Extreme Couponing

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Extreme couponing has taken off across the nation and inserts are falling from the sky. Well at least couponing is all over. So finding some good coupon clear plastic photo or baseball card holders or sheets are becoming harder and harder to find. I personally use the middle one below. The four slots per sheet. They are small enough to get a lot of coupons on one sheet, but big enough to get the coupons to show what they are without folding the coupons up so small you can’t tell what coupon it is.

But like I say in my Couponing 101 – Coupon organization is a personal choice as to how to do it. And to make sure you do what works for YOU! Pick the three slots to have your coupons opened up more so you can visually see what is inside the pocket without trying to pull them out. Or get the smaller pockets where you can get more coupons on one sheet to save room.Coupon book page inserts20 (Twenty Pages) – Pro 3-Pocket Coupon Storage Pages (3 Horizontal 3 1/2 x 8 inch Sized Top Loaded Slots)

As low as $7.23 and free shipping for a box of 20 sheets!

  • 20 (Twenty Pages) – Pro 3-Pocket Coupon Storage Pages (Three 3 1/2 x 8 inch Sized Top Loaded Slots)
  • Holds 3 – 3 1/2 X 8 inch Sized Items … about the size of the larger older US Dollar Bills
  • Made of heavy duty Polypropylene. Made in USA!
  • Strong Welds – NO PVC – Horizontal slots BCW or Ultra Pro Brand

Coupon clear plastic inserts20 (Twenty Pages) – Pro 4-Pocket Coupon Page (3.5 X 5 inches, top load pockets)

As low as $5.90 and free shipping for a box of 20 as an add on item

  • 20 (Twenty Pages) – Pro 4-Pocket Coupon Page (3.5 X 5 inches, top load pockets)
  • Has 4- 3 1/2 X 5 1/4 inches, top load pockets – Great for coupons and couponing ….
  • Dimensions: Pocket 3 15/16 x 5 1/2 and Page 8 7/8 x 11 3/8
  • Made of heavy- duty Polypropylene. Made in USA!

320 (Twenty Pages) – BCW Pro 6-Pocket Page (Tall or Widevision Trading Cards)

As low as $6.24 and free shipping for a box of 20

  • 20 (Twenty) – BCW Pro 6-Pocket Page (Tall or Widevision Trading Cards)
  • Holds 6- 2 1/2 X 5 1/2 Cards or Photos
  • Dimensions: Pocket 2 5/8 x 5 1/2 and Page 8 7/8 x 11 3/8
  • Made of heavy- duty Polypropylene. Made in USA!

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When I started couponing years ago I thought I would get a coupon binder that looked very office orientated. It was a black fake leather binder. It lasted all of a couple weeks before it fell apart. I came across a binder that seemed to fit couponing perfectly. It had a large three ring binder on one side, and on the other it had a smaller three ring binder. It zipped all the way around and had pockets and a handle that made it really easy to keep things inside without falling out.  And I could hang on to it while wrestling little ones.

It was a Case-It binder. There are many many different versions, single three rings or doubles. And they come in all kinds of dimensions, for the casual couponer to the extreme couponer.

Best part about that binder, is that after all of these years – I still have the same binder! Its full to the max, and is about 5-6 inches thick. But yet still does the job, zips closed, and I can still hang on to it while I wrestle the kids!

Here are the selections they have on sale for Case-It Binders – where you can find all sizes. Or you can see the version of the one I use below:

caseitCase-it 2-in-1 Adjustable Zipper 3-Ring Dual Binder, 1 Set of 3-Inch Rings and 1 Set of 1.5-Inch Rings, Red, Dual-500-RED
On sale for as low as $29.66 and free shipping

  • 3-Inch binder rings and 1.5-Inch binder rings in one unique package
  • Adjustable spine expands binder for up to 5-Inch of capacity
  • Removable pencil case, padded media pockets, and plenty of other storage space
  • Built-in handle and shoulder strap
  • Unique angled zipper design for easy opening and closing

 

And if you need the clear plastic sheets to hold your coupons inside the binder – See our post:

 Couponing 101 – Coupon Binder Clear Plastic Sheets On Sale

 

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coupon binder We were recently asked which coupon binder we think is best and do we still use it. We had never really thought about it much, but we have actually used our Case-It Binder for almost my entire coupon career! Never really thought about it but it has been close to 4 years now that we have used it. I used an old black briefcase looking binder for just a few months till it fell apart. We went out and got a 4 inch with a 2 inch- a double ring binder.

So check them out for your self .

If you are new to couponing check out our Extreme Couponing 101

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Question from my inbox this week,

First I want to thank you for your thriftymom website.  I’ve been
couponing for a year now and I still have questions.  I learn
something new everyday about coupons….I do have a question after
watching TLC’s Extreme Couponing, in the show the couponers bought a
large number of items and used coupons for every item…… I’ve read
the fine print on the coupon and most of these coupons have written on
them “one per purchase” or “one per purchase of like item”……..I’ve
tried to use multiple coupons, for instance, Act Popcorn at Winco and
the cashier refused my coupons because they read, one per
purchase……on the show there were items the couponers purchased and
i have the same coupons and mine read “one per purchase”.  So does
this depend on the store and cashier to take these multiple coupons?
does it also depend on the store and cashier to double a coupon that
reads “do not double”.  I hope you can explain this to me.

Answer: This is a great question and asked at every coupon class I teach, so I thought it would be a good topic to cover.  First let me say the fine print on a coupon should be read and honored.   A store has the right to refuse a coupon  ( which is silly they get reimbursed the full amount plus 8 cents).  That being said this is what the fine print means…

If your coupon says ” One coupon per purchase”

That means you are only able to use one coupon per item purchased.  ( NOT buy 5 items and scan the same coupon 5 times).  If you are buying or purchasing 5 items you can then use 5 coupons.  Ask yourself or the cashier how many items did I purchase….5, so that means you can use 5 coupons  (One per purchase). You can have multiple ”purchases” within one transaction.

If the coupon was to say  “One coupon per transaction” then yes you are only to use one coupon for one item on that shopping trip.

If the coupon was to say ” One coupon per House Hold” then you are only use one coupon , not even on a new transaction or next shopping trip.

Many of you may have noticed P&G changed the wording on there coupons.  They now reads ” Limit one coupon per purchase, Limit of 4 like coupon in the same shopping trip” The top line means the same as above, one coupon per item or purchase ( you can buy 3 of the same items and use 3 coupons)…. but then the next line gives you even further instruction.  Only 4 like items in the same shopping trip.  So you can buy as many P&G products as you want in one transaction….but limited to 4 of each product. So 4 toothpaste, 4 shampoo, 4 bodywash…you get the idea.

The main thing is to remember a transaction is different than a purchase.  A transaction is the sum of all the items or all the purchases you made.

 

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Extreme Couponing Real or FakeIs the TV show Extreme Couponing real or is it fake? In the few seasons of the show on TLC Extreme Couponing there has been a lot of hoopla over the show. Both for the betterment of couponing its self and for the bad reputation it is giving to couponers trying to get by on a tight budget trying to save money. So what is it? Real or Fake?

Well in my view Extreme Couponing – the TV show – is just that a TV show, made for entertainment. There are so many different parts of that show that we could talk about for hours and hours. From coupons that wont scan right, to unknown coupons that are not given out to the general public, to hoarding, to obsessiveness, to kicking your husband out of his office down to the dark basement – you name it.

One of the many things that it has done is that it has increased peoples desire to try and save money and become debt free. With that it has increased our emails asking for help, guidance, and more. Just yesterday the A Thrifty Mom team received an email from a guy in Canada. Like the other emails we get, he describes his dire financial postion. Quite often some one has lost a job, or are facing a foreclosure. With the email we received last night, he goes even further with an idea of his:

I have come across your blog and your mindset is exactly what I am looking for.
You see, I am the father of 2 daughters (3 yo and 6 weeks old) and I have been recently laid off.
My wife and I are in great need of saving somewhere and that somewhere could be in groceries.
We are looking to extreme couponing but unfortunately, it is impossible up here in Canada to do so since the restrictions are majors.
I have been watching the show on TLC, Extreme Couponing and I would like to partner up with an expert from the USA to extreme coupon together, I would come down to the States and shop and bring it back to Canada. It would help us out tremendously! Can you point me in the right direction of someone you know that could help us?

 

Unfortunately that is just it – a reality show, and now a days the reality shows are just for entertainment. Real extreme couponing is not about 300 bottles of aspirin or 200 toothbrushes or “stockpiles” that push your family out of normal living spaces. A healthy couponer starts small. Builds a “healthy stockpile” that can sustain a family with out going to waste. If you are at a coupon friendly store that brought out thousands of boxes of cereal for a sale and you know that over the life of the cereal your family can and will eat 50 boxes – then buy fifty boxes. And if you have more coupons to use and your store still has hundreds or thousands of boxes still left – then use your coupons to help the local food bank. But remember that others who use coupons and even others who don’t use coupons still need to buy their portion too. Need some help figuring all of this out? Our Couponing 101 will help everyone from the new couponer – to extreme couponing? Another helpful tip is to review our Weekly Budget Review.

What are some of the episodes that stand out to you? Good – Bad – or just what you remember?

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Ever wonder about the real stories behind Extreme Couponing? Yes there is a lot of controversial talk about the show, ethics, and shelf clearing. But with all the bad there is a lot of good. Here is a great description from one of our readers – Maryhelen, and how it has helped her family!

extreme couponing

Grateful Couponing

We are a household that coupons, and have been for almost two years now. Thanks to an accidental conversation with a friend that long ago, our family has been blessed by the savings coupons bring. In the first three months of 2011, I calculated our savings to be around $600. With all of the new hype about the Extreme Couponing show, I got to thinking about just what couponing means to me and why I do it. I’ve always said that it’s part job and part hobby: It helps my family and it’s fun for me to work through deals and the success at the check stand is indeed a source of a unique kind of “high”. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to stop myself from skipping out the front door of the store..lol. Just as often I look at how much is in my cart, have a moment of guilt/panic for buying so much, but then have to remind myself that I only paid a few dollars for it all. *WHEW*As with most things, couponing is all about attitude. So many that we’re seeing on TV these days, clearing shelves and bragging about overages, aren’t the reasons that most of us coupon. There is something fun about getting paid to shop, but as I left the store this last week with five gallons of milk, four dozen eggs, eight half-gallons of orange juice, four cans of evaporated milk and five packages of my long time, MOST FAVORITE cookie that I NEVER buy because they are usually VERY expensive, and my wallet was only lightened about $8 ~ beyond the high of the great deal was a larger portion of gratitude for the gift of matching coupons with sales and what it means to our family.

It isn’t every shopping trip that coupons for milk and eggs and juice come together. One of the complaints about couponing is that so much of what can be bought for cheap isn’t “real” food. It’s snacks or just plain junk. Things that are fun for treats, but you can live on a fruit snack/granola bar/cereal diet for too long without some consequences..

This week might have been unique in some ways, but these weeks do come around. Our biggest household savings is more typically non-food items: I paid $1.53 for diapers a few weeks ago. I don’t pay for toothpaste or toothbrushes anymore. Laundry soap is never more than $1.99 and really great fabric softener is just…cheap now. I got 12 boxes of dishwasher detergent for 25-cents each a while back. This week I bought packages of 6 rolls of paper towel for $3 each. Tampons are no more than $1 a box. Ever. In fact, once they were 30-cents.

This is very normal, run-of-the-mill couponing that many find week after week. Of course not every product comes up each week, which is why we stock up when the stars align and sales and coupons match.

Those same calculations that told me we saved $600 in the year’s first three months also showed me we only spent about $87 for non-food items in that period of time. That feels amazing for our household of seven, including two teenagers and all of their “accessories”.

But what do all of these numbers mean? The first thing that has always come to mind is the smaller amount of stress I feel in making sure we have what we need. Before couponing, things like paper towel and fabric softener were luxuries we often just could afford to do without. We’d get down to the very last diaper and hope it lasted long enough to be able to get to the store. (the last few months of wearing diapers my recently potty-trained 2 1/2 year old would say, “they’re in the garage!” And she was right. Diapers aplenty right on the shelf).

With so much savings going in to these household items, paying regular price for milk isn’t a terrible thing (and we go through 6-8 gallons a week). Or fruit. Or any number of staples that don’t often have coupons put out for them.

Less stress is always a good thing and reminds me of the saying about how when mama’s happy, everyone else can be, too. So true!

I know I’m not alone in these feelings of gratitude. I know that many households are just like mine. With all of the publicity the naughtiness of the TV’s version of couponing is getting, it seems like it’s easy to group everyone with a coupon binder into that hoarding/greedy/selfish sort of category. But that is not the case. I see moms (and dads!) in the store who are just like me. With small kids in tow while the big ones are at school, just like me. Using their coupons with sale prices to get the best deals to bless their family, just like me.

Like so many other things it is the minority that gets the most attention, and often ruins something wonderful for the multitude. I hope that doesn’t become the case with couponing, but we are not ENTITLED to any price being less than the tag on the shelf says it is. Remember no manufacturer is obligated to produce a coupon and no store is required to take them. We are living in such a fortunate set of circumstances with regard to both of those things, I hope we never lose sight of how blessed we really are.

With a happily stocked pantry and refrigerator this week and a few dollars left in my wallet, I am feeling that extra measure of gratitude. It’s a feeling I hope never goes away.

 

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