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Save Serious Cash: Secrets of Couponing
If you could save hundreds of dollars and stock up on the products you truly use in your household, wouldn't you do it? That is what I was thinking as I watched this show on TLC called Extreme Couponing. It profiled four people who use coupons to save BIG time off their grocery bills. I'm not talking just a few bucks either, I'm talking HUNDREDS of dollars in one trip. I was astounded to see how one woman racked up a $600.00 total and after coupons were scanned, walked out of the store paying something like $2.64. Yes, you are seeing that correctly! Some of the things I learned by watching the show and also by doing some of my own research, were really surprising to me and I am excited to pass it on to others who may not know.
I had tried clipping coupons in the past but it just got to be a chore that didn't really save much money but the "extreme couponers" as they called them on this show did it a totally different way. For instance, I bought one product at a time because I assumed that you could only use one coupon at a time for any product but apparently this isn't so. I saw these people use 10 and 20 of the same coupon. So you can buy as many of that product (along with coupons savings)as long as you have the corresponding number of coupons for that product. I hope I'm not confusing you!! Also, I never really took the time to watch for double coupon days at local grocery stores but apparently, in some stores even if a specific product is on sale, you can still get it at sale price AND get double coupon savings AND use the stores customer loyalty card to save additionally. I ignorantly assumed that you could not do this type thing but all these four people got MANY free products just by using the double coupons and combining that with in-store sales,etc. I recently learned also that some stores will let you use an in-store coupon in addition to a manufactures coupon. Honestly, in my past dealings with coupons, I just assumed you couldn't buy sale priced items with coupons and especially not doubled coupons or combined with other deals. Apparently, I have been wrong in my thinking. What I learned after this show is quite literally that it doesn't pay to be ignorant about coupons. You DO have options when it comes to coupon savings, you just have to KNOW your options.
So, you may ask why would anyone want to use 10 coupons for the same 10 products? If you think about it, it makes sense. If it's a product you know in the future you will buy over and over, it's a good reason to do it. For instance, I use Secret deodorant and lets say I have 10 coupons saved for it and I notice the local pharmacy or store has a sale on Secret and I have the option to buy the deodorant at sale price plus save additional money using the coupons, in the long run I'm saving big money plus I will have a stock at home and won't have to worry about running out of deodorant for a quite some time. Sounds pretty darned good to me. Just think about all the products that you can save money on by doing this. I am thinking about toilet paper, toothpaste, soaps, laundry detergent and really just about anything else you use and have coupons for. I just have to shift my thinking a bit and use a different strategy when shopping for groceries and toiletries. These extreme couponers had a stock of many things that would last them for years to come which really, if you think about it, is a pretty smart thing to do if you have the room to do that and you actually USE the products. That was the only thing on the Extreme Couponers show that didn't really add up to me. I mean, who needs enough deodorant to last three lifetimes?
This is pretty much what I have learned so far from the show and also from my own research. The first thing to do is get your hands on as many coupons as you can. Sources are rummaging through newspaper recycling bins, having friends, neighbors and family members save coupons for you. You can go on the internet to several different free coupon sites and print out the ones you want completely free. You can also apparently buy coupons off Ebay and there are even online coupon clipping services where you can order/buy coupons. They list quantities of each coupon they have available which are already clipped and ready to be sent per your order. On the sites I checked out they did limit the quantities you can buy of some coupons. It is recommended to get a binder with tabs and plastic sheets with pockets (like for baseball cards) and file your coupons according to different categories like frozen foods, toiletries, canned foods, etc. Then look for the store sales. You have to be diligent in watching but it will pay off when see something on sale that you also have a coupons for.. this is why many get multiples of the same coupon so they can stock up on that particular product and save big time when the time is right. Also, if you are just starting out, it may be a good idea to take some time and call all your local grocery stores ( even in close surrounding towns) and see who does double or triple coupons, on what days and the details of their double and tripling policy. It's definitely worth a little extra gas money if you are going to save some serious cash. Once you have an idea about which stores honor double or triple coupons, you can watch these stores for sales and plan to do a shopping trip during the time of that sale if they have the products you use and have coupons for at sale price. I learned that apparently a lot of stores actually do double coupons but do not advertise it. Be sure not to forget about your local Walgreens and CVS as they have frequent sales as well. I also learned that even if it's a buy one get one free sale, sometimes the coupon can still apply and of course don't forget to apply your customer loyalty card if you can. So there is much strategy involved in this method of shopping but the end result is extremely rewarding.
Anyone can do this but you don't have to do it on the scale that the extreme couponers do. You can save a substantial amount of money if you will just put a little effort into it. One of the ladies on the extreme couponers TLC show worked a full time job and did this on the side as a hobby, yet a very serious hobby and she said she has lots of fun doing it. So don't think you can't do this because you have a full time job. It just depends on what effort you are willing to put into it. This has really has definitely sparked my interest and I already have my binder ready to go with a few coupons in it. I don't want to do it on an extreme scale but I would like to save money and stock up on things that I truly use and buy over and over again like diapers, baby wipes, soap and things like that. That was my beef with the show.. To me it makes sense to make sure and STAY focused on things you actually use or need instead of buying things just because they are on sale or you can save tons of money. What good is it to save money on it if you aren't even going to use it? In the past I was tempted to use coupons on things just to try them out because I could save a little money but really I'm just throwing money out if I'm I don't really need it. Figure out what brands of products you use without compromise, what brands you will compromise on, or products that you will use any brand of. For me, I will only buy Dawn dish washing soap, with diapers I will buy either Luvs or Huggies diapers and as far as bath soap goes, I'll buy pretty much any major brand. We all have those products we are picky about using and also those that it doesn't matter much. Keep this in mind when deciding which coupons you want to save and use. Be sure and read the coupon well and make sure it can be combined with other offers and can be doubled or tripled. Pay attention to all the details. There are a lot of different coupons out there with different rules and restrictions and also the stores have rules and restrictions. Figuring this stuff out ahead of time will help avoid any headache at the checkout counter.
So, have I inspired you to gather up those coupons, get your scissors out, research stores and start saving some money? I hope I have at least been able to make you think about it. I'm sure you probably agree that the prices these days are outrageous and grocery bills add up quickly. This is a way that over time you can really save some money that could be better spent on other things like family activities, clothing or whatever. If your household is anything like mine, you rarely do have extra money for anything else besides the necessities. Stocking up isn't something I had ever thought about but I would be willing to build a small stock of things we use if I'm getting a heck of a deal on the stuff. Besides, going to the grocery store isn't my most favorite thing to do, maybe it would save me some trips to the grocery store! I am a stay at home mom so I do have some time I can put into this and I'm excited about all the things I've learned recently. I'm motivated to get started and see just how much money that can truly be saved.
I would love to hear any comments, tips, ideas, or tricks that you may have about using/saving money with coupons. I am definitely no coupon expert. Just passing on some information that I have recently learned about and am excited to pass it on. Before I end this hub, I want to recommend a website called Couponing 101. This is a awesome website I found that really explains it all when it comes to coupons. She explains many surprising things that you can do with coupons and it really helped clear away the confusion for me. This is great, valuable information if you are truly serious about saving money with coupons.
Good Luck and Have fun!