Extreme Couponing 101 Guide

Have you been looking for an Extreme Couponing 101 guide?

I’ve received a few emails asking for more clarification on how these people in the show Extreme Couponing are walking away paying less than $100 dollars for $1000 dollars worth of food. I really have tried to explain how this works, but some people still prefer to disagree and believe its easy and free. Television glamorizes everything it shows and people have been brought up to think “Hey if it comes on TV, it must be real,” there is no denying that extreme couponing is real and very Extreme, but the process in doing this is not really being explained in depth, for if it were people would not be as fascinated by it! I will try to break the process down for you to help you better understand. This will be a multi part guide.  The first part I will go over is about coupons.

Coupons:

In order to shop like the people on Extreme Couponing, you need to have coupons, ALOT of coupons. The people on the show are buying over 50 of the SAME items on most of the episodes, so you know you will need 50 or more coupons for several of your items. How do we get that many coupons? For some people getting coupons may be easy and free, but that is not the case with most of the people on the show. Since watching the show, I have come to realize that these people are spending money to get their coupons. First of all coupons are free and most coupons void if they have been sold, however, the companies offering the coupons get away with this because they claim they are selling their services, not the coupons. Now some people buy multiple newspapers for the coupon inserts. So here in Columbia the Sunday newspaper costs $2.00. If I want to get 50 like coupons I am going to need to buy 50 newspapers. For a total of $100.00! Yikes!

So there you go. Does that change how you view the show yet? I didn’t think it would. Well I could tell you about how they dumpster dive for coupon inserts that people throw out. It seems like a great idea, but now that they have shown  these people dumpster diving in the show, you will be fighting in the dumpster with about 50 other people! Once again a little about Columbia, our recycling centers do not allow you to climb into a dumpster. I can only imagine the reason being for safety precautions. Yes, people recycle their newspapers but who knows what else could be in that paper bin! I honestly think you would have a better chance of paying off the people at the recycling center to dig them out for you, but who knows. All states are different. If your state allows you to dig through the paper bins, then by all means go for it.

There are still even more ways to get coupons, can you believe it???

I watched an episode where the woman said she paid $70 dollars a week to use a coupon clipping service. These services are basically someone who receives many coupon inserts. They turn around and sell the coupons in bulk stacks. Usually a stack requires a minimum of 5 coupons. So these coupon clipping services are all over the Internet and even on EBay! I have seen them selling a stack of 20 coupons on eBay for $3.00. That’s actually a really great price if you want to spend money on your bulk coupons.

If you ask me, $70 dollars a week is alot. I spend less than $70 dollars a week feeding a family of four! I will tell you how in a future post!

There is also other ways to get coupons such as asking your church members, family, and friends to donate theirs to you. My mom was giving me hers but now since she has seen the show Extreme Couponing, I don’t think I will be receiving that set anymore lol. You could check your neighbors recycling bin if you want to be known as the “crazy person who digs through our recycle bin”. (I try to look at the good and the bad side of Extreme Couponing!) Most people would not care, if you told them what you were doing.

Last week I wrote about how people on the show Extreme Couponing attain their coupons. I felt I made a few good points as well. This week I am going to go over some coupon secrets that many people don’t realize. For if they did EVERYONE would be a couponer!

The one most important thing you should always be educated of while couponing is that particular stores coupon policy! You can find a stores coupon policy on many of their websites. I find using google to be the fastest way to pull it up. Let’s go over the next part which explains coupons in more detail.

Main Types of Coupons:

  • Internet Manufacturer Coupons– These coupons are printed off of the Internet, they clearly state on them manufacturer coupon.
  • Store Coupons– These store coupons may or not have the word manufacturer on them. These coupons are made to redeem at the store who provided them only.
  • Manufacturer Coupons– These are coupons that you find in the newspaper inserts or what the manufacturer will mail you.

The Other Types of Coupons:

  • Catalina Coupon– These are the coupons that print out of the paper machine also known as the Catalina machine at Bi-Lo and a few other stores. These are usually coupons that can be redeemed at the store who printed the Catalina. These would be considered a store coupon.
  • Blinkie– Remember those awesome little red box’s that are located all over the grocery store? Yeah the ones your kids were always grabbing at lol, well these are manufacturer coupons. You can actually use these at any store. It does not matter if you found them in a blinkie at Bi-Lo, use them at Publix if you like. The only way you cannot use these at another location is if it states to be redeemed at “that store” only.
  • Hang Tags– These are manufacturer coupons. You can find these on wine bottles, ketchup bottles, basically any kind of bottle. These can usually be used anywhere as long as it does not specify a certain store.
  • Peelies– Have you ever seen a coupon on a box of your favorite food? They usually state buy this box and get $1.00 off now, or something to that effect. These are peelies. I don’t feel that taking these off of items you are not planning to buy is very ethical but that is my own opinion.
  • Tear Pads– These are exactly as named. They are a stack of paper coupons that you tear off. Right now Bi-Lo has tear pads in their candy section (M&M’s) These are manufacturer coupons that can be used anywhere that accepts coupons.
  • Inserts– These are usually in your Sunday Newspaper.

In Conclusion:

The previous lists should familiarize you with the different types of coupons you will find in many stores. So many people get confused about using coupons they find in a store. They automatically think since they found it there it is mandatory to use it there. This just isn’t so.

Have you ever noticed a coupon has a note to the consumer? The consumer is you so always read your coupon to make sure you understand the message from the manufacturer. This brings me to the next subject of coupon rules. Yes unfortunately coupons do have rules. We must all follow these rules or else we could be charged with fraud, and if unethical coupon practices continue they could possibly do away with coupons forever. That is one of my worst nightmares.

Coupon Lingo:

  • Limit One Coupon Per Transaction– This means that you can only use 1 of this particular coupon for the entire transaction.
  • Limit One Coupon Per Purchase– This means 1 coupon per item, or another way to look at it Item=Purchase, I have had more cashiers confused about this wording. So if you have 5 like items you can use 5 like coupons for each item.
  •  Do Not Double– If the manufacturer has Do Not Double or DND on the coupon, this means if your store double coupons it is not allowed. Coupons that are not allowed to double will have a 9 at the beginning of the upc code. If a coupon has a 5 at the beginning of the upc code it will double. Sometimes you will run into the coupon that starts with a 5 and has DND on it. That is your ethical call there. Most stores will still double it.

I hope these tips will help you understand coupons a little better. I will have another post showing how to use BOGO coupons and Free coupons. Please subscribe to my blog for updates!

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