How do I start extreme couponing?

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Answered by: Nicole, An Expert in the Couponing Basics Category
Want to start extreme couponing? When you start extreme couponing it can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you have no experience at all. However, if you follow my instructions and take it slow, it will become not only an easy process but one that you can't live without. You will be so amazed at the savings available to consumers if you just put in a little bit of time to prepare yourself and do some research.

My first recommendation is to get an organizational method to store your coupons. What I use, and my personal favorite is the binder method. Get a cheap three ring binder and some baseball card sleeves. I separate my coupons by categories. After you get your binder and baseball card sleeves, its now time to get to the coupons.

I purchase ten papers a week for the coupons, however, I recommend getting at least 4 papers. The reason for that is because you can use four like coupons in a single transaction, and many deals will require you to purchase a multiple amount of an item to receive the bonus or kick back. Once the papers are purchased it's time to get cutting!

Now because I purchase 10 papers I cut coupons a little different than most. I remove all the inserts from the papers, and then separate them and stack them so all the like pages are together. Once together I staple the pages together at the top of each coupon that I am planning to cut out and keep. I do this so that after all the coupons are cut, all the like coupons are stapled together and I'm not having to play a game of matching. Once this is completed I separate the stacks into my categories. I tend to do them based on the aisles in the grocery store, but it is completely up to you.

So now that all the coupons are cut and separated into the different categories, you are ready to put them into the baseball card sleeves. How you arrange them is really up to you and your personal preference. Remember organizing the coupons is to make the shopping process easier and can be changed and altered at any point as you become more familiar and comfortable with couponing.

You are now organized and ready to conquer shopping with coupons. You want to start with small tasks and victories to build your self-confidence and your abilities with extreme couponing. My recommendation is to pick out a sale ad for a store your frequently shop at, a grocery store or pharmacy. My favorites that I frequent are Target, CVS and Rite Aid. While looking at the sale paper and the current sales think of the coupons you just cut and organized, mark on the sale ad the items you have coupons for. For example: CVS is doing a deal that if you spend $30 (before coupons) on particular product you get $10 extra care bucks (ECB) back. ECB's are basically CVS cash and can be spent on your next purchase. Part of that deal is Scott's toilet paper on sale at $6.99 and Scott's paper towels on sale for $4.99. I purchase 4 of the paper towels (remember the limit of 4 like coupons in one transactions) at $4.99 and I have 4 $.75/1 coupons I will use. I also get 1 of the toilet papers at $6.99 and will also use a $1.00/1 coupon that I have for this item.

So at this point I have $4.99x4=$19.96 and $6.99x1=$6.99; so $19.96+$6.99=$26.95; so we are still $3.05 short from hitting the $30 threshold we need to hit to get the $10 extra care bucks back. So I pick up 4 Palmolive dish soap that are on sale for $.99 and I have $.50/1 coupons for. So now we are at $30.92; subtract $.75x4=3.00, $1.00, $.50x4=2.00 gives us a total out of pocket of $24.92. But I also have a $6/$30 (before coupons) purchase coupon for CVS, so that brings it down to $18.92. Now I had enough ECB from previous purchases that I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket. However even without the additional CVS coupon and/or ECBs you would pay $24.92 and get $10 back for a total of $14.92 out of pocket for al those item.

I know it may sound confusing but it really isn't, it is just a matter of being organized and matching your coupons with current sales. Again my best advice is to start small, don't try to build a mountain of a stock pile at the beginning. Remember every savings is a good saving no matter how big or small.

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