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Extreme Couponing For Busy People
What is Extreme Couponing
The hit new TLC show "Extreme Couponing" is addictive and every time I watch it I get excited to hit the coupon books! A harsh reality check, the coupon methods used to spend only $34 on over $1000 worth of items is not realistic for anyone who dedicates their time to other tasks. The men and women are just as the show title suggests, extreme. I am not. I do not have a stockpile that takes up half of my garage and I don't usually buy in bulk however, I do save hundreds every month on my grocery bill and even get free items and not have to spend 30 hours a week researching!
BOGO- Buy One, Get One
MC- Manufactures Coupon
SC- Store Coupon
How to do it
You can spend less than 30 minutes a day couponing and still save BIG on every grocery bill. I reside in California which gives me some pretty serious coupon hurdles to overcome, but the system explained in this article will show you how to shop smart and save big no matter what your favorite stores coupon policy is. I save over 50 percent on every grocery bill by using 3 resources; internet printed coupons, store loyalty card and my local newspaper.
The world wide web has opened amazing possibilities for frugal people. Internet coupons can be found everywhere and printed in seconds. I use a handful of amazing websites that do most of the hard work by putting hundreds of dollars worth of everyday brand items in one location. I think most couponers owe these website creators a big THANK YOU, I know I do! Some sites may require registration but never use a coupon website that asks for too much personal information or wants to charge a fee. The sites I use are FREE, provide hundreds of coupons in on location and are updated frequently. I browse a few sites daily for new coupons on brands I know I will use, print them out and add to my coupon folder. I use a folder with coupon width pockets that is organized by the type of coupon the product is for but there are many ways to organize your coupons and you should choose one that fits your needs. Two more great sources for Internet Coupons; the products manufactures website will often offer you great coupons if you sign up for their newsletter and a manufactures Facebook will often offer coupons for liking them!
Store Loyalty Cards
My favorite stores that offer loyalty cards are CVS, Alberstons and Vons/Safeway. Just by signing up for these loyalty cards and using them you can save hundreds. Most stores who offer loyalty card also provide the convenience of connecting the card to a phone number so you don't have to carry it around. A double benefit of connecting your loyalty card to a phone number; you can load coupons straight to the card from the stores website! Vons and Albertsons will often have promotions for loyalty card users that allows them to get gift cards, cash back and even free gas! CVS cards have frequent "Extra Bucks" deals. They usually work by requiring you to spend a certain amount on a specified brand(s) and you receive a register print out of Extra Bucks to use on a future purchase. Using my CVS card I have gotten free shampoo, make up and other items.
Want to save even more money? Ask a friend or family member if you can browse their newspaper coupons before you purchase yours. This way you know if your purchase will be worth while!
Most local newspapers come with coupon inserts. On the show Extreme Couponing the coupon stars often purchase dozens of newspapers to obtain multiple copies of the same coupon. I buy one Sunday newspaper. Occasionally, if I find coupons in inserts that coincide with a sale that gets me the item for free I will then purchase multiple newspapers to stock up on the product. If you find an amazing coupon in your newspaper and want multiples try this first before purchasing; contact your neighbors, friends and family to ask if they plan on using that coupon! Its not uncommon for Extreme Couponers to trade coupons amongst themselves.
HOW TO USE COUPONS
The biggest part of saving BIG with coupons, is knowing how to use the coupons properly. The first step is reading through your favorite stores coupon policy from start to finish. This will give you a general idea of what coupons they will accept and in what quantities. I say general, because most coupon policies have an added clause of final decision made by manager.This can put you in some sticky situations but I've never had a serious problem with a manager rejecting a coupon. Getting items for free or or at a huge discount happens when you combine coupons, and when you combine in store deals with coupons. A few examples:
- Your favorite store has a BOGO sale; You get two items, and use TWO Manufactures coupons (one on each item) but coupons are applied to the price of only one item!
- Your grocery store has a coupon for $1 OFF a $2 item, and you also have a $1 OFF MC most policies allow you to combine these coupons making your item FREE, and we love free.
HOW TO FIND GREAT DEALS
My general method when finding the best deals has two parts.
I browse the circular for Vons and Albertsons because I know that's where I can find the best deals. I circle items that are on sale that I know I have coupons for and see if the combined deal of my coupons and the sale brings the price down to one I like.
If I find a great sale in the circular but I don't have a coupon I will spend a few minutes checking the manufactures website, the manufactures Facebook and Googleing the product with the word "coupon" to see if I can get the sale price lower with a coupon.
Do you use coupons?
I started couponing to save my family money while we take pay cuts and pursue careers that make us happy. You may be experiencing financial hardship or would like to start building your savings, whatever your motivation is couponing can change your grocery budget forever. If you put in around 30 minutes or less each day I promise you will see drastic savings on your receipt and will be keeping more cash in your wallet!