Saving money is rarely easy. On top of spending huge portions of our incomes on daily life necessities, we can’t help but splurge on self-care sometimes. Everyone has their own strategy for managing money, whether that be budgeting, avoiding credit card use, or living as minimalistically as possible.
One money-saving technique that has become incredibly popular in the past decade is extreme couponing. Unlike regular couponing, extreme couponing is a lifestyle. It requires an understanding of several rules and tricks that ultimately save consumers hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
If you’re interested in learning the art of extreme couponing, the following tips and tricks are a great place to start.
1. Memorize Store Policies
Every store has its own couponing policies, and some of them are highly specific. Before you walk in expecting to use three coupons on the same item, make sure that the store allows this ahead of time. You can likely find a store’s couponing policies on its website, but feel free to call the store directly if you’re having issues locating them.
If, once you get to the store, a cashier tells you that you can’t execute the coupon plan you had been preparing the night before, try not to stress. Every mistake is a learning opportunity that you can use to become an even better couponer. Also, if one store doesn’t allow you to use your coupons as strategically as you’d like to, you can always just try a different store!
2. Be Aware of Sales Events
Sales and couponing go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you use coupons on an already discounted item, you may be able to walk away with the item that has paid next to nothing. Many sales events align with holidays, so it’s a safe bet to plan your shopping around popular holidays.
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3. Shop When The Store Is Empty
Extreme couponing requires a lot of communication with the cashier and there’s a chance you’ll run into some confusion. To avoid feeling rushed and to make this experience as stress-free as possible, you’ll want to avoid peak store times and ideally shop when the store has minimal traffic.
If you’re shopping during a holiday or during a store’s sales event, shopping during peak hours may feel even more chaotic and stressful. By choosing which hours you shop wisely, you can make extreme couponing a far more enjoyable experience.
4. Stack Coupons
Extreme couponers are notorious for coupon stacking. If store policy allows it, you may be able to use a store’s coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon together, significantly increasing your savings. Better yet, if the item is on sale, you may be able to use coupons on items that are already discounted.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for buy one get one (BOGO) deals, as you could easily walk away with two items for the price of half of one! Just remember to make sure your store of choice allows this, as some are stricter about mixing certain deals with coupons.
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5. Stay Organized
As you start collecting coupons, the most important step to ensure your experience is as stress-free as possible is to keep everything organized. A coupon binder with dividers is a great organization system for keeping coupons separated by category and/or by whether they’re store or manufacturer coupons.
Organization is particularly important if you plan to stack your coupons, as it becomes imperative that certain coupons stay together to be used at the same time. Pro tip – keep the coupons that will expire soonest at the front of the binder so you remember to use them ASAP.
Extreme couponing will take time, practice, and attention to detail to master. Don’t stress if you don’t save as much as you would like the first time around. The key is to learn from your mistakes and keep clipping away!
If you enjoyed the above advice on extreme couponing, check out Capital One Shopping’s visual below with some additional valuable tips to help you get started. And if you’re an online shopper, remember to snag a coupon from Amazon to kick off your extreme couponing journey.