Extreme couponing is a smart and effective way for consumers to save money on the items that they need to purchase. It's a practice that not only allows shoppers to drastically cut the cost of their purchases but in some cases even allows people to get items for free. Whether a person is in college or enjoying their senior years, extreme couponing is something that's easy to do. For the best results, however, it's important that consumers understand what an extreme couponer does. Although its foundation is general couponing, there are certain steps that one must follow to obtain the biggest savings.
Clipping coupons is a major part of extreme couponing. One can start by finding and clipping coupons from inserts that are in their Sunday paper. When clipping coupons, they should focus on quantity and collect as many as possible. This is particularly important for more expensive items or items used frequently. To ensure that enough coupons are collected, it's helpful to purchase several newspapers to clip coupons from. These coupons should be kept in a binder and organized by type so that they are easily found when needed.
In addition to Sunday papers, one may also use coupon sites online. These sites may require consumers to print the coupons, or they may allow shoppers to show the coupon code on their smartphone. Shoppers might also use apps that offer rebates on items that a person purchases. Some of the most popular rebate or cash-back apps include Ibotta and Checkout 51.
With extreme couponing, there are certain terms and phrases that consumers need to know, such as coupon-doubling and coupon-stacking. "Moneymaker" is another term that one may encounter: This means the consumer earns more than they pay. It applies to situations when the final price after the stacked rebates and coupons are applied is less than $0. When consumers layer savings and deals such as coupons, rebates, sales, and other promotions, it is called stacking. There are also certain abbreviations that couponers will want to know, many of which deal with the coupon inserts that routinely appear in Sunday papers. They include SS for SmartSource, PG for Procter & Gamble coupons, and RP for the RedPlum insert.
Not every store accepts coupons in the same way. Before practicing extreme couponing, a shopper should research what the policies are at the stores they frequent. This is important particularly in terms of multiple coupons. While some stores allow an unlimited number of the same coupon, others may drastically limit the use of duplicate coupons. Stores also may or may not allow coupon-stacking and coupon-doubling. In some cases, stacking may be allowed only if one coupon is a clipped one from the newspaper and the other is an online coupon.
Few shoppers know that you can write a letter to the manufacturers of your favorite brands telling them how much you like their products and, in return, they sometimes send coupons. Additionally, they may even send free samples of new products for you to try out!
It’s really hit or miss, though, as some companies won’t respond. But, when they do, the coupons are typically higher-value coupons than the ones you’d find online or in flyers.
Speaking of manufacturer coupons, you can double the savings by stacking coupons and using store coupons on one item. When it comes to grocery shopping, stacking coupons is key.
Coupon stacking is simply the act of using as many coupons and perks as possible to save as much as you can. Start by using manufacturer coupons on products that are already on sale. That way, you’re able to get huge discounts on products that are already cheaper than usual.
If you want to take it a step further, stack store coupons with manufacturer coupons. For example, let’s say your grocery store has a sale on a 75-fluid-ounce bottle of Cascade Complete Dishwasher Detergent on sale for 15%, bringing its price down from $7.99 to $6.79. If you have a $1.50 Proctor & Gamble manufacturer coupon for Cascade, the price drops to $5.29. If the grocery store also lets you use a store coupon, the price will drop even more.
You can also use coupon stacking to score free or almost-free items, especially if you find a BOGO deal. For example, let’s say a grocery store runs a BOGO deal on 15-ounce cans of Del Monte fresh-cut corn at $1.39 each. If you have a coupon for $1 off two Del Monte canned items of 15 ounces or more, you can buy two cans for a total of $0.39 by stacking the BOGO deal and your coupon.
If you’re doing the math in your head, you’ll realize you’ve paid under $0.20 per can for a total savings of 86% off. That’s quite a deal!
Walmart frequently runs discounts and promotions on its grocery section both online and in store. Check out CouponFollow’s verified list of Walmart promo codes to save up to 50% off your grocery bill next time you go grocery shopping.
Other ways to save at grocery stores are to use loyalty programs. You should always shop with a loyalty card because this allows you to earn points to redeem on future savings.
The benefit of participating in loyalty programs deserves its own section. Many retailers offer these programs to incentivize shoppers to keep coming back to their stores and extend beyond grocery stores.
The most common type of loyalty programs is points-based programs. These let shoppers accumulate points that they can later redeem for freebies, store perks, and cashback opportunities. Purchases aren’t the only way to earn points, either, as they also allow customers to earn points from sharing on social, leaving reviews, and celebrating birthdays.
Some popular loyalty programs include:
If you frequently shop at a store, check to see if you can open a debit or credit card to earn rewards. For example, Target offers both a rewards credit card and a debit card that lets you save 5% in-store and online.
Other popular credit and debit card-based reward programs include:
Major card companies also offer cashback rewards as an incentive. Instead of a complex system of points, those who have these types of credit cards receive money to put towards all kinds of products and services. Cash rewards can range anywhere from 1% to 6% of the amount of each transaction.
Popular cashback credit cards include:
The savviest shoppers stock up when they can get something at the lowest price. Double up on the benefits of this smart shopping strategy by stacking coupons on top of bulk purchases.
To do this successfully, you must never bulk buy an item that you haven’t tried before. The last thing you want to happen is to be stuck with products that seem like they would work but simply do not. For example, if you buy a new brand of shampoo only to realize that it dries out your hair, you’ll have bottles of shampoo lying around that take up precious storage space and ultimately contribute to a problem, not a solution. You’ll want to make sure it works for your needs and doesn’t sit around collecting dust because it doesn’t do the job you need it to do.
Another shopping hack used by the best bargain hunters is to shop the annual sales! You can expect to see store-wide discounts of up to 75% during these types of yearly sales. Macy’s has a semi-annual sale twice a year where customers can get up to 75% designer fragrances and apparel. Combining this sale with other verified Macy’s promo codes could let you save up to 90% off during the sale. Many retailers also allow shoppers to partake in coupon doubling, in which they’re able to combine or stack coupons and promo codes with sale prices to get all-time low prices on items.
Popular annual sales include:
With traditional couponing, consumers don't generally plan out their coupon use to coincide with sales. As a result, they often don't reach their maximum savings potential. With extreme couponing, planning and waiting for the best deals or sales is crucial. Shoppers should peruse ads and only use coupons and cash-back or money-saving apps on items that are currently on sale. If more than one store has an item on sale, choose the location that offers the best savings or take advantage of price-matching if applicable. In addition, consumers can boost their savings by using rewards or loyalty cards from grocery or drug stores.