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How to Extreme Coupon

Updated on April 1, 2015

How to be an Extreme Couponer

An extreme couponer can be defined as a person who maximizes "in-store" sales and discounts with the use of multiple coupons to purchase large stockpiles of items at virtually no cost.

Couponing is not a new idea. It has been around for quite some time, with the first coupon ever recorded belonging to Coca-Cola back in 1887.

However, thanks to the popularity of the TLC show "Extreme Couponing" combined with the current state of the economy, millions of people have been re-inspired to coupon. In 2010, it is estimated that coupons generated more than $3.4 billion dollars of transactions in the United States.

Getting Started

Clipping Coupons

The great thing about couponing is that it doesn't have to cost anything to start. With the internet, online coupons are available for free and most stores have their weekly fliers at the front of the store for customers free of charge.

So all you need to get started is a pair of scissors, a computer, your local grocery stores weekly ads and some good "ole" fashion determination and you too can be an extreme couponer.

Coupon Strategy

The three main keys to an extreme couponers strategy is:

  • Organization
  • Duplication
  • Multiple

Organization is the key

Coupon Organizer

Ask any extreme couponer what the key to their success is, and the majority of them will tell you that it's organization. Organization is vital to an extreme couponer's strategy. Without it, they are at risk for not being able to maximize savings. One mistep can throw off their whole shopping plan.

The best way to organize is to have one central location for your coupons, whether that's a binder or an expandable file is up to you. But make sure you have a safe place to keep all of your coupons. The next step is to organize them in a system that makes sense to you. Most extreme couponers organize coupons by expiration date, and by type (i.e. frozen, meat, dairy, health, beauty,etc...).

Duplication is worth the trouble

How to stack coupons

The next major piece of extreme couponing strategy is duplication. You can have savings with just one coupon, however to get items for free you typically have to employ multiple coupons. Here are some of the best ways to get duplicate coupons. .

Multiple Sunday Papers:

You can purchase multiple sunday papers to increase the amount of coupons, but this can become quite costly. Some alternatives to buying multiple papers is to collect the papers from family, friends, neighbors when they are done. You can also check your local paper recycle bins Sunday evenings or Monday mornings to collect the papers (a.k.a. dumpster diving). One resourceful extreme couponer called her local paper and asked if she could have all the remaining inserts each week. The local paper was just going to throw them out!

Weekly Stores Inserts with In Store Coupons:

Many stores have started to have their own in-store coupons in their weekly sales ads. These coupons can only be used at that stores location, but they are still valuable because they can typically be combined with a manufacturing coupon. So collect the store ads with in store coupons in the same manner that you collect multiple sunday papers.

Online Store Coupons:

With online coupons, duplication is a little more difficult. Most sites will only allow you to print each coupon one time from the same computer and then no more. The easiest way to get around this is to use multiple computers. One extreme couponer had five computers in her home that she used. We recommend going to your local library and logging into each of their computers and printing coupons from each one. Typically, public libraries allow you to use the internet for free and print a certain number of copies for free or little cost. You can also have your friends and family print coupons for you from their computers. You may also print coupons from work, but obtain permission from your company first!

Multiple has multiple meanings

Coupon Stacking

The last but not the least, key component of extreme couponing is in multiples. This refers to not just buying multiple items but in multiple discounts. Extreme couponers shop at stores that provide their shoppers with multiple discounts, whether that's through in store discounts, preferred shopper discounts, rewards cards, or double/triple coupon days. Extreme couponers find stores that will maximize their savings. Many stores have discontinued the programs of doubling or tripling coupons, but there are still a few out there.

In addition to multiple discounts, a huge part of an extreme couponer's strategy is to buy multiple items. This allows them to rack up huge savings and create a stockpile. But this strategy also allows them to purchase items that are normally difficult to find coupons and savings for such as fresh meat, vegetables, and milk. Buying in multiple sometimes allows them to save more than the price of the item, which causes a credit to be given. Many stores will not give cash for these credits, but instead will allow instore credit. So if they have coupons that will allow them to get a $0.20 credit on an item, they will buy 100 of that item. This in turn gives them a $20.00 store credit which they can purchase their meat, milk, and fresh veggies with.

Coupon Savings Examples

The best savings come from the BOGO sale or "Buy One Get One Free". Because you are already getting two items for 50% off.

Example: Colgate Toothpaste Buy One Get One Free

Original Price: $3.79 each

Discount Price: $1.89 each

Use two $1.00 off coupons. You can use two because you are purchasing two of the same products. If used at a store that doubles coupons, then you are saving $2 per toothpaste which results in a store credit of ($0.11) each or ($0.22) which can then be used on the purchase of other items.

Another good way to get savings is to use "in-store" coupons. These are not considered manufactures coupons and therefore can be combined with manufacture's coupons.

Example. Speed Stick Men's Deodorant

Regular Price: $3.29

Target In Store Coupon $1.50 off

Manufacturer's coupon $1.50 off

Combining these two coupons allows you to get the deodorant for $0.29. That's a savings of 88%!

Sometimes you can get lucky with a store sale at certain times of the year. For example, my local grocery store had a sale on Van Camp's Pork N Beans for $0.39. It was a limit 4 cans, but the local paper also had a coupon for save $0.35. Original Price $0.69

Store Sale Price $0.39

Coupon $0.35 off

I was able to get them for $0.04 each. That's a savings of 94% off the original price!!! I had printed multiple coupons from papers and online so I could get about 20 cans for that price. To get around the limit four, I just went shopping with family and we all went through the line with 4 each.

Start small and watch your savings grow

Many people are skeptical about extreme couponing or find excuses for why it won't work for them. You don't have to spend 60 hours a week to save a little money. Extreme couponing may not be for you, but that doesn't mean you can't make use of the savings that coupons can provide.


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    • Novel Treasure profile image

      Novel Treasure 4 years ago from US

      I'm with you on the organization. I start out great putting them into piles by type, or grocery section, but then they usually end up a jumbled mess in my purse. I've seen coupon binders, may be I should invest in one.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      I really like trying to get the best deals and use sales, coupons, refunds, double coupons, and whatever else I can work in. Organization is my weakness though - sometimes I am really good with organizing everything, but once I lose my momentum, things slide downhill pretty quickly. You've provided a great tutorial. Voted up.

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