Extreme couponing does exist. Probably not the way it is portrayed on television, but it is possible to get so many things for pennies or even nothing with the right plan. I used to be pretty close to “extreme” back in the day. I would get multiple newpapers, I would pickup coupon inserts from break areas and Starbucks tables, I would print coupons from multiple printers… I would spend the better part of my weekend comparing prices/extracarebucks/rewards/fuelpoints diligently. Then I would spend the week running around to eight different stores with my notebook AND coupon folder.
That was then. And this is now.
Why I don’t extreme coupon anymore
Mostly because I don’t have the time. I also got a little wrapped up in the “deals” part of it and I ended up with all these items and stockpiles of things I didn’t even use. Mens razors, dog food, 20 pounds of granulated sugar. I was all a bit much for my single, cat-owning, Weight-Watcher self.
How I’ve scaled back
- I only shop at one drug store and two grocery stores.
- I made a stockpile list and wait for what I need to get low enough at one of my preferred stores and I stock up.
- I switched from the accordion file method to the binder method of coupon organizing (more on that another time). The accordion method really tempted me to buy things that were “like free” but that I did not need or even want. The binder method forces me to only clip coupons for things that we actually use. “Like free” Depends underwear at Rite Aid with coupon? Oh nope, sorry threw that coupon out… and also NO ONE HERE NEEDS DEPENDS UNDERWEAR!
How I do it now
- I use Southern Savers for my coupon matchup and list making and links to online coupons. Yes there are any number of really good couponing sites out there to help us all out, but simplicity is key here. Pick one and roll with it, I don’t recommend bouncing around, it’s a serious time sink and it’ll stress you out trying to compare them.
- I shop at CVS, Publix, and Kroger. And sometimes Target.
- I clip coupons from my double edition Sunday paper and I print some from: Swagbucks, southernsavers, and Save in Store. I store my coupons using a binder with baseball cards inserts.
- I use smartphone apps like MobiSave and Ibotta for cashback when applicable (I also try really hard not to lose my receipt on the way home from the store because these apps require that you upload a receipt as proof of purchase).
I honestly spend about 30 minutes on Sundays clipping, printing and filling coupons. I save my lists to my southern savers app whenever I have a spare minute to scroll through the deals. I shop with Ike after school, usually on our way home with one major grocery trip on either Saturday or Sunday. I still purchase most of our meat and seafood from Costco because they have better organic/sustainable selections. I still save a lot of money for much less time!