Extreme Couponing premiers on TLC April 6, handing the stage over to individuals and families who are obsessed with collecting coupons and never paying full price for anything. With more than 367 billion coupons printed each year, these coupons addicts take to the extreme what many of us do as part of our daily lives: collect and us as many coupons as possible.
The shoppers featured on Extreme Couponing may not be your typical shoppers, but they can teach all of us a little about being resourceful. Here are four lessons to take away from their habits.
Lesson 1: Make room for bargains
Nathan Engels of Kentucky, one of the featured couponoholics, started clipping coupons in 2006 after realizing that he and his wife were overspending. Now debt-free, Engels has more than 10,000 items stockpiled in his garage–including 1,100 boxes of cereal, 300 toothbrushes and 60 bottles of hand soap. Engel frequently checks out with coupons that afford him 95% savings.
Lesson: When you have the available coupons, don’t be afraid to stockpile non-perishable items.
Lesson 2: Be a coupon hunter and gatherer
Joanie Demer of California is known to friends and family as “The Krazy Coupon Lady.” The stay-at-home mom clips and prints more than 500 coupons each week, yielding 98% savings at the checkout. How does Demer do it? She dumpster-dives for coupons, often bringing along her best friend and young son.
Lesson: Coupons are everywhere today and if you truly want to get the best deals, you sometimes need to go out of your way to find them. While you may not want to strip off your Sunday best and rake over your neighbor’s discarded newspapers and circulars, you can extend your coupon reach by searching for deals online and off.
Lesson 3: Plan carefully
Joyce House of Philadelphia is a retired nurse who uses smart shopping techniques to stretch her dollar. The single mother has not paid for a toothbrush, toothpaste or deodorant in 34 years. House always shops with coupons and takes couponing as seriously as did her job.
Lesson: Read circulars and online websites that will let you in on “buy one, get one free” specials and always combine coupons and specials to maximize your savings.
Lesson 4: Invest your time
Amanda Ostrowski of Ohio spends up to 70 hours a week researching in-store promotions, clipping coupons and surfing the internet for the best buys. Ostrowski’s time has paid off. She currently has more than 3,000 rolls of toilet paper stocked away–enough to last the average family about 40 years.
Lesson: The time you invest clipping coupons will pay off at the register — and in your budget over the long term.
“Lessons in extreme couponing” was provided by SaveBrite.com.