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10 Extreme Couponing Tips for the Casual Consumer

It’s called “extreme couponing” for a reason — it takes effort and strategy to cut your grocery bill by 50% or better.

But even if your aim isn’t to corral enough free tuna fish and toilet paper to live on for a few years, there are plenty of fast strategies novice couponers can incorporate to boost their savings.

We asked avid coupon-clippers to share some of their most effective tricks to get newbies on track. Build on them, and you’ll be well on your way:

Be patient.

“Never use a coupon as soon as it comes out,” says Isra Hashmi of The Frugalette.com. It’s better to wait until there’s a good sale to pair it with, which usually happens within a week or two.

Save on your Sunday paper.

It’s where many of the most valuable coupons are, but paying for the paper eats into that cost.

Laura Harders of BeltWayBargainMom.com says she waited for a 70%-off-for-new-subscribers deal to sign up for her Sunday paper, and she renegotiates her rate every time the subscription comes up for renewal.

Broaden coupon sources.

“Knowing where to find coupons is half the battle,” says Kendal Perez of HassleFreeSavings.com.

Beyond the Sunday paper, check the sites of your favorite grocers — many have digital coupons you can load directly to a store loyalty card.

There are coupons sites, like Coupons.com and RedPlum.com, for digital versions and many companies also post deals on their own sites and Facebook pages.

“You can also find coupons on the backs of grocery receipts and ticket stubs, in magazines and in peel-off versions on the products themselves,” she says.

Swap.

Couponer Marcia Layton Turner suggests newbies clip all the coupons they can — to trade. “Some libraries and community centers have coupon exchange boxes
where you can swap what you have for what you need,” she says.

There are also so-called coupon trains, where you receive regular mailings of coupons. Take what you need, refill the envelope with clipped coupons you don’t plan on using, and pass it down the chain.

Track local sales…

“Start studying the 
weekly grocery store flyers to spot sales on products for which you have
 coupons,” says Layton Turner.

“That’s how extreme couponers maximize their savings: They find a 
product that retails for, say, $2.99, that is on sale for $1.50, and has a
 $.75 coupon in circulation that can be doubled to make the product free.”

There are also plenty of coupon bloggers that track the sales for you and point out the best deals.

… But start slow.

“If you start off by trying to actively 
coupon at too many stores, you’ll likely get overwhelmed and burnt-out, 
which can quickly lead to abandoning couponing altogether,” says Harders.

She suggests starting off with one or two stores you already frequent, and building as you learn to coupon.

Hunt down doubling.

Stores often double the value of coupons at checkout. “But check the policy first,” says Scott Gamm, founder of HelpSaveMyDollars.com.

“Stores may only double during certain days, or even certain times of day,” he says.

Stack discounts.

Don’t limit yourself to one coupon. “Retailers accept one store-issued coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per product,” says Hashmi.

Stick to what you like.

Branching out beyond brands you normally buy can lead to more savings. “But don’t collect coupons for products you wouldn’t otherwise buy without a discount,” says Perez. (Couponers call that kind of spending to save “spaving.”)

In the end, you’re spending more than you might otherwise.

Go small.

“If the coupon does not state a specific size quantity, use it on the
 smallest size possible to get the item for free or very cheap,” says Hashmi. For example, 
a $1 coupon for toothpaste could get you a free 
travel size.

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3 Quick Tips to Save Money with Coupons

You can save money by clipping coupons but it can be exhausting. This is especially so when you’re not sure what you are doing. However, when you save $32 here and $18 there, the effort is well worth it. Saving becomes challenging and rewarding.

A few tips to follow will help keep your savings going up and arm you with techniques even a beginner couponer can follow. Like everything else in life, it will take time and effort (all good things do).

In no time, it will become a part of your normal routine. Of course to start however, you will need to find room on your plate to fit it in. It will be worth the time if you can shave $200 – $500 on your groceries and household items. You’ll be a happy camper. Clipping coupons can easily yield these results when you make it a habit.

Step 1: Organize your coupons.

You can get all your coupons from the Sunday paper, from your stores sales ads and from the internet. It won’t take long to have a large stack which of course will need organizing. I use The Couponizer to organize my coupons.

Without a system to sort your coupons you will likely become frustrated. Figure out what works best for you and start clipping.

Step 2: Limit your shopping trips and track what you need.

If you find a particular day or evening is less hectic, use this time to clip your coupons. Also, it is best to choose 1-2 days each week for your actual shopping trips. Limit it as much as you can to save more money.

Keep track of items in need of stocking up with a free download that you can post on the refrigerator. Track this during the week and pull coupons you have. If you can match the coupons up with in store sales items, you’ll save big.

3. Meal planning for the week.

If you’ve never planned that far ahead you’ll be in for a surprise. Sitting down to organize the weeks meals will, in the end, save you time (and money).

There are sites you can pay to have them make out a plan for you. Like E-Mealz. It costs roughly $1.25 per week. But, planning meals yourself isn’t that difficult. It’s your choice of course, you decide.

Check out 5 Weekly Meal Planning Tips to help organize your week. And use the free Weekly Meal Plan download to hang on the fridge.

Have fun saving!

How do you save money with coupons? Please share some of your tips and tricks in the comments below.

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Money-Saving Coupon Apps Every Consumer Should Use

Coupons have always been a way to save, but increasingly, clipping newspaper coupons is a futile act. You’ll spend time cutting and sorting, just to have the majority of them will expire before you even get to use them; and even if you had valid coupons, you’d likely forget them at home until they expire anyway. But after years of coupon fails, technology has finally caught up with money-saving tactics. These smart phone apps take this process into the 21st century:

 

SnipSnap

SnipSnap’s slogan says it all: “Never leave a coupon at home again!” There’s no forgetting your coupons when they’re in your smartphone, which for most people is practically the very thing that’s with them 24/7. Users take pictures of retail and restaurant coupons with their smartphones, a process deemed “snipping,” and the coupons are stored digitally in the app. While shopping, users then simply locate their desired coupon in SnipSnap, select “Tap to Redeem,” and show it to a store clerk at check-out. One awesome feature of Snip Snap is that users can access not only their snipped coupons, but also those of other users through the app’s “Discovery” feature; this creates more savings opportunities for everyone using SnipSnap. The app’s only con is that it only supports iOS, leaving Android users in the dark.

 

Coupon Sherpa

Android (and iOS) users have Coupon Sherpa, which is essentially the same concept as SnipSnap, with a few differences. Coupon Sherpa provides its users with coupon organization and a grocery coupon feature, while SnipSnap has neither. Nevertheless, these features are overshadowed by Coupon Sherpa’s shortage of coupon options, which is due to it lacking the snip feature that SnipSnap possesses. Still, Coupon Sherpa provides Android users with an easy-to-use interface that gives them in-store savings opportunities.

 

Grocery IQ

Looking for a grocery shopping app that is both organized and loaded with savings opportunities? Grocery IQ is the answer. It not only enables users to create grocery lists that are organized by category, but also allows them to save money through its coupon feature, powered by Coupons.com. When users begin typing an item to add to their list, coupons that match their query show up automatically; they can then save coupons digitally or print them out. Saving them digitally, however, is the best part about Grocery IQ. When users set up an account, they have the option to add their store rewards cards to it, thus enabling them to add coupons they want to their grocery store rewards cards. Then, all they have to do is click “add to card” and when checking out, for example, users swipe the rewards card and all of the coupons they’ve added to it are applied towards their purchase.

 

Saving Star

SavingStar is a unique coupon app. Users create an account, digitally store their rewards cards, such as CVS, and then add coupons for their favorite stores to their SavingStar account; these coupons are automatically applied to users’ appropriate rewards cards. When they check out at a participating store, they save money by using their rewards cards, though the savings are not seen immediately. Instead, the monetary value of their savings are added to their SavingStar account within 30 days, at which time users can opt to transfer their coupon savings to a bank account, PayPal account, an Amazon gift card, or to the non-profit American Forests.

 

Tabbedout

The primary purpose of Tabbedout is to avoid the annoying process of paying your tab at a jam-packed bar. Through the app, users simply add their credit card, check into a bar, and pay their tab when they wish to leave; the entire process is paperless and hassle-free. “Tabbedout’s system seems incredibly well thought out and the company seems to be pretty aggressive about getting its systems in place nationwide, which could make a staple option of the mobile payments,” says Ryan Faas of CultOfMac.com.

If you’re a coupon clipper and you own a smartphone, these free apps will provide ample savings for you and your family.

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7 Extreme Couponer Blogs to Follow

I recently wrote about Extreme Couponing Fraud. However, not all extreme couponers cheat to get deals. Featured in this post are extreme couponer blogs that I follow.

Ever wonder how extreme couponers save so much money? They spend a lot time matching up coupons with store sales.

Don’t have time to do this but still want to save money? Follow these extreme couponers and get the same deals that they get.

Why reinvent the wheel? They put together the best deals, match up coupons and current sales, to share with you! Check out theses extreme couponer blogs and subscribe to their daily emails  to see how they do it.

1. Deal Seeking Mom – Tara is a mom of 5. As a former career-oriented professional turned stay-at-home-mom, she gathers the latest deals and match-ups for you.

extreme couponer

2. Money Saving Mom – Not only does this mom of 3 feature the latest coupons and deals, but Crystal also includes recipes for delicious snacks and meals as well as recipes for homemade household things like soap and laundry detergent. And she has a freebies and giveaway section.

3. Free Stuff Finder – I’m loving Free Stuff Finder at the moment. I follow her on Instagram to get the latest freebies and deals. Plus, her kids are adorable!

4. The Krazy Coupon Lady – Joanie Demer was featured in TLC’s hit show “Extreme Couponing”. She was the one who dumpster dives for her stacks of coupons. Joanie Demer and Heather Wheeler put together daily deals for food, toiletries, clothing, bath and body products, etc. They share deals found at Albertson’s, Safeway, CVS, Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart.

5. Stockpiling Moms – I just recently started to follow them on Facebook. Best friends, Melissa Jennings and Shelley King, blog about the latest deals, coupons, freebies, gluten free recipes, menu planning, and of course, how to stockpile.

6. Healthy Life Deals – Jennifer puts together deals for healthy and organic foods and products. She uses coupons and saves at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I love this! You can eat healthy and save money at the same time.

7. Organic Deals – Susan shares coupons and match ups for organic foods and products. She also features ways to earn coupons on organic products. Susan shops for deals at Co-Op Advantage, Henry’s, Publix, Ralph’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.

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35 Extreme Couponing Tips

I hardly used coupons before TLC’S Extreme Couponing show. But after I saw what was possible, it motivated me to try some of their techniques.

My goal isn’t to get $1,000 worth of products for $40. Let’s be realistic here. Most of what we saw on TV was that person’s biggest haul. That means that they don’t get that kind of savings every single week!

Also, some of the rules are bent so that the extreme couponer can be filmed for the show. For example, there are limits on the number of coupons that a register can handle per transaction.

When the camera shows the store manager going to the back office to bypass the system so that the coupons can go through, they aren’t going to do that for everyone else! Or when they showed someone doing 9 transactions on 9 different registers at once, let’s be real! They’re not going to let you do that either!

The store wants the cameras there to film for publicity purposes, that’s why some rules are bent. Otherwise, if the couponer isn’t successful in completing their transactions, there would be no show!

So don’t have those kind of expectations when you start couponing or you will be severely disappointed and give up. The goal here is to save money, more than you did before.

I’m not trying to compare myself to someone else but more like trying to one up myself. And if I use that as my measuring stick then I am successful.

Now I never pay full price for these things and you won’t either.

Don’t know where to begin? Here are 35 extreme couponing tips to get you started.

extreme couponing tips

1. Subscribe to several Sunday papers.

Find out which Sunday paper has the best coupons, then subscribe to it. If you find that you get a lot of good coupons in it on a regular basis, consider getting multiple subscriptions to maximize your savings. But do this only if the cost of the subscription is offset by the amount of savings you get from the coupons.

Find out how to get discounted newspapers.

2. Use a coupon clipping service. 

What’s great about a coupon clipping service is that you can get coupons from other parts of the country, that might have a higher value than the coupons in your area. And you can stock up on coupons for your favorite products without buying more papers or having multiple Sunday paper subscriptions. Here are some coupon clipping services to check out.

3. Join the store loyalty program.

Most stores have a loyalty program and it’s free to join. So there’s no reason not to join except that you’ll pay more if you don’t! Sometimes coupons are loaded onto your store savings card like at CVS.

4. Stack coupons with store sales.

You can also follow bloggers who do this. They spend hours matching up coupons with store sales to get the best deal. Don’t re-invent the wheel! Follow these extreme couponers and get the same deals that they get! Who has the time?

I assume you’re just as busy as I am and you don’t have time to match up coupons with the store circulars, much less even look at the store circular! If you’re short on time, just spend 5 minutes looking at coupon matchups before you head to the store. Check the current coupons you have to see if you can use any. Then head to the store.

Currently, this blog has coupon match ups for Safeway, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods.

5. Get familiar with store couponing policies.

Does your store allow double couponing or using more than one coupon per product? Find out. Each store has a different coupon policy so it pays to know. For instance, did you know that Trader Joe’s accepts coupons? And Walgreens only allows 1 coupon per item.

6. Work with couponing policies.

So what do you do when Walgreens only allows 1 coupon per item and you want to use 2 coupons for 1 item? Buy a “filler” item, which is a cheap item like a 5 cent pencil, that will allow you to use that extra coupon. Then you’ll be able to use 2 coupons on that 1 item.

7. Know what a good deal is.

Start a grocery price book. Compare apples to apples when it comes to deals. Make sure you compare the per unit price to see if you’re really getting a good deal. You can do this by dividing the price by the number of items in the package. For example, with diapers you would divide $27.99 by 192 = $.14 per diaper.

8. Be aware of the coupon expiration date and exclusions.

Sunday paper coupons usually expire within 30 days. And with the popularity of TLC’s Extreme Couponing show, there are limits now on how many of the same coupons you can use per transaction and how many products you can buy with the coupon. With CVS, since the coupons are loaded on your card, they place a cap on how many times you can take advantage of an in-store coupon or sale.

9. Shop at more than one store.

The way extreme couponers are able to save 90% or more on their purchases is because they shop at multiple stores, multiple times. To save the most money, be willing to go to the store with the best sale for toilet paper. Don’t be loyal to only one store.

10. Make multiple transactions.

Extreme couponers will make multiple transactions to maximize savings, depending on the coupon. This would allow you to maximize savings if there is a limit of coupons per transaction. You can do this by asking the cashier if it’s ok to do so, if the line is short, or be willing to go to the back of the line or come back another time.

Some extreme couponers will do their grocery shopping separately from their sales runs. Sales runs are trips just for purchasing sale items with coupons. These trips are done separately from grocery shopping so you can get out of the house faster and score the deals while they’re still on the shelves.

11. Plan out your shopping trips.

Instead of just heading out to the store, plan ahead to see what’s on sale and which coupons you can use. When you have a plan of what to buy and which coupons to use, shopping trips will be faster. And you won’t be stuck figuring things out at the store.

12. Shop with a store circular in hand.

Even if you know what you’re going to get and which coupons to use, sometimes you might not be sure which particular product the sale pertains to. For example, the 2.5 oz moisturizer is on sale but the 7 oz. version isn’t. With the store circular handy, you won’t have any surprises at the register.

13. When in doubt, ask.

Sometimes the store circular isn’t clear or has misprints. One times CVS printed that Aquafor was on sale for $1! But when I got to the store, it was actually only $1 off.

14. Use overages to get free stuff.

An overage is when a coupon is worth more than the product itself and the store gives you store credit towards something else you are buying. Not all areas or stores allow this. So check your store’s policy.

15. Use store rewards towards your next purchase.

When you earn store rewards, use them to your advantage. Don’t lose them because they’re like store credit. Use them towards your next purchase perhaps on items that never have coupons or never go on sale.

16. Stock up during a sale.

When something good is on sale, stock up! Get enough to last you until the next sale then you won’t have to run out and buy something at full price.

17. Start a stockpile.

Extreme couponers have a stockpile of stuff in their garage or closet. The reason for having a stockpile is not to become a hoarder, but it allows you to buy stuff only when it’s on sale. Then you won’t be forced to pay full price on something you need because you have it in your stockpile. Your stockpile doesn’t have to be 100 packs of toothpaste, but enough to last you until the next sale. And start your stockpile slowly, buying 2-3 of an item when it’s on sale. Then you’ll be able to stick to your budget.

17. Anticipate store sales and plan your savings accordingly.

After awhile, you will start seeing a pattern at each store and know when things go on sale. Save the most during seasonal sales like after Christmas sales or Back to School sales. Here is a list of Grocery Sales Cycles and when things go on sale.

18. Shop online.

Couponing doesn’t always have to mean going into the store. The CVS.com website, for example, offers discounts like 20% off everything, from time to time, that can be used on anything you buy from their website. It’s like having a 20% coupon for every item you’re buying. And you know some products never have coupons so it’s great to use this to your advantage to stock up on these things. Plus, CVS.com gives you coupons and free samples with your shipments!

19. Print coupons online.

There are some coupons that you’ll never see in the Sunday paper. They’re available only online like at our Coupons.com database. Here are some other resources for printable coupons.

20. Subscribe to magazines that offer coupons.

All You is a favorite magazines among couponers. It’s popular because it has high value coupons you won’t find anywhere else.

21. Follow your favorite brands on Facebook.

Some coupons are available only on Facebook. Follow your favorite brands and be the first to know about special sales and exclusive coupons.

22. Look for unadvertised deals.

When I’m at the store, I always make it a habit to check prices on items I frequently buy, for unadvertised deals. About half the time, I’ve found these items on sale or even with a buy one get one free deal! It makes it worth my time to check prices.

23. Always carry coupons with you.

I don’t know how many times I’ve kicked myself for not having a certain coupon with me! It’s like leaving money on the table. Carry all the coupons you might possibly use because you never know when you’ll be at the store, that item goes on sale, and you could get a really good deal with that coupon. Use whatever works for you – coupon organizer, simple white envelope, or a pocket in your purse.

24. Buy the smaller size.

It seems counter-intuitive to buy the smaller size but extreme couponers know how to get the best deal. With the smaller size and a coupon, you’ll maximize your savings. The per unit price will be significantly cheaper than buying the larger size.

25. Compare warehouse prices with grocery store prices.

When you go to warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s club, do you ever wonder if you’re really getting a better deal? Well, settle it once and for all. Track the per unit price for all of the items that you buy regularly and compare prices. I did this once, spending one hour walking around Costco and noting the prices of things we buy frequently. Then when I got home, I compared the prices with grocery receipts. But you can always use your receipts instead of walking around the store.

26. Think about storage space before you buy.

Sure, there’s a great deal on chicken but do you have enough space in your refrigerator or freezer? There’s no point in stocking up on something if it goes bad because you have no space to properly store it.

27. Don’t get suckered into buying things you don’t need.

Yes, coupons are great, but don’t let it become an addiction where you buy something just because you have a coupon and it’s on sale. If you buy something that you or your family will never use, it’s wasteful and you’re not really saving money. You’re spending money on things you don’t need. Then you have to ask yourself, are you buying things just because they’re on sale or because you really need them?

28. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Sure, that person on the Extreme Couponing show got $1000 worth of stuff for only $60. That’s not a realistic measuring stick of success. You may not live in an area where there are double coupons, overages, or high value coupons.

Plus, manufacturers are cracking down on extreme couponing. If you look at most coupons, the fine print limits the number of products you can buy with that coupon and how many like coupons you can use per shopping trip.

29. Check out dollar stores.

Some items are cheaper or just as cheap at the dollar store than they are with a coupon and on sale at the grocery or drug store. One example is Softsoap liquid hand soap. With a coupon and on sale, the cheapest I have gotten this is $1 at CVS. While at the dollar store, it’s only $1everyday.

Speaking of dollar stores and coupons, Dollar Tree now accepts coupons! So now you can get great deals for pennies on the dollar or free, if you find the right coupon!

30. Pay attention at the register.

So you’ve got all your coupons ready and picked up things that were on sale. You’re ready to pat yourself on the back and relax, but don’t! Paying attention to what’s happening at the cash register is the most important part!

If they miss a coupon or leave an item out on a deal where you have to buy 2+ to save, you could miss out on savings. This just happened to me as I took my attention away from the cash register for a second to talk to my husband! The cashier forgot to ring up one of our baby formulas and the pay screen came up already. So I swiped my credit card, then I remembered that I had to buy 2 baby formulas in order to get $4.99 off on both!

So thank God, I remembered this at the last second. The cashier just deducted the amount on the next purchase of the forgotten formula. If I didn’t catch that mistake, I would have lost out on almost $5 in savings! Sheesh!

Some cashiers are nicer than others. Or some stores are trained to fix mistakes on the spot like our local Safeway does. They want the customer to be happy and they won’t argue or challenge you like other stores might.

But it pays, I repeat, it pays to pay attention at the register. This is where everything is calculated and coupons are collected and deducted from your transaction.

When you watch it on TV’s Extreme Couponing Show, stuff always happens. Things don’t always go right, even for expert couponers.

If you see a mistake, speak up! if you don’t, it’s like throwing money away.

31. See if you can get a rain check.

If an item is out of stock, see if your store will do a rain check and what the policy is. At our CVS, they don’t do rain checks on things that are sale, sadly. But if your store does, it might be worth it to get a rain check so you can get the item at the sale price during a week when it’s not on sale. Then you’ll have more time to find other coupons to match up with it.

32. Check out stores in less busy areas.

I used to live near a popular Walgreens, where every Sunday, the shelves were emptied before 12pm! So instead of wasting my time there, I found another Walgreens in the next small town, which was less 10 minutes away. This store was newer, smaller, less crowded, but had way more stocked shelves! I ended up finding everything I wanted that was on sale. And it was on a Monday!

33. Look out for printable coupons.

Nowadays, coupons are not exclusively available in the Sunday paper.  You can find them on several sites including this one. They will not be the same as the ones in the Sunday paper, but you don’t have to buy a paper to get it.

Popular coupon sites are Coupons.com, RedPlum, Coupon NetworkTarget, and Mambo SproutsYou can find the newest printable coupons here.

The caveat is that there are print limits on some of the coupons set by the manufacturers. That’s why you have to install coupon printing programs before you can print coupons. Some of them will only let you print the coupon twice and then you won’t be able to get it again. To get around this, you’ll have to print coupons at another location, like at work or a friend’s house.

34. Leave the kids at home.

This may not be possible for everyone. But when it comes to couponing, it takes a lot of brain power and focus to get deals and stay on track. I’ve had to take my daughter along for some shopping trips, and I admit, it was super stressful. A few times, I lost out on savings because I couldn’t watch the cashier ring up things or make sure they rang up all the coupons correctly. I had to be a mom and tend to my daughter as she was being fussy. What can you do? You make the best of the situation. But if you can, have your significant other or someone else watch the kids while you shop.

35. Review your strategy.

Did you get the best deal this month on that product or did another store have a better deal? Could you have used a better coupon? Don’t feel like you have failed if you didn’t get the best deal. Learn from your past purchases and put together a better strategy for the next sale.

 

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How to Coupon in 10 Minutes or Less

Couponing can save you a lot of money but it does require time. You have to gather your coupons, clip and sort them, pour over store circulars, then figure out which coupons can combine with a store sale.

Then you have to make a trip to each store.  It can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be.

Lately, I haven’t had much time to buy the Sunday paper, clip coupons, match coupons with sales, then do store runs. I used to spend at least an hour every Sunday, clipping coupons and figuring out which store had the best deals.

And I’m always trying to rush out of the house to go to the store early before the shelves are empty! That’s stressful when you’re trying to match coupons to sales.

how to coupon in 10 minutes or less

Now, on some Sundays, I don’t have time to even look at coupons!

That’s when I thought, there must be a better way. And there is!

I discovered this wonderful, time-saving couponing website called CouponMom.com. It’s free to use and there is no catch. I know you’d ask! But you do have to register to use the site.

CouponMom has a team of professional couponers who match coupons to store sales for you. All you have to do is look over the list to see which deals you want to shop for. You can even email yourself the deals list and refer to it on your smartphone, while you shop!

What I love about CouponMom is that you can view the coupon match ups in your area. And they do the match ups for several stores like CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, etc.

Each deal list includes the sale price, quantity to buy to get the deal, which coupon you need and where to find it, the final price, and the percentage saved. You just have to pick up the lingo CouponMom uses to refer to coupon inserts, but you’ll catch on quick.

They even tell you which deals you can get absolutely free!

CouponMom covers all 50 states. I also appreciate that they split California into Northern California and Southern California. (If you’re familiar with California, you know that our state is very long and you can drive 10 hours and still be in the same state!)

Here is how the couponing process works with CouponMom:

  1. Get your coupon inserts from the Sunday paper and write the date on the front of each insert.
  2. Do not clip the coupons, just file them as a whole insert.
  3. Log into your CouponMom account.
  4. Select your state.
  5. Choose a store.
  6. Scan the list of deals and select which ones you want.
  7. Print or email it to yourself.
  8. Then find the coupons you need and clip them.

It really doesn’t get easier than that, does it? You’ll probably spend 10 – 15 mins prepping for each store trip. This is not a guarantee but it can be done if you only get a few items.

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Where to Find Printable Grocery Coupons

If you don’t have time to get the Sunday paper or simply don’t want to pay for one, just to get coupons, there are other options – printable grocery coupons! And yes, these websites offer most of the same coupons you’ll find in the Sunday paper inserts!

You’ll find coupons for groceries, drug store products, limited restaurant deals, as well as coupon codes for online shopping. Just select the coupons you like and print.

You may have to install their coupon printer program the first time you print, but it’s simple to do. After it’s installed, you can print anytime.

Here are the 5 main databases for printable grocery coupons.

printable grocery coupons

1. Coupons.com – Here you’ll find an extensive selection of drugstore and grocery coupons. You can print coupons straight from this site on our coupons page. Select the coupons you like, then click the right and left arrows to scroll through the pages without having to refresh to a new page. I love this feature! And they have coupon codes for online shopping.

2. RedPlum – RedPlum also has inserts in the Sunday paper. They feature more drugstore coupons than grocery coupons on their website.

3. SmartSource – If you’re a Sunday coupon regular, you are probably familiar with SmartSource. They have a good mix of drugstore and grocery coupons.

4. Target – Target has started to carry groceries and grocery coupons. And how convenient it is to pick up groceries while you’re shopping for other items.

Want more coupons and deals? Check out my Coupons page.

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7 Apps to Help You Find Coupons On the Go

When you’re on the go and you want to find coupons, what do you do? Find mobile coupons with your cell phone!

If you have a smartphone, there are lots of free apps to help save you money on groceries, restaurants, shopping, health care services, and more.

Here is my review of 7 mobile coupon apps.

Choose one or two that you like the most so you don’t get overwhelmed.

1. Foursquare

Foursquare is a mobile  app that lets you check in to places, earn points, and unlock badges for discovering new things. If you check into a place more than anyone else, you become the “mayor” of that place. At some places like Starbucks, mayors earn certain privileges, like a discount or free item.

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But for many places, you don’t have to become the mayor to get discounts. Some places offer coupons for free food or discount off merchandise just for checking in. I have checked into Sports Authority and to my surprise, found a $10 off coupon. I just showed the code from my phone at the register. Another time, I checked into WingStop and got free wings. My husband had already paid for our food before I found this coupon. But they still let us redeem the mobile coupon! So it’s worth it to check in because you never know what coupon is waiting there for you to unlock.

2. Groupon Now!

The popular daily deal site, Groupon, has expanded to instant deals called Groupon Now! Based on your location, you can use the mobile app to find deals on something to eat, get pampered, see a show, etc. These are deals that you must purchase beforehand to use at the business.

The caveat is that the deals expire the same day you buy it. For instance, if you bought a Round Table $10 for $18 instant deal, it expires at 8:00pm. However, the cool thing is that if you don’t redeem it in time, Groupon will give you an automatic refund so you won’t have buyer’s remorse.

3. GeoQpons

Shows nearby deals for a wide variety of businesses – clothing stores, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. A lot of the coupons are scanned images. You’re supposed to show it to the cashier so they can scan the barcode. There’s no guarantee that the business will accept your coupon because there’s a disclaimer right on the coupon that says the “business reserves the right to refuse offer.” Comforting, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just a blanket disclaimer to protect them if a business refuses a coupon.

I do like that it lists the latest coupons for an extensive list of nearby businesses that you can’t find through any other mobile coupon app. These coupons are not exclusive to GeoQpons but are the latest coupons you can find for that particular business. They even list the latest Costco coupons! It’s great for reference purposes. And I’m sure I’ll keep referring to this app for the latest mobile coupons.

4. Coupons.com

Quite a few mobile coupon apps use Coupons.com as their coupon database. Why not go straight to the source? I find their app easy to navigate. You can see all of the coupons without clicking onto another page, just scroll down. Then you can add them directly to your store card or have your coupons sent to your email to print later.

5. Grocery IQ

This is a grocery list builder and coupon database together. It has great reviews in the iTunes store and I downloaded this months ago. But I find it hard to use even though I read through the long set of instructions.

If you can get past this, then you can scan barcodes to find coupons and build a grocery list. When you go grocery shopping, you can check off what you buy and the item disappears from your list. You can also sort by aisle and share your grocery list. They use Coupons.com as their coupon database. I’d rather use the Coupons.com app since it’s simpler.

6. Cellfire

Cellfire works with a limited selection of grocery stores like Kroger, Cala, Ralphs, etc. to offer coupons that you load directly to your savings card. See the full list of grocery stores here. None of these stores are in my area. So check to see if they are in yours.

7. Yowza

Seems promising except it has only 2 star reviews in the iTunes store. They only had a few coupons near me. But they did have a coupon for GuitarCenter and REI which I’ve never seen anywhere else.

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7 Coupon Clipping Services

If you’ve watched TLC’s Extreme Couponing show, you have seen extreme couponers use coupon clipping services to get additional coupons to score a massive stockpile of products.

What is a coupon clipping service?

A coupon clipping service clips coupons for you so that you can get multiples of the same coupon easily. So if you want 10 coupons for $1 off dishwashing liquid, you won’t have to look for or buy 10 Sunday papers to get it. Then they mail the coupons for you within a few days. You pay for the service, not the coupon.

Reasons to use a coupon clipping service:

  • You don’t want to buy more Sunday papers to get more coupons on a particular product. And for this reason alone, coupon clipping services can be cheaper than buying additional papers.
  • Not all areas have the same coupons and you want the coupons with the best deal. (I’ve seen a $1 off dishwashing liquid coupon offered in another area, which made the product free with a store sale. But in my area, the coupon in the Sunday paper was only for 50 cents off!)
  • You don’t want to spend money on expensive ink cartridges to print coupons.
  • There’s a limit on the amount of coupons you can print online, usually only 2 copies of each coupon.
  • You live in a small town that doesn’t accept printable coupons.
  • You don’t have time to look through the paper and clip coupons.
  • You want to get more coupons easily.coupon clipping service

How does a coupon clipping service work?

Choose from a selection of recent coupons, laid out in shopping cart style. The coupons will have a handling fee of 5 cents and up per coupon, depending on the value of the coupon. Coupon clipping services can’t charge you for the coupon itself, just the service of clipping the coupons and maintaining the website.

Most of these clipping services require a minimum purchase of $3.00 – $4.00 per order and may include an admin fee to make it worth their while. A shipping fee is added to your order on top of that. Then they will mail it to you within a few days, depending on how far away you are and which shipping option you choose.

If you don’t want to deal with the per coupon cost or the admin fee, then there are subscription options where you pay a flat fee or a set number of coupons.

Tips on choosing the best coupon clipping service:

  • Beware of the coupon expiration date.
  • Go with a coupon clipping service closest to you for faster shipping.
  • Decide on how many coupons you want to order. If you tend to order a lot, then maybe the subscription option may work better for you.

Coupon Clipping Services by Region

South

Coupons and Things by Dede – Located in Texas (min. order $5.00 plus $.50 admin fee) Their site is SSL certified, which I haven’t seen on other sites. That means your order, credit card info, and personal info are secure when transmitted through their site. The process of getting SSL certified is a long and arduous task, taking several months. So I applaud Coupons and Things by Dede for doing this. They offer email updates of the newest coupons and a rewards program towards more coupons. And they have a maximum order quantity per coupon.

The Coupon Clippers – Located in Florida (min. order $3.94 plus $.50 admin fee) The Coupon Clippers is probably the most popular coupon clipping service since they have been featured on The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, and Woman’s Day. They have a wide variety coupons, a count on how many coupons are remaining, live customer service, and a link to store sales.

My Coupon Hunter – Located in Florida. (subscription based) They offer a flat fee for a set amount of coupons rather than a per coupon price. For instance, 60 coupons are $10 with a subscription good for 90 days. And you must create a login account in order to view coupons.

Midwest

Coupon Carry-Out – Located in Ohio. (min. order $3.00) They offer coupons from P&G, Red Plum, SmartSource, Walgreens, and more.

Northeast

The Coupon Master Located in Rhode Island (min. order $3.00 plus $.50 admin fee) A minimum order of 3 per coupon is required.

West Coast

West Coast Coupon Clipping – Located in Washington. (no min. order required) Coupons are listed by coupon insert company (eg. Red Plum, P & G) not by category like the other coupon clipping sites. This website is a littler harder to navigate but they don’t have a minimum order requirement like the other clipping services. And you can get free shipping if you order $4.00 or more. West Coast Coupon Clipping also offers the option to pay in person and pick up your coupons if you live in the area.

Have you tried any of these coupon clipping services? What’s your experience with them? Are there other coupon clipping services you recommend? Please leave a comment.

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Important Facts You Should Know Before Using Coupons

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With the new shows such as Extreme Couponing,  there are a lot of new coupon users out there.  With so many people trying to save an “extreme” amount of money,  sometimes you could, inadvertently,  use a coupon incorrectly.  Using them incorrectly may, in time,  cause stores to adjust their policies.  So, I wanted to take a moment to address some important facts.

1. Do Not Copy – This is a very big NO-NO.  You can not copy coupons.  This is actually against the law and is considered fraud.  In most cases, you can print 2 per computer.  If you need more, see if friends or family members can print for you as well.

2. Unique Codes: A lot of people email me telling me that their store would not accept their coupons because the UPC codes were the same on their like coupons.  If you are using more then one  “like” coupon, your UPC codes WILL all be the same.  They are coded to work for each product and dollar amount.  However, there are numbers on the coupons that will change with each one printed.  This is how they insure that they are not getting ones that are copied..  Here is where you can find those numbers on your coupons:
Coupons.com Coupons: There is a small barcode located under the expiration date.  There is a different number for each one printed.
Smart Source Coupons: On the left side there is a pin number.  There is a different pin number for each coupon printed. Update: Some of the Smart Source coupons may have the pin number located around the perimeter.

3. Fraudulent Coupons: If you received a coupon from a friend in your email or spotted one online and you are not sure if it’s legitimate, you can head over to Cents-off. They have a list of coupons that have been reported as fraudulent.  If you have received a fraudulent coupon, DO NOT use it.

4. Use The Coupon How It Is Intended: Be sure to only use the coupon how it was intended to be used.  If the coupon is for $1/1 off Maxwell House International Delight Coffee, don’t try to use it on Maxwell House Regular Coffee.  If it states “any Maxwell House Coffee” then you are free to use it on any of the Maxwell House products.

Also, pay attention to the size restrictions on the coupon.  If there are no size restrictions or it states “on any”, you can use it for any size in that product including trial or travel size.

5. One Per Purchase: A lot of consumers and cashiers think that this means you may only use 1 coupon per shopping trip.  What this actually means, is that you can use one coupon per item purchased.  So, if you were buying 4 Cheerios, you can use 4 $1/1 Cheerios Coupons.

Occasionally you will see coupons that are 1 per transaction.  In that case, you will only be able to use 1  even if you purchased more then one of those items in your transaction.  There really are not too many of these coupons around.

Some coupons, like P&G coupons, allow you to only use 4 “like” coupons per transaction.

6. The Value of The Coupon:  Another thing to pay close attention to is the value of the coupon.  If it states $1/1, you can use it to take $1.00 off 1 product.  If it states $1/2, you can use it to take $1 off 2 products.  So, for the $1/2 coupon you can only use one  for 2 products.

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