Inspired by the TLC show Extreme Couponing, I wanted to learn how it is possible for those stockpiling housewives to get 48 bottles of free mustard.
So when one of the local mommy Meetup groups offered a “Coupon Mania” class, I was eager to sign up.
A lot of moms signed up for it, but I was lucky to get a spot after being on the waiting list.
Couponing is in right now!
Who wouldn’t want 100 trial-size bottles of sleeping aids for $1? (What do you do with 100 bottles of sleeping aids — donate them?)
When I go grocery shopping, I use coupons all the time and save hundreds of dollars every year. I only cut coupons of products I use regularly and I don’t buy junk food– I wouldn’t try blue Kool-aid if you paid me.
But I had a sense I could do much better with extreme couponing. And boy, was I in for a surprise!
Toting my coupons (we were encouraged to share some), a pen, and a notebook, I arrived at the beautiful home of one of the moms of the group who hosted all 15 of us ladies.
I was greeted by several moms holding wine glasses on the patio and a table full of coupons and folders with the class material, and when I saw the Skinny Girl Margarita bottle, I really wished I could have a glass.
But I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate on coupon codes — I get tipsy after two sips.
We all sat down to listen to Rebecca’s presentation. She has made teaching people how to use coupons a business and already saved $8,000 this year.
She doesn’t buy items that are over 25 cents after coupons. Wow. That’s my kind of girl.
Then the fun and the lingo started: Blinkie, Catalina, FARR, OOP, OPP, Peelie, OYNO, stacking…. OOP?
Just a few minutes into the class I realized couponing besides just clipping the occasional coupon is an art form, and a lot of work.
For the best deal, Rebecca first makes a list of the items she wants to buy with the help of blogs like LivingRichWithCoupons.com, prints out the list, and then has to find that coupon in her stash of coupons.
She then goes to stores that double (sometimes triples) coupons and matches up the coupon to the product that is on sale that week.
Here are more tips I learned during Extreme Couponing Coupon Mania class:
- Don’t believe the Extreme Couponing show — you wouldn’t be able to use 100 coupons for 100 bottles of free Vitamin Water. That’s only done for the show, which is really misleading. You are not allowed to use more than four coupons of the same item in one shopping trip.
- Walmart carries the All You magazine that comes out once a month and is filled with great coupons. Subscribing to it is a great idea, and the next time you need a gift for your girlfriend or mom, give her an All You subscription! Here is a link for two free trial issues I found. Once I signed up, there was an offer of $5 off the $19.95 for 12 issues if you pay right away with a credit card. Done!
- Buy an Entertainment book and take advantage of all the amazing deals in your area, but don’t pay $40 for it! Rebecca ordered 4 for herself for a lot less. I found this great deal: Go to Ebates — join now if you haven’t yet so you can earn Ebates on all your shopping, plus they will give you $5! — then search for “Entertainment.com.”
- Search Ebates for “Entertainment.com” and a new offer will come up.
- $1 coupons don’t double, only coupons under 99 cents double.
- Cashiers actually have the discretion to take coupons one week past their expiration date.
- Don’t fold coupons at the bar code so it doesn’t get messed up — cashiers are not supposed to punch in the numbers to make the coupon work.
- Is the item on sale not in stock? Ask for a rain check so you can get it for the sales price later!
- Bed Bath & Beyond always takes their coupons, even if they are expired. You can use one coupon for one item.
- Bed Bath & Beyond coupons are also good at Toys R Us and buybuy Baby, but they can’t be expired.
- buybuy Baby has the best return policy: as long as they carry the item, you can return anything to them — even if you didn’t buy it there! So if you still have unused baby items that are collecting dust in your home, try to get your money back at buybuy Baby!
- Shop at Bed Bath & Beyond the day after Christmas when everything (most of it?) is $75 percent off. When you use their coupons on top of that, you are getting a heck of a deal.
This should give you a great start. I already used Rebecca’s way of extreme couponing and you really can get things for free!
For now I’ll leave you with these two images: my way of hauling coupons before Coupon Mania Class:
and my Coupon Mania-improved way of storing my coupons:
Are you a fan of extreme couponing?