Ever since TLC put out their new show "Extreme Couponing", people have jumped on the bandwagon full throttle, while others have been left in awe and confusion. For myself personally, it's great that these people are serious about their couponing, but when in fact, most coupons are for foods that have a long shelf-life, and in turn, are not very high on the list of healthy foods. For household products, toiletries and pet products, it can be great! All in all though, couponing can really save you money if you invest the time.
Many of you, like myself, may not have the room and storage space to be the couponing hoarders that the people on that show are, but here are a few tips and tricks I learned in my couponing that has helped me to coupon for myself and my family:
1. Find a Couponing Class - The hubby and I found a free couponing class that one of the local women puts on every month. The local newspaper actually pays her to give the class, and in turn, she sells subscriptions to the newspaper after the class is over. Take the time to look for these types of classes. You can get them FREE!! I've seen some advertisements where people charge up to $25 for you to attend a 2 hour class. For me, isn't that just counteracting the fact you are trying to SAVE money? Do some searches for local bloggers that coupon and you might find these classes as well.
2. Find Coupons for What You Need/Like - If you are a shopper that enjoys certain things, get coupons specifically for those items. A great way to do this is through Facebook or through the product's website. For instance, we go through Coffeemate creamer like crazy. Well, their website constantly has coupons for their product. Also, if the product has their own Facebook page, you can look down their left column list on their page and look for special offers. It's quick and easy, and you don't have to wait for the paper or an online couponing site to have what you like.
3. Be Patient - If you do clip coupons on Sundays, don't feel the need to use those coupons THAT weeks shopping trip. Sales usually have a 12 week cycle, so unless the coupon is going to expire that week, wait a little, and you might see a buy one, get one free sale on the product, or there might be a double or triple coupon sale coming up. You can get the most out of your coupons this way.
4. Use the Internet - There is a mountain of couponing information online. Not just for online coupons, but there are even bloggers like Coupon Divas or CouponMom.com that not only have links to coupons, they have posts and databases that will show you exactly what items at what stores are the best deals, and even how to get items for FREE! You don't have to be a mathematician to coupon, these types of websites do it all for you and freely give the information!
5. Food Co-ops - Look for food co-ops in your area that might have food deals. One program out here is called Bountiful Baskets. You can get a great mix of fruits and veggies for half of what it costs at the grocery store. Click here to see what I got in my basket one time for only $15!
Couponing can be fun and it definitely is a rush when you are at the register and watch your planning and couponing strategies lower that total due, but unless you want stock piles of items that take up your basement, garage, spare bedroom, or stuff crap under your kids beds, you CAN adjust couponing to meet your own family's needs. I know for me and my little family, even getting over $100 worth of meat for $60, or a couple months worth of toiletries for $20 is worth it. It may not be "extreme", but for our needs, it's still having us a lot of money each month, and those savings add up.
And to end this little couponing journey... remember that you don't need to throw away those unused and expired coupons. You can support your troops overseas by donating them!! The commissaries and BX's on bases abroad will take coupons up to 2 months past the expiration dates. You can visit the Overseas Coupon Program and adopt a base, and start mailing your coupons once a month to them! It's like sending cash overseas!!
Have a great day and happy couponing!!!