1. Start Collecting Coupons – My motto is “The more coupons you have, the more deals you can do”. The reason that Extreme Couponers are able to do huge shopping trips is because they have a lot of coupons. It’s that simple! More coupons = More Savings. Collecting coupons is the first step to learning how to coupon.
Here are a few places that you can get coupons:
- Sunday Coupon Inserts: Coupons found in the Sunday Coupon Inserts will always be the easiest way of getting coupons. Extreme couponers have been known to buy dozens of coupon inserts per week. Here are a few tips on how to get more coupon inserts.
- Printable Coupons: There are so many websites to get printable coupons including some of the more popular sites: Coupons.com, RedPlum & SmartSource. As a matter of fact, I once put together a list of 101 places to get FREE printable coupons.
- Digital Coupons: There are a couple digital coupon services that I recommend signing up for SavingStar & Cellfire. These services actually allow you to load coupons right onto your store loyalty cards.
- Mobile Coupons: Within the last year we have seen an explosion of new coupon apps. Some of my favorites include Ibotta (find out more here), Endorse, Target Mobile Coupons. These are coupons that are only available on your phone and you redeem them either by showing the cashier your phone OR uploading the receipt after purchase.
2. How To Use Coupons
Knowing when and how to use coupons is one of the biggest obstacles that new couponers struggle with. It’s very tempting, when you have a new coupon, to want to go out and use it right away…but that strategy can cost you big time! What you want to do is hang onto that coupon until the item comes on sale, once the item is on sale, that is the best time to use the coupon..it’s like double the savings! Bonus if you can score a sale & a store reward like at one of the drug stores!
Here are a few more examples of when to use a coupon:
Double Coupons – If you live near a grocery store that doubles coupons up to $1.00, then you are going to want to try to take all of your $.75 coupons to that store…why? Because they will double to $1.50 off!
B1G1 FREE Coupon – If you have a B1G1 FREE Coupon, you’ll want to hang onto it to see if that items comes on sale for B1G1 FREE at one of the stores, if it does, you’ll end up by getting 2 items for FREE instead of 1!
Tool Tip: Download our B1G1 Coupon Rule Guide
Free Product Coupons– Sometimes we get lucky and get our hands on a coupon for a FREE product and while you are probably thinking, it doesn’t matter if this item is on sale or not, I’m getting it FREE. But, what you could do is wait to see if that item comes on sale or B1G1 FREE, then you could pick up 2 items for FREE with that one coupon instead of one!
3. Now that you know where to get coupons and how to use them, it’s time to start checking out the deals. Folks, this is why you are going to love the CouponKarma website…we do everything for you! Each week, we match up your local grocery sales flyer with the available coupons and then pick out the best deals for you! We cover over 20 stores each week, just so you don’t have to! Head over to our matchups page, find your local store and start creating a printable shopping list!
Not only do we do weekly grocery store matchups, but each time a new coupon comes out, we find a deal for that too! All you have to do is read the blog, follow us on Facebook or sign up for our daily newsletter so you never miss out on these deals.
When you find the deals on the blog, you might need some help understanding what all the lingo means, first you’ll want to head to our glossary to get familiar with the different coupons terms used on the blog. Then you can reference the graphic above, which breaks down each component of the deals we post.
4. Get your list ready
Once you’ve collected your coupons and checked out the coupon matchup for your store. You’ll want to make a shopping list with the items that you intend to buy. (Remember, do not use a coupon just because you have it! Wait until that item is on sale to use the coupon, double the savings! :)
I like to arrange my shopping lists by individual deals (as seen below). That way, I know exactly how many to buy, which coupons to use and what my anticipated final price will be.
Here is an example of what my shopping lists look like:
Buy (4) Colgate Toothpaste $1.00
Use (4) $.50 off coupon from the 1/5 SmartSource
Coupon will double
Final Price = FREE
You can either use the printable shopping lists available on the CouponKarma website, or create your own list on a sheet of notebook paper.
Now it’s time to matchup the coupons with your shopping list. If you’ve used the shopping lists and deals from CouponKarma, you should see which coupons to use featured in each deal. Now you’ll want to either print or clip the coupons in each deal. Remember, you’ll need 1 coupon per item you are buying. If you plan to buy 4 bottles of Shampoo, you’ll need 4 coupons.
Once you’ve clipped and printed your coupons, I recommend grouping them together by attaching them to your shopping list with a paper clip. That way, when you go to the store tomorrow, you’ll have everything you need right in the palm of your hands.
5. Go out and shop
Here are some game day tips:
1. Keep calm – There are a whole lot of nerves that will kick in during your first shopping trip. But just stick to your shopping list and you will be fine.
2. Bring a copy of the store’s coupon policy – I always like to have the policy in my bag in case I have a question or if I need to educate the cashier on their coupon policy
3. If something is out of stock, you can request a rain check, which will guarantee the sale price at a future date
When you get home you’ll want to:
4. Check your receipt – Once you leave the store, always make sure to check your receipt for errors. If something is off, you can bring it right over to the customer service desk and have them answer your question or fix an error.
5. I’d love to see some of your shopping trips! If you are just starting out, feel free to take a picture of your shopping trips and send it to me at [email protected]. There’s a chance I’ll post it on the Saturday edition of Share Your Shops!
If you learned nothing else on this page, please remember, that stockpiling is really the key to longer term savings. The more you can prevent yourself from running out of items, the less you will be forced to go out and buy something when it’s not on sale.Buying items on sale is the cardinal rule when it comes to Extreme Couponing, but the second cardinal rule would be to buy as many items as you have coupons for when you find a great deal, and begin your stockpile!
1. Start stockpiling the items your family uses the most – Beauty supplies, personal care items and household cleaning supplies are the easiest items to stockpile because sales on these items are frequent and they last a long time.
2. Stockpile for 3-6 months – What your family uses and what my family uses are different. For example, my family may go through 10 jars of peanut butter in that time and yours only goes through
3. So start paying attention to how quickly your family is going through products and stock up accordingly.
4. Rotate your stockpile – In order to prevent your goods from expiring, be sure to always put the new items in the back of your stockpile and then move the older items forward. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how lazy one (me) can be when they have to add 10 bottles of shampoo to a stockpile ;)