Obsessed with Coupons

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

To say that I'm obsessed with extreme couponing is almost an understatement. What started as a special television program in January has become a weekly program, teaching viewers how to become extreme couponers who take home four carts of groceries for under $50. The novelty of it has worn off, and now it has become a blueprint for grocery shopping. With the weekly installments of money saving couponers, the mystery of extreme savings dissolves a little more each week.


The Bonus Card

If you don't have a wallet full of bonus cards for your area stores, then you're throwing savings away. It's inconvenient to carry this brick of cards, but the savings are worth the inconvenience. I hold my grocery store's bonus card with as much value as my credit cards; it earns me money.

Store bonus cards give customers access to special sales, though if you ask a cashier to borrow the store's card you'll be able to take advantage of sales even if you don't have a card.

The best part about the store's bonus cards is that they offer additional coupons. Look online or at a scanning machine in your store, and you'll find special grocery coupons that print for you. Often these are for items that usually don't offer coupons, such as the deli and the meat departments.


The best store bonus cards are those that accumulate points. Using these points for reduced gas prices, percentage off coupons, or free items can really offer great savings for something you already buy. Often the scan of a store card can reduce your total by $20, $25, or even $40.

Know the Policies

Stores that double coupons hold a key to extreme couponing. However, most stores in my mid-Atlantic region of the US limit the value of a doubled coupon to $1. A $0.50 coupon doubles to $1 just as a $0.75 coupon doubles to $1. Extreme couponers seem to count on the full double value, so if you're counting on getting items for free, keep this in mind.

Stores also vary on their policies for combining coupons. Some allow store coupons to be combined with manufacturer's coupons. Others deny the use of more than one coupon on an item. Know what combining coupons can do.


One wholesale club recently offered a coupon for $3.50 off a case of soda if it was purchased with a double package of chips. By adding my manufacturer's coupon for the soda and two coupons for the chips (one per package), I added an additional $4.50 savings to my total. Coupled with the lower prices offered at the wholesale club, everything was purchased for the price of the case of soda at the grocery store.

The Basic Plan

The premise of extreme couponing is simple, but the nuances take time to master. Gather coupons so that you have multiples of each coupon. Then, watch the store fliers. When the products are on sale, combine as many coupons and discounts as possible to reduce the price to $0. If pasta is on sale for 10/$10 and there was a coupon for $0.50 off a box in last week's paper, the extreme couponer will have enough coupons to apply one to each box of pasta. Once the store doubles the coupons, the pasta will be free.

Before you get excited, remember that an extreme couponer won't stop at ten; a true extremist will have fifty coupons and will bring home fifty free boxes of pasta.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com

May 18, 20151 found this helpful

Anything you are obsessed with will drive everybody around you crazy. The main thing that seemed crazy about this article was the mention of saving money on soda. Soda is a waste of money no matter how little you pay for it. It is bad for your teeth, heavy on sugar and if you buy the diet kind the sweeteners are unhealthy. So if you save fifty cents on a four dollar case of soda you could have saved the other three fifty and bought a gallon of milk.

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May 18, 20151 found this helpful

If you do not use it or it is not healthy for you then you are not saving money, no mater how many coupons you have.

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May 20, 20150 found this helpful

Sorry, I'm not feeling this. I'm on the same page as other commenters here. Soda and chips? I could by something more healthy with the same amount of money with no coupon and call it even. I don't drink sodas at home and I don't buy chips.

Unfortunately, most of what you get with coupons nowadays are brand name products that contain salt, sugar, fillers, chemicals, colorings, flavorings- in short, highly processed foods.

There are other ways to get good deals. If I buy four packages of Bob's Red Mill wheat bread mix or Scottish oatmeal, for instance, I get a better deal than buying just one. And I've found Great Value club soda to be just the same as any brand name.

As far as consumer products are concerned, I could get the newest scent of Tide with a coupon, but I use Charlie's washing powder, a tablespoon a load. It works fine, and all my clothes smell like is clean.

Start thinking about what you really need to live instead of the rush you get out of finding these "deals" and a whole new way of life will open up for you.

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