If you’ve ever tuned in to TLC’s popular cable program Extreme Couponing, you’ve probably been amazed to see shoppers exiting the checkout lane with carts full of food for only a few dollars. But if you’ve paid close attention, you’ve also heard the show’s superstar savers comment that the time it takes to do extreme couponing is equivalent to a full-time job. That doesn’t mean, though, that a person who already has a job can’t take away a few pointers from the supreme bargain buyers.
Subscribe to the local Sunday newspapers with the best ads
If you aren’t sure which one will save you the most money, start by buying copies of one or two local Sunday papers with the most ads in the middle. Also be on the lookout for free local publications that come with coupons. Asking friends or family for their extra newspaper coupons can help you quickly add up the savings.
Check websites that aggregate the best coupons
Among the most popular are Coupons.com, CouponNetwork.com, FabulesslyFrugal.com, PrintHotCoupons.com, RedPlum.com, SavingWellSpendingLess.com and SmartSource.com. While you are online, bookmark sites for the stores where you most commonly shop, sign up for their email list and “friend” them on Facebook since this is where they are likely to promote discounts.
Organize your coupons efficiently
Most experts recommend keeping a small accordion file or binder with plastic insert sheets (like those for baseball card collections) to best organize coupons you have printed or clipped. The smaller the better, since you will need to take this to the stores with you.
Load up if there’s a great deal
You never know when an item you use frequently will be on sale again, so if you can spare the room at home, stock up when a major price break happens.
Only buy items you’ll use
No matter how much of a bargain it is, remember that it’s never a deal to buy something you don’t need or aren’t going to use. Creating a shopping list first and then matching items with your coupons helps you stay focused on the items you really need.