extreme couponing 101: rock bottom prices (& free download)

There is a lot of talk about “Rock Bottom Prices” in the coupon world.  In fact, when you break it down to the simplest level, Extreme Couponing really just means always buying things when they are at their lowest possible price (after sales and coupons), and buying enough of them to stockpile and last until they hit that price again.

But what is a rock bottom price?

How do you know when something is a good price?

I know I say this a lot–sometimes I even feel a bit like a broken record–but knowing your prices, like everything else, comes with time. You can’t expect to walk in a store on your first week and start saving 85% every time you shop, and you won’t know what the best prices are for your stores until you have been shopping long enough to see a lot of sales come and go.

One of the best things that you can do is start keeping track of your shopping trips and how much you pay for each item.  You can do this in a variety of ways, whether it be use a notebook, an Excel spreadsheet, a printable price list form, or by starting a blog.

Personally, I like the blog option (it’s how I got started!) It allows you to tangibly see your results and your improvement, helps you hold yourself accountable, and allows you to share your  success with others.  (You can even link up your savings every Thursday here at LWSL.)  And it is also a lot of fun, not to mention free and super easy to set up on WordPress or Blogger.

But because some of you have absolutely no patience whatsoever (and I truly say that with love), I thought I’d put together a little rock bottom price list that you can print out and keep on hand as a reference.

Keep in mind that this list is based on my experience, so your personal rock bottom prices may vary. That said, it is a great place to start!

Here is the link:

LWSL Rock Bottom Price List

Happy shopping!

Tell me, how do you keep track of your best prices?

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Printing a coupon or ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. Read my full disclosure policy here.

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • tonya May 4,

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for putting this together.

    Reply
  • Delanna May 4,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been trying to keep records, but I am not patient when it comes to couponing…I want to make sure I’m getting the best price NOW!! I appreciate your hard work so we can benefit as well. :)

    Reply
    • Deb May 4,

      This is awesome isn’t? I’m so glad I found her blog this is by far the BEST one I have found!

      Reply
  • Deb May 4,

    Ruth, This is a great idea! I’ve started a spreadsheet this month with where and what I spend, not by each item but if it’s for HBA (CVS etc) or for groceries I’m documenting it to try and get a budget started. I used to do one major grocery shopping every 2 months and spent $700-$800 would drive me nuts spending that much. But I want to get it down to weekly or biweekly depending on local sales. Fortunately I’m a lucky person and have the ability to shop both in IL and WI stores! And luckily one store in WI does double coupons 2x a week right now. I just learned that so I’m going to try to take advantage of that while learning and mastering your 8 week program. I’m at about week 3/4. My binder is full, my coupons are sorted and Ive even gone thru cabinets at home to remove really old old stuff or give awya the stuff I don’t want or will use. I did my first trip grocery shopping last week, doubled a few coupons, still gotta figure it out some more, but did ok. CVS I’ve got down pat I love that store! My stockpile won’t be large, but I’ve got 3 toothpaste and 4 mens’ deodorant. With a family of 5 and 4 of them being stinky men/boys I’ll definitely use the stuff! Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Angela May 4,

    Thank you for putting this together! By far, the PRETTIEST one out there, and I love that it is ONE-sided :) Good work!!

    Reply
    • Ruth May 5,

      Thanks Angela! :-) I’m blushing a little.

      Reply
  • Jessica Rockwell May 4,

    Thank you for doing this. I had no idea what price range I should wait on for food items so this helps a lot!

    Reply
  • Leslie May 5,

    Ruth,

    Thank you for this post. It is great of you to do this. I found your blog(s) by Googling “extreme couponing” (because I was curious) and ended up loving your videos on YouTube.

    I live in New York City and while I love coupons, it isn’t easy to save here. I’ve discovered that shopping near where I work (in Brooklyn) is far better than where I live (in Manhattan). For example, the weekly CVS circular for Manhattan stores is *only 4 pages* while the regular circular (available in Brooklyn) is 16 pages! (I discovered this the hard way last weekend!)

    My advice to anyone else just starting out is to 1) definitely create a price list and 2) set attainable goals for yourself. You are right, Ruth, I didn’t see the savings you normally see in a trip to CVS. But, I saved 63% this week! (And that doesn’t even take into consideration good old comparison shopping.) For example, I normally pay $10.99 (pre-tax) for Tide (30 loads). But CVS had it on sale and there was an Extra Care Buck, so I paid $5.99 (out of pocket) and earned $1.00 (ECB) = $4.99. While I didn’t reach your rock bottom price for detergent, I’m okay with that because I have $5.00 in my bank account I wouldn’t have if I didn’t comparison shop and $1.00 ECB to use later this month!

    So, I say to everyone be excited for any incremental savings you have out there!

    Thanks again Ruth for inspiring me!

    Leslie

    Reply
    • Ruth May 5,

      I pay a little more for Tide too, & then I use the Tide if I have to do a load with tough stains. :-)

      Reply
    • Susan May 31,

      Leslie,
      We’re moving to Brooklyn at the end of this month- and words of wisdom as to which stores have the best deals there? I know it’s a different world in NYC and the outer boroughs. :-)
      Any advice gratefully accepted!
      Susan

      Reply
  • rebekah May 5,

    Thanks so much for all you do to help us save money. I am glad I found your website! Keep it up!
    God Bless you!

    Reply
  • Mary Ledford May 5,

    Hi Leslie! It’s me. M. Patience. (ha) Thank you for the rock bottom list! It is greatly appreciated! As are you and your website! Many blessings… M

    Reply
  • Shaidy May 5,

    Your work is truly amazing….I really enjoy reading your information and learning from you.
    We might need to bring you down here to Ft. Myers for a class. :>
    Thanks for this list – This will help me out a lot!
    Thanks Again! Blessings to you and your family!
    Shaidy

    Reply
  • Sally May 5,

    Thank you so much for doing this! This is a great guide. All your hard work in sharing your knowledge is truly appreciated. Your whole site is awesome :-)

    Reply
  • Amy May 5,

    Wow thanks Ruth. I was going to start doing this. This really gives me a head start. I was curious as to your rock bottom price for items. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Thanks!
    Amy

    Reply
  • Sarah May 8,

    How do I make a rock bottom price list with wordpress, that sounds like a handy way to keep track. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ruth May 9,

      I’m not sure I understand the question. To make your own rock bottom price list, just start keeping track of the items you purchase and how much you pay. Eventually you’ll start to see a pattern of what a “good” price for a particular item is.

      Reply
  • Meg May 18,

    THANK YOU! I’m new to this and I’m not sure what constitutes a “good deal”. I know the fact that I’m paying less than I usually do is a good place to start, but this really gives me a good idea what’s a good deal and what’s an ok deal. Yay!

    Reply
  • Norwegian Phoenix June 2,

    Thank you so much for putting this list together. While I know my prices will be somewhat different in my area, this helps so much to have a jumping off point without having to go to the store and write every item down(which I’m sure is what you did). Thanks so much for giving me a head start on saving!

    Have a great afternoon!

    Reply
    • Lee Ann June 15,

      Amen!

      Reply
  • Jessica June 3,

    THANK YOU for sharing your list! I am new to couponing and your list is very helpful.
    I have been wanting to buy Lysol and/or Clorox disinfecting wipes, but I don’t know what a stockpiling price is for them. What do you consider is a rock bottom price for Lysol or Clorox disinfecting wipes?

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Lee Ann June 15,

    Ruth this is awesome! I agree with the lady who said you have the best site by far. Your video’s are entertaining, your daughters beautiful, and your information priceless.

    I love that you breakdown the ‘best’ deals at each store but still give a full list of deals. I use your site by far the most even though I live across the country from you (Oklahoma). I just stumbled across this blog entry as I was struggling to put together my own ‘rock bottom’ list. This will give me such a good start! I had started to record baseline prices on stuff I buy a lot. Tried to document everything and then decided that just wasn’t fun, lol. I love it when someone else does most of the work for me!

    Thanks again,

    Lee Ann

    Reply
  • Ayesha September 7,

    I decided to start couponing recently because Im a single mother of two and my son started his first year of school in August and my 7 month old daughter can eat like a man. So, I wanted to start a stockpile of the products that we use on a regular basis like lunchbox items, tolietries, laundry, kitchen and baby products.

    I googled “learning to coupon” and ur site was one of the first to come up. I love your free guide it has really made understanding this process much easier. I look forward to completing the 8 weeks so I can start to see some savings. Like most newbies I’m so excited and I wanna see the savings now. But I completely understand that it’s a cumulative process and that it requires organization which I dont have at all. So, I have a lot to accomplish in these short weeks but with the money I know I’ll save it’s worth it.

    Thanks so much for this blog!!!!

    Reply
  • Beth Anne September 13,

    I started a blog after I started couponing to keep a “journal” of my experiences. I’d love to know how you would keep a “rock bottom” price list on your blog. Would you just make a new “page” with your “price list” and update it frequently?

    I have a hard time figuring out “rock bottom” prices b/c all the “price lists” are so regional and thought I should start keeping track myself.

    Reply
    • Ruth September 15,

      Hi Beth Anne-
      My Rock Bottom Price List is a PDF document that I created after keeping track of my shopping results for over a year. It is based on my shopping experiences and how I “know” whether something is a good price. I don’t update it frequently because for me the rock bottom prices are what they are. Does that make sense? If you want to do one for your area, I suggest closely tracking what you spend on each individual item after coupons. Eventually you will see patterns and just “know” whether something is a good price.

      Reply
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