Have you ever watched the TV show Extreme Couponing? It’s absolutely insane in the most wonderful sense of the word. Families have a coupon clipping system in place that basically gives them hundreds of dollars of groceries for pennies on the dollar. Most people that are extreme couponers seem to treat it like a full-time job and spend their entire day gathering coupons (sometimes going through the garbage to add to their stockpile), clipping, printing online offers, and organizing their coupons in a way that truly lets their Type-A personalities shine. But it all pays off that moment they are at the checkout and the clerk tells them their $500 grocery trip is going to cost them a mere twelve cents.
Now, let’s be honest: there are a few issues with the show and the idea, because it seems like a lot of the things they buy aren’t necessarily things they need. One episode had a woman buying cat food, but she didn’t have a cat. Interviews with many extreme couponers discuss how they have to throw away a lot of their products because they expire. Often, you’ll see shoppers buying pretty unhealthy foods to feed their families. Enough Hamburger Helper to feed a family of four every night for a year? Probably not the best dinner decision.
All of the couponers, however, do seem to share some common strategies when they go shopping that can help make the most out of your time at the grocery store. Here are five tips for how to not only clip coupons effectively but also organize your shopping trip:
- Organize your coupons. Many people clip coupons and “put them away”–which usually means losing them or forgetting to use them before they expire. There are lots of ways to organize, and you have to find what’s best for you. Some people organize their coupons based on category (baby food, spaghetti, soda, etc), others by the coupon’s expiration date.
Depending on how many coupons you clip, you may want to use a binder, a school supply box or even a coupon holder that you can fasten to your shopping cart when you go to the store.
- Get to know your grocery store. Organize your shopping trip based on the layout of your store. This way, you’re not running back and forth trying to find what you need.
- Know the best times to shop. Don’t go to the grocery store on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon and expect to be in and out. Wake up early up or go late on a weeknight. Grocery stores are ghost towns after 9 pm.
- Talk to people in the produce department or the meat department. Be nice. Ask the butcher about his family or the cake decorator about her recent vacation. It may not save you time, but being friendly and having people who smile when they see you always make a shopping trip better.
- Use grocery store apps for extra savings. Many grocery stores have a weekly free product for people who use their app. It may not be something that interests you, but you never know unless you get it.
What tips help make you a grocery shopping and coupon clipping champ? Share in the comments section below! The Jokari Coupon Holder helps take the stress out of grocery shopping. Just another way we help you make life better.