Saturday, January 29, 2011

Extreme Couponing in new hobby, or "job"

Hello Blog Readers and Friends from Facebook who trekked over here to figure out what the heck I have been talking about my last couple status updates!
I have a confession.  I have turned into an extreme couponer.  I first learned about it from a TLC show called Extreme Couponing (which I hear is being turned into a series now).  One of the women on there (the one who went dumpster diving for coupons) has her own website.  I started reading it and got hooked.  I couldn't believe how much money people saved.  One lady on there hadn't bought toothpaste in 34 years!  
I'm not going to lie, its a lot of work and a bit time consuming, but once you get your stockpile built up, you will see the rewards.  I've only been doing it three weeks and have spent about 8 or 9 hours a week doing it and my stockpile (which Seth said I couldn't have, but yesterday bought me a fancy shelf to put in the garage and told me that's all he's buying for it, so I've petitioned my Dad to get me some more shelves) is already pretty big!  
This week I spent $204.85 at four stores.  I saved, using a combination of coupons and sales $151.45 this week. All NAME BRAND ITEMS.  Which makes me feel pretty fancy.
So here is how my process works.  It's my own brand of crazy, so feel free to use it, change it, adapt it for you, and if you need a shopping buddy-let me know! 
Okay so I learned how to do it from a website called, she has a beginners section there that I used to get started.  I recommend going there and reading that tab and getting the lingo down and the learning how to start your binder.  (see pictures of my binder and the inside of my binder below)
First on Sunday my parents save the coupons for me from the Sunday paper and I clip all of them.  That's important, to clip them all because you never know what you are going to need to use.  Then I organize them into the binder that the krazycouponlady website showed me how to set up.  On Wednesday (when grocery store sale ads change) the Omaha World Herald sends out another thing in the mail that has all the ads and more coupons (the same ones on Sunday).  I clip those and organize those, so by now, I have three sets of the same coupons.  This is important.  To build up a stockpile you need lots of the same coupon so that when you get a great deal on an item, you can buy multiples of those items.  You can also print coupons (usually the same ones, I find this is the most comprehensive list of printable coupons availabe:
Throughout the week I follow the krazycouponlady website and other local websites that track more local sales (the krazycouponlady isn't in Omaha but she does major stores like Target and Walmart) the two I use are: They find deals more locally.  Here's the best thing about using the blogs, they do all the math for you and tell you which coupons to use to get the best deal on the local sales.
Other sites I look at are:
On Thursday I sit down at the computer and go thru the websites and make a list of what I want to get.  I write down the full name of the product, what the original cost should be (because sometimes our local stores don't always match up) and then what coupons to use (most stores allow one manufactures coupon per item, but Target allows one Target coupon (which you can print from their website here: Target Printable Coupons Link ) and one manufactures coupon.  Bakers allows one Bakers coupon (which you can load onto your Bakers card or print or you get them in the mail. Load Bakers Coupons to your card here you have to have a Bakers Card and set up an account.) and one manufactures coupon.) and how much the final price of each item should be.  There is a lot of complicated deal wrangling that I never understand but the websites work out and the deals work out for me.  For example this week at Target I got 6 Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers for .84 cents.  They were originally  2 bucks a piece.  But the store had buy 6 get one free sales and I had two coupons that were buy 3 get one free and buy 5 and get one free.  Since I was buying six, I could use both coupons (remember most coupons are one coupon PER ITEM, and I was buying six items so I could theoretically use up to six coupons) So in the end I got three of them free and it worked out that they were .84 cents a piece for the ones I paid for.  I'm not sure how the math works on that but it worked in the store. So while I'm writing everything down, I'm pulling the coupons out and I have one of those coupon organizers that I have labeled Walmart, Target, Bakers, Hyvee, Use 1, Use 2, and Refile. I put the coupons in their respected sleeves.  (The Use 1 and Use 2 and Refile I'll explain in a minute) I also save the local ads myself and check things out since no one really does Bakers around here.  I also print any extra coupons I need, or the Target coupons I need, cut them and put them with what I need.
So after I have my lists and my coupons all ready to go, I get my reusable bags ( Hyvee and Walmart and sometimes Target still gives you 5 cents off for them, Bakers recently discontinued the practice), make sure I have the space in my car.  Load up the kid (you need her for entertainment and also for some reason people are so much nicer to you when you have a kid) and drive to my stores and start shopping.  I usually do them in this order- Target, Walmart, Hyvee, Bakers.  Usually because the grocery stores have more frozen items.  I realize in the summer I might have to start packing a cooler to take.  Anyway I park near a cart return (this is key with a kid and when you have just bought 99 soup cans) and its snowing.
When I'm in the store, when I find the item and confirm that I'm getting the item, I pull the coupon out of the accordion file from the store I have it filed in and put it into the "Use" part of my file.  This way I can double check the expiration date of the coupon, the discount on the coupon, and the number I need to get.  Sometimes, especially at Target you have to do more than one transaction. Most of the Target coupons you are only allowed one per transaction, which sucks, but is easy enough to handle.  The cashiers are really nice about it if you separate your orders on the line, have your coupons ready, and let them know you are doing more than one transaction up front.  That's why I have a "Use 1 and Use 2" slot in my file.  Sometimes I get to the store and I see that our prices aren't what my blogs have indicated and the discount isn't that good, so I put it in the "refile" part of my file, shake my fist at my local store, and move on. 
When I get home, I usually put the items that can hang out in the garage (cans, cleaners, soda, and such) on their fancy new shelf and I put the stuff that goes in the deep freeze (thank GOD I have that) and I haul the rest upstairs.  Hopefully Evie is sleeping in her car seat when this is going on, but sometimes she is standing at the top of the stairs screaming.  It happens.
On Monday or Tuesday I refile and reorganize.  And Wednesday start the process again.  
Its addicting, and fun.  And yesterday at Bakers, people in the aisle behind me, on the sides of me, the cashiers and the baggers all cheered for me when they saw how my original bill for 175 dollars went down to 80.  
A lot of times the blogs I read show coupons for fun things like 40% off Gap or a free candle at Bath and Body Works, or how to get a 25 dollar gift certificate to a restaurant for two bucks.  I try to pass that stuff on, on my facebook feed.  Also if I'm in a store and I have a coupon expiring soon that I know I'm not going to use, I try to set it on the item in the store so someone else can use it.  Or if I see that someone who said something nice to Evie has something in their cart I have a coupon for I'm not using, I give them one.  Pay it forward I guess. 
Also I always take my binder in in case there is an unadvertised deal.  Like this week Target had these Tyson grill strips that are perfect for Seth to take to class for dinner because he can take a easy mac and these strips and microwave them and have a nice dinner for 2 bucks and I had 1.50 off so I got them for .50 cents.  But I had to go to the binder to get that coupon because I didn't know our local Target had them that cheap.
So that's how I do it!  I posted pictures below and hot linked everything.  I'd be more than happy to post my Bakers list since no one around here does it if there is enough interest in it!  Just let me know on the comments or on facebook!  Also if you have ANY questions, or want to sit down and do it with me, or want to shop with me or want me to help you get your binder started, let me know!!  I would be glad to help!
Love (saving money),
My list
My binder

One of my receipts, look at all those coupons!

Inside of my binder, I use sheet protectors, some people use business card holders

My file that I use on shopping day


  1. I've been trying to get into this...I had my h cutting coupons on Sunday but he doesn't get that you have to clip all of them.
    Have you gotten into the Walgreens deals yet with th register rewards?? I follow a local blog and she's big on that.

  2. I follow that one too, but I haven't gotten into walgreens yet. It takes a while to get your register rewards built up. I already do four stores so I'm not ready to add a fifth, but one day I will! Walgreens has a ton of great freebies!

  3. I'm trying to start couponing in the Omaha area too. I haven't started cutting the coupons that I don't think I'll use, but as I get more into it, who knows. I tried doing the Walgreens ads once, but I went when the ad had been out for a few days and they were out all the good sales in their ad. They did offer me a rain check, so that was good.

  4. So, I am kind of new to the area just got stationed here. I am trying to figure the best grocery stores but it seems none match coupons or let you stack etc. Where do you recommend shopping?

  5. I pricematch and use coupons at Walmart and target let's you use a Target coupon which you can print from their website and a manufacturs coupon per item. That's the closest you can get to a stack in Omaha.

  6. How do you keep track of the coupons that you load on to your Bakers card?

  7. I live in Bellevue, and I would love to meet someone that is into this couponing. I have started clipping, but I do not really know how to go from there. I don't know anyone AT ALL in this area, and would love to meet someone that is into saving money and not about always spending it. If anyone is interested, my email is and my name is Kira.

  8. Hi my names Diana and i am 16 and i have a 10month old son i would love to coupon i always watch extreme couponing and im totally looking into doing this because i dont have a job and i really would like to help myself by couponing but i really need help on how to get started and where can i use my coupons i would appreciate if you can email me and if i get the hang of it maybe we can be coupon buddys lol :) please email me thankyou!

  9. Hello My name is Jessica i live about an hour away from Omaha,Ne but I've been extreme couponing for going on a year now.In my town we only have Hyvee (they double up to .50),Super walmart and fareway and dollar general.I wish we had Walgreen cvs rite aid Super Target dollar tree and Bakers!I tend to go to lake manawa for shopping i do some extreme couponing while my husband is doing the shopping!I love lake manawa couponing just wish it was closer to home! But tonight i was looking on bakers website and i think i'm going to next time I'm up there try extreme couponing at bakers it looks like a great is worth the drive to hit all the store i can't here!how does the bakers card work?please email me at've even been so happy to walk out of walmart with getting paid to take food items!

  10. Baker's is very expensive and even their sale prices are higher than other stores sales prices.

  11. Hey Carrie, I'm curious if you are still couponing here in Omaha? Have policies changed a lot since you wrote this and have you found it harder to get such good deals? My parents lost everything a few years back and my dad has been out of work since then. I am newly married and we definitely don't have a lot of excess and it seems the biggest bill every month other than rent is groceries. I have been trying to think of some way to help all of us and I've heard about extreme couponing but I'm overwhelmed and I know things are different for different regions. So excited to have found someone doing this in Omaha! Was wondering if you had time to chat and let me know if there's any new policies to work around and what stores you have the best luck with. Thanks so much!! Hope you and your beautiful family are doing well!



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