Extreme Couponing Tips for Regular People

Not everyone is cut out for extreme couponing. This practice requires a massive amount of time, organization, commitment, and space to store your haul.

If you’ve ever seen the television shows devoted to the practice, like TLC’s Extreme Couponing, then you already know that these “super couponers” can score major deals from retailers, paying pennies for merchandise or even getting stuff for free. The people who make a living using coupons aren’t the norm – but even regular folks can steal some of their tactics and save a lot of money at the store.

Ahead, check out all the best tips and tricks that regular folks can steal from extreme couponers.

1. Figure out what kind of coupon person you are

scissors with grocery coupons

Coupons | Kreinick/iStock/Getty Images

Not all coupon clippers are created equally. There are casual couponers who only clip when it’s convenient or when they notice. Then there are people who swap brand name for generic store brands, which helps you save money but doesn’t necessarily require coupons. Coupon shoppers typically save 70-90% on everything they buy.

A small percentage of the population can be classified as extreme couponers. They’re a lot like regular couponers except they take it to the next level, combining multiple coupons and buying in bulk.

Next: It’s all about quantity.

2. Collect as many coupons as you can

Newspapers

Newspapers | artisteer/iStock/Getty Images

The first tip that extreme couponers do is collect as many coupons as possible. Getting multiples of the same coupon for one item allows you to stack them together and buy in bulk to save for later. This is one of the most important principles of extreme couponing — never be content to buy one when you could buy 10.

Pick up a few copies of the Sunday paper and collect as many coupons as possible. You’ll save a lot more than you spent on the cost of the newspaper.

Next: Never forget this vital coupon source.

3. Don’t neglect online coupons

laptop in girl's hands sitting on wooden floor with coffee

Online coupons| iStock.com/happydancing

It’s 2018 — don’t forget to use the power of the internet to your advantage. Online coupons cost nothing to get and can often save you a lot of money on the things you were planning to buy anyway. Hunting for online coupons takes a few extra minutes, but the effort is worth it.

Next: You can’t be faithful.

4. Forget about store loyalty

Young woman putting goods on counter in supermarket

Supermarket checkout | iStock.com/photobac

If you want to save money, you’ve got to shop around. While signing up for store loyalty cards is wise, staying loyal is another matter entirely. To get the best deals on the most expensive grocery store items like meat and produce, you’ve got to check the weekly circulars and shop at different store locations where the sales are happening.

Stacking store sales with coupons is one of the best ways to get started with serious couponing.

Next: You get what you ask for.

5. If you want manufacturer coupons, just ask

senior cuts coupons

Cutting coupons | ConnieTBallash/iStock/Getty Images

Stuck on a certain brand? Go to that manufacturer website to find coupons. Extreme couponers take it one step further and ask for coupons if there aren’t any available on the website. It’s not something you can do every week, but taking this extra step will save you money — and put you on the manufacturer’s email list for next time.

Next: This is crucial for couponers of all skill levels.

6. Get organized

File cabinet

Get organized | taranchic/iStock/Getty Images

An expired coupon is completely useless. One of the most important things extreme couponers do is take the time to organize their coupons by expiration date and store. Never leave home without your coupon binder — there’s nothing worse than getting to the store and realizing you don’t even have your coupons.

Next: This is the real trick to saving the most money.

7. Stack coupons whenever possible

People check out at the grocery store.

People check out at the grocery store | leaf/iStock/Getty Images

An extreme couponer knows that using one coupon isn’t worth it — to really reap the benefits of coupons, you need to stack multiples. Oftentimes you can combine manufacturer coupons with store coupons to save the most money on your purchases.

Next: A little research goes a long way.

8. Know your store policies

Detail of a man shopping in supermarket

Shopping in supermarket | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

It’s vital that you know exactly how you can use the coupons that you acquire. Not all stores allow coupon stacking or coupon doubling — but if they do, you should take advantage of it. Keep a list of all the stores you frequent and know their coupon policies before you shop.

Next: You need somewhere for storage.

9. Make room for your coupon buys

A food pantry

Pantry | yokaew/Getty Images

There’s no sense in stocking up on great bargains if you have no place to store your stockpile. Allot space in your pantry or closet for all the items you’re going to purchase so you have a spot for them when you get home. Seeing your stockpile will inspire you to keep couponing — especially when you realize how much money you’re saving.

A deep freezer can help you stock up on meat and other frozen bargains. Keep track of expiration dates and always know what you have so nothing goes to waste.

Next: Always keep this crucial detail in mind about couponing.

10. Be realistic about what you’ll use

Grocery shop cart in supermarket filled up

Grocery shop cart in supermarket filled up with fresh and healthy food | CreativeNature_nl/Getty Images

Let’s say there’s an amazing deal on cereal but the last time you had a bowl was back in your college years. For you, that’s not a great bargain. Buying things just because they’re on sale is a common pitfall for extreme couponers, too.

But if you do manage to get a huge stockpile of free toothpaste and there’s no chance you’ll use it before it expires, consider donating it to your local homeless shelter. It’ll feel good to share the wealth.

Next: Extreme couponers don’t wait around for this.

11. Use tracking software

hands of a young woman using mobile phone

Checking an app | iStock.com/imtmphoto

One thing that extreme couponers use that most people don’t is software that will alert you to deals in your area. Some popular options are Savings Angel and Coupon Sense. These trackers automatically send you exclusive coupons you won’t find anywhere else.

Next: These coupons are like gold.

12. Look out for rare coupons

Buyer woman chooses chopped meat in a shop

Meat case | sergeyryzhov/Getty Images

Certain items like processed foods are always on sale. Meat, dairy, and produce don’t often go on sale, so it’s wise to jump on those deals when you can get them.

Joanie Demer of The Krazy Coupon Lady says that “Catalinas” — that’s extreme couponer speak for the coupons printed on the receipt — are a “goldmine for rare coupons on meat and produce.” Never throw your receipt away until you check for these special discounts.

Next: Timing is everything.

13. Shop at the right time

Woman on cashier counter

Supermarket | GeorgeRudy/Getty Images

Buying a turkey the week before Thanksgiving will never get you the best price. Picking up that same turkey the week after? Expect to score major discounts. Extreme couponers know that shopping for off-season merchandise and saving it for later means you’ll ultimately pay less for what you need. All it takes is patience, planning, and practice.

Next: You can still get a deal if your store runs out.

14. Always get a rain check

Supermarket abstract

Supermarket | Kwangmoozaa/iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Unfortunately, you’re not the only one getting sales circulars. Oftentimes when stores are offering great discounts, they’ll sell out of the advertised products before you can get there. That’s where rainchecks are beneficial.

Taking the extra effort to get a raincheck ensures that you always get the deal you’ve been promised. Sure, it’s annoying to go back to the store — but the savings are worth it.

Next: This is the most important thing to keep in mind.

15. Know when to splurge

woman shopping and choosing food

Woman shopping and choosing food | nd3000/iStock/Getty Images

At the end of the day, you need to be realistic about what you buy. There’s no use stocking up on products you’ll never use (unless you plan to donate them, of course). Sometimes you simply have to pay full price for something — and that’s OK.