Have you ever watched the show Extreme Couponing on TLC, wishing you could do the same? Wanting to create a nice stockpile of items you could live off of for years. Well, you can! Couponing is easier than you think. But it also has a lot to do with where you live. When watching the show, you may notice a lot of the store those couponers shop at, double coupons. Unfortunately for me, I live in an area where stores have shut down on doubling coupons. Sucks right?
But that's ok, I still manage to get items dirt cheap and sometimes for FREE. Yes, free! And you can do it too, it just takes a lot of time, planning, patience and luck.
First things first, keep in mind that all couponing trips aren't successful. Remember, there are other couponers in the world, which is why I said couponing includes luck. You may get to a store to find that the items you want are GONE, because other couponers have gotten to those items before you. Also, treat your coupons like money. You'll understand why later.
Coupon terminology, couponers have their own language. You don't HAVE to learn it, but if you would like to communicate with other couponers,it's definitely beneficial to understand what the hell they're talking about.
$1/1 or $1/2 - A dollar off one item or a dollar off two items (etc)
2/$1 - Two items for a dollar
AC - After Coupon
B1G1 - Purchase one item and get an item free (buy 1 get 1)
Blinkies - Coupon dispensers with flashing lights
B&M - Brick and Mortar stores
BTFE - Box tops for education
Catalina - Coupons that print along with your receipt
CRT - Cash register tape (reference to coupons for CVS coupons that print on the receipt)
DND - Do not double coupon
DNT - Do not triple coupon
ECBs - Extra Care Bucks (CVS Loyalty program)
ETS - Excludes trial sizes
Exp. - Expires
FAR - Free after rebate
FSD - Free Shipping Day (holiday shopping free shipping coupons)
FSOT - For sale or trade
GC - Gift Card
GDA - Good deal alert
IDSO - In desperate search of…
IP - Internet printable
IVC - Instant Value Coupon (Walgreen's store coupons found in ads)
MQ - Manufacture coupon
MIR - Mail In Rebate
NED - No expiration date
OYNO - On your next order
OOP - Out of Pocket
OOS - Out of Stock
Peelie - Coupons that peel off packaging
POP - Proof of purchase
RC - Rain check
RP - Red Plum coupons
RRs - Register Rewards (specific name for Walgreen's Catalina Coupons)
Q - Coupon
SCR - Single Check Rebate (Rite Aid monthly rebate program)
SF - Store form (forms found only good at one store)
SMP - Specially marked packages
SS - Smart Source coupons
Stacking - Use of manufacturer and store coupons
UPC - Universal Product Code (bar code)
TMF - Try me free
+UP Reward - Rite Aid reward program
WSL - While supplies last (no rain checks issued)
WYB - When you buy
Aside from the lingo, you should learn the coupon policies for each store. All stores have different coupon policies, and they may even be different for each state, city or location, even if there are more than one of the same store in your city. So call your local store and ask them what their coupon policy is. You should also learn each stores markdown schedule.
After you gather that information, look for sales and match them with your coupons.
But where do you get coupons?
I get coupons from everywhere, my sister even mails me her extra coupons. A lot of the time, my local newspaper doesn't have coupon inserts, but yours might. Coupons are usually in the Sunday paper and Walmart has Sunday papers on Saturdays. So you can get a head start. I get coupons from the newspaper (which comes to my door step), I print them out from coupons.com, I order them from The Coupon Clippers, I use digital coupons from apps and I print coupons from my phone via the coupons.com app.
Ask and you shall receive. Send emails to some of your favorite brands and most of them will send you coupons if they have any. Here are some companies that I got coupons from just because I asked:
Apple and Eve, you can even sign up for their Core Crew and get points to win prizes
ibotta is my FAVORITE cash back app. I use it the most out of all the cash back apps I have. You can either have the money deposited into your PayPal account, or you can use the money to get gift cards.
ibotta has everything from household cleaning products to snacks for the kids. Each item has a certain amount of money you can get back. Anywhere from .25 cents to $5.00.
And there are ways to earn even more money, like inviting your friends to download the app, and completing bonuses.
Other cash back apps (that I use) include:
Berry Cart (for those who eat healthy)
Shopkick - You get kicks (points) for simply scanning and or buying items listed and you cash the kicks in for gift cards. Invite friends and you get 500 kicks for each friend you invite.
Receipt Hog - Upload receipts, get coins and get Amazon gift cards, money for PayPal or magazine subcriptions.
Target Cartwheel - Get discounts on all the items you love, combine those discounts with you coupons and your cash back apps and get those items dirt cheap.
One more app that I recommend is...The Krazy Coupon Lady. On the app, you will find posts on sales for your favorite stores, tips on how to use your coupons and brags. The brags section of the app is where users post their coupon trips in detail, explaining what they bought and how much they paid for their items. This is something you may want to explore before your first couponing trip to help you understand how it works.
Now that you have this information, it's time to look for sales!
Match your coupons, items on your cash back apps and sales from your local stores sales flyers and prepare for your shopping trip. Some couponers use books to store their coupons.
I personally like to use paper clips or strips of paper to organize my coupons by store. Because a lot of the time, you'll need to shop at multiple stores to get the best discounts.
Make sure you are actually shopping for products you need and use. But if you can get items you don't use for free, get them. Because you can donate them to the homeless, group homes, foster care agencies, etc. Couponing isn't just about shopping cheap, sometimes, it's about giving. Many couponers donate their items to the less fortunate.
Now the rest is up to you. Good luck, and happy couponing!