If you're like most people, you're on a budget and likely interested in learning how extreme couponing works. There's been a lot of hype about it lately with a TV show, books, online articles and much more. As much as it genuinely is a fad right now, it's also very real and works wonders to save you cash. Like most other things though, it's not as easy as it sounds learning everything there is to know about how extreme couponing works is a process that will take some time. I have laid out the basics for you here.
How Extreme Couponing Works
It is the art of using coupons, vouchers and sales to your advantage so that you pay very little, and sometimes nothing for everyday products like groceries and toiletries. Using in-store sales, in-store coupons and manufacturer coupons you "stack" them so that you can use more than one. For example, let's say that a brand name razor is $5.00. You have found a voucher from the manufacturer online for $2.00 off that razor. Great deal right? So you take that voucher (and any others you can get your hands on) and hold on to it. You then see that the razor has gone on sale in store, the listed price is now $3.00. You can take your manufacturer voucher in to the store and use it with the sale price and buy the razor for $1.00.
But now let's say, in addition to the manufacturer's voucher that you have, you can also
Now, understand that to take full advantage of extreme couponing, you will need to be flexible on the products you use. If you have always used brand A toilet paper but the best deals are available on brand B, then you would be well advised to switch to brand B. If you are unwilling to do so than this likely isn't something you will want to do.
How To Get Started
I would recommend picking up some more detailed literature on how extreme couponing works. I can offer a general overview but to make sure you have the best chance of success it's worth an investment in a book on the subject.
After that, here are the first steps you'll need to take to get started.
1. Collect every manufacturer and retail voucher that you can
There are several websites devoted to this. Google "coupon sites" for a good start. I have found that these sites are decent for the deals that they have but their offerings are a little scant. Other places you will want to look include:
- Manufacturer's websites.
- Manufacturer's Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Sign up for updates from coupon sites.
- Get a cheap newspaper subscription and collect free papers.
- Clip deals from magazines that you own anyways, or if the deals are worth it, but the magazine.
- Sign up to the mailing lists of major stores in your area. Create a folder in your email account to deal with the coupon-specific mail.
- Sign up for any weekly flyers that you can. Let other people call it junk mail, it's your gold!
2. Organize your stuff
Now you have a steady stream of vouchers coming in, you will need somewhere to put them. Consider picking up an extra wallet or folder for this purpose. Categorize your vouchers down to groceries, toiletries, pet stuff etc. so you can keep track of it all. It will make your trip to the store much simpler if you have everything that you need in one little wallet.
3. Go to the store, and try to find additional sales that can further reduce your cost
4. Be prepared, and expect a hard time
Despite the fact that there are many people learning how extreme couponing works and taking advantage of the massive price reductions, some stores just don't like it. I don't completely blame them. One person comes in with a stack of vouchers and wants huge amounts of money taken off their bill, they hold up the line and make others wait...you may get a hard time from stores. That's just the way it is. Some stores really love those who are intelligent enough to learn how extreme couponing works and appreciate that it's a skill and can be likened to having a second job.
Manufacturers aren't stupid, they know that there's a growing demographic of people who are learning how extreme couponing works and using it to their advantage. Consider this though. If brand A puts out a great voucher for cereal, maybe one in a hundred people will use these tactics to get several boxes for cheap, or even free. However, when large numbers of product start to move off the shelf what happens? Those items that are selling well get moved to the end of the aisle where they get more exposure to the 99 people who do not invest the time to get these great deals. Everybody wins, you get a great deal, the manufacturer sells tons of cereal, and the store makes great sales numbers while the discounts are often reimbursed to them from the manufacturer.
If you're living on a budget or just plain broke, you can't afford not to learn how extreme couponing works. You also may want to use your new found skill to benefit a local charity or food bank. Although time-consuming, it's simple and relatively easy to do. It's a win/win for the store and the company as well. If you have the time and could use a hobby, consider it one. If you treat it like a chore it will be, but learning how extreme couponing works has huge financial reward and who doesn't like a hobby that is cash-flow positive?