Have you seen the show Extreme Couponing on TLC? The show highlights “extreme couponers” in their endeavors to maximize store sale and pair them with coupon strategies for incredible savings. I fully support the idea of using coupons to save your family money! Pairing your coupons with current sales and store promotions only makes sense. That being said, I think it is important to be realistic and keep the focus on saving your family money, not hoarding products for the sake of shopping.
If you’d like to learn how to be an extreme couponer, I have a few resources to help you along your way. I want to be clear though – I do not consider myself an extreme couponer. I use all kinds of money saving techniques to provide for my family – coupons is one of them. Besides just cashing in coupons, I live a frugal lifestyle all around. We strive to teach our children to focus on what the Lord desires from us in this world – not on acquiring as many physical possessions as we can. Yes, my girls have too many toys. Yes, our closets are stuffed to the max. No, I do not deprive myself of a weekend movie after a hectic week. These are the truths about my family. We are a constant work in progress, and trying to find balance between physical needs and unnecessary wants is not always easy!
Before you get started on your adventures into extreme couponing, let me encourage you to first examine your budget. We have laid out 3 Steps to Creating a Family Budget that will help you get started. This is the first thing you MUST do if you want to save your family money and steward your resources appropriately. Saving money is worthless unless you have a plan for those savings and a destination for every penny you earn.
Once you have a budget in place, I hope you’ll sit down and define your reasons for couponing and your goals for the process. If you want to coupon so you can feed into a shopping addiction, I think you’re on the wrong path. If your family is spending more money than it brings in, then you might need to cut funding in other areas in addition to using coupons. If you actually write out your goals and discuss them with your family, you’ll be more likely to stay on track, rally the support of your loved ones, and inspire your friends with your actions!
Like anything in this world, there is a great temptation to become overwhelmed by the emotional “high” that can come with couponing and take it to an extreme you never intended. If you find yourself heading this direction, you can always pull out those initial goals and remind yourself of your purpose.
The first step to couponing is finding coupons. Here are some of my favorite resources:
- Sunday Coupon Inserts
- Brand mailers like Vocalpoint and Pampers
- Cellfire Coupons
- Free Coupon Alerts
Once you’ve acquired your coupons, you can start scouting out store sales and promotions to maximize your savings. Thankfully, there are some fabulous bloggers out there who do this difficult part for you each week! You just need to log onto their lists each week and pick out the products you want to buy! Here are a few of the ones that we highlight each week:
As you begin to save money and slowly build a stockpile, be sure that you keep your house organized! This is an import aspect to staying sane and making sure that you don’t easily become overwhelmed by the work involved in couponing and the every-day tasks already on your plate! Personally, I have a Weekly Chore Schedule that helps me stay stress-free.
Now that you’re on the road to saving money, don’t stop at coupons! Here are some of my other favorite ways to save money and spend our dollars wisely:
- Rewards Programs – like Pampers, Huggies, Disney Movie Rewards, etc.
- Daily Deal Sites – you can see my list of favorite daily deal sites and the current sign-up bonus offers
- Promotional Codes for Online Stores
- Online Cash Back Sites – like Ebates & ShopAtHome.com
- Restaurant Coupons & Deals
- Earn Money by Taking Surveys – Synovate is my personal favorite
- Earn Money through Swag Bucks – read our Swag Bucks 101 post to learn everything you need to know to get started!