I am a total sucker for older reality television shows on TLC. Jon & Kate Plus Eight, Toddlers & Tiaras, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, and above all, Extreme Couponing. These shows were there on those sick days when I couldn’t make it into a class or after a busy day at work. And while watching little girls dress up and watching their parents scream, “Work it gurl!” is all good and fun, a show like Extreme Couponing was actually informative and deserved its spot on The Learning Channel.
Extreme couponing is a hobby with a big pay-off. For some extreme couponers, it’s a way to get by and others relish in the rush of getting 90% off their favorite brand of toothpaste. Whatever the reason, I’ve always been curious to incorporate some of their coupon techniques into my everyday shopping habits. As a kid, I always helped my mom clip coupons from the local Sunday paper. We went online and found printable coupons. We bought certain brands for the sake of the deal and it helped keep our grocery bill low.
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Today, however, I rarely coupon. I don’t receive a newspaper and I don’t own a printer. I am always running to the grocery store to grab what I am in the mood for dinner. That aside, I want to learn how to start couponing and to save money. I’ve got my eye on a trip I want to take in the next few months and every penny saved is going towards that fund.
So I went to the expert. Meet Katie from Kouponing with Katie. She saves an average of $8,000 a year from clipping coupons. Katie, along with 48% of American millennials search for coupons online before purchasing an item according to a CouponFollow report. Katie, the mother, and blogger from Los Angeles was generous enough to sit down with me and share some of her favorite tips to get started in the couponing world.
Printed vs. Online
According to Katie, most of the coupons she uses is printed off the internet. While she is subscribed to a few different newspapers with coupon inserts, 75% of her coupons are from online sources. We suggest grabbing a subscription to the Sunday newspaper if you want to clip some rather than print out.
However, if the internet is your jam, here’s our list of some of our favorite sites to grab coupons:
There is also a chance to earn cashback from some purchases using a rebate app like ibotta or Checkout 51. Both of these apps are free to use and offer rebates on certain items purchased.
Katie also offers coupons on her site, Kouponing with Katie, sharing the best up-to-date deals. The site also features a coupon database which contains printable coupons.
Store Brand Isn’t Always Cheaper
Compared to brand names, store-brand items are usually 30% cheaper however with coupons and know how buying brand items with coupons can save you 50-90%. When you see a sale grab a few coupons and buy a few of the same item to make a stockpile. While it doesn’t have to be like in the show (do you remember those people who had a complete room dedicated to it?) you can grab some extra deodorant sticks you know you’ll use throughout the year.
It Takes Some Time
But not as long as you think. Katie spends an average of 90 minutes getting all of her store coupons together per week. She only shops at two stores per week, usually a grocery store or a big box store (think Target or Walmart) and a drugstore like CVS. Since Katie plans out everything she is getting, her shopping trips tend to be fast and efficient.
Stacking, Stacking, Stacking!
Just like pancakes, one of the biggest couponing tips Katie shares is to stack your coupons. With a bit of planning, you can stack a manufacturer’s coupon, a store coupon, a store sale and a rebate app (like ibotta) for the perfect combination. Stacking is super easy at CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, earning you maximum savings and possibly free items.
Make sure to check your store’s coupon policy before using. Speaking of the policy, certain stores accept coupons from competitor stores or double coupons on certain days so pay attention to grab the best deals.
Organization is Key
To keep everything organized grab yourself a binder to organize all of your coupon inserts. You can also get yourself a coupon binder to keep everything in line. Organize like coupons together and your shopping will be easier than ever.