I’ve had lots of questions lately in my inbox, first off if you are new to “extreme” couponing, read a bloggers Couponing 101. I have one myself, it’s not the greatest, it could use a re-write because I wrote it after 2 months of doing this. If you have couponed before, forget what you know. I used to be the shopper who made my list, kept the coupons I received in my 1 Sunday paper, and what I received in the mail and clipped the ones I would use and throw away the rest. 90% of the time, I forgot I even had them when I went to shop lol. I would save $0.30 here, $1.00 here, etc on items I was already going to buy. Savings is savings right? But, you aren’t going to get a stockpile that way. You won’t see 50% savings or beyond on your receipts.
Here are a few pointers: One of the biggest mistakes any new couponer does is they think because they have a coupon, they have to use it, and they have to use it right now. If this is you, forget about that. The point to being extreme is using coupons when the items are on sale and are at rock bottom prices. Things like toothpaste, toothbrushes you should never have to pay for or very little. Shampoo/Conditioner are items you shouldn’t have to pay more than $1 per unless you use a brand that rarely has coupons or rarely goes on sale. Be open to using other brands. I have a good stockpile now because I have bought other detergents besides Tide, and other paper products besides viva paper towels and charmin. If you are only going to stick to one brand of things it makes stockpiling a lot harder to do. The most important thing I stress is if you are just learning – follow a blog, like The Krazy Coupon Lady or Coupon Divas (there are several others out there that are great too). They do match ups for pretty much any store, and not only that but they have a HUGE fan base (100,000+) so when someone spots an unadvertised sale they let them know and they let their fan base know. I can do my own match ups with my coupon database and sales papers but I will always miss the unadvertised stuff, especially the money makers. Rely on others to do it for you, plus it saves time to have someone else do your match ups.
If you look to the left under my “likes” I have some featured ones that are always rotated through, about 10 -15 of them. They are my “go to” pages for deals, match ups, etc. When I was learning about this, Rebecca Davidson was my favorite. She has an amazing Couponing 101 broken down into sections and she really explains it. Do some research and see who you like best. Finding one who is in the same area as you is also helpful. Just google “your city” + “store or coupon match ups”
Make sure to “like” companies and products you buy on facebook – I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t have a facebook page. A lot of the companies will issue exclusive facebook coupons (most of the time high value) to their fans. Tide had $2.00 off coupons, Brawny – $1.00 off. Softscrub – $1.50 off – there are dozens of others. There are also services like shoprunner who just gave away a years membership for free twice in the past two months. Fedex gave $25 american express gift cards away a month or so ago.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The ONLY dumb question there is, is the one you don’t ask. I love my couponing “family” they are the kindest and so helpful. If you are embarrassed to ask a question feel free to email me – either by the “contact” tab or by email – email@example.com. It goes to the same place. However, if you want a quick answer since I am not always right in front of the computer – post it on the wall. Everyone likes to help, especially if it has to deal with a certain store. I may not have that store in my area or know the policies. It’s also a good way to find people in your area to maybe start a couponing train or a shopping buddy. Another important thing is to ALWAYS have the store coupon policies with you on hand when you shop – especially Wal-Mart. If you ever need help locating one – let me know! There is also an app for iPhones, and iPads – called Coupon Policy. I really like it.
An awesome thing to also keep in mind is PLEASE don’t throw away your unused or expired coupons. The troops overseas are allowed to use expired coupons up to SIX months after their expiration date at the commissaries. So please adopt a family or find an organization to donate them to. It’s a wonderful and easy thing to do to show support. I send mine to Couponing 4 the Military. Her name is Heather and she is just awesome and has 150+ families she sends coupons to. Her contact info is under the “Donations” tab on the left side of her page. If you can’t access that please email me and I will get it to you.
Now, get to saving money!!! :))