Benefit from Coupons Without Being Extreme

By , SparkPeople Blogger
They can make a reality show out of just about anything, including the use of coupons. TLC's Extreme Couponing show allows us to meet people that have taken the art of bargain shopping to a completely new level. For some people highlighted on the show, tough times created the need for using coupons to stretch their food budget. For other people, using coupons to save or take advantage of deals seems to have triggered compulsive tendencies such as buying 35 bottles of heartburn medicine because it is an awesome deal or hoarding 75 boxes of cereal and dozens of other groceries in a closet.

There are a variety of tips that can help you save money at the supermarket. Here are some coupon tips and resources to help you get the most from coupon savings without having to go extreme.

Facebook Freebies - So many of us use social networks such as Facebook today. You can also use them as a great place to find daily deals. Search on the site to find coupon and deal pages to "like" or set up a Google search using the phrase "Facebook freebie" to receive notice when deals go live.

Visit store websites for printable coupons - If the Sunday paper doesn't have coupons for products you use, consider going to the source. For example, Whole Foods offers the Whole Deal Coupons to help you find and print coupons you want and need before visiting. Target offers an online coupon resource center containing both food and non-food items as well as a calculation of potential savings. Before you head to the store, check online link lists for the stores and company's you use most.

Try electronic couponing - If you are tired of cutting and carrying coupons to the store, you might want to try electronic coupons. Load electronic coupons to a store shopper card then receive automatic savings when you check out. Companies like Cellfire, Shortcut$.com, and P & G eSaver allow you to save electronically on groceries, restaurants and entertainment through PC and mobile phone access. Need to save for college but just don't seem to be able to make it fit in your budget? Consider saving with Upromise, the electronic shopper card coupon program that provides savings to a college savings fund.

Pay attention to checkout coupon opportunities - Have you heard of Catalina coupons? Catalina is the name of the company that makes the printing machine for many of the checkout coupons. Websites fondly refer to checkout coupons as Catalinas. Your purchases at check out generate coupons for savings at your next visit. Usually coupons for items you use are generated and make this type of coupon easy to acquire and applicable to your purchasing patterns. While there is a strategy that can be applied to get the most from these coupons, simply remembering to take them and use them can be the first step to checkout coupon savings.

Coupons are desirable to retailers to reach customers, announce sales, and encourage repeat business. For consumers, a few basic steps can save money and stretch retail dollars on more and more items today than ever before.

What coupon strategies do you use? How much do you typically save on your weekly or monthly shopping by using coupons?

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I mostly use coupon for my online and in-store purchase and manage to get around 10% to 60% discount depends on stores.

Thanks Report
I ALWAYS use coupons. I will switch brands sometimes if I have a coupon for it. I MUST save money as a college student working part-time for minimum wage. Report
LOVE coupons. I am not a crazy stockpiler like on Extreme Couponers, but I do take about 5-7 hours a week to clip coupons, compare to the ads, and save usually between 70 - 90% off of retail price. CVS is one of my favorite stores. There I get detergent for $0.10 a bottle and makeup for free. Also, I only buy things that we use or need. I do not buy things that are free simply because they are free unless it is a product that the food bank in my community can use. Couponing is a great way to save money AND give back! Report
Love, Love, Love coupons but only use them when they benefit me.. I only use name brands for certian things, like Mayo, Bread, Tuna, etc. Store brands on others, but if it is on sale and something I buy, and I have a coupon, I am all over it. I only keep coupons for the items I buy or want to try, not all the others. Report
I do use coupons, but find so many of them are for nutritionless or processed foods. My favorite is that Krogers (by using their little shopping card) sends me coupons for fresh foods and those things that I actually buy. Currently they are taking competitors coupons (I just used a Fresh & Easy $10 off $50 purchase). That makes me smile! I also have found that many store brands are just as good as name brands making them cheaper even with coupons. My biggest pet peeve is when you have to buy multiple packages to use a coupon. If I'm just trying something, I don't want to buy two of them. Report
We use coupons very rarely ..... I find the stores own brand is cheaper even after the coupon is taken off the "big" brand and I find the stores own brand is just as good for most things. Report
I am pretty active at this, but not over the top crazy like some of those ladies- watch for them on those "hoarders" show next! I was able to get a very good price on a second Sunday only newspaper subscription ($1 per week). I belong to a couple of groups on yahoo groups where we swap coupons. It only costs a stamp, and you can get more of what you need, and help other people out too. These groups are also great at sharing thrifty ideas, freebies, recipes, advice, etc. Report
I've seen those extreme couponing shows and I think they are exaggerated and blown out of proportion to make good(?) reality tv. I live in a big city and I don't know of one single store that will double more than 4 coupons in a single transaction. Some stores used to take competitors coupons and on some days would have unlimited doubles, but that doesn't happen anymore. You CAN get coupons for fresh food items, as well as whole wheat pasta, cheeses, dairy products, etc., plus you can save a lot with your toiletries and cleaning supplies. I coupon in moderation, and I would stock up on something if it was a good deal and would not spoil, but those people on the extreme couponing show are just nuts. I couldn't believe how many processed foods, sugar cereals, frozen meals, etc., that they stocked up on. Report
I don't really see coupons for the products that I normally buy. I do most of our shopping at a discount grocery store, and I stay away from brand names unless I know for sure that the generic just isn't as good. I'm not going to buy something I don't use just because I have a coupon.
We're also limited in our area because, even though we have 2 grocery stores in our town, they don't belong to any major chain. So we don't have the store cards where we can load up deals. Report
I actually use coupons too. I usually use them on health and beauty items and cleaners. I have not paid for dishwasher detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, candles, body wash, deoderant or razors for the past year. I have yet to master saving so much on food. But I don't pay much for others is a savings for me. If I can get it free and don't use it I will give it to co workers or shelters. The local animal shelter loves me! Report
I just saw that Extreme Couponing show for the first time last week. I thought those people were a little crazy. I don't use coupons much on food because I get most of my groceries at Trader Joe's and they don't carry the foods you would have a coupon for. I do use coupons for non-food items like paper towels, cleaning supplies, soap, etc. etc. We stopped getting the newspaper a while ago so we don't get a ton of coupons. Occasionally some will come in the mail. I find that most coupons for food are for junk that I would not normally buy anyway. Report
I use them, but as others have said ours are very limited. We have to usually purchase so many of the item for the discount as well as limited to 1 per customer, and most stores around here do not accept the manufacturer coupons except for chain stores like walmart. Even if they say they will double coupon they usualy won't let you then use the store discount as well as coupon either, so I think as this show grows these rules may be enforced in different places as well. I try to save as much as I can, but usually the store brand is still cheaper without a coupon. Report
I use coupons.
Cons: They can pump up my grocery bill if I purchase items I don't really need and will probably never use.
Pros: I have saved money, and coupons can be a good way for me to try that something 'new' that I might find I will like! Report
The grocery coupons I often get normally require the purchase of two of something which doesn't really save me money since my household consists of just my boyfriend and me. Spending an extra 3-4 bucks on something to get the 40-50 cents off isn't really economic. I can see in larger households it can offer good savings, but I find the time I spend clipping them and the actual amount I save using them doesn't save me much at all. Report
I use coupons. I follow a website that matches coupons to deals at local grocery stores. I cut coupons, and organize them in a coupon-sized accordion binder. It takes me about an hour each week to cut coupons and make my list for the week, and I spend probably 30 minutes in the actual grocery store. I typically save about 50-60% using in-store deals and coupons. Saving around $50 each week, eating healthier (I have more money to buy fresh produce!), and being able to actually cook at home is what motivates me to spend time doing this. Report
Been doing really well with the help of the coupon lady. Report
We shop at a natural food co-op that displays coupons right in front of the discounted item. So handy and it saves on items that we actually buy, not big name-brand junk. At conventional stores, we rarely find any coupons for things we use, except for certain organic dairy products, bottled juice, and pet food. Like others, I'll check online for coupons and offers on brands that we tend to get such as Organic Valley, Kashi, etc. Report
Thanks for the info I'm new to computers & don't know all the safe sites Report
Yes.. I use coupons. I have them in my purse all the time. I have gotten coupons for fruits, veggies, free milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.. (yes.. lots of amazing deals right now on greek yogurt! almost free) It takes a bit of time, and some planning, but well worth it for me.

I ended up saving anywhere from 30 to 50 a week... my best ever was over 70 in savings. I cook from scratch, whole foods, and pretty much the only processed thing I get is kraft mac & cheese for the kids... they only get it once in a while.. but once in a while isn't a bad thing for them. I use them primarily for personal care items, and house cleaning supplies.
I "couponed" a lot when the kids were younger, but found myself buying things we didn't really need. For a long time I haven't collected any, just occasionally using an in-store coupon. The way the economy has been, it would probably help us to start it up again. Most food coupons that are easy to get seem to be for highly-processed foods that we can't eat anymore because of health issues. One trick I learned: collect all the fliers, etc., but don't look through them until the menu for the shopping period is laid out and you've checked the cupboards for what's missing. Only save coupons for what you don't need right now if there is a distant expiration date. Buying 4 tubes of toothpaste because of a coupon that expires next week when you already have four tubes in the cupboard is borderline insane. There WILL be another sale on toothpaste eventually! Report
I am not extreme, but I do have a coupon binder and although I "eat clean" for the most part, I am still able to find coupons some of the things I purchase. Mostly dairy and frozen veggies; however there is the occasional bagged salad coupon. I use most of the coupons for personal care; medication, beauty/hair products, paper products and such. On a typical grocery trip I save 30-50 bucks. Report
I am starting to use coupons myself. I am a stay at home mom so my husband's income is good enough but if I can safe on food budget I am going to. I have watched a couple episodes of Extreme Couponing. I think it is great that the one lady is about to give things to the food pantry and another gets things for free, but I think a lot of them are hoarders. My goal is to have enough food in our house to last us a year but it will be food that we eat and like. I was hoping to learn how to use coupons by watching the show but that is not the case. We only buy things from Kroger that is on sale because that seems to be where we get the best deal and then we shop at Walmart for our other items.

Thank you for this article and I will be using it as a reference guide. Report
I love coupons. Take them to work if you are not going to use them, I am sure a co-worker would appreciate them. :) Report
I have never seen coupons for fresh produce! That'd be awesome. I do try to use coupons for things like batteries, razors, and some of the processed foods that I do buy like Food Should Taste Good chips and Amy's brand products. Report
I actually have seen (and used) coupons for fresh produce. One was specifically for bananas ($1 worth) and was from Kellogg's and 2 others were for $1 off any fresh fruit purchase, however I don't remember where I got them (Most likely the store website, in store, or in the Sunday paper). So yes, produce coupons ( at least fruit anyhow) do exist.
I have also used coupons for Morningstar products, Jennie-O Turkey, etc.
All You magazine (sold at WalMart) has great coupons each month, 99% of which you can use at any store that accepts coupons. Report
I also don't find very many coupons for things that I buy, but I do try to stock up on items when they are on sale, especially canned goods, like tomatoes and beans. I also sometimes plan my meals based on items that are on sale. I actually really need to work on this. Our food bill is always over budget! Report
I do try to use coupons when I can. But, I've found that I save more with a "store" discount card. If I'm lucky, I can get the store sale AND the coupon. but that doesn't happen often.

So, I'll stock up whenever a store is having a store sale on something I regularly use. Report
I don't buy the boxes, bottles, jars or packages of the junk food the coupons are for. They are all for the pre packaged junk food. Have you ever seen coupons for Broccoli, carrots, chicken, fish etc? I haven't. Report
Thanks for this blog.

I think my late mother was the original extreme coupon-er; she had a room devoted to it and was constantly organizing and collecting coupons - when she wasn't using them that is.

I have always used grocery store coupons, but, like ZORBS13, I don't often find coupons for the products I use, and I won't buy a product I don't use just because I have a coupon! I watched one episode of the new Extreme Couponing show and that was enough. Really, who needs a cartful of deodorant? How is buying all the mustard on the shelf saving money? And where can you get coupons for fresh fruits and veggies?

If I can save a couple of bucks each visit, I feel good.

And VHERIKA, that's a great tip about emailing companies for coupons. I get my Kashi and Arm and Hammer coupons that way. is a great source for many, many products. Report
I have always use coupons, it feels good to save on whatever you are buying food or other stuff. Thank you for sharing this blog good one. Report
I use coupons all the time! I save at least $40 on every grocery bill. A tip for coupon-ing if you have a hard time finding coupons for the products you love: Email the makers of the product and ask if they will send you coupons! I have always received coupons that way!

Happy Coupon-ing! Report
I rarely find coupons for the products I use. :( Report
I use coupons all the time. I save between 30% and 50% on grocery shopping. With the rising costs of gas, food, clothing, utilities every penny I can save helps out our household. Report
When I was working I never thought I needed to use coupons. Call it ignorance or pride. But now that I am retired I find there is a need for coupons. I find a lot of them online, and not just for food. If I need something like a medicine ball. I just google it and I can find coupons for them at various stores. I found 20% off at Dunhams sports, so that is where I bought my medicine ball. I coupon all the time now and actually find it fun looking for the bargain. Report
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