Extreme Couponing: Ten Steps to Coupon Success

In our current economy it is more important than ever to utilize saving skills in every area of our lives.

Dear $uper $aver,

I just watched the show “Extreme Couponing” and I was reminded of your coupon escapades when you visited Portland, Oregon many years ago and spoke about coupon shopping at a local event.  I remember you shopped locally on TV and got an impressive savings by using your coupons ($350+ worth of groceries but you paid about 12 cents I think!)  What do you think of the shoppers who save thousands of dollars in one shopping trip? How do they do it? I was a 29 year old mother of three when I first heard you speak.  Now I am a 50-something grandmother—still clipping coupons I might add. I was happy to run across your blog.  –Marion O’Brian, Miami, (formerly of Portland)

Dear Marion;

How great to hear from you and thank you for remembering my shopping trip to Portland! Actually, I enjoyed watching the episode of “Extreme Couponing,” and I did think that the program lived up to it’s name:Extreme.  We are bombarded with so much information in today’s world of super-hype and super-technology, it takes an extreme or shocking example to get our attention.  However, I think there is a great lesson to be learned by the program: No matter what your age everyone loves a bargain! I think that all of the shoppers set the bar high and each provided interesting examples of what can be accomplished if you have a good system in place, stay consistent and don’t get discouraged.  However, any viewer who would come away from the tv thinking they could grab a few Sunday supplements, download a few coupons and charge into a store and save $1,000 is bound to be disappointed.

Yes, I have been guilty (and proud of it!) of “Extreme Couponing” to the point of delighting in more than $800 worth of coupon savings in one shopping trip and lining the walls of my garage with free rolls of Bounty Paper Towels.  After all, who needs insulation, right?  When I was a junior high school teacher I actually got enough free bread, sandwich meat, peanut butter and jelly and condiments to make sandwiches for 200 fellow teachers when we walked a picket line during an unfortunate teacher’s strike.  I still think that“Extreme Couponing,” is a great attention getter and offers an example that many consumers can follow on a smaller, more consistent scale.


$uper $aver Jan & Extreme Coupons!


Extreme Couponers follow the same guidelines that regular shoppers do but on a larger scale; In our current economy it is more important than ever to utilize saving skills in every area of our lives.  Couponing is just one of them, but since such a huge portion of our after tax income is spent on food and personal items, this is a great place to start.

Manufacturers DO want consumers to redeem coupons, it moves products. Coupons are the only form of advertising to give something back to the consumer.  To get started, try these simple steps:

1.       Make a master list of the 100 or so items that you regularly use in your home. How many of them are products that offer coupon discounts?

2.       Make a habit of saving the coupon inserts and store flyers from the Sunday & Best Food Day papers.  Ask your family and friends to save them for you. No need to make Dumpster Diving for coupons (re: TLC), they are everywhere.

3.       Organize Coupons by product type.

4.       File Coupons In a manner that make it easy for you to find them when you need them.

5.       Make a List by product/store aisles on an envelope to save time. (More than one store, use more than one envelope)

6.       Put corresponding coupons into each store envelope. This helps you save time.

7.       Avoid Impulse Shopping-“IS” adds 10% + to your bill.

8.       Take anything if it is Free- but, any number of items that are more than what you need for the next 8 weeks, PLEASE DONATE!

9.        Save Your Receipts so that you can keep track of your savings. This is a great motivator.

10.     Don’t Get Discouraged; Keep a positive attitude and just think of your coupons as Monopoly Money.

Time is precious. Keep in mind that couponing is a skill like any other that takes some time and education.  If you can dedicate 90 minutes – two hours a week to familiarize yourself with the system, you could be rewarded by a 10 – 20% savings on your grocery bill each week! At the end of a year that could equate to a trip for a family of four to Disney World! What is your goal for your coupon savings?

Marion, if you will forward your land address to me I would love to send you a free autographed copy of The Coupon Encyclopedia! I have to do something just for you remembering my trip to Portland.

(Check out this Super Saver column every Tuesday.)

David G. April 20, 2011 at 01:43 PM
I think we should get Jan on that show; it would be a sure hit with her experience! :)
Jan Leasure April 20, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Thank you Dave that is a nice compliment; Although I have done "Extreme Couponing" shopping trips from LA - NY & back, I think I am more prone now to show the way that coupon savings can still be maintained while co-existing with balance in your life. I I think Extreme Couponing really snaps viewers into focus and grabs attention--but even I know that EVERYONE can't save 90 - 100% every week and still have a life--HOWEVER, you can save ten - 50% on a majority of your purchases and still have time go go to soccer game & work. ;)
Jan Leasure April 27, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Mayesolis; column on "printapons" coming soon! Thanks for the input
Jan Leasure June 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM
**Added note: Don't forget to sign up for reward cards from local retailers where you shop! Rewards cards for supermarkets and pharmacies can save you ten percent without really trying! The other trick is to keep them on your keyring so you don't forget them!
Christy December 04, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Super Saver-Jan Leasure, Tbank you for the list of steps to coupons success. I am a single mother of two that struggles each month to pay my bills. Currently we live with my parents. While I contribute each month by buying groceries as I can I don't knlw what I would do if I didn't ha e the lkve and generosity of my folks....uch less if I lived on my own with my children. I have always been interested in couponing. Truthfully when I do cut them they usually expire before I use them. I have decided to make it a goal to cut and use coupons and build up. Alot of sites want you to buy a CD or something to gain infomation. What I read here was very helpful. I hope to get to the point where I can give bavk to my parents. I'm working very hard to get to a place where I will someday have my own home and hopefully by coupons continue to give back to my parents and community. Again thank you for the list. GratefulMom starting out in VA


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