Sister numero quatro, Molly, is working on earning a title as a semi-pro extreme couponer. It is her new favorite game. It has become her new life challenge. It has become her new drug, and she has got all of us addicted. It all started with watching that new show about extreme couponing. It didn't take long for her desires to come to fruition. From the store ads, to the Sunday coupons, the manufacturer's coupon websites and also the store websites, it seems there are many money saving opportunities to be found. If you need or want to save a little cash (who doesn't in today's society) and you can buy a little time away from some of your daily activities, couponing on some level may be for you.
First thing you need to know are your ads. Carefully peruse your local ads from the drug stores and grocery stores, also check out Target, Home Depot and all other store ads that offer coupon savings (there are many savings offered on some of these store's websites). In the ad itself, watch for in store coupon specials and sales. Keep your ads with your coupons for easy access and to prevent confusion over which store has the best deal. Its a good idea to keep a pad of legal paper with the ads so that you can make any necessary notes, I found it to be a little overwhelming at times, my notes saved me (and Molly).
The most obvious would be to cut out all of your Sunday newspaper coupons from the newspaper, even if you won't use a coupon, someone you know might and you could possibly make a trade. In addition, you may be able to make a deal with your newspaper route driver to get any extra coupons that they have left over at the end of the day, I'd tip well for that. Maybe some of your neighbors and friends throw out their coupons, ask them to set them aside for you and pick them up in a timely manner. After going over your newspaper coupons, if you decide that you really need to have extras, go purchase more newspapers from a vendor. Clear baseball card saver-sheets make great holders for your coupons and you can put them in a binder. (Thank you Molly for that great tip!)
Go online to the store websites and check out what coupons that you can print. I used a $5.00 off of a $20.00 purchase today at CVS that I printed from their site. In addition, there are some really good websites for manufacturer coupons and other savings, coupons.com and couponcabin.com are highly recommended by Consumer Magazine. You might want to ask for a copy of each stores coupon policy, some stores are more lenient than others. For example, Walgreen's has very strict coupon policies and does not allow multiple transactions. Remember to get rain-checks for out of stock items and make sure to note on the rain-check any in store extra bonuses for purchasing the product. For instance, CVS gave an "extra" $5 off next purchase for buying $15 in Nivea products today. Splitting my transaction allowed me to use two $5 off coupons today in addition to the manufacturer's coupons. This kind of savings offer should be noted on a rain check for future reference so the savings will not be lost. It should be noted, If you have to fill out multiple rain checks and the store is busy, ask the cashier if you could fill them out nearby in an out of the way area and then bring them back to be checked over and signed. Your fellow shoppers will appreciate you for this.
The greatest drawback that I see is that it takes time....a lot of time. If I intend to add regular couponing to my schedule, I will have to do an inventory of my time schedule and decide where it will fit in and also what kind of time commitment can I make. I have a very busy schedule as it is, even if my sisters tell you that I do not. I live on a limited budget and I could definitely use the savings. There is time I spend on the internet and some television time that I could give up and also a some time on my days off. I do have obligations that are not negotiable. I see women on television saying that they spend upwards of 40 to 60 hours a week couponing, saving their families hundreds of dollars, as evident in the stockpiles of merchandise stored in their homes and garages. If you are only supporting yourself or your household is very small as mine is, this may not be a necessity unless you plan to donate the excess.
Another con is for me is that is seems most of the food and beverage coupon items are for processed foods and high sugar content beverages. I have an opinion of my own in regard to consuming these products and offering them to my family. I am on a budget and I watch my pennies closely, maybe it would be easier on my wallet to only buy food and beverages that I have coupons for, but in the long run my health will suffer. And some say, if you have your health, you have everything....
If saving money by couponing sounds appealing to you, have fun with it, get a couple of family members or friends involved with you so that you can help each other out, support each other. Maybe each person could be in charge of printing coupons from different venues. Use all of your resources for savings. Put a little money away, pay some bills, go on a cruise, maybe donate excess items. In conclusion people I do ask one thing: Before you ask that friend that you haven't talked to in 4 months to "catch up" with you while pushing your third and fourth cart, before you have your teenager get up at 4am to avoid daytime store traffic, ask yourself, do I really need 112 deodorants?