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Learn How to Coupon Like a Pro

Updated on October 6, 2016

Extreme Couponing for Beginners

This book is in my coupon cutting toolbox. It is jam packed with useful information to help you save money on groceries.

Extreme Couponing for Everyday Shoppers

Extreme couponing is a growing trend that many parents and even teenagers are using to help cover expenses and cut the cost of many daily neccessities.

Although extreme couponing is time-consuming and requires extensive knowledge pertaining to coupon rules and restrictions, there are some practices almost anyone can adopt to help them save more money.

Whether you have one extra hour a week or twenty, you can utilize any of the following tips and tricks to help lower expenses and increase your savings!

So, what are you waiting for? Start saving today!

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The Importance of Making Lists, and Checking Them Twice

Many people overlook the importance of making lists. When it comes to couponing and saving money, lists are one of the most important things anyone can do, and they are also one of the least time consuming.

Lists can be the difference between saving more and spending more. Extreme couponers always utilize lists. They can help prevent you from buying unwanted things, as well as help remind you of the things you actually need.

Some examples of helpful lists you can make to increase your chances of saving more money include weekly grocery lists, lists of special deals and how long they will last, lists of stores that double your coupons, as well as lists of things you already have a stockpile of at home (to prevent you from any unneeded purchases while you are shopping).

Couponing 101: Part One

Top Couponing Websites You Need to Check Out

Printable coupons are probably the most used form of coupon because they are easy to find, simple to print and super convenient. Finding the best couponing sites however can be frustrating, which is why I have compiled this list of helpful couponing sites that can increase your savings:

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Tips of the Trade - Extreme Couponing for the Non-Extreme Individual

  • Make a list of things that are non-perishable and that you use on a regular basis. Buy these items in bulk once a month or every other month and you will save boatloads.
  • Find out which newspapers contain the most coupons and subscribe to all of them.
  • Combne newspaper coupons with online coupons.
  • Sign up for your favorite stores e-mail lists. They provide you with coupons, special discounts and more. You will also be able to match your coupons with in-store savings to double your profits!
  • Brush up on your coupon jargon. Learn the difference between a BOGO (buy one get one free) sale and a OYNO sale (where you save X amount on your next order).
  • Stop being brand loyal. By branching out and trying new brands, as well as new stores, you open yourself up to a world of savings you never would have found.
  • Familiarize yourself with each store's coupon policies before you shop there.

I wouldn't be able to save nearly as much money as I do if it wasn't for this grocery coupon organizer and binder.

Why You Can Never Be Too Organized When it Comes to Couponing

If theres one thing more important than patience when it comes to extreme couponing, its organization. Staying organized is essential if you want to save as much as possible.

How you approach organizing all of your coupon related items is up to you, all that matters is that you do it.

Some people like to purchase several tiny index card organizers that they use to keep track of the coupons. These are great options because they are inexpensive and you can take them with you everywhere you go.

Other coupon savvy shoppers prefer to use large binders to categorize and organize their coupons. Although it isn't as portable as the index card organizers, binders are great options if you plan on collecting a large quantity of coupons.

When it comes to organizing coupons, the first priority should be the expiration date, placing the coupons that expire soonest at the front, and those that have the furthest expiration date in the back.

Next, separate your coupons by type: separate grocery coupons from coupons that apply to other merchandisers, then organize your grocery coupons by aisle, aiming to align your coupons to match how you usually shop at the grocery store.

You don't need the most elaborate system to organize your coupons - the simpler it is, the more likely it is that you will stay on top of it.

Stock Up on Coupons and You'll Be Stocking Up on Savings

Pay Attention at the Register

When it comes to extreme couponing, every coupon counts! That means that if one coupon goes unscanned, it can throw off all of your planning.

Remember that the person scanning your items at the register doesn't care about how much you save - only you care about this, so pay attention!

Know what coupons you have, what coupons you gave to the cashier, and make a note when each coupon is scanned. If you notice that something seems off, speak up and ask the cashier to print out the receipt so you can find out where the hiccup occurred.

Bonus Tip: Don't just pay attention to your coupons, but also watch how much the items originally scan for at checkout. Sometimes an item that is on sale will not reflect the sale price at checkout, which is usually an error on the part of the store, not you. If you point out any of these discrepencies, they will likely go check the item and verify the retail price, then credit you for any mistakes made by the register.

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal Romano

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    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Yea, well my creditors are concerned that I be frugal! Getting into the amount of debt I did before I turned twenty shouldve gotten me some type of award, instead Im left to my own devices (i.e., printing money in my basement) (i kid, or do I?)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OMG Sha!!! My mother would have LOVED you! I'm tired just reading the ceremonial process you go through to go shopping. Bless your determination, girlfriend. A wise shopper you are!!

      KO.....you should be proud. Not too many people in your age group are a bit concerned with being frugal!

      I am proud of both of you ladies!

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Thank you! Im couponing as I type this! It has saved me boatloads of money as well as stress!

    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Nice. Our receptionist at my business absolutely loves couponing. I'm sharing this article with her!

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Omg you sound just like me! My husband thinks Im crazy, until it comes time to pay the bills!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Kathleen, I forgot to mention how I deal with coupons when I'm in the store. First (before I leave my house), I attach them to my grocery list with a paper clip in the order of where the isles are the products are found. (It takes knowing your store to do this) Then, just before I head for checkout, I pull my coupons and have them at the ready. I've read too many stories about people holding up the line because they don't do this. It's all about courtesy. Be prepared when you hit checkout. Also, have your store discount card handy and give it to the cashier before you start offloading your cart. This saves time and doesn't create animosity with the people behind you who want to get in and out.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      You know what you're doing! ;)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Kathleen, I'm a coupon user for sure. I keep an ongoing grocery list (I add items when they get low - not when I've run out). Before I go to the store, I go thru my coupons and mark 'coupon' next to the item. Then I go thru the weekly flyer for my grocery store and add 'BOGO', price per pound, etc. I don't clip coupons for items I don't use, although I will clip a coupon if I'd like to try the brand and it's something I would buy anyway.

      One thing I don't do is the online coupon thing. I've found they come with an add-on that screws up my computer. I do, however, subscribe to favorite stores, such as Staples for my office supplies. They send clip-able coupons in their newsletters. Plus I recycle my ink cartridges and get $2 off for each one I turn in.

      I'm all for saving anywhere I can. Coupons combined with sales is a great way to do it.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      During my research I found out that those on television are allowed to break store policy while couponing in order to look more "extreme". Ill admit that my heart died a little when I saw that.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Can I really be the first to comment? Well KO....I am a coupon clipper from way back...but I wouldn't say, "extreme." I clip them weekly and try not to get crazy hoarding piles of them. I found that gets to be a waste of time if they have expiration dates (and most of them do).

      My mother was an incredibly wise and frugal shopper. One thing she drummed into our heads was this smart tip: Just because something has a cents-off coupon, doesn't mean we HAVE to buy it. Often that's spending money foolishly if it's something you simply don't need at the time. (In other words, she was saying it's our cash sitting on a shelf in the pantry)

      When I was raising 4 starving refugee boys.....I kept a "mini-store" in the house and couldn't use enough coupons!

      Those days are long gone. Now I have the privilege of buying small amounts from week to week.

      I saw a program about the REALLY extreme couponing families. They admitted being obsessed with it and how it's like an 8-hr a day job....but well worth it. I'm sure it is and more power to them. If someone is willing to put that much time and effort into something.....it's wonderful when it pays off. You know, if I'm not mistaken, I recall that one woman had over $400 worth of groceries and wound up paying Zero but getting cash back!! How EXTREME is that?? Have to applaud these people!