is the store near me, and they like to have BOGO deals (that's buy one get one free deals). I love those because even before coupons I'm getting a item for 1/2 the price and a coupon is just a bonus. Recently I received a coupon for $1 off 2 Nabisco Cookie Snack Packs. I know that Bi-Lo usually have those on the BOGO sale, so I held on to those coupons and waited for the sale. The next week the sale was on so I was able to purchase 2 for $5.49 a savings of $7.49. They were originally $12.98 for 2 but because of the sale I was able to get them for $6.49 for two and then the $1 off 2 coupon made them $5.49. I was also able to do this with Kemp Frozen Yogurt but for a better bargain. Regular price was 5.99 each or 2 for $11.98. They were on sale for BOGO so 2 were $5.99 however I had 2 coupons for $1 off each so that was an extra savings of $2 making my final total $3.99 for 2 (a savings of $7.99). The cheaper that you can get the item for the better deal you will have when you use a coupon. So when you see those extreme couponers saving so much money, many of the items are already on sale before the coupon is used. Stores such as Safeway, Shopright, Wegmans, Weis, Giant, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and Kroger have amazing sales, but too bad I don't have them near me (bummer). However if you do, follow their sales! And search the clearance aisle. You may have a coupon for an item that is already on clearance; an even bigger savings!
Know the stores coupon policy
For all the stores that you plan to coupon in, KNOW THE STORES COUPON POLICY. This is important to know how to maximize the value of your coupons. The policy lets you know how many coupons can be used in one transaction and if coupons can be double. That's right some grocery stores will double your coupon making your $0.50 coupon worth $1.00. I was also able to do that with Suddenly Pasta Salad. Regular price is $2.69 but they were on sale for 4 for $5. I had 2 $0.50 off 2 coupons that doubled to $1 for each coupon, allowing me to save an extra $2 making my total for 4 for $3 a savings of $7.76.
Also, for the above OXI CLEAN deal I spoke of at RITE AID, the store only allows you to do 4 like coupons in one transaction, so if you have more than 4 coupons you will have to do multiple transactions. This is only if it's the same coupon. You can use other coupons in that transation as well as long as it's not more than 4 of the same. So please know the store coupon policy so you can be able to use all your coupons and save the most money.
Signup for Store Rewards
Most stores now have store rewards programs and they provide added savings and bonuses so make sure you're signed up for every store that you shop at that has it. For instance, at Bi-lo you can receive Plenti Points for your purchases that equates to dollars that you can use towards purchases for stores such as At&t, Exxon, Macys, Mobil, and Rite Aid. Recently I received plenti points that equaled more than $5 off a purchase that can go towards gas at Exxon or Mobil or I can use that additional $5 savings with a coupon purchase at Rite Aid. So just for shopping, you get rewarded! CVS is a store that can give you a huge savings through their rewards program. If you use your CVS rewards card you can get the savings that they offer but as a bonus some of their items allow you to receive Extra Care Bucks (ECB). That's free money!
Check out this sale....
Colgate tooth paste is on sale for $3.49. There is a $1.00 off coupon for this item as well making the final purchase price for the tooth paste $2.49. But this one purchase also gives you $2 in ECB that you can use on your next purchase. That's right, you get $2 that you can spend back in the store (it's comes out on your receipt in the form of a coupon). CVS always have those deals. For example the current sale allows you to get $5 in ECB if you spend $10 worth of Wet and Wild products. So you get half of your money back just by buying products you already use. Or even better Physicians Formula will give you $7 back in ECB if you spend $10. No not all the ECB deals are on makeup, but on a variety of the products found in the store. Check your sale paper or find the deals marked on the products in store. Some of these deals are too good to pass up especially if you have coupons too. So if you buy the Colgate from the previous mentioned sale with a coupon you will get back $2 in ECB. Then all you have to do is do a second transation and used the ECB coupon for addtional money off. For example, Persil is on sale for $4.99 and if you use the ECB that will make your final cost $2.99 (or you can use a manufactor coupon for the Persil with the ECB, maximizing your savings). You can either collect your ECB and save them for another purchse or used them with multiple transactions the same day. Just remember to use them before the coupon expires or you will lose those extra bucks.
Some stores will have an app associated with their rewards card and this will be great to get even more savings. For example, the CVS app will offer you additional coupons and rewards that you can just add to your card.
Shop Dollar Stores
Dollar stores such as Family Dollar, Dollar General, and even Dollar Tree prices are sometimes cheaper so you can spend less money out of the pocket. For example......
I got these Arm and Hammer Deorderants for FREE because Family Dollar had them for $1 and the coupon is for $1 off so all I had to pay is the taxes (coupons don't cover taxes).
So some items can be found at dollar stores for cheaper like these Gain Dishwashing liquid that were orginally $2 each. But with my coupons for $3 off 3 I was able to buy 3 for $3 instead of $6, a 50% savings. The Gain Coupon was for $3 off any 3 Gain products so I got the Dish Detergents because they were the cheapest and I got a better value for the coupon.
Also stores like Dollar General have digital coupons that you can use for extra savings just at their store.
Stack Your Coupons
-Did you know you can use more than one coupon on one item? You can not use more than one manufacter coupons but you can stack manufactor coupons with store coupons for extra savings. I described this earlier when I explained about the CVS ECB. You can use a manufactor coupon and a store coupon on one item for extra savings. So if you have a manufacter coupon for $10 off an item plus you have a store coupon for $10 off of purchase, you can save $20 on one item.
That brings me to overages....
If you stack your coupons and have so much savings that the stores owe you, you can use that overages for other purchases on the transation or you can get that money back if the store owes you. For example, if your coupon has an overage of $0.50 that $0.50 can go towards money off the rest of your purchases or if you don't have any additional purchases the store can give you the cash back.. Not all stores will give you money back but it's a win if they do, either way you just got your purchases for FREE. Now that's success!
I know some of this may sound confusing but don't give up. Start one coupon at a time and even if you're saving $0.25, you're saving something and that's what matters. It may take some time but you will get use to it and be able to maximize your savings and may even become one of the extreme couponers. This is a lot to take in, but don't worry I will be back to keep you updated with additional information to help you coupon and any good savings and bargains you just can't pass up.