Extreme Couponing: Beginners Guide
Looking to learn how to use coupons effectively? This is Extreme Couponing 101:
- Coupon Definitions & Acronyms
Store Guides (More coming VERY soon!):
- Extreme Couponing: Beginners guide to Shopping at Walgreen’s!
- Extreme Couponing: Beginners Guide to Shopping at CVS!
Read the Beginners Guide Below for more great tips!
Is clipping coupons from your sunday paper a waste of your time? Nope! There is a wealth of savings out there, and if you just keep your eyes open and spend a few minutes you can save a lot of money on your daily needs, groceries, and more. Your savings may be small in the beginning, but with time & practice you can save more than you ever thought you could!
This is a simple guide to couponing and how you too can save money daily on every day items and groceries. There is no shame in using a coupon, once you start to see the savings you'll never shop without them again! I love the rush I feel when I go to the store and get over $50 in merchandise/groceries for less than $5! Keep reading below to learn more about how to use coupons, where you can find them, and more to help you on your path to living more Frugal!
The first step is to get your hands on some coupons.
Every week there is usually 2 coupon inserts in your sunday paper. There is a third insert usually once a month. These are, Smart Source, Red Plum, and Proctor & Gamble. They are full of valuable coupons you can use. Having multiple inserts of each enables your savings to be even higher, and it's not hard to get more than 1 insert. Your friends, family, neighbors, etc often times just throw them away! Sometimes there is special inserts like General Mills as well.
Inside your grocery store there is a lot of coupons hiding, waiting for you to find them! Coupons called blinkies are available in red machines set up in aisles in the stores, and lot's of items have peelies for even more savings. Don't forget to sign up for your stores shopping card to maximize your savings even further. Look under and around products on shelves as well – often times there is tear pads with great coupons!
The internet is an amazing source for coupons, with new deals being added daily all over the web & here too of course . Sites like Coupons.com, Redplum.com, and Smartsource.com offer printables by zip code, but you can use multiple zip codes to find even more coupons. From what I can see, often times zip codes in areas with higher costs of living have better coupons available sometimes. Try 90210, 84107, 30303, 12345 to start. Don't forget about manufactures sites either,, as they commonly offer free coupons via mail or print. Don't be afraid to contact companies for coupons either!
Digital coupons are a great resource too. If you have a shoppers card at stores such as Kroger, you can go online to sites like Cellfire and Shortcuts and download coupons directly onto your shoppers card, to be used in store as long as they're valid!
Use coupons wisely
Watch the sales at different grocery stores! Compare the prices with your coupons to get even more savings. Price match and cross reference to find where you can get your items for the lowest amount of money. Here at That Frugal Girl I post price matches for you. I typically do them for Walgreen's, CVS, Target, and Walmart weekly with their sales.
Make sure you know the policies for coupons at the stores you're shopping at. Know who doubles coupons and the stores who allow you to use 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturers per item. It's important to know the policies because at some stores you can double, use more than 1 coupon, and save even more! Think Target, use a printable target coupon with a MFG coupon to maximize your savings!
Some stores price match, and allow you to bring in a competitors flyer and receive the same price at that store. Utilize this! Take Walmart, bring in your weekly flyer from Target and if Target has Sobe LifeWater on sale for 88cents Walmart will sell their Sobe lifewater (priced at $1) for 88cents.
Binders are perfect for couponing. Get either photo pages or the trading card inserts to store your coupons within the binder. Buy tabs/dividers to sort the coupons in categories such as: Breakfast, Frozen food, Drinks, Lunch, Dinner, Cleaning supplies, Pets, Clothing, Toys, Bath & Beauty, etc.
My Binder is pretty big and has an expanding file folder in the front with a pocket and zipper. In the expanding file I keep about 8 different inserts just in case I need another coupon. I typically keep bigger coupons in the zipper. I keep scissors, 2 pens, post its and some paper clips in the pocket. I then have divided the binder in sections: Health, Beauty, Dental, Cleaning Supplies, & Pets. My food section is further divided into: Soups, Beverages, Sweets, Frozen, and General Food. I use Trading card inserts to hold the coupons.
Some Valuable Tips:
Don’t go out and use your coupon immediately! If you use your $.50 off Soft Soap coupon when it's not on Sale, you pay $2.50($3 regular price). If you hold onto the coupon until it goes on sale – you could have used it to get that same soft soap for only $1.50 (On sale for $2). Plus if your store doubles you could have gotten it for only $1! Matching sales with coupons is getting a great price. Combining sales plus coupons is getting the best price!
Read the fine print! Often times, you will get cashiers at the register that will tell you you can't use a coupon when you actually can. Most commonly, cashiers will read the "One coupon per purchase" line and tell you that it means you can only use 1 of that coupon on your purchase.. but this is a big misunderstanding! One coupon per purchase simply means only one coupon per purchase of the item indicated. If you have 10 items and 10 coupons you can use all 10!
See all of those 10 items for $10 Promotions? You do not have to buy 10 items to get the $1 price! The only time you ever do is if the ad states you must buy 10 items. If you only need 5, only get 5 and only pay $5!
Rain Checks! If your store is out of an item on sale, get a raincheck!. Go to customer service and ask for a raincheck for the item that you wanted. They will fill out a piece of paper for you with the price and details of the sale. Usually a rain check is good for 30 days. You can come back anytime after the sale is over and get the item for the sale price PLUS still use a coupon!