How to Save Money Like an “Extreme Couponing” Star

Think free advice is worth about what you pay for it? Wrong!

Featured on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing,” Joni Meyer-Crothers, writer, blogger, and mother of 7 (!) has some free advice for you that will save you money all year long.

Five years ago Joni’s husband lost his job in the automotive industry and she needed a way to save money so she quickly learned how to coupon. Within just a few weeks, she had over $3,000 worth of items that she had only paid a little over $100 for! This lady knows what she’s doing. Joni wants you to start saving NOW, so here are her top tips for extreme savings.

  • Use Multiple Coupons 1 of 8
    Use Multiple Coupons
    For food, hygiene, and cleaning supplies, collect as many coupons as you can. A great way to do this without purchasing multiple papers is to ask friends, family, and neighbors to give you the coupons they are not using. You can also use clipping services, where you pay a small handling fee to get the manufacturer coupons that were in the Sunday inserts, but that alleviates having to purchase multiple papers and you can just order the coupons you know you will use.
    Try Klip2Save
  • Get Organized 2 of 8
    Get Organized
    Organization is key to making couponing successful. There are many ways to organize your coupons, but Joni's favorite is the binder system. She has a dual-sided binder with baseball card sleeves to put coupons in. Tabs are labeled by categories like refrigerated, baking, breakfast, canned goods, etc. The more organized you are the more successful you will be with couponing and the less time you will spend.
    Get Joni's Complete Binder for $50.
  • Know Store Policies 3 of 8
    Know Store Policies
    Once you start couponing you will want to check each store's coupon policy. Do the stores double coupons? If so, up to what value? Do they double on certain days or all the time? Do they have store savings cards, etc? The store you normally shop at might not have the best coupon policy so you may start shopping at new stores.
  • Stockpile 4 of 8
    To maximize your savings, wait to use your coupons until the items go on sale. You can match the sale with a coupon and many times this will equal free products. This is when you want to stock up. You can use your multiple coupons to start stockpiling. For example, If you can purchase toothpaste when it is free, get enough for 6-12 months. This will save your family in excess of $60 per year on just one item. Now imagine the savings annually if you did that for multiple items. Most sales cycle every 8-12 weeks, so you can stockpile free to cheap items for at least 3-6 months. Since the shelf life is much longer on hygiene and cleaning supplies, these items can be stockpiled for upwards of a year.
  • Buy in Season 5 of 8
    Buy in Season
    Many people wonder how to save money on meat, fruits, and vegetables. For fresh produce and vegetables, Joni recommends purchasing the items when they are in season. By doing this, you can cut the cost by half. For meat, all stores will have a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" sale weekly on different meats. Normally each meat will go on sale once a month. When you see this sale, purchase enough meat for the entire month for your family. You can freeze meat up to one year, so by purchasing enough for the month, you can slash your meat bill in half.
  • Shop Online for Cash Back 6 of 8
    Shop Online for Cash Back
    If you purchase any items online, use a service that offers cash back. In 2012, Joni got $2500 in cash back just from making regular online purchases by using these services. Why not get paid to shop? Most credit cards offer cash back for major online purchases.
  • Price Match 7 of 8
    Price Match
    Find stores that will price match a competitor's ad. This is a huge time saver because you can shop at one or two stores while still benefiting from the sale prices of other stores. This year, Target has been price matching many popular online stores such as Amazon and Bestbuy. Some stores will also adjust the price or refund the difference of an item if it goes on sale within 7-30 days after your purchase. Just make sure to hold onto your receipt.
  • Shop Clearance 8 of 8
    Shop Clearance
    In order to save on clothing and accessories throughout the year, purchase them at the end of the season when stores are clearing out excess inventory. For example, purchase your winter coat for next year in January when they are at rock bottom prices of 75% off or more. You can do the same with Christmas trees and decorations. This is also a great time to purchase popular toys for next year, like Lego, Barbie, Hot Wheels, etc. Start a gift closet with these popular toys to use for birthday gifts throughout the year!

Joni says, “The biggest thing to remember is any amount that you save is a savings. Don’t look at the immediate, but multiply that savings over 52 weeks and look at the big picture. Don’t ever discount the smallness of any savings!”

Extreme Couponing, available here for 10.20

Follow Joni’s blog for regular coupon deals, store match-ups, and daily saving opportunities.

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