Not everyone has the time or means to set up a side-hustle. Sometimes our work and lives just take over, and at the end of the day, it’s impossible to add another thing onto our plates. Learning how to extreme coupon, however, is an easy way to save money in a way that keeps those plates full (but in a good way).
Here’s the secret:
Living well isn’t about earning the big bucks (though that certainly helps), it’s about using what you have to your advantage and doing it in a smart way. Extreme couponing isn’t for poor people, it isn’t hard to do, and it certainly isn’t “gaming the system”.
All of us have to buy groceries anyway, and coupons are freely available to anyone. Everyone who’s genuinely interested in being smart with their money will take advantage of that opportunity.
Extreme coupon clipping might seem a tad eccentric, but there’s a reason why this “hobby” was popular enough to get its own television show – it works and anyone can do it.
Well, maybe not with the intensity that they take it to on television.
Still, couponing has helped plenty of people stretch their money as far as it can go.
And the trend is catching.
Are you ready to start saving? I’ve gathered everything you need to know about how extreme couponing works below, along with some extreme couponing tips to help get you on your way.
What is extreme couponing?
Extreme couponing is a much more involved process than simply using a few coupons every now and then. People who use coupons on a regular basis save a bit here and there, while extreme couponers go shopping with the specific purpose of spending as little as possible thanks to sales, offers, and extreme couponing techniques.
Planning and diligence are definitely required to become an extreme couponer, especially in the beginning when you start learning the “tricks of the trade” as it were.
Luckily, as with most hobbies, the process becomes easier with time as you learn the skills necessary to complete your goals and find what works for you.
After a while, you’ll be a true coupon connoisseur and it will feel as natural as regular shopping feels now.
How to Start Extreme Couponing
To start off with, you’ll need to get the right supplies, and set aside some time to find and sort through your coupons.
You will then have to find the coupons – there are plenty of ways to do this.
The most popular ways to find coupons include newspapers, magazines, coupon websites, physical and digital store sales fliers, forums, and via machines at the store.
I go into much more detail about how to start basic couponing in this article, in which I outline where you can find coupons and how they work. That article contains all the information you’ll need to get started as an extreme couponer.
Like I’ve said, extreme couponing won’t take up as much of your time as taking on a side-cash opportunity will, but it will still take up a couple of hours a week.
The amount of time you put in really depends on how dedicated you are to finding and organizing the coupons.
Also, just remember that the key to making this worthwhile lies in keeping up the habit of collecting, sorting, and using coupons.
There’s no such thing as “I’ve saved enough” – that’s not the extreme couponer’s way. Instead, make this part of your lifestyle, and eventually, it will become a natural part of how you shop, helping you save thousands.
How do I get coupons for free?
There are plenty of ways to find free coupons.
These are the main ways extreme couponers gather coupons for free:
- Find printable coupons online. There are plenty of websites that list them and forums where people give away coupons they don’t use.
- Look for coupons at the store. They can come from fliers located at the front of the store, next to the products in the aisles, or by the cashiers.
- Sign up for online newsletters from stores and coupon websites. They often send digital coupons in their emails.
- Get a loyalty card. Stores like to offer special discounts and deals to the people that have loyalty cards. They sometimes also have special coupons that can only be redeemed by using this card.
Sometimes it’s worth it to spend a little money to get great coupons, like subscribing to a newspaper or buying them at a discounted price from people online.
Just make sure these are coupons for products that you will actually use, and that you can redeem them at a store near you.
Which stores offer double coupons?
It’s very hard to get a comprehensive list of stores that offer double coupons because this differs from one state (and sometimes even county) to another.
Store policies change regularly too, meaning that any list I put here could be outdated in a month or two.
That said, there are a few coupon websites that try to keep up to date.
For a list of stores that accept double coupons in the US, for instance, check out the Grocery Coupon Network.
In the end, though, you might want to contact your favorite local stores directly to find out about their policies, even if they’re on the list.
Which stores let you stack coupons?
The following stores, to name a few, do allow coupon stacking for certain coupons at the time of publishing this article:
- Dollar Store
- Family Dollar
A Few Extreme Couponing Tips
1. Sign up for store emails.
They will send you electronic copies of their sales fliers, saving you the extra time it would take to get those fliers from the store.
It also means you can plan ahead, which is a big part of extreme couponing.
2. Poke around on couponing forums.
As well as comments sections on coupon sites. The extreme couponing community like to give tips and updates on current coupons that you might have otherwise missed. This helped me out a lot back in 2009 when I first started looking for bulk coupons online.
3. Make money with extra coupons.
You can even make a bit of money off of couponing by sharing any online coupons that you know about.
Some sites will pay you for the (valid) coupon codes you submit.
4. Don’t buy what you don’t need.
Not every coupon will be valuable to you.
It isn’t worth it to purchase something just because you have a coupon if you won’t end up using it.
So instead, organize a coupon swap with a fellow extreme couponer so you can find coupons you want while getting rid of those that you won’t use.
It’s a win-win!
5. Know when to wait.
One of the core pillars of extreme couponing is to only buy items that are on sale and to then combine that with coupons and other discounts.
This means that you won’t necessarily get brands or food items that you would normally buy.
But it does lead to some creative thinking when it comes to meal preparation.
6. Research store polices.
Make sure you know the store policies ahead of time and choose an off-peak time to shop.
Unlike on the “Extreme Couponers” show, cashiers won’t be all too thrilled to see you plop down your stack of coupons.
Neither will those people in the line behind you.
It will take some time to go through everything, so try to make the process as smooth as possible.
The Bottom Line
If time is a big issue and extreme couponing isn’t enough for you, then you could consider looking at some fast ways to make money online.
But saving up and using coupons is a really great way to stretch your income as far as you can.
Plus you can save a bit even if you only put in minimal effort.
Have any extreme coupon clipping tips of your own? Make sure to share them below so we can help each other out!