By now, the stories, photos, and video clips of extreme couponers buying hundreds of dollars’ worth of items for less than 10% of the cost have been seen by millions. These extreme couponers are able to take regular brand name items at the grocery store and drug store, and purchase them for little or nothing. You try to duplicate their success, by taking your coupons to the store to purchase the items you want, but you find that you are not able to achieve anywhere near the savings that extreme couponers have achieved. How, you wonder, are they able to get all of these things for free?
First, extreme couponers build up their coupon stashes. They acquire coupons through a number of means—they purchase multiple copies of the Sunday paper in order to get the coupon inserts they contain, they ask family and friends for unwanted inserts from the Sunday paper, they get them from recycling bins, they print them from the Internet, etc. They use one or more of these methods to collect multiple coupons of the same kind (i.e., 50 toothpaste coupons, 50 toothpaste coupons, etc.), so that they are able to purchase multiples of the needed items.
Second, extreme couponers keep a very close eye on the sales. By looking at the sales flyers for the stores in their area, extreme couponers know when and where there are great sales on needed items. It is not always cost effective to travel great distances to take advantage of sales, since this costs money in gas, so it is important to know what the sales are at stores close to home.
Third, extreme couponers take the first two strategies and combine them, so that they are able to purchase an item for little or nothing. So, if toilet paper is regularly $1.79, and it goes on sale for $1, and you have a $1 coupon, you can get it for free. Or if you cannot get it for free, you can combine great sales with coupons, the item can be purchased for a fraction of what it would cost otherwise.
Fourth, extreme couponers know about the concept of “stacking.” Essentially, many stores allow you to use a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon on an item. So, you can use both a Ziploc manufacturer’s coupon and a Ziploc Target coupon when you purchase the item at Target. If Ziploc happens to be on sale at the time, your savings are even greater.
Fifth, extreme couponers know sales cycles. It is not advantageous to purchase an item on a mediocre sale; it needs to be a great sale, in which at least 50% is taken off of the item. As you get to learn the sales cycles, you will learn to distinguish between a mediocre sale and a great sale on Ziploc. It is during the great sale that you will buy it.
By using one or more of these methods, extreme couponers are able to get items for free or nearly free on a consistent basis. They have taken months, if not years, to learn the strategies involved in using coupons and shopping sales, in order to get more mileage for their money.