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Extreme Couponing: How Do They Do It? Here's How!

"much of the savings on the show is very realistic if you put the time and effort into matching coupons and store sales"

If you are like many deal-seekers in this country, you have watched the television show "Extreme Couponing" on TLC network and wondered just how they get all of those grocery store items for dirt cheap and even free. Although some parts of the show are very realistic, the one thing that is often staged is the availability of sale items. With more and more couponers out there, a great deal at the local grocery store is often sold out the first day that it is available. I believe that the show sets it up ahead of time to ensure that extreme couponers on the show have well-stocked shelves when they walk into the stores to do their shopping for the show.

Other than that, much of the savings on the show is very realistic if you put the time and effort into matching coupons and store sales.  I do a fair share of couponing on my own, and here are some tips to get the maximum savings on not only groceries, but toiletries, such as shampoo, body wash and razors as well:

1. You must save every coupon insert that comes in the Sunday newspaper and in the mail. In some regions, both the Redplum insert and the Smartsource insert come in the Sunday newspaper. In other regions, like mine, Smartsource comes in the Sunday paper and Redplum comes in the mail on Tuesdays. Figure out what your local insert schedule is, and keep each and every insert. If you can collect extras from friends and family, that is even better, but do not worry if you can only get one copy of each insert.

2. Every Sunday make sure to also keep the sales ads for your local grocery stores and drug stores. Look through these and circle any items that look like a decent deal for you and your family. You will not buy an item for just the sale price, so keep this in mind when circling. Just ensure that it is a product that you will use, and the sale price is pretty good. Once the sales ad has expired, you can throw it out. You do not have to save these forever like you do the coupon inserts.

3.  If you have a grocery store or discount store that doubles coupons, focus on this store for most of your bargains. Many grocery stores double coupons that are up to 99 cents. This means that that 75 cents off coupon just became $1.50 off when doubled!

4. Get matching! For each sales item that you circled in the sales ad, look for a coupon on the same product. This is how many products end up dirt cheap or even free! If an item is on sale for $1.50 and you find a 75 cents off coupon on the same product that doubles, guess what? That item is free! Be sure to not just look at the current week's coupon inserts for coupons, but coupons from past weeks, and even months ago. Many coupons in inserts do not expire for many months; this is why we save them.

5. Once you have become overwhelmed with the number of coupon inserts that you have, and find it hard to locate specific coupons quickly, begin using an online coupon database, like the one that I use at With this database, you can simply type in the brand name of the sale item, and it will show you results of any coupons that match. This database will even lead you to printable coupons that you can print off on your computer. Coupons in inserts will be displayed by the name of the insert, such as RP (Redplum), SS (Smartsource), etc., and the date of the insert. You can find this date written in very small print on the spine of the coupon insert.

Happy couponing!