Extreme Couponing: Before You Begin

You’ve watched television shows about extreme couponing. You’ve read about it in newspapers and magazines. You’ve seen it mentioned frequently on the Internet. You get emails with all sorts of coupons and offers. You’ve even seen news clips about extreme couponers who are able to fill two grocery carts full of items, and purchase them for pennies on the dollar. So, you decided that you are going to give extreme couponing a try, but you don’t know how to get started. Here are some tips that will help you in your quest, before you actually make your first extreme couponing purchase.

Begin by taking it slow. Don’t jump in and spend lots of money on sale items, coupons, etc. until you begin to understand extreme couponing and how it works. Just because something is on sale, and just because you may have a coupon for it, doesn’t mean that you need to buy ten of it. You need to learn the finer points of extreme couponing, and you need to set some ground rules for yourself.

One smart rule to follow is to vow not to buy items that you normally don’t buy or need to buy. So, don’t buy two cases of chocolate candy bars just because you can get them for a penny each, if you don’t normally buy this item. What you are “saving” in food will cost you in increased cavities, a larger waistline, and more physical problems. Another ground rule would be to use the really good shopping strategies and resources that you may already have.

So, for example, if you normally buy margarine at Aldi’s for $.99 (a store that does not accept coupons), it does not pay to use coupons to buy it at a store that accept coupons and your cost after a sale and a coupon is $1.29. A third ground rule is to refuse to drive to faraway stores just to take advantage of their sales, unless it is a really large haul. What you are saving at the register will be cancelled out by what you are spending on gas. Instead, go only to stores that do not take you out of your way.

After determining that you will keep these guidelines in mind as you begin your extreme couponing journey, you will need to start investigating the sales at the stores where you shop. It will take some time to learn the cycles, and the frequency that certain items go on sale, and when they hit their lowest prices. But because you are proceeding slowly and cautiously, as you learn these cycles, you will not be making lots of unwise purchases as you become more knowledgeable. With time, you’ll know when to buy toothpaste, and be able to get it for less than a dollar a tube, if not for free.

You’ll develop confidence and skill in extreme couponing as time goes by, and as you become more practiced. You’ll know how much of a stockpile you have room for. You’ll learn the coupon policies of the various stores. Of course, if, along the way, you encounter a sale, and have coupons, and can get it for free, and it is something you use, then by all means, stock up!

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