By Jessica Lyons
It can be shocking to see how much money the people featured on Extreme Couponing manage to save. One woman had the goal of getting $700 worth of items for just $30 after she used all her coupons. Another mentioned that, thanks to her couponing skills, her family of three spends less than $100 a month on groceries.
Sounds like some good savings, right? While you might not need to stockpile three years' worth of laundry detergent, there are definitely some lessons you can learn from this show.
1. Look for stores with the best deals.
If there are a few different grocery stores in your area, before you do any shopping visit each one to get a general idea of which might have the better prices. You might find that one is more likely to have cheap generic brands or better sales.
2. Get coupons.
You can find coupons online, in the newspaper or in store ads. Print out or clip any that might be useful so you'll have them for your next shopping trip. This way you can save more on top of any in-store sales.
3. Keep your coupons organized.
Many of the people featured on Extreme Couponing have binders full of coupons. Even though you might not need so many, you can still keep your collection organized by expiration date or type of item it's good for. You want to be able to find your coupons when you need them.
4. Make a list before you go shopping.
Your list should contain the items you have to buy and whether they're on sale throughout the store or you have a coupon for them. This will help you make sure you're taking advantage of all your deals. And if you stick to just the items on your list, you can avoid impulse purchases.
5. Shop with friends.
Some good deals might force you to buy multiples of an item. If you live in a dorm or apartment where you don't have much storage, it could be hard to take advantage of a deal like that. By shopping with some friends, you can split the difference and each one of you can get some useful items.
6. Know what your coupon is for.
Several shoppers on Extreme Couponing note the importance of 'reading the fine print.' This could mean making sure you know a deal's expiration date or what exactly you have to buy to get it. You don't want to get up to the register and find out your purchase doesn't qualify.
Finding ways to save on groceries isn't the only financial concern students have.