I recently watched the show Extreme Couponing for the first time on Netflix. Well, that show is pretty stupid and those people are weird, but I’ll talk about extreme couponing anyway.
To get the savings they do on a regular basis, couponing “research” is extremely time-intensive. I guess if you’re a stay-at-home-mom with school-age children, this would be a great way to save money. But really: who needs 72 bottles of mustard? Or toilet paper stored under their kids’ beds?
There’ve been times in the past when I’ve gotten stuff for free or nearly free that I didn’t want/need. When you are a pro-dealseeker like me, sometimes it’s about the thrill rather than the item. So, when I end up with stuff that I can’t use, I donate it. I read on Joe the Coupon Guy (NEO’s extreme couponer extraordinaire) that they wanted him to be on the show, however, when he wanted to show that he actually donates a lot of the stuff he gets, they said no way jose because they only want to show the greedy, nasty side of people.
Anyway, here are some tips.
a) Pick a store that has a double-couponing policy. If you’re in NEO, Giant Eagle is probably your best bet. I hate Giant Eagle, but if you want to experiment with ‘extreme couponing’ then that’s where you’ll go.
b) Research your store’s policies. Is there a limit of coupons per transaction? Do they allow internet coupons? You should be able to find this on a blog or forum about your chosen store and couponing there.
c) Speaking of blogs, check out a few. I searched Giant Eagle couponing and found a couple of blogs, including this one. Blogs, like the one I linked to, provide you with a wealth of important information and will make your couponing trip easier. They post unadvertised deals, special coupons, and best of all: coupon match-ups.
d) Match up your coupons to sales. Save big or make money. The Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring listed match-ups on February 2nd. Here are some of the better deals:
Colgate Toothpaste 6.4 oz $1.19 thru 2/5 (reg $2.38)
75¢/1 from 2/2 SS
FP: 31¢ money maker!
Disney Gummy Vitamins 60 ct $2.99 thru 2/5 (reg $5.98)
$1/1 from 2/2 RP
OK, so what does that mean? The 75C/1 (where did that cents symbol come from?!?!) from 2/2 SS means you use the coupon from the February 2nd Smart Source insert in your newspaper. At Giant Eagle, .75 would double to 1.50, thereby taking 1.50 off a 1.19 product, and you get paid 31 cents for leaving the store with it. The vitamins coupon is from the February 2 Red Plum insert. Giant Eagle only doubles up to .99 cents, but you’re still getting a $6 item for $2. FP obviously means final price.
The blog is telling you the weekly sales that match up with the coupons you are getting that same day. For the more advanced, you can find match-ups for previous coupons..Which means you have to hold onto your coupons and convince your boyfriend/roommate/cat not throw them out.
e) So, if you want to be a real extreme couponer, you need to save your coupons and get multiples. You should be able to use one coupon per item. If you’re buying three Colgate toothpastes, you can use three Colgate toothpaste coupons. I think this is confusing because of the language on the coupon, but stores let you do it. But this means hitting up your neighbors’ recycling bin, getting your friends to donate their ads, or finding a sweet delivery person connect. You can also buy extra newspaper, but that obviously cuts into your cost. AND you can actually buy coupons themselves from eBay and other websites. It’s illegal to sell coupons, but you’re paying for their time. This sounds stupid, but if there’s a really good deal on an item you actually USE, then it could be worth it to do it multiple times. COULD BE.
f) For further assistance, you can take a CLASS with Joe the Coupon Guy. I get his weekly newsletter and trust me, this guy is pretty wackadoo, but his classes are free and I’m sure informative if you are interested in getting into this wackadoo business.
This is it in a nutshell. Obviously, I’m leaving out a loss and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the possibilities for things like super Fuel Perks at Giant Eagle, internet coupons galore, and other ways of saving, like the app Ibotta. But this is enough information for one day and I feel like I’ve been typing for hours! This might be my longest blog post ever!
I’ve really peaked in my 20s, writing about couponing on my blog! You other 20-somethings can have your beer and art and trips to Brooklyn, I’ll clutch my coupon pouch ’til death!
DISCLAIMER: I am not actually an extreme couponer. I don’t do any of the stuff above because I don’t have the time or patience. PEACE.