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Saturday, August 2, 2014

What Is Extreme Couponing?

It’s surprising how often I get asked what it is like to use coupons all the time. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to coupons and how to use them properly. Most of us have seen Extreme Couponing or know someone who routinely gets killer hauls. Unfortunatly, true couponing isn’t about being extreme. It’s about creating a better lifestyle for you and your loved ones.

Mistakes New Extreme Couponers Make

One of the most common mistakes new couponers make is that they try to use all of their coupons all at the same time. They want to save the most money they can, so they wind up picking up a bunch of things that they don’t need simply because they can get it for pennies on the dollar.

It’s okay, I did the exact same thing. That’s why I usually tell my friends that are interested in extreme couponing that they probably won’t save much their first few weeks. Instead, most people I know have gotten 30 to 50 percent more food and toiletries for about the same cost. And frankly, that isn’t a bad thing at all!

The reason for this is that proper couponing takes skill. These skills take time to develop if you want to maximize your savings each week. Differentiating between an amazing deal and a useful deal is hard to do, especially if you are a beginner!

It’s a Numbers Game

An important tip to keep in mind is to always have a calculator with you and plan your trips in advance. If you are matching the sales price to coupons, make sure that your coupons match the items. Once you start extreme couponing, a one or two dollar mistake can seem like a lot of money!

When you make a list and try to stick with it, you will spend less money. Ignore impulse buys and make sure to double check your math before reaching the sales counter.

Learn How to Use Coupons

The best advice I can give to new couponers is to learn one skill at a time, in one store at a time. For example, learn how to use coupons on your regular grocery purchase at Big Box Mart or Neighborhood Grocery. Then, learn how to use a savings app like Ibotta to get even more money. If you see a moneymaker that produces overage or coupon combinations with BOGOs in the meantime, take advantage of them. The point is to learn it slowly and gradually save more money.

Now when I do my weekly grocery trip, I spend about $20 to 30, rather than close to $100. I have a small stockpile of shampoo, whereas I struggled to be able to purchase it before. (Shampoo and conditioner are expensive!)

Couponing will get you stuff for free, or close to it. All you have to do is match your coupons to the sales! 

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