Extreme couponers are in a league of their own. They devote so many hours per day to couponing that it can be a full-time job. Although we can’t all be as serious about couponing, we can learn something from the extreme couponing pros. Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your grocery coupons.
1. Use Coupons for Items Already on Sale
Extreme couponers don’t just use coupons. Instead, they also look for sales. They find deeply discounted items and they add coupon savings on top of that.
If you use coupons to get a small discount on a full price item at the grocery store then you are not an extreme couponer.
2. Limit Print Coupons
Remember that every time you print a coupon, you have to pay to print it. You pay for the paper that goes into the printer. You pay for the ink to print it.
Therefore, you should use mobile coupons whenever possible. You can also use paper coupons from circulars.
Also, before you print your own coupons, make sure you will truly use them. Moreover, make sure they maximize savings. You want that printer cost to be worth it.
3. Use Multiple Coupons
Whenever possible, use more than one coupon on each item. Some things that extreme couponers do:
- Use both mobile and print coupons.
- Double stack and triple stack coupons.
- Use store savings card deals in addition to coupons.
- Use two coupons on a “buy one, get one” deal.
- Take advantage of rebates after purchasing items with coupons.
4. Learn about the Overage
If you get really good at extreme couponing, then you might end up with an overage. This means that your coupon value is worth more than the cost of an item.
Of course, most stores don’t give you cash back. However, many do give you store credit. Extreme couponers use that credit – every time.
5. Don’t Buy Everything
You shouldn’t buy everything just because you have a coupon for it. You should only buy what you will actually use. This is especially important with groceries since so many of them are perishable.
There’s no point in buying a lot of food at a discount then letting it go to waste. That’s not savings.
If you do end up with extra, donate it. Sometimes you can even get a tax deduction if you donate to the right places.
6. Learn Coupon Math
One of the most important things that extreme couponers do is understand math. Learn about unit pricing so that you get the most for your money. Take the time to figure out if a coupon deal is really less than buying the store brand of the same item.
Many people want to avoid the math, so they just guess. Guessing doesn’t lead to maximum savings.
7. Extreme Couponers are Organized
The most frustrating thing about extreme couponing is not having the coupon you need when you need it. Getting organized solves this problem. There are many different ways to organize grocery coupons. Learn about them, and find what works for you.
8. Be Loyal to Stores, not Brands
You’re probably going to lose out on savings if you’re loyal to brands. That’s because you won’t take advantage of coupons for similar items in a different brand. This is a mistake.
However, it’s wise to be loyal to grocery stores, at least to some extent. You save the most when you really maximize coupon use at just a few stores. You also save time, since you aren’t running around to multiple stores.
For example, when you always shop at the same grocery store, you get familiar with their policies. You’ll know whether you can use multiple coupons, triple stack coupons, or get an overage. If you’re trying to figure out the rules at every store, you’ll get confused and miss out on savings.
Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, when a new grocery store opens in your area, you can probably get some great deals as a new customer. For the most part, though, find the stores that give you the most savings the most often and stick to them.
Note that extreme couponers often shop at multiple stores. However, you should start with learning how to get the most out of coupons, one store at a time. Then you can build up if you have the time and energy.
9. Set Your Own Prices
Whenever you go to the grocery store, you should go with a list. You should only buy the items on the list. Moreover, you should only buy them if they’re the price that you want to pay.
In other words, you should set your own price limits. Do this before you go to the store. Add a price next to each item on your list – don’t purchase it if you can’t get it for lower than that amount.
Use every coupon trick in the book. If all of them together don’t add up to lower than your set price, skip that purchase this time around.
In addition to setting your own price for each item, remember to cap your spending. Set a grocery budget. Don’t exceed it, even if you have coupons that will let you get “good deals.”
You should never blow your budget just to get a good price on something. Moreover, try to keep lowering your grocery budget every month for maximum savings.
Do you have any tips for couponing? Share with us in the comments below!