How To Start Couponing: The Absolute Beginner’s GuideSaving Money
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We’ve all seen television shows about extreme couponers.
It’s amazing how much money people can save by using coupons. People even make a living doing couponing.
If this is something you’re interested in, read on to learn how you too can be a successful extreme couponer!
Most people who want to practice couponing don’t know how to start. They have no idea where to find coupons and once they do find them, they don’t know the best way to use them to save money.
There are actually extreme couponing websites that you can refer to.
These websites can direct you to some awesome coupons that you can download and use for yourself. They can also provide great tips on how to be the next great extreme couponer.
How to Start Couponing
Lots of people are interested in becoming a couponer but they have no idea where to start. They google the word “coupon” and find millions of results.
But, where are the best places to go if you want to become an extreme couponer?
There are a few basic steps you need to take if you want to become an extreme couponer. Here is how to start couponing:
Buy a binder – get organized!
If you’re serious about becoming an extreme couponer, you have to take it seriously.
Buy a large binder so you can be organized.
You’re going to want to organize your coupons by type. Have a section for groceries, health and beauty, cleaning products, etc.
Set aside time to focus on your couponing
You need to treat couponing as a job.
If you don’t set aside time to focus on your couponing, you’re going to miss out on some great savings.
You’ll also end up missing the expiration dates on some awesome coupons and nobody wants to do that.
Research store policies
It’s important that you know each store’s policies ahead of time.
Take notes. Call and ask or go to the stores and ask what their coupon policies are.
Some stores are better than others. Make sure you ask about the following:
- Do they double manufacturer coupons?
- Can you combine store coupons with manufacturer coupons?
- Are you allowed to combine different manufacturer coupons?
- Are there limits on how many coupons you can use?
- Do they offer cash back if your coupons exceed the amount spent?
Create a chart that shows what you’re allowed to do at each store. This will make it easier for you later on when you’re planning your shopping trips.
Learn how coupons work!
Some coupons work differently than others.
You’ll notice some coupons allow you to buy as many products as you want. Others have limits on them.
Take a glance at a few coupons and get a feel for how they work.
This will make it much easier to organize and use your coupons later.
Start collecting coupons
Before you set out to be a professional couponer, you need a good supply.
Start clipping coupons now. Collect as many as you can so you start saving right away.
Where to Get Coupons for Extreme Couponing?
So you’ve bought your binder and got organized. Now you know it’s time to find some coupons.
But, where do you start? Where are you going to find the best coupons?
There are several ways to find coupons. Here are some of the best ways people find coupons for their extreme couponing:
Old Fashioned Way
There’s nothing wrong with collecting coupons the old-fashioned way.
Check your local newspapers. Every major city has a Sunday paper.
This is where you’re going to find the best local coupons.
Don’t limit yourself to your town’s newspaper. You should subscribe to some other major newspapers for your couponing.
If you live in a small town, check out the papers for some of the major cities near you. They’ll have coupons that work in your area.
A lot of people just throw away those mailers that contain coupons. Don’t do that!
Some of these mailers have amazing coupons in them. If you have friends who don’t use theirs, ask if you can have them.
The whole point of extreme couponing is to have a bunch of coupons.
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help. The more mailers you get your hands on, the more coupons you’ll have in your arsenal!
You can find just about anything online these days.
There are some great sites to find coupons.
Once you get familiar with them, set them as favorites on your toolbar. This way, you can go back and check them every few days to see what’s new.
You know all those spam emails that you used to delete without reading? Start reading them!
You’d be surprised how many great coupons are sent to you via email every day.
Manufacturers and stores are always sending blind emails out in the hopes of getting new customers.
Take full advantage of this.
Most stores offer special coupons in their circulars and online.
Some of these coupons are for specific products. But other coupons offer a total percentage off your purchase.
Some stores famous for this are Bed Bath and Beyond, Bath and Body Works and A.C. Moore.
Some Awesome Couponing Websites for Beginners
You could just Google the term “extreme couponing” and see what comes up.
But, by the time you wade through the thousands of sites, you’ll have done nothing but waste precious time.
Here are some awesome coupon websites for beginners that you need to check out:
- Coupons.com – This site is great. All you have to do is put in your zip code and hundreds of coupons for your area will pop up.
Either print them all and sort them out later, or go through and pick out the best ones. You can save up to 90% on products if you use this site right.
- DontPayFull.com – This handy site provides free online coupons and promo codes for some of the most popular online stores, including Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. You’ll even find plenty of money-saving coupons and codes for travel.
- Savings.com – Not only does this site offer coupons and discount codes, but it lets you share this information with other users. You can look to see what coupon codes other people have shared.
Take advantage of this community. It’s full of beginner and extreme couponers just like you!
- RetailMeNot.com – The nice thing about this site is you can read feedback on how some of the coupons have worked for other people. It also has tons of coupons for most major stores and outlets.
- RedPlum.com – This is the online version of the RedPlum book that comes in the mail. It’s a great way to search for the best coupons.
These sites are great for beginner couponers. It will give you a chance to see what coupons are out there.
See how much you can save by just using simple manufacturer coupons.
What Are the Best Ways to Get Coupons?
Once you get a feel for how these sites work, you’ll be on your way to clipping coupons left and right.
Some people rely on these sites and ignore hard copy coupons. You can choose to do that, or you can combine both methods.
You will miss out on some great deals if you ignore hard copy coupons. It’s a lot easier to clip coupons online, but there are some awesome savings to be had with real, hard copy coupons.
Your best bet it is to do both. Combining coupons is how you’ll save the most money.
If you’ve ever seen an extreme couponer at work, you know they end up making money when they go shopping. The best way to do this is to combine your coupons.
What Stores Have Friendly Coupon Policies?
It’s always a good idea to know how stores treat coupons before you start couponing. Here is a list of some of the most coupon-friendly stores.
Stores that accept expired coupons
Don’t ever take no for an answer. If you have expired coupons, don’t assume they’re garbage.
A lot of stores accept expired coupons. If the cashier says they can’t accept your coupon, ask for a store manager.
Here is a list of stores that are known to accept expired coupons:
- JC Penney
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Buy Buy Baby
A lot of stores will double your coupons up to a certain amount. This is where beginner couponers can start making some money.
Some of the stores that will double your coupons are:
- Piggly Wiggly
- Remke Markets
Check out these stores if you’re going to be doing some grocery shopping. They’re also good places to get health and beauty items if you have coupons for these items too.
Make Sure You Ask for a Raincheck!
Experienced couponers know that they can almost always get a raincheck for out of stock products.
If you have a great coupon, you aren’t going to miss out on the savings. And, since extreme couponers usually buy in bulk, there’s a good chance the store won’t have as many of the item as you want.
Go to customer service and ask for a raincheck. Most stores will issue rainchecks.
Just remember to take a look at the coupon. Some say at the bottom in fine print that no rainchecks are allowed.
You don’t want to waste time waiting in line for a raincheck if they won’t give you one.
If you’re serious about becoming an extreme couponer, there are some practical concerns you have to consider.
A guide to couponing wouldn’t be complete without a practical guide, right? Here are some things to keep in mind when you decide how to start couponing.
Where will you keep your products?
When you start couponing, you may only buy a few bags of stuff a day.
At first, you may be able to keep your stock in your pantry or closet. However, pretty soon, you’re gonna need to find a larger space to keep your products.
It’s a good idea to start looking into a portable shed to keep your products in. A lot of extreme couponers have a shed (or a few sheds) in their backyards to store their supplies.
Once you start collecting coupons, you’re gonna start collecting products as well. While you’re waiting to sell your wares, you’re gonna need a place to store them.
Some sheds can cost a few hundred dollars if you find them used online. Others can run into the thousands.
Experienced extreme couponers suggest that you find a local carpenter and commission him to build a wooden shed for you. It’s cheap and you can get it custom built to your specifications.
When will you do your shopping?
The biggest mistake you can make is not planning your shopping trips.
You need to be smart about this. Think about the best and worst times to hit the stores.
Here are a few quick tips to shopping as a beginner couponer:
- Go to stores when they’re not busy. Middle of the afternoon is usually good for grocery stores such as Walmart, Target and Acme. They are busiest in the morning and evenings.
- Don’t go right before the stores close. It’s going to take longer for you to check out now that you’re an extreme couponer.
You may also need to get the help of a manager or customer service. Stores are less likely to help you when they’re trying to close shop.
- Don’t go on the weekend! Most people reserve their shopping for the weekends.
If you go on the weekends, you’re going to contend with long lines and huge crowds. Go during the week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are best!
- Know ahead of time that you will probably hold up whatever line you are in. The cashier will not be happy to see you. That’s okay.
Just account for this when you set aside time for your shopping.
Are you going to have a partner?
It’s hard to be an extreme couponer all by yourself. You’re going to be making several trips to the store and carrying a ton of bags.
It’s a good idea to recruit a friend or family member to help you on your shopping trips.
What types of products do you want to buy?
Some extreme couponers focus on certain types of products.
For example, you may know that it’s easy to sell laundry detergent and baby supplies on your local yardsale site. If this the case, maybe start out with these types of products.
Whatever works best for you is the way you should go. If you are more familiar with certain types of products, start out buying those products.
Once you are comfortable with couponing, you can always branch out in different directions.
Expect to piss people off!
As fun as it may be to practice extreme couponing, you can make a lot of enemies.
When you go shopping, you’re going to have several carts full of stuff. You’ll be in line for hours sometimes checking out.
There’s a good chance the cashier will have to call customer service or a manager several times while she’s ringing you up.
People hate to get stuck behind an extreme couponer. And that’s okay. We get it.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to let the cashier and the people behind you in line know what you’re about to do.
This gives people a chance to move to another line. It also gives the cashier a chance to run her light out so she can focus on checking you out.
What to Do with the Items You Buy with Your Coupons?
So now you’re ready to start couponing!
You have your book. You have your shed.
You have your websites all marked as favorites. You’ve even recruited a couple buddies to help you on your shopping trip.
The next question is: what are you going to do with all the products you buy?
The whole point of extreme couponing is to save and make money.
There’s no way you’ll ever need a hundred bottles of dish detergent. Nor will you need five hundred pounds of dog food.
But other people do. And that’s where selling your products comes into play.
You are going to want to sell your products in order to make some extra money.
You may want to have a yard sale. Or, maybe you’ll sell your items on Craigslist.
The best thing you can do is join a few online yard sale sites.
These are great places to sell your wares. You’d be surprised how many people log onto these sites every day looking for bargains.
You’ll even build a following where people start looking to see what products you have for sale every week.
Still Have Questions About Extreme Couponing?
If you’re looking for help with couponing for beginners, you’ve come to the right place. There is a ton of information online to help you with your couponing.
There are some great online communities where you can meet with and chat with other extreme couponers. They can offer great tips and suggestions.
Now you’re all set to get to work. Make sure to come back and let us know how it goes!
Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.