Before you can begin extreme couponing, you need to collect coupons.
Several types of coupons you want to keep and eye out for are:
The Sunday Newspaper – Your Sunday paper (or Thursday Newspaper) is still the primary and most reliable place to find coupons; subscribe to home delivery of MULTIPLE copies of various newspapers. I recommend 4-6 newspapers a week (1 per family member is a good guide). Why? Because you’ll get 4-6 of each coupon that comes out that week! A Sunday-only subscription should be very reasonable, and it will very likely pay for itself in ONE shopping trip. You will save HUNDREDS of dollars a month, yes HUNDREDS, and if you want to save the maximum amount each month – get yourself multiple Sunday papers!
Clipping Services – There are several sources on the web that sell pre-clipped coupons, and even full inserts. However the cost you pay is not for the coupon, but for the time, collection, posting, handling and shipping of said coupons. This is a great way to obtain additional coupons for items that you are trying to build a stockpile for. This is also a great way to get your hands on some of the regional coupons that may not have been available in your local paper. For example, if your region received a $1/2 coupon on pasta sauce, and other regions received a $0.50/1 coupon, it might be worth it to purchase the $0.50/1… especially if you shop at a store that doubles! NEVER pay for coupons unless you are going to use them, never buy coupons that will expire soon and always know your sales dates, to make sure you will have time to use the coupons.
Internet Printable Coupons – Nearly all stores accept Internet coupons, unless they do not scan properly. There are several sources for internet coupons, the most popular sites being: Coupons.com, CouponNetwork.com, SmartSource.com, and RedPlum.com which is now save.com . The downside to internet coupons is that they have print limits. In most cases, you can print (2) copies of each coupon from each computer. However, the manufacturers also put an overall print limit on each offer, so if you see something you want or need, your best to print it right away before it runs out of prints.
Electronic Coupons or E-Coupons – E-Coupons are the newest form of coupons available today. These require no clipping or printing, but instead are loaded directly to your store loyalty cards. There are several sources for e-Coupons, including Cellfire, Shortcuts, PGeSaver, Upromise and the newest SavingStar. You can also find e-Coupons on many of the grocery store sites, such as Kroger (Ralphs in Southern California), and Safeway (Vons in Southern California). Electronic coupons do NOT double, regardless of the store’s policy toward paper coupons.
Catalina Coupons – These are coupons that are generated during checkout. You have probably seen the gray square machines at the registers at some of the stores you shop in. They print out long, receipt-like coupons or advertisements at the end of your transaction. Always pay attention to what the cashier hands you at the end of your transaction. These coupons are money! Catalina coupons can be tied to a specific product (i.e. $1/1 Jar Skippy Peanut Butter) or they can be store specific (i.e. $2.00 Off Your Next Shopping Trip, Courtesy of Skippy). The latter can be combined with manufacturer coupons and can be used to purchase almost anything in the store (restrictions may apply to items like alcohol, tobacco, etc.). Catalina Coupons can be advertised offers, or completely random.
Blinkies – These are manufacturers coupons that are dispensed from the small automatic machines that are found in stores on the grocery aisles, etc. The dispensers are usually affixed to the shelves, or attached to the refrigerator/freezer cases, near the product they are advertising. They are referred to as ‘Blinkies’ because they usually have a flashing red light on them that flashes as it dispenses the coupons, one at a time. Since these are manufacturer coupons, you can use them at ANY store, not just the one you found the coupon in.
Tear pads – Tear pads just as they sound… a pad of manufacturer’s coupons found near the product being advertised. These too, are manufacturer coupons, and may be used at any store for the product referenced in the coupon.
Peelies – These are manufacturer coupons that are attached to a product’s packaging. You will need to ‘peel’ the coupon off of the package in order to redeem it. However, you do NOT have to redeem it right away (you may have a better coupon in your binder), or even on the specific product it was attached to. Read the coupon terms and use it as you would any other coupon type. Often times it is best to purchase the smallest size that the coupon allows in order to maximize your savings.
ALL YOU Magazine – They say that this is a must-have magazine for serious couponers, but I still haven’t seen the logic in that statement, as I’m a subscriber and it seems to have a limited number of coupons offered lately. It is published monthly, and each issue is loaded with money-saving coupons. This is magazine more than pays for itself!
Store Coupons – A store coupon is a discount from the STORE or Retailer vs. the manufacturer. Unlike manufacturer coupons, this comes out of the store’s profit. Often these are found in the weekly circulars (i.e. Vons or Walgreen’s.) You may also find store coupons on the store’s website. For example, Target offers several STORE coupons on their site. Manufacturer’s coupons very clearly state ‘manufacturer coupon’ on them. If they are not labeled as a manufacturer coupon, it is almost a guarantee that it’s a Store coupon. We LOVE store coupons! You are allowed to ‘stack’ (use more than 1 coupon on the same item) them with a manufacturer coupon for extreme savings!
Know that you are more aware of the locations, areas, places that you can locate coupons, begin collecting!
[With so much information on the web about Extreme Couponing, I borrowed some of this from various sites and thank each and every one of you for making it easy to learn how to do extreme couponing. (DISCLAIMER)]