My mom and favorite aunt we’re pretty big on using coupons. Every week, they would do the groceries together, and the day started with them going through the newspapers looking for coupons to use. I saw at an early age how valuable those coupons were. They gave my mom and aunt a boost in their buying capacity. We were never hard-up back then, but those coupons still helped them buy all the necessities their families needed.
I guess that frugal lifestyle got passed on to me, because I love using coupons! I love the feeling of getting a coupon for something I happen to need, and being able to buy it a super steep discount. It doesn’t just feel nice, it feels empowering. And that’s what coupons are: they empower frugal families to save more while having all the necessities covered.
As much as I love good old-fashioned coupons, I’ve gotten hooked on “extreme couponing.” This involves using coupons as often as possible. Extreme couponers get coupons from multiple sources, not just clipping them from newspapers and magazines. Couponing websites, in particular are excellent sources for coupons. The internet truly is a game-changer. These websites offer new coupons almost on a daily basis – no more waiting for the latest newspaper or magazine to arrive. In fact, without the internet, I don’t think extreme couponing would exist. I’ll be covering how to coupon for beginners, and a lot of the methods I’ll be sharing involve using couponing websites.
This blog post will offer some tips on how to start couponing – particularly how to do extreme couponing. If you’ve been looking for extreme couponing tips, this blog post is for you! Extreme couponing just might be your ticket to saving big bucks!
Don’t Rely on Just One Source
Back in the day, my mom and aunt would get coupons from just one source: the daily newspaper. That was awesome back then, but these days you have so many options and sources for finding bargains and coupons. You don’t have to stick to just one website or newspaper.
I have a variety of websites bookmarked (such as Krazy Coupon Lady, RetailMeNot, and Red Plum), and every day I like to go through them looking for coupons I can use. It’s become a daily habit of mine. I dunno, there’s just something calming about cycling through all those websites and seeing all the good stuff that can be had for way below the retail price.
Some sites specialize in a particular type of coupon, while others are updated more often than others. And that’s why you shouldn’t stick to just one site. When you use multiple sites, you increase your chances of finding the perfect coupon for your next shopping trip.
Don’t Overlook Cashback Offers
Everyone pretty much knows that coupons offer discounts. But some couponing sites offer cashback rewards. A cashback reward also offers significant savings, but it functions slightly different from regular coupons. When you find a cashback reward offer, you shop at the prescribed store. When you do, you can get a percentage of the money you spent there returned to you, hence the name of this type of offer. In some cases, the money you get back may be bigger than the discounts offered by some coupons! Note that sometimes, you will have to provide a proof of purchase to get your rebate. But this is a great way to earn money while shopping.
If you’d like to know how to become an extreme couponer, you will have to keep multiple sources in rotation. The names I’ve listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. In time, you will build your own roster of go-to sites.
Use Your Shopping List as a Basis for Using Coupons
Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a bargain. Whenever I see something sold at a discount, I get this urge to buy it. I know buying stuff just because they’re on sale is not a good habit to foster. And for the most part, I’m pretty successful at avoiding it (the Frugal Husband is especially helpful at keeping me on track). The same goes for couponing. Whenever I check out a couponing website, I am tempted by all those awesome bargains that are waiting for me.
If you’re like me, you should only use coupons that you actually need. Basically, that means using coupons for items that are on your shopping list. When you have your shopping list, go online and look for coupons for the stuff you need to get. Don’t make your shopping list based on the coupons that are available. That could, ironically, lead to more spending – specifically on stuff you didn’t need, in the first place! So always use your shopping list as a basis for the coupons you will use, and not the other way around.
Don’t Overlook Traditional Coupons
Most extreme couponers I know tend to forget about traditional coupons. I don’t know if it’s because of my upbringing, but I never stopped looking out for and using regular coupons. Cutting out coupons from newspapers might not be as cool as using digital ones, but there’s still some value to be had here. I regularly find coupons that offer discounts for stuff that aren’t listed on any websites.
This is actually connected to my earlier advice to use multiple sources. Don’t just use multiple sites, use multiple publications!
Extreme couponing can sometimes result in extreme clutter. I would scraps of paper piled up on the kitchen table from cutting so many coupons. And the mess isn’t just physical paper and coupons. My browsing history is also a mess, because I used to be bad at keeping track of the couponing sites I used.
When things got out of hand, I decided to make a sincere effort to become more organized. I invested in a clear book folder to keep all my coupons organized. If you need another option, you can also use albums for postcards or postage stamps. The latter has the appropriate size for most coupons. I also bookmarked all the sites I used, and gave them handy tags so I know which one is which.