I absolutely LOVE to talk about couponing to prospective couponers and casual couponers! I have been approached many, many times, by friends and strangers. My policy now is that I will share that I coupon, but I don't recruit (because that never ends well). If anyone has questions, I'm more than happy to chat their ears off - but they have to come to me. Even then, most are not ready to commit to doing it in an extreme fashion - and this becomes apparent within just a few days. It is a big commitment at the start but some people want to put in minimal effort (ex: buy coupons occasionally and immediately score free stuff) yet still reap all the benefits. Few things in life ever happen that way.
I have 3 simple rules for anyone who wants to start down the road be an extreme couponer:
1. You must get MULTIPLE copies of the coupon inserts.
Imagine you find a deal to get an item for free that you use all the time. Awesome, right? Well if you have only one copy of the coupon, you can only get one item of that product. While that is OK, you probably won't have enough to last you until the next great free/cheap deal comes along. Often you'll run out and end up buying it not on sale, or worse yet, with no coupon!
My recommendation is to get 4 copies of the inserts, whether by buying them or getting them from friends/family.
2. You must be consistent and gather coupons EVERY WEEK (no exceptions!).
Usually the best sales/coupons/rewards matchups do not happen in the same week a coupon comes out. My best deals use coupons that I clipped several weeks, or even a month or two, ago. Many new couponers get frustrated, and give up, when they don't save 75% the very first week. Others "run out of coupons" because they are not consistent, and then wonder why they can't get the same deals I do.
My suggestion is to steadily collect coupons for at least 4 weeks before even trying any significant couponing. By then you should have quite a coupon base to draw from. If you are feeling adventurous, try printing some online coupons, too.
3. You must get your coupons ORGANIZED
Many people let their coupon inserts pile up and don't clip them right away. That becomes a huge job instead of several small, manageable ones. Clip your coupons each week. Also, keeping loose coupons thrown in the bottom of your purse does not cut it when it comes to extreme couponing. The coupons are useless if you cannot find them when you need them.
I have found that the stereotypical "extreme couponing" binder with baseball card pages works very, very well. I definitely recommend it.
These are the 3 recommendations I give to all new prospective extreme couponers. Most never complete these steps. The few who do have been very successful. Of course there are more steps to follow, but these steps build the critical foundation for everything else to come.
I am excited because a friend approached me about couponing just this past weekend. I gave her the 3 basic steps and she's already got 4 copies of this week's inserts and organized them into a binder. I have high hopes for her! I hope she sticks with it because having friends to coupon with makes it easier and more fun!