I started actively couponing in the summer of 2011. I can honestly say, it has taken me this long to get organized to the point that I can pull off the deals like the KCL. Here are some of my tricks:

  • Seek Out Extra Coupons: Get the word out! All of my family know that I am an avid couponer. My brother-in-law saw the paper man changing out the paper box and he got all of the papers left over from Sunday which were going to be thrown away. I trade coupons with my mother, co-worker, and daughter.
  • Call Your Paper: Ask if they can give you the papers with coupons if they have any extra! I did this and my paper lady brings me the extra Sunday papers on Monday. I rewarded her with a bag of shelled pecans from our pecan harvest.
  • Set Aside One Night: Use that night so you can cut coupons, comparison shop and organize! I usually choose Sunday night when I clip coupons, organize with the sales papers and make my list for the week of shopping. It’s also a great time to check the expiration dates of your current coupons.
  • Check your Favorite Sites: I look for coupon deals in the morning and evening. Many times I check KCL before I leave work to see if any deals have been added. Also, read the comments section: there are a lot of deals discussed that will help you.
  • Pick Your Top Three Stores: Choose based on the best sales, location, friendly staff. I have a CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aide five minutes from my job, and they are all on the same intersection. This saves time, gas, and keeps me organized. Even if I need to go every day, my drive time is decreased and I know the location of everything in the store, and my shopping is much quicker.
  • Keep Coupons With You: My coupons go with me everywhere. I have missed several sales because I didn’t plan on going to a store and left my coupons at home. Then I checked the KCL website and there was a deal!
  • Stick to a Script: At every store. My favorites include, “Thank you for your time helping me with my coupons.” Starting with a compliment puts the clerk in a better mood! Also, as you develop a relationship, they are more likely to help you with your questions. Or try, “I’m not sure if this is the way this deal works, could you help me with it?” The clerks should be familiar with the policies of their store. I have very little problems when I set the mood for the transaction. Also, I’m willing to let other customers check out in front of me so I’ll have extra time.
  • Ask Questions: “Can you help me find this item?” “This item appears to be out, could you check the stockroom?” “Can I use this coupon?” “Will you help me figure this out?”
  • Set a Time Frame: Decide how much time you can allot to couponing. Maybe 15 minutes in each store. That keeps you energetic, focused, and organized.
  • Write Out Deals: Do this before you go to the store. It helps prevent forgetting an item or missing a sale. Don’t waste time if you don’t really need the item.
  • Final Thought:  I went into CVS the other day to get a deal on Charmin and Tide.  The Tide rang up incorrectly and the clerk needed the manager. She paged him and paged him and he never responded. She looked for him all over the store and the stockroom. Finally, 20 minutes later, he showed up. He never heard the page. He, of course, apologized for the wait. As he did my correction, I told him that I was a good customer (which he verified as he sees me often) and that I thought I deserved a couple of extra ECBs for the wait. Guess what? I got 4 ECBs because I asked for them, was a good customer, and had a good attitude.

This has been a guest post by Tammy in St. Pauls, NC
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Extreme Couponing 101: How to Get Organized and Save Time