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Old 06-01-2011, 06:13 PM   #1  
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Default Extreme Couponing!!

Since I know that many of us 20-somethings are broke students on tight-budgets, I'm sure that many of us have been following and perhaps been intrigued by the new TLC show "Extreme Couponing". I just wanted to share with everyone that I was able to use 5 coupons when I went grocery shopping today and thought I'd open a thread where we could discuss couponing and help each other out with tips, ideas, etc. I know using 5 coupons isn't exactly extreme, and doesn't seem like much, but it shaved a few dollars off my weekly grocery bill! I'm feeling really excited about my success using coupons today and just want all you 20-somethings to know that couponing is possible!!

When I initially watched the show, I was intrigued by the idea of saving a bit of money with couponing but also kind of disgusted by the "extremeness" of the couponers depicted... I was disgusted by their joy in so much materialism/consumerism, their hoarding and their selfishness (if you start to learn more about couponing, you'll realize that the people on the show actually break a lot of the rules of ethical couponing and etiquette standards set by the couponing community).

I also had the misconception that couponing wouldn't work for me because most coupons were only for unhealthy and processed foods, which are things I don't really eat. I'm a vegetarian who is dedicated to a natural (organic when possible), whole-foods lifestyle, so all I really eat are mountains of fruits and veg, beans/lentils, nuts, whole grains and a few dairy products like cheese, eggs and yogurt. I eat very few frozen foods, processed foods, packaged junk, etc. However, I decided to start collecting coupons here and there and organized them into a small coupon organizer and soon realized I was totally wrong! Although yes, there were a lot of coupons out there for junk foods, there were also plenty of coupons out there for healthy foods, even fruits and veggies! Today I used coupons for strawberries, cottage cheese (which I eat regularly), Artic Garden frozen veggies, organic tea and Nature's Path (my favourite brand of organic whole-grain cereal!).

So I'm curious to hear, has anyone else had success with couponing? I actually live in Canada and the stores here are MUCH stricter than in the US. Retail laws in canada don't allow doubling coupons, overages and most coupons are very strictly "one per item/one per purchase" unlike at a lot of grocery stores in the US. However it is still possible to save a sizable amount of money (although I'm jealous of the more lenient US policies :P lol). I don't imagine I'll ever be an extreme couponer and I don't see myself ever using more than like 3-6 coupons per shop, a) because using hundreds of them seems embarassing and rude and b) because I don't have a car so I don't do huge shops, I buy smaller amounts of groceries that last me 3-4 days or a week at the most since I have to be able to carry whatever I buy home on my bike or the bus, however I am very pleased with my small savings.

P.S. If you go to the driscoll website and sign up for their email newsletter, they'll email you a coupon for .50 cent off of any Driscoll berries! http://www.driscolls.com/email/

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Old 06-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #2  
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I'm interested in this because I'm vegan and also don't eat a lot of junk food. Last time I went to my local grocery store I was only able to use one coupon (for strawberries.) I must be missing something. I haven't been buying food by myself for very long, and am a complete newbie. lol How did you manage to get so many coupons? I only flip through my grocery store's weekly ad, and occasionally get coupons with my receipts.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:30 PM   #3  
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Where we find our biggest coupon savings are staples (mustard comes to mind...we just managed to get it down to 20 cents a bottle, so we bought 5. Now we won't need mustard for a very long time, and it lasts nearly forever) and non-food items (laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, even free nailpolish at one point). I've also managed to find deals on the packaged items that I do buy (Fage greek yogurts, for example, for 30 cents each with a store sale and a manufacturers coupon).

If you want to save considerable money, you have to get multiple copies of the coupon (either by getting multiple copies of the newspaper, getting inserts from friends/family, or ordering specific coupons from online trading sites), then buy in bulk when that item is super-cheap, so you don't have to buy it again until you have a good coupon and another sale.

You don't often find produce coupons, but sometimes you get surprised. One time at Raleys, the cash register gave me a Catalina (for the non-coupon-initiated, that's one of those coupons that prints at checkout, usually based on items you purchased) for $4 off my next produce purchase of $10 or more.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:33 PM   #4  
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I had to pop in and say hi in this thread even though I am in my 30's. I LOVE using coupons and helping others learn to use them too. I do not find it embarassing to use a lot of coupons, the stores are reimbursed and the companies are happy that I am purchasing their product. I have had a few HUGE coupon shopping trips, and my store offered to open up a lane for me. I really appreciated this since when I am checking out I frequently turn to anyone who hops in line behind me to warn them that this may take more time than usual.

Whenever you are shopping look for coupons for products that you purchase, than save the coupon for a sale. Feel free to take more than 1 coupon.

You can find coupons online too.

I wish I had started couponing in my 20's.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:55 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrild View Post
I'm interested in this because I'm vegan and also don't eat a lot of junk food. Last time I went to my local grocery store I was only able to use one coupon (for strawberries.) I must be missing something. I haven't been buying food by myself for very long, and am a complete newbie. lol How did you manage to get so many coupons? I only flip through my grocery store's weekly ad, and occasionally get coupons with my receipts.
As a vegan, you definitely won't be able to find as many coupons that are relevant to you as someone who eats meat, dairy etc finds, but I have found plenty of coupons for vegan foods like frozen veg and fruit, soy milk, almond milk and almonds, canned tomatoes, tea, cereal and oatmeal if any of those are things that you eat. I would recommend http://healthyshopper.ca/ ..that is where I found a lot of monthly coupons for organic products, vegan products, health products (organic cereals and stuff like that mostly). I'm not sure if you're in canada or the US... but I get most of my coupons online, the two main sites I use are smartcanucks.ca and save.ca... if you are in the US perhaps one the American chicks can recommend sites for US coupons. I get the majority of my coupons online, probably about 75% come from online, but I also get some from newspapers/flyers, product labels (peel those labels off the cans and check the back of it!), cereal/food boxes, etc. I've also gotten a ton of coupons on facebook! Most products/brands have their own facebook page and if you "like" them you get a coupon.

I've found for me that the key is to not get carried away with it and collect coupons just for the sake of collecting them. I only save coupons if they're genuinely for foods or products that I like, would eat or if it's something that I would buy regardless of whether I had a coupon or not. You're not saving money if you're just buying random stuff you don't like much just because you have a coupon!
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:05 PM   #6  
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Quote:
You're not saving money if you're just buying random stuff you don't like much just because you have a coupon!
Unless you're combining with a sale, rewards, etc to get it for free, in which case you can donate it. We gave our local homeless shelter a big box of stuff that essentially cost us nothing (we actually made some money on some of it, if you count rewards we got back). Not NECESSARY, but a nice bonus if you can swing your coupons to make it work.
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:30 PM   #7  
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Very true! Donating is awesome! Unfortunately I don't think getting items for free with coupons is really possible in Canada because the stores (at least none that I know of) don't allow coupon doubling (strict one manufacturer's coupon per item only) or coupons that are equal or greater to the value of the item, but donating anything that isn't useful to you is of course the way to go. As I said, I wish the policies here were more lenient!
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:59 PM   #8  
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We're in CA and we feel your pain! NO ONE doubles here. But we've had some luck with combining coupons with CVS Extracare or Walgreens rewards, so we get more money back than we spend (although we get it in essentially a giftcard for the next purchase)

I wish policies were more lenient here, too!
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:20 PM   #9  
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I often buy things with coupons...but definitely not extreme

I got disposable razors for 99 cents the other day because they were on sale for 3.99 and I had a 3 dollar off coupon. The best way to use coupons is to find it on sale somewhere. This allows you to save extra money
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:28 PM   #10  
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I love nature's path cereal too. I don't let anyone else in the house eat it... where did you find coupons?
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:32 PM   #11  
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I find nature's path coupons regularly on http://healthyshopper.ca/ ...there are other organic cereal coupons there as well.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:29 PM   #12  
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That show has really inspired me. I wouldn't buy in bulk like that, but I really would like to not spend as much money as I currently do. That's money I could use to fix my car. I often find coupons for organic foods. They're typically more expensive, so it really helps.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:24 AM   #13  
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Most coupons are for stuff I don't buy, so I haven't gone out of my way to use them, though I've started considering it. I do however do have some shopping techniques that others might find extreme.

I wonder though, since this isn't really a 20-something only relevant thread whether it might do better in General Chatter or in the Shoestring Meals forum.

Just a thought.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced decision)
is a great book on ways to save money in a thousand small ways (couponing is about the only thing she doesn't cover).

When I buy craft supplies, I always use google to find coupons for Michael's or Joann's. Most of the time you can find a 40% to 50% coupon. It's per-customer, per day, so I print two and my husband and I go and each use one coupon.

When I sewed I never bought sewing patterns full price, I always waited until JoAnns had a sale for $1.99 or less.

I shopped BCOutlet.com for clothing (huge discounts in misses/plus sized women's clothing, Big&Tall Mens clothing, and household items).

I signed up for the promotional emails, so I wait for a good promotion (you can also google for promotion codes for any online store. Some of the deals are crazy). For example 40% off one item is really common. Some promotion codes can be used more than once, s if the savings is greater than the shipping cost, I'll make a separate order for a second item, so I can get the 40% of each item.

I discovered accidentally that there are a lot of online make-up stores that have amazing free-sample promo codes, and have used them in four online stores (even with shipping, I spent less than I would on one jar of my mineral makeup foundation from Walgreens).

Google is the easiest way to find promo codes. I just put the store name (if I have one in mind) or the item name and the words "promotion code" (without quotes).

I've thought about doing more extreme couponing, but I'm afraid I'll get sucked into devoting too much time to it. Just my mineral makeup shopping spree took up way more time than I originally intended. Although it was exciting, and I did save enough money to pay me back for my time.

Oh, which reminds me (and I don't know why it reminds me, but it does) - youtube is an awesome site for learning ways to save money (or just to review products you're interested in trying).

In the search bar, type

free stuff (and the store you're interested in, for example Walgreens)


The free stuff at Walgreens video is really cool, and I'm going to have to try it.

It's also great for reviews of products and stores you want to try (type in the store name and the word "haul").

If you're interested in making your own mineral makeups there's videos on how to do that at a site called tkbtrading.com (I'm actually thinking of buying the mica powders not for makeup, but for polymer clay art),

I also searched on "Trader Joe's haul" and "Whole Foods Haul" because later this summer we're going to spend a weekend in Madison (about 3 hours away), which has both a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods. By searching on the hauls, I saw a lot of products I want to add to my list when we go.
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