Have you seen TLC’s, Extreme Couponing, where a family walks out of the Piggly Wiggly with five carts of groceries—$1,214.67 worth and pays only $8.56? WOW! Who wouldn’t want to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on groceries every month?
But, like everything, extreme couponing has a catch. You’ve heard the expression, “Time is money,” –well the trade-off for these extreme savings is extreme time.
Here is some of what’s involved in extreme couponing:
- Buying multiple copies of the Sunday newspaper, printing free online coupons, subscribing to magazines with coupons
- Cut, cut, cut coupons out–sometimes 50 or more copies of each
- Sorting coupons into elaborate binder systems
- Identifying and removing expired coupons from your stash
Then of course, there is the biggest task—matching coupons to sales and deals. Extreme couponers get such big savings by matching coupons with sales, using them at stores that offer double or triple coupons, and using them in conjunction with rewards.
Let’s take a look at how this is done. First, go through sales flyers for all the stores in your area—Walgreens, CVS, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Publix, Target, BJs, Walmart—to find sales that match up with coupons you have. Then you take into consideration double or triple coupon offers that could net the best price. Don’t forget reward and points programs offered by stores like Walgreens and Rite Aid that might result in even bigger savings.
Whew! Are you tired yet?
Just a “regular” couponer, who might expect to save 25-35%, takes hours every week. Being an extreme couponer is a full-time job. While that might work for some—most of us don’t have that kind of time. Even if we do, we’d rather spend it playing with our kids, exercising, reading a book, going to the beach or even working.
If you aren’t willing to pay the high cost of the savings you get as an extreme couponer, there are still some less time-consuming ways to save with coupons. Here are a few:
Focus on high-cost items—cleaning products, personal hygiene items and medications are often where couponers get the most savings. Every week couponers get free toothpaste, deoterant, laundry detergent, lotion, soap and over the counter medications at one or more drug stores by matching coupons to sales. Focus on these savings and stock up on these items only.
Use match-up sites—there are a number of websites that list “match-ups” for stores. Cut and sort your coupons, but use these match up lists to save time creating your shopping list. These sites also offer useful information about the store policies that can come in handy.
Sort your inserts and cut what you need—some match-up sites use a handy system of labeling the inserts. For example, 3/1 RP would be the Red Plum insert from March 1. Simply collect and file the inserts—no cutting needed. Then generate shopping lists from the match-up sites and cut the coupons you need using the coding system.
Search for activity coupons—you can save a considerable amount of money using coupons for restaurants, amusement parks, and other activities you enjoy. For example, a Fandago promo can score you discounted movie theater tickets.
If you’re inspired by extreme couponing, but don’t have the time or inclination to make couponing your full-time job, you can still enjoy substantial savings–often 35% or more with minimal effort!
Disclosure – Consideration was given to review, edit, and post this article.