My Secret to Extreme Couponing
In 2010, families all over the United States were introduced to a new shopping technique, extreme couponing. TLC’s hit show made every mother in America want to coupon. The purchasing of a thousand dollars worth in groceries and only spending less than a hundred dollars out of pocket is ideal for any American. Seems unreal, right?!? It is! With 5 seasons under their belt, producers got creative in dramatizing the show.
Do you remember the mom from season 2 who stocked up on General Mills cereals? Producers had to ask the grocery store for permission to use a coupon that did not include General Mills cereals. Using coupons for different items solely for the show proves how inconsistent the show and extreme couponing is. Instead of creating opportunities for families, the extreme couponers ruined the chances for other families to save big.
The number of coupons that stores and companies release have dwindled over the years. Strict coupon regulations include not allowing the combination of multiple coupons per item targeting specific items and limitations on how many items or times a coupon can be used. Stores have even gone as far as getting rid of “doubling” and “tripling” as a whole. The purpose to distribute coupons is to get people to buy your product so when people are abusing coupon usage it was only a matter of time before companies started to pull back. Here are my secrets to couponing in 2015.
One of the major selling points of “Extreme Couponing” was the idea you could buy 50 toothbrushes and not pay a dime. In reality, why would anyone need 50 toothbrushes at one time? No one! My approach to couponing is strictly based on essentials.
1. What do you NEED, not want.
First and foremost, make a list of the items that you need, not want. What happens with the majority of consumers is that we tend to go to the grocery store because we need something but we walk out with things we weren’t planning on buying to begin with. The goal is to buy things that you need! Sounds simple but easier said than done.
2. Search for coupons for ONLY the items on your list.
Once you have created your list, search for coupons for those items only. I recently started using Lozo.com that converts your grocery list to coupons. In the photo below, you’ll see that in the left column I put in the item that I need and the right column has generated the number of coupons available. You can even narrow your search to specific brands. We tend to add things to our list when we see $1 off coupons for Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream or ‘buy one get one free” makeup deal. The most important part in being an essential couponer is self control because at the end of the day you really save when you choose to not buy it at all.