Extreme couponing: from the television to your home
The TLC program “Extreme Couponing” has shed some light on the world of couponing, and exactly how intent some people have become in their quest to save a buck. Take Krista, one of the show’s regulars, who was seen on the season finale dumpster-diving while seven months pregnant. That episode sparked a series of outraged comments on Twitter about how far the reality TV star was willing to go to fuel her obsession.
In a similarly controversial episode, Judy said she refused to treat her obsessive-compulsive disorder, because she felt that might cause her to no longer want to use coupons to add to her stash.
Both Investopedia and Time have reported on stores who changed their policies to defend against extreme couponing. But for the rest of us, using coupons in moderation is a great way to shave some money off of your budget without dramatically changing your lifestyle.
Benefits of Couponing
Couponing and finding deals does have several benefits. The most obvious, of course, is saving money. Often, this is more than just the 25 cents on a can of corn. If you know where to look, you can find great deals on larger purchases. For example, coupons can reduce the cost of major home services, like duct or carpet cleaning.
As an added benefit, couponers tend to share a disdain for wastefulness. Even though the products cost less than full-price, coupon-users find that they are not likely to waste them because they spent so much time and effort to find the deals in the first place.
Shoppers are not the only ones who benefit from coupons. Retailers note that purchase volume increases when they issue coupons. They can also use coupons to track purchasing trends for their shoppers. With stores having the ability to double the discount of specific coupons, they can attract more shoppers.
Five Couponing Tips
- Get the Sunday paper. In almost every community, the Sunday paper is where the good coupons are. By subscribing to it, couponers don’t have to worry about getting to the store to buy a paper before they are gone.
- Don’t be brand-loyal. Couponers cannot be overly brand-loyal. If the favored brand of shampoo is not on sale or does not have a coupon, the savvy couponer will buy the one that is free or nearly free and use it instead.
- Follow coupon blogs. These blogs track all of the deals in a specific geographic area, match them to the current coupons and list the opportunities for those who are interested.
- Learn store rules. Every store has its own couponing policies. Couponers need to learn the policies for their local stores, and could even consider printing out the policies and putting them in their couponing binders.
- Stack coupons with store offers. The best way to coupon is to find a product with a store offer, and then add a manufacturer’s coupon to said offer. This increases the savings, and often the freebies that extreme couponers get come from this strategy.
The art of couponing takes a little time to learn, but it comes with great rewards. By keeping an eye out for deals that can be stacked and knowing which stores to go to – and when – you can save a significant amounts of money.
This is a guest post by Lindsey Harper Mac who is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing about business and technology. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can follow her on Twitter @HarperMac11.