Part Two: The Shopping List

beginnersguide_400_coupons

 I know you’ve all been on pins and needles, anxiously awaiting this week’s edition of my Beginner’s Guide to Coupons series. Well my friends, the wait is over.  Today’s topic?  Your first shopping list.

(And if you are new to my blog and new to coupons, I strongly urge you to read Part One: How to Start before going any further.  It will all make a lot more sense that way!)

Trying to use coupons without a game plan is a little like taking a cross-country road trip without a map. You may get to your destination eventually, and you might even see a few interesting sites along the way, but you will certainly add a whole lot of time and excess frustration to your journey.

So it is with coupons. If you simply show up at the store with a pile of coupons and attempt to “wing it,” you may eventually find a few good deals, but the amount of time you spend and frustration you incur may make you never want to see another coupon again.

Granted, there are a few people who swear by their haphazard “go-with-the-flow” method of couponing. I am not that person, and you won’t find that advice here. Instead, I’ll let you know what works for me, and if you check out my shopping results, you will see it works consistently, week after week.

I explained in Part One that to save, really save, with coupons, you have to change your old way thinking. Instead of making a list for the things you need or want each week, and then buying them regardless of whether they are on sale or you have a coupon, you buy ONLY what’s on sale (and lots of it.)

Once again, Extreme Couponing is a cumulative process, not an instant magic formula.

This week you are going to work on your first coupon shopping list.  It is important to keep in mind that this list will be little more than a practice list intended to get your feet wet.

You will still end up with some great deals on food that you can either eat right away or use to start building your stockpile, but unless you already have a fridge and pantry full of groceries, you will still need to make a separate trip to the store. Remember, this is the non-overwhelming baby step program!

This is only week two, so unless you have been collecting newspaper inserts for some time, you won’t have a large coupon supply built up yet. That’s okay! If you followed last week’s assignment, you should have at least one computer available to print coupons from. (If not, go back and complete last week’s assignment before moving on!)

So grab yourself a glass of wine, have a seat, and let’s get started!

Week Two Assignment: 

1.  Determine which stores are in your area to shop at.

Here in SW Florida, the main grocery stores are Publix and Winn-Dixie.  When I lived in the Seattle area, I did most of my coupon shopping at Safeway & Albertsons, and occasionally Fred Meyer. I have a couponing friend in upstate New York who swears by PriceChopper. There are SuperTarget & Super WalMart stores almost everywhere.

The thing to remember with coupon shopping is that the stores that have the lowest overall prices don’t usually have the best “loss leader” sales. They rely on their everyday low prices to entice shoppers.

The opposite is true of the stores with higher prices. They rely on their sales to entice shoppers, knowing that the vast majority will end up buying plenty of non-sale items as well.

Part of the trick to using coupons effectively is to beat the system by a.) stockpiling and b.) shopping at multiple stores.

2. Pick a coupon shopping website to help you make your list.

There are some amazing coupon resources available on the internet, and you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration by using them. 

Here are my recommended coupon matchup sites:

These are only a few of the many, many coupon matchup blogs available.  If you are looking for a particular store, just do a google search for “[your store] coupon matchups” and you should be able to find something.

Once you figure out which of these websites matches the stores in your area, bookmark it and then spend some time exploring the site to see where everything is. (For help with acronyms, use the Coupon Lingo Guide)

3. Find this week’s post for your stores.

Once you’ve decided on your site, click on this week’s ad for the store you would like to shop at.

Read through it completely.  Make some mental notes:

  • Check the final price after coupons.
  • Are there any items that look like a great deal?
  • Are there any items that you or your family want/or need?
  • Which items require coupons from newspaper inserts?
  • Which ones match up with printable coupons?
  • Are there links to those printable coupons?

Repeat this exercise for one more store in your area. Which store has better deals this week? Which store has more items you would want to purchase?

4. Make your list.

Based on the exercise you just did, pick ONE of your two stores to make a list from. For the sake of this exercise, pick NO MORE than 3 items. Remember, this is the non- overwhelming baby-steps method of learning how to use coupons!

At some point you will easily head to the grocery store with a list of 30 items and 50 coupons in your hand. But for now, let’s take it slow. Trust me, you will thank me when you get to the checkout line!

If you are using a site with a printable list option (all the ones listed above have this) simply click on the 3 items that you choose and then print your list. If you are writing out your list by hand, be sure to include the exact brand and size of the item, the sale price, and the coupon you will be using.

Finally, choose items that fit ALL of the following criteria:

  1. After coupons, it is more than a 60% savings off the regular price?

(For example, if Hamburger Helper is normally $1.99 a box, and they are on sale for Buy 1, Get 1 Free, that will make them 50% off. That’s not good enough. However, if there is also a $1 off 2 boxes coupon available, your final price will be $0.50 a box, a savings of 75%. That is good enough to make the list!)

     2.  The coupon required for the savings is a printable coupon that is still available.

(To find out if the printable coupon is still available just click the link and try to print. If you get a message that says “no more prints available” or “you have already printed this coupon the max amount of times,” there are no prints left.)

      3.  The item is something you or your family would use.

(It doesn’t have to be something you always buy, just something that you might like to try or something that you think your family might like if they tried it. Part of the fun of coupon shopping is that you get to expand your horizons and try new things!)

4. Gather your coupons.

Using the links provided on the site you are using, print as many coupons as allowed. (Usually 2 per computer.)  If the coupon happens to be a PDF file (rare, but it does happen occasionally), it is helpful to save the coupon on your computer rather than print immediately to use again at a future date.

  • If you have more than one computer, use it to print additional copies of your coupons.
  • Once you have printed (then trimmed) all the coupons for the 3 items on your list, determine how many of each item you will be able to buy.
  • Remember, if an item is on sale for Buy 1, Get 1 Free, you will be able to use 2 coupons, one for the paid item and one for the free item.
  • On your list, note how many of each item you will buy based on how many coupons you have.

5. Go shopping!

Isn’t this exciting? Your first trip to the store. Be sure to buy ONLY what is on your list. (Make a separate trip for other items–the goal is to focus and learn without getting overwhelmed or distracted.)

  • Before you get to the checkout, double check your coupons to make sure the quantities are correct.
  • When you get to the checkout line, be sure to tell the cashier that you have several coupons, and ask whether he/she would prefer them ahead of time or with the items.
  • Be friendly and courteous and confident, and pay close attention to the coupons as they are scanned to make sure that none get skipped or forgotten (easier to do when you are only purchasing a few items.) I promise any apprehension you may feel will disappear the moment you see your receipt!

And that’s it for this week. Just to review: Decide which stores are available in your area, go to a coupon matchup site to help you make your list, then review the weekly ad posts for your top 2 stores. Pick one store and choose no more than 3 items to put on your list, based on the criteria above.

Once you’ve gathered your coupons, head to the store for your first extreme couponing adventure. Once again, it might not seem like much, and after your first trip to the store, you might be eager to grab some more bargains. If so feel free to repeat the list-making process for another store (or even the same store), but be sure to keep your list down to only a few items.

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{ 250 comments… add one }

  • Emily April 7,

    Hi Ruth! I just discovered your website! I’m taking your 8 week course over Coupons..so far so good!
    Just one question..I understand everything you are saying but the thing that is overwhelming me the most is the language on the coupons. I simply don’t understand it.

    Example: Insert coupon says BOGO and a manufacturers coupon also says BOGO..does that mean the item is free when matched up? Is there a spot on your website that breaks down the language and what it means? help!!!

    Reply
    • Ruth April 8,

      Yes, generally if you can match up a BOGO store coupon to a BOGO manufacturer’s coupon, the item will be free. The exception to this is stores that advertise BOGO items, but really place them on sale for half off (meaning you can buy 1 at half price instead of needing to buy two.) In that case, you would end up paying half the regular price for two items, or 75% off.

      I have a coupon lingo guide found under coupons 101 above. Here is the link:
      http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/beginners-guide-to-coupons/coupon-lingo/

      Reply
  • toniann April 8,

    Emily, BOGO means “Buy One Get One”.

    Reply
  • Candace April 9,

    I just discovered your website and I must say that it is truly a dream come true. It’s incredibly organized, and easy to follow. Thank-you!

    Reply
    • Ruth April 14,

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  • Tom April 9,

    Most coupons that I’ve seen always say only 1 coupon per household, and cannot be combined with any other offer. How is it that your able to use multiple coupons on your purchases?

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Ruth April 14,

      Are you talking about any specific coupons in particular? Most coupons specify “1 per purchase,” which really means “1 per item (or 2 items if the coupon is for $ off 2)” Unless a coupon specifies “1 per transaction” or “1 per person per day,” you can generally use as many coupons as you want.

      Reply
      • Jasira April 9,

        Hey Ruth I’m new to these site and I love the breakdown you have done and explain everything. I want to know can you use one coupon per item or can you use more then one.

        Reply
  • toniann April 12,

    SSooo, couponing definitely does work. I started the 8 week plan. Today was my shopping day. I spent $55.28 on $135.20 worth of groceries. It is my first time doing it the “right” way, so I am sure within a month or two I will be spending way less money. Still, 59% off my total is not bad at all.. Thank you ssooo much. I will keep you updated on future purchases.

    Reply
    • Ruth April 12,

      Great job Toniann! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • Marina April 14,

    Amazing site! I have a quick question- is it possible to use self check out for this? or do some coupons need to be put in manually?

    Reply
    • ArmyWifenMomo4 April 28,

      I’ve used coupons on the self check but last time I had a coupon for Buy a certian dog treat get another kind free and it didn’t work so I had to have the person who watches over the self checkouts fix it for me. She had to manually input the discounted amount….but i stood my ground even though it was only a dollar. My puppies thanked me :0)

      Reply
  • Kempy April 18,

    I just started your 8 week start up and today was my first shopping day. I tried to only put a few things on the list but I can’t skip buying milk while I am there. The question I have is, when will I start saving almost 90% on the bill? Will it be once I have a huge pile of coupons? I saved 33% which isn’t bad but I feel like it should be better after reading your site. Am I doing something wrong?

    Reply
    • Ruth April 18,

      You’re definitely not doing anything wrong. The biggest reason I recommend splitting up your shopping trips the first week is so that you can really see the results of shopping with coupons. Just a few non-sale items will bring your percentages down really fast, so 33% on your total order is still really great. The reason I save 80-90% every week is because I have been using coupons for a long time. I have a stockpile at home with a huge variety of items, so I almost never have to buy things that aren’t on sale. For milk, eggs, & butter I often use my Register Rewards or Extra Care Bucks at Walgreens & CVS, but since you are only on week two, you’re not quite there yet.

      It is definitely a cumulative process. I promise that if you are committed to buying sale items and following the steps, you will get there eventually, but it won’t happen overnight. Try not to get discouraged. Any savings is better than none!

      Reply
  • Barb & Thomas ~ Indiana April 18,

    Ruth,

    My husband and I are new to couponing, and we cannot thank you enough. Your web site is beautiful and you are so kind to offer your assistance to everyone! This is truly what the spirit of couponing is all about. You can help yourself, and help others too. We have plans to help our family and friends through couponing. My husband even had a great idea about trying to start a food/household pantry at our church to help others in need. If we can get it for FREE, than why not help out someone else who might really need it.

    Blessings to you and “Trouble” :)

    Barb & Thomas

    Reply
  • Manny April 19,

    Just started your couponing course and I’m currently on week 2. So I went to the store with just 1 item in mind to try it out. I couldn’t believe it. I purchased 3 of those items and I saved 91%. I am hooked! Getting ready to start week 3. Thanks for all your great advice

    Reply
  • Leslie April 19,

    Ruth,

    I have a question.. I have 3 different coupons that I was wondering if I can use together to optimize savings. The coupons I have are for air wick refills and warmer.

    Coupon 1 says get any warmer free when you buy favorite air wick scented oil refill

    Coupon 2 says $1.00 off any air wick scented oil twin refill or 2 (two) single refills

    Coupon 3 $2.00 off any 1 air wick freshmatic odor detector starter kit

    I am incredibly new to couponing and have no idea if I can use all 3

    Reply
  • Rebecca April 19,

    Hi Ruth! I have done a lot of research over the past week on couponing. I must say your website is the best! It’s beautiful and uncluttered (which I love!). I had to quit my full time job when my husband and I had our third child in December. I was always used to spending the money without much thought because we had it. Needless to say, without that second income I have REALLY struggled. I am committed to couponing so that I can continue to give my family the things we love. I just have a quick question that I can’t seem to get straight in my own head. I know that many stores will except multiple coupons. I am confused as to what constitutes a “store coupon”. This weekend I went and bought the papers and clipped the insert Q’s (which are the MF Q’s right?!!). I feel like it is a silly question but where are these “store” Q’s? Also, if I can find matchable Q’s between the newspaper inserts and the printable Q’s on line-will the stores take them both (if they are different)? I hope these questions make sense. I really appreciate any help you can give. Thanks again! :)

    Reply
    • Tanya April 23,

      Rebecca,
      The store coupons are the ones that have the store name on it and cannot be used at other stores unless tbe store take competitor coupons on it! It’s not a silly question! Its confusing at first! I hope that helps tho!

      Reply
      • Tanya April 23,

        Sorry should have checked it before I posted it! My phone added some words! Lol. I meant to say that the store coupons have that stores name on it and connot be used at other stores unless they take competitors coupons!

        Reply
  • Heather April 20,

    Hi Ruth!

    You are an amazing writer. I have enjoyed reading your steps, which have been very helpful and easy to follow. I have one question about doubling coupons. My local grocery store doubles coupons up to 99 cents. My question is, do I have to bring two of those coupons in order for the cashier to double the coupon for one item, or will the cashier automatically scan one coupon twice? I want to make sure I have the right amount of coupons before doing my first trip. Again, thank you so much for all of your advice. You are wonderful!

    Reply
    • Leslie April 21,

      Heather,

      Normally from what I have observed from personal experience if I have had a coupon that i used and it was automatically doubled. The register knows up to what amount to double the coupons to. I hope this helps and is accurate

      Reply
    • Kim April 23,

      Heather,

      When a store doubles coupons, you only need ONE coupon and the computer will automatically double it once its scanned as long as the coupon is 99 cents or less. However, sometimes you will notice that this does not happen automatically and the cashier will manually have to override the system. Thats why it is very important to watch every single item that is scanned and every single coupon that is scanned because one error can ruin all your planning. Hope this helps! :-)

      Reply
      • Heather April 24,

        Leslie and Kim,

        Thank you so much for your advice! You have been very helpful and I appreciate it:) I am learning more and more every day. Thanks again!

        Reply
        • Fernanda December 25,

          Also, how many transactions did that take at Albertsons to get the Conagra deal and the doubels deals? How many do you do at one time and how many in one trip? Thanks

          Reply
      • Luvon November 18,

        In regards to double coupons…also brand new at this and having some confusion.
        If the store only doubles up to $.99 does that mean if the coupon is $1.00 it will not double?
        Also, if the coupon is $.75 will it double upto $/99 or will it actually double up to $1.50 ?

        Thank you, I love your site and it is helping me a great deal! I lost my high paying job in October and need all the help I can get!

        Reply
        • Angela March 24,

          Hey, Luvon
          Being able to give some input from the retail end of things here, coupon policy is something I can actually help other people with even though I’m also a beginner. :)
          I’m not sure if you’re going to see this, since you did post this last year, but I do want to clear some things up in case anyone else is wondering about it. If a store will only double up to .99, a dollar coupon will not be doubled. An extra penny might not seem like a big deal, but the computer thinks it is, so no deal. Depending on the store’s policy, the cashier may override it manually, and give you the deal, but probably for only as much as a .99 coupon would have given you.
          As for how much the final amount off would come to, they wouldn’t double .99 coupons if you could only get up to .99 off with them combined, so you would get the 1.50 off, probably.
          Hopefully that was helpful.

          Reply
  • Tammy April 23,

    Ruth Tammy again, can you explain what you said in step two.
    ~However, if there is also a $1 off 2 boxes coupon available, your final price will be $0.50 a box, a savings of 75%. That is good enough to make the list!)
    Hamburger helper is 1.99 and the coupon is for 1 off 2 boxes. Thats is two boxes is 3.98 and a dollar off is 2.98 which makes it 1.49 a piece. How do you get .50 a piece? I actually have a college degree but sometimes the simplest things are difficult to catch on. sorry.

    Reply
    • Ruth April 23,

      In my example they are on sale for Buy 1, Get 1 Free, which makes the sale price $1.00 a box, or $1.99 for 2 boxes. Combining the sale price with the $1 off 2 coupon makes them $0.50 a box.

      Here is another way to look at it:
      2 boxes @ 1.99 = $3.98
      $3.98 – $1.99 (free box) = $1.99
      $1.99-$1.00 (coupon) = $0.99 for 2 boxes, or $0.50 each

      Does that help?

      Reply
  • Tammy April 23,

    Ahhhh, you have a store sale buy one get the other free, yes it makes sense. One more question, you said that if a store is offering buy one get one free, that you can use two coupon, one for the one you have to pay for and the other for the free one. Is this legal or should I say acceptable?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Ruth April 23,

      It is definitely legal. Most stores allow it but there are a few that don’t. Check the coupon policy for your stores’ specific policy. I’m glad I could help!

      Reply
      • Monica July 30,

        Hi Ruth,..
        I had same question about using 2 coupons for BOGO.. If the item is on for BOGO, y do we need 2 coupons? I mean in any case we will b getting 1 item free..so why do we have to use coupon for the free item? I might be misunderstanding the coupon.

        Reply
  • Ruby April 28,

    Hello Ruth
    my name is Ruby i have been reading about your saving i would like to do the same i just
    dont know how to start. i bought four news papers to get the coupons they had no coupons
    and i also tride oline and didnt work out for me where do i start????

    Reply
  • Robin May 2,

    Ruth,

    WOW! I am brand new to the concept of using coupons. I honestly didnt think you could save enough money to be worth the time and effort of clipping. Then I found you!!! I am ready and willing. I went on my first shopping trip today. I went to two stores bc they are right next to eachother. My total came out to $58.10 before any cupons…after cupons my total was $21.04. BUT…I also have $9.54 on my EBC. :) It feels really good to know I saved my family money. I am taking baby steps but I am hooked. I want to learn more and save more. I would love to get to the point where I can get things for really cheap or free bc I would like to have a stockpile for hurricane season. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Robin

    Reply
  • Kendra May 2,

    I am still not completely understanding the multiple coupon deal. I have a coupon for Hamburger Helper, save $0.75 on 3 boxes, does that mean I can actually get 3 boxes from the store, use 3 coupons (1 coupon for each box) and if each box was $1.00, I would then end up paying only $0.75 total or $0.25 per box?

    Reply
    • Rachel March 2,

      yes Kendra!!!!! you got it :)

      Reply
      • Raquel Rolfe March 22,

        From my experience, no. If a coupon says u have to buy 3 then that 1 coupon counts for all 3. U may want to ask the store what they allow. I know CVS does not allow that.

        Reply
        • nick September 10,

          Raquel is correct. Only 1 coupon for all 3 items.

          Reply
  • Justine May 3,

    Hi Ruth, I’m so happy I found your website! I did go shopping today after accumulating some coupons for a while and matched them up with store coupons and sales. It was awesome! Spent about $50 total at 2 different stores on what normally would have cost about $100. Very exciting! What I am confused about is the other website I went to (savingwellspendingless) had all the matchups and deals from different stores but I don’t really understand it. It looks like you are able to use multiple manufacture coupons for one single item which I always thought you couldn’t do. Help?

    Reply
    • Ruth May 3,

      On SWSL I list all the coupons that are available for a particular product so that you have as many options as possible for finding the coupon. However you can only use ONE manufacturer’s coupon per product. If one of the coupons is a store coupon, it will say the name of the store next to where to find the Q. Generally you are allowed to stack one store coupon with one MQ per product. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Justine May 4,

        Yes it does. I just have one more question….If for example at rite aid garnier fructis products are on sale for 2/5. If I have 2 MQ of $1 off one product, can I use both if I buy 2 of them? I’m also a little confused about what “fillers” are also.

        Reply
        • Ruth May 4,

          Yes, you can use both. Fillers are just inexpensive items that you can use to “fill in” if you are trying to get your total up to a certain amount in order to use a coupon. Fillers are mostly necessary just at Walgreens because RRs are considered MQs, and you can’t have more MQs than number of items in a transaction.

          Reply
  • lena May 4,

    Hey Ruth,

    I was wondering if that is how you choose which items to buy. By looking at the weekly ad. Is that how you get the best deals?And 1 more……. I have been couponing for a short time and have used my coupons before, but even if I am using a maifactures coupon and a store coupon, I can never seem to ge anything for free. How do you do it sooo easily?

    Reply
    • Ruth May 4,

      I have always just used a matchup site like http://www.savingwellspendingless.com to choose my items. Just keep at it. Being able to spot the great deals (and having a good supply of coupons to take advantage of them when they come along) comes with time. Trust me, you’ll get there!

      Reply
  • lena May 4,

    Hey Ruth,

    Sorry to bother you but I have two more questions for you. 1. How do you find coupons for specific items? 2. I have two coupons and am sure if I can use them together. The first coupon says Buy one Gillette body wash and get a Gillette deoderant free. The other one says the opposite. Buy one Gillette deoderant and get one Gillette body wash free. Does that make both items free? P.S. Thank you sooo much. You are taking me in the right direction that I have been trying to do for some time
    Thnx, lena

    Reply
    • Ruth May 4,

      To find Qs for specific items you can use the database on http://www.savingwellspendingless.com. Just go to the home page and click the big green button at the top of the left hand column. As far as the B1G1 coupon, you would only be able to use both if one was a store coupon and one was a manufacturer’s coupon. If so, then yes, they would both be free (same as if you paired a store BOGO sale with a BOGO coupon.) However, if they are both MQs, you would only be able to use one. (At least I think so…I’ve never had that specific scenario come up.)

      Reply
  • lena May 5,

    Hey Ruth,

    I went to savingwellspendingless.com and clicked on the green button.I found many coupons that would fit my needs but could not find a way to print them.I then clicked the “Print” button and a list of stores came up. I went to my store and found none of the coupons that I found on the search or that was on my list. I need help.
    Thnx,lena

    Reply
  • Melissa May 6,

    Weird question, but is there ever a time when there are little to no match ups in a given week?

    Reply
    • Ruth May 6,

      Sales definitely vary and some weeks will be absolutely fabulous; others, not so much. Once you have established a stockpile you will be able to “ride out” the slow weeks and really go gung ho on the great weeks.

      Reply
  • lena May 7,

    Hey Ruth,

    I finally completed this weeks assignment, but at the store I ran into some problems. At my local store I was told that they exept 1 manufacturers coupon and 1 store coupon. As the cashier scanned my coupons she denied the manufacturers coupons that already had a store coupon loaded on that item.But even with out the secondary coupons I saved $15.00 and my total was $3.81.Despite the issue at the counter, I still saved money. Thanks to you. Time to get started on week 3. Thank you!!

    lena

    Reply
  • Christy Aughtry-Smith May 16,

    Ruth,
    If Bi-lo doubles coupons up to 50 cents and I have a coupon for 1.00 off, will I only get 1.00 off or will I get 1.50 off?
    Christy

    Reply
    • Ruth May 17,

      No, just $1.00

      Reply
  • Adry May 20,

    omg i’ve been following your steps im on step 2 going on step 3. i love this site…. its helped my family of 3 so much….. at first my husband didnt want me to coupon but now that he saw what they can do he loves it along with me

    Reply
    • Ruth May 20,

      I’m glad it is going well for you Adry!

      Reply
  • lisa May 20,

    thanks alot for your advise…Ive been trying to do alot of printable coupons.Ive found a few good sites but I need more.most of them will send you thru 1 million things to fill out or it allows pop ups then I have 31 open explorers open.I want to get in & get right to it.I know I have to search for the ones I want but I dont want to fill out this & fill out that.alot ask for your email addy but them your inbox is full of 3,000 spams.I have chose to open a couponing email addy.

    Reply
    • Ruth May 20,

      Opening a separate email account is a great idea. I know it can be annoying to fill out the forms, but sometimes you just have to jump through a few hoops to get the good results at the end. :-)

      Reply
  • Erin May 20,

    Ruth- You freakin’ ROCK; Gurl!!!!
    I’m just say’in. Plus…. (yeah… hang on, this is going to be longwinded, which is my nature so starting with that I am just going to say “thank you so much for simplifying this for my over complicated and cluttered brain” :)
    I have done SO much research on couponing, not only via your video’s on youtube, coupon policies per store, limitations, quanitities, allowances, blah, blah, blah…. this is a lot of Math for a creative mind like my (A.D.D.) self…. LOL….
    You are a wonderful and brilliant blessing to those of us “simple-minded-break-it-down-for-me-in-a-nutschell” people. Every family can benefit from your experience & wisdom and I thank God daily for a co-worker who gave me the information about your website. My family and I have not only benefitted from; but also greatly appreciate your candor, sense of humor, and all around “human-ness.” (if that’s a word in Webster’s these days….)
    I am sure many millions of providers for their families feel the same as well. You truly have a gift. I am so greatful to be introduced to something that I know as a single mom with 2 disabled kids, a cat, multiple fish and dog… has be able to support/provide a somewhat more comfortably and stress free lifestyle.
    I have so many questions that I’d love to ask but I will save them for when you start you’re online classes in which I have replied to earlier this evening. I hope you have me on your enrollement list and let me know the times/$$$ involved so I can arrange to be there. I want to learn from the pro! Thank you so much for helping so many in this Florida economy right now. My boyfriend has been looking for employment here for over 3 years diligently while I am working part time to try to make ends meet. I am following every letter of your words to the T and praying for the best for not only my family but the millions of others who are suffering from this economic down turn. My current occupation by day is helping homeowners avoid foreclosure via mortgage modifications; ironically enough;– my very own house (which I regretably aquired during a divorce) has been blown down twice in hurricanes, and currently is in the foreclosure process as well. I completely empathize with the people I am trying to help. While my home is a total loss, I also recognize the need for stability, “a back up plan”, “food storage” during times of financial hardship; and basically enstilling in my children that no matter WHAT…”Mommy is always here and God will provide. ”
    Mom is there…. yet Mom sometimes cries in her pillow at night how she or God will provide. Walking by faith alone, we get up each day and do the best we can. I listen to many, many, many, families different hardships that have a common ring-tone yet different attributes. I feel for each and every one and pray for them by name every night. Having been homeless in Florida due to Hurricane’s twice; I am skeptical about stockpiling and trying to overcome that fear. My house is not well insulated. My foreclosure has started and my bankruptcy case is underway. I am letting go of a past life and starting a new one what feels like a young mom, yet 1/2 way through my life. It’s scary. And as you said before, “Starting anything new isn’t easy”… I look forward to your online class in which I responded to earlier today in your website livingwellspendingless.com and hope that you and your family greatly benefit from the blessings that you have enabled not only our families but many others who read daily about your generous nature and patience in our learning from your experience. Thank you for being patient and ever vigilant in helping those of us find our way to financial relief.

    Sincerely,
    Erin

    Reply
    • Ruth May 21,

      Erin, thank you for your sweet words. It sounds like this has been a very difficult time for your family, and I truly hope that LWSL and using coupons will be able to help you improve your situation. I am hoping to start my online class sometime later this summer or early fall. I will let you know the details when I do. In the mean time, following the steps in the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons should hopefully start helping you save!

      Reply
  • Shannon May 21,

    Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for the “baby steps”. I have took your advice and started off slow. My first coupon shopping list only consisted of the wisk laundry soap. I found that to be the only good bargan for the amount of coupons I have collected. I walked out the store not paying anything from the insert coupon, facebook coupon, and my $1 off next shopping trip they gave me at the register last visit. My collected has progressed and have printed many coupons this week. I am so excited about tomorrow sale adds in the Sunday paper. Thank you for helping us all save money!!!

    Reply
  • Susan May 23,

    Your website is awesome! It is very easy to navigate and very well written (and designed)! I have used coupons forever, but I am new to the “extreme couponing” and look forward to start saving even more! Thanks for all your information that you have provided from your expertise – it really can get confusing but you made it easier to understand.

    Reply
    • Ruth May 24,

      Thanks Susan. I hope it helps you save lots of money!

      Reply
  • Christina May 25,

    Thank you so much for all the info. I did my first trip to the store with my coupons and saved 74% on things I buy every week for a family of 7. I am addicted to couponing!!

    Reply
  • Laura May 26,

    I’ve been reading your beginner’s guide and finding im having some trouble finding a good website for Alaska. I looked at the website you use, saving well spending less and its amazing! but i seem to not be able to find a good website for my area. Would you reccommend any for people who live in Alaska? Thanks so much! Great work!!

    Reply
  • Rosie May 27,

    ok so when its buy one get one it was said that you can use two coupons one for the bought item and one for the free item so my question is how does that work? if its free what is the coupon going to do???

    Reply
    • Ruth May 27,

      The coupon will just take the $ off your total as a whole. Even though it is “free,” it is still considered a purchase, which means you can use a coupon.

      Reply
      • Rosie May 28,

        ok i have my 2nd trip planned out but my first one planned based on the couponing 101 steps. One question for my Target trip, I have a target coupon and I also have a mfgr coupon can I use both on 1 item or is it one coupon per item? fingers crossed for my first semi big coupon trip! I have 4 items at one store and 3 at the other………results to come, thank you for the coupon tips!!!!

        Reply
  • linda May 30,

    hi, i got confused afte i made me 3 item list. after i make my list according to what’s on sale(like buy one get one free),do i go searching for coupons of the 3 items i have on my list? is that how i get to save atleast 60% ?

    Reply
  • linda May 30,

    Hi, I got confused after I made my 3 item list which was buy one get one free. So do I search different sites for additional coupons to reach my goal to save atleast 60%? Thank u sooo much for the step by step help. This have helped me ALOT

    Reply
  • Seamo May 31,

    Hi Ruth,
    I have been trying to do reasearch on couponing since I saw ‘that’ show (I dare not speak its name, haha) but it was very confusing as to how to go about it. It just seemed as though everything was so brief, nothing went into details so I was left with TONS of questions after reading. Luckily I found myself at your site (after about a week of torturing research) and was so stoked to have so much information at my fingertips and also extreamly happy to see that you really do try to respond to all questions and concerns. Any way, I’m not like most 21 year olds I have always looked for sales with my frugal father ever since I was a little girl but never with coupons. I just want to say thank you for giving me and my father another thing we can do together and of coarse thanks for helping us save money. I love being able to teach my father a few things. Once again thanks for a successful 2 weeks on to week 3 woop woop!
    Seamo ;)

    Reply
  • Rosie June 2,

    ok so its the night before my first big trip, and i saw a new sale for what i had already planned for another store……i have a $1 off coupon for 2 pkgs of sausages and there is a sale for 4 for $5 so how would i do the couponing with a sale like that or would it even be worth it. originally i figured $1 off 2 pkgs at $2.50 for 2 so i am not that good at math and NEED HELP!!! im stuck

    Reply
  • Julie-mom of 5 June 5,

    Hi
    I decided after watching that show and leaving my job after my 5th baby was born that I should change my lifestyle. I clipped and printed a million coupons and got the binder. I check sale ads all week every week. Walmart now price matches on identical products so I have taken all my piles of ads to the store AND tried to use coupons. My savings have been decent, but I would like to know if there is a site I can go to where I can literally put MY shopping list in that will just print the best current coupons available taylored to my list. If not you should make cuz u rock.

    Reply
  • Julie-mom of 5 June 8,

    Hi Ruth,

    I left the comment on June 5th and I wanted to ask if there is a site you know of where I can put my zipcode and the item I want and see what store offers that item for the best price. I would love to put in “orange juice” and have Pay Low, Meijer, Strack and Van Til prices all come up simulaneously with the best price listed at the top with oj coupons links included. Does a site like that exist? I love your site but several of my stores around here arent on your site. Thank you so much for your help.

    Reply
  • Karina June 10,

    Hello I found your website yesterday and I have fallen in love, I’ve been looking non stop for a website that tells you step by step how to coupon, thank you…
    I have a question and I have asked many people and i get so many i don’t knows….
    what does this mean…… limit one coupon per purchase of products and quantities stated… Limit of 4 like coupons in same shopping trip.?
    if you can help with that answer i would extremly appreciate it..

    Reply
    • Brooke July 29,

      I was just reading through and no I’m not Ruth but I figured I would answer you anyway. One coupon per purchase means you can use 1 coupon per item and if you have a limit of 4 like coupons that means you can only use 4 of the same coupons for a total of 4 items. Think of purchase as an item not a transaction. So if you have 4 of the same coupons then you can get 4 of the same item. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  • Kenda June 13,

    Hello, thank you so much for these posts! I had no clue I could save so much until I stumbled across one of your video yesterday. I went on my fist couponing trip this afternoon, you can see my results here: http://journalsofabetterme.blogspot.com/2011/06/extreme-couponing.html! Now I can’t wait until next week, I’m hooked :) but I wanted to say thank you for all the hard work you have put into this site!

    Reply
  • Rosie June 13,

    ok so this week i found out a new way for me to get a bundle of coupons! at the end of evening on sunday go inside any liquor store or gas station and ask if they wouldnt mind letting you take the coupon inserts out of the left over papers……sooo awesome! thank you so much I would have never figured couponing like this without your site and step by step advice.

    Reply
  • Narissa June 15,

    Hi Ruth, do you know if grocery stores will accept expired coupons? I was just wondering because how do you decide when to use the coupons, do you know when they go on sale? What if I had a coupon for makeup and it isn’t on sale for the next couple weeks do I just throw away my coupons? And can I use two of the same coupons on the same product?

    Reply
  • miranda June 19,

    Hi ruth, first of all I love love love this site!I’d like to sugest one thing though, as a new couponer I’ve found its uber important to read and know ur stores coupon policy before u make a shopping plan. For example, my store only allows 12 MF Qs per like item per transaction. Also they only except three printed Qs per transaction, and they don’t double them. No printable bogos or Qs over $3 either. Not knowing that kind of info could really throw a wrench into someones carefully laid plans, and that would be a major bummer!

    Reply
  • Jessica Frost June 25,

    I am following your baby steps to couponing. Yesterday was my shopping day. I know I was supposed to only pick one store, but I had a GREAT coupon that was about to expire at Rite Aid. I went to Rite Aid and got a box of Zantac 50. Regular price is $7.99. I used a $2 off store coupon and a $5 off manufacturer coupon making the item $0.99+tax. I also got $2 back on my rewards card and used that to buy 4 bottles of Rite Aid hand sanitizer that was on sale BOGO. Then I went to Publix. I got 4 cans of Meow Mix cat food and 4 jars of French’s mustard. I don’t remember exactly what my coupons were but my grand total was $2.16.

    Reply
  • Olga June 29,

    I have to brag a little – I am on week 2 of the baby steps program and I did what you advised : picked 3 items and went on shopping. My total savings were – 70%!!!!!!!! Very Excited!

    Reply
  • Melisa July 4,

    Ruth,
    I have been couponing for a while but have never gotten it down to a science. I found your site tonight as I was looking for a store to double my coupons. I’m excited to take the 8 week course. I do have one question though. When you say on items like at Winn Dixie, you should use 2 coupons, I wasn’t sure it made a difference because you are getting one free. So why waste that other coupon, or does it take the money off first? Do you give coupons first before you use your rewards card?
    Thank you for your help.
    Melisa

    Reply
  • Melisa July 4,

    Oops, Ruth, I mean on the buy one get one free items. Why use two coupons?

    Reply
  • Savannah July 10,

    Melisa,The reason you use two coupons is because the dollar amount of both coupons are taken off the total for the transaction. Scenario- Noxema Razors $4.99 BOGO FREE. Use 2 $2/1 Mfq qpons bringing the total to $.99 because the $4 went to the purchase item being that the second item was free. I’ve done this transaction often at Walgreens & CVS. Does it make sense now. It was confusing for me too at first. Print and read the stores qpon policy and don’t be afraid or embarres to ask Cashiers,most of them will be happy to assist you and explain coupon acceptance policy. Good luck.

    Reply
  • Natalie July 19,

    Ruth,
    I’m trying to get coupons online to add to my manufacturer coupons but I can’t seem to find how. I tried to print some from Albertsons but I only received a list. I remember reading about downloading something to be able to get coupons, so I did that. But the list just keeps coming out.. Do not all printers support the codes from coupons? I even tried printing Target coupons but they never printed. I’m so frustrated.

    Reply
  • Brooke July 26,

    I have a question. If you have 2 coupons that are $1/2 can you use them both to get $2/2? I didn’t know if you had to get 4 items or if you could use one of the $1/2 for the first item and the other for the second.

    Reply
  • Julie-mom of 5 July 27,

    Hi guys,

    I’m comment #63 & 64 up there and I still haven’t gotten a response. Will it come to my e-mail or is the reply somwhere else? Don’t mean to be impatient, but you guys seem to know the answers I need and no-one else around me coupons. Thanks so much!!!

    Reply
  • Jana August 27,

    I had my first real couponing haul today. I bought $249.00 worth of groceries, cleaning supplies, etc. I paid $120. and some odd cents. My daughters came over to see all the stuff I’d bought. I pulled things out of the sack, flashed it at them, did a little jiggle dance and would say, “$2.50 paid .47 cents. Yogurt, .65 cents paid .12.” They laughed all evening at me.

    Reply
  • clarissa September 6,

    I live in Queens NY and I want to explore couponing. I really like your site and can learn a lot from you,but the stores that you list on your sister site are not in my area I shop at Pathmark and Trader Joes and sometimes the stop and shop. If you can do you think you can help me out in my area. I am a stay at home mom and looking to save as much as u are. Thank you so much in advance.

    Reply
  • Maria September 26,

    Hello Ruth! I am commencing my journey with in extreme couponing but I did have a question. For instance if I buy 5 Scott paper towels on sale for 6.99 and I am only able to print 1 manufacturer coupon would I be able to use that same coupon 5 times or would I have to have 5 separate coupons for each item I am to buy?

    Reply
    • Rachel October 12,

      If you have 5 packs of paper towels and there’s a manufacturer coupon for $1/1, you would need five coupons — except for those monthly coupon booklets you find at Walgreens by the circulars (or the store coupons within their ads), you can’t scan just one coupon and have it apply to all 5 packs of paper towels. If the coupon was for $1/2, you’d need a 6th pack of paper towels and then would use three coupons. Make sense?

      Reply
  • diane September 30,

    ok, so i am very confuse about one thing. if the coupon says save $1 on any 3 does that mean i could buy like 9 and save $3, because the coupon says save $1 on any 3 but im actually buying 9

    Reply
    • Ruth October 2,

      You could buy 9 and save $3, but only if you had 3 coupons.

      Reply
  • Tiara October 6,

    Ruth,

    Someone may have asked this question already,but if I have a coupon that says save 40 cents on two items , does that mean you buy 1 item at regular price and they take 40 cents off the other? For example Totinos pizza rolls are on sale 10/10 and my coupons says save 40 cents on two, will I be paying the $1.60 for two instead of the two dollars for two? or is it 40 cents off of each item purchased?

    Also, can I use more than one coupon for these items in the same transaction?

    Reply
    • Rachel October 12,

      Sounds like you’ve pretty much got it! If the coupon is for 40 cents off two items, you’re buying two items and then saving 20 cents on each one. If the item is on sale at $10/10, you’re paying $1 each before coupons and then 80 cents each (or like you said, $1.60 for two) afterward. If the coupon you have is for 40 cents off two, you’ll need a total of five of those coupons for a 10-item transaction. As long as the coupon isn’t restricted, such as the 4-identical-coupons-per-transaction limit printed in red type on P&G coupons, or the official store policy doesn’t limit you to a certain number, you can use as many coupons as you have matching items in your cart.

      Reply
    • Rachel October 12,

      Just to clarify, you can only use one manufacturer coupon per item — that’s what the “one per purchase” language at the bottom of the coupon means.

      Reply
  • Larry S. October 13,

    Great Site! I used to watch my parents clip coupons when I was younger, but as I got older and us kids started having so many activities, my parents stopped seriously couponing (they’d still try to use coupons for the purchases, but didn’t go out of their way to match coupons with other sales, etc.) But after reading your site, I think I may try to start the more serious stuff.

    One tip that I haven’t seen mentioned on this site yet… For printable coupons, you may want to consider joining some Get-Paid-To (GPT) site that gives you credit each time you use a coupon. For example, I am a member of InboxDollars and they have a coupon section powered by Coupons.com where I can get 10-cents for each coupon that I print through the site and redeem at the store. The 10-cents gets put into the InboxDollars account, which I won’t be able to cash out until I reach $30 threshold, so you don’t get to see the savings immediately, but as you’ve noted before, this is a process so every little bit helps. SendEarnings (InboxDollars sister site) and MyPoints are a few other GPT sites that have this coupon section.

    Reply
  • Molly December 11,

    Hi Ruth-
    I am on step two in the beginners guide and beginning to look for coupons online. Quick question, is it worth it to print a coupon that expires in a month? From what I have read most items go on sale every six months??
    Thanks,

    Molly

    Reply
  • Cory December 31,

    For example, if Hamburger Helper is normally $1.99 a box, and they are on sale for Buy 1, Get 1 Free, that will make them 50% off. That’s not good enough. However, if there is also a $1 off 2 boxes coupon available, your final price will be $0.50 a box, a savings of 75%. That is good enough to make the list!) i dont get this with a $1 off wouldn’t be 99cent? and i have been watching it on tv and how do they use a coupon and get it all free for that item just because they got more of that one item?

    Reply
  • Mozzbe January 5,

    I did my first coupon trips to CVS and Rite Aid. I collected coupons, tried for 60% off, and with trepidation my husband and I jumped in. After coming home we can see two register mistakes we can resolve tomorrow. We spent $140 out of pocket and used a bit over $165 in coupons and savings (huge for us), this is before seeing what happens when my entered receipt goes through in Rite Aid. Here is the thing… Why do I feel down? Is this ok? are my expectations to unrealistic for watching Extreme couponing? The goods will last us a few months (and we did buy a couple things not in saving we needed like medicine). We got hand soap, dish soap, and tissues for free (actually a tiny overage), and the rest all discounted, and all stuff we use. I hope we did not do too badly.

    Reply
  • monica January 7,

    If target had a deal 2 for $5 on ziploc bags and i had a coupon save $1 off any 2 ziploc brand bags, would i end up paying $4 plus tax or could i use another coupon? How does that really work when the coupon says to purchase a quantity like 2 or 3 items in order to save some cents or more? Is it even worth it? or is it better to get the coupound where you save on single items, coupon per purchase . OR SAVE 50¢KRAFTon any TWO (2) KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese products (8oz. or larger)
    can I use more coupons like manufacture coupons or its not worth buying?

    Reply
    • heidi December 2,

      I am wondering the same! if you find the answer please let me know :)

      Reply
  • Kevin January 12,

    Thank you for the great advice.
    I especially like how you broke it down into bite-sized baby steps.
    Starting slowly and forming good habits is critical.

    Reply
  • Carmen January 19,

    Hi Ruth I like how u divided into steps I havent go shopping but when I do i’ll keep u updated. Thanx

    Reply
  • cj January 29,

    hello in this weeks lesson it says that if an item is on sale for bogo. u can use two coupons one for the paid item and one for thr free item can u explain this to me and how it is possible??

    Reply
  • Rachel March 2,

    is there a cheat sheet available for crazy scenarios like buy 3 for $5 ,buy 4 for $5 and etc. to help braek things down a little while your looking at the coupon trying to see how much you would save? and how much it averages out to befor the coupon. my problem is math and its VERY discouraging :(

    Reply
  • RRR March 21,

    I would say the best plan of action would be to get a little calculator and run thru these. Example: 3 for $5= enter 5, divide (/) by 3 =$1.67. After a $1 off of 3 or 3 for $4, (same method as before) = $1.33. It just gets a little complicated when you have those 3 for $5 sales and you have a store coupon that is BOGO and two MQ for $.40 off 1 and your store doubles coupons under $.50. So the answer would be 7cents plus tax for two of them. (i think) good luck, everyone!

    Reply
  • Julie March 23,

    Hi Ruth,
    I found your website and this is awesome. Very organized and layed out correctly.. however I do not seem to get how everyone organizes their coupons… i have a little accordian folder and graduated to a larger one for a little more organization.. but when I read the paper vs what coupons I have.. i never know what coupons i have for what or the item is never on sale.. Also.. i have heard about getting diapers for free…. i do not understand how someone can get a larger priced item like diapers for free. I understand getting toothpaste and pantyliners and little stuff like that for free because it costs about $1… but what about diapers or wipes that cost $4+
    Thanks for the help

    Reply
    • Julie March 25,

      Also, I tried to use (2) B1G1 free coupons on playtex tampons for 2 boxes like I understood in the previous postings you could get it free or 75% off depending on the store.. tried it at Walgreens & CVS and they both denied it. said I could only use one coupon thats B1G1 for 2 products. Can you please clarify? Thanks so much for your help!!!!
      BTW, even tho I still didnt get both free.. I paid $37 and the total came to $71
      Pretty good savings if you ask me :)

      Reply
  • Brooke April 5,

    Hi Ruth! I’m am sooo overwelmed already, I can’t seem to wrap my head around this whole thing yet, I have all day to learn, cause I am home all day long, everyday. I got a binder ( I can file with it and do the baseball card method too ), my husband bought me a printer, and we collected a whole bunch of coupons. I just don’t know what to do now.. So is this I should do? Find out what’s on sale and match it with a coupon? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Ruth April 5,

      You can do it Brooke! Just remember that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Take advantage of the shopping lists over at http://www.SavingWellSpendingLess.com to easily find out what is on sale and what coupons match up to that sale. And start SLOW. Don’t take on too much too soon!

      Reply
  • Paula Jenkins May 29,

    HI Ruth! Ty for the amazing site. I have been interested in starting this with my nine year old niece and your site is wonderfully organized and easy to follow! Even for a nine year old helping me:) It gives us time together to clip coupons now during the week instead of tv and computer.

    ALso I wanted to drop you a tip for printing. If you know someone in a local hotel as an employee or just frequent one many times they offer free business services to their guests and you can ask the front desk if you can print an email from their business centers if you want to save ink. :) I been in the hotel industry for about 15 years and we usually honor even non guests asking to use the business centers and let them in. ALso they have multiple computers if you need other ip addresses to print more than the allowed 2 :) just a thought…

    thank you again!

    Reply
  • Matty June 11,

    Hi Ruth! I just discovered your website! For me though instead of eight weeks it’s been like four weeks and, I’m on week two. though I have been amazed you were totally right if I just went in and tried to buy like 5 items at once I would have been over whelmed but, I did make it to the store today and, was able to purchase 10 half cartons of Soy Almond milk. Which was originally $3.18 at Walmart. So I found another local store Smiths who was doing a 10 for $10 deal on Soy milk. At this point it was a good price but, I had coupons too after all the coupons and, the price matching I was able to get all the milk for $1.40 for all 10 cartons together. I also was able to buy eight boxes of Kotex for just sales tax which was .4 cents ..so far so good!

    Reply
  • Rhiana June 17,

    I am a little confused…I have a buy one get one free manufacturers coupon for venus razors. They are buy one get one free at rite aid currently. Would they bee free for me? Or how does that work?

    Reply
  • printable coupons for free June 23,

    You are so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve truly read through something like this before. So nice to discover someone with some original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

    Reply
  • jennifer June 25,

    Hi I was wondering if there is a coupon for example 1$ off of four candy bars if I only get two candy bars can I still use the coupon an just save 50¢?

    Reply
    • Anonymous April 10,

      To my understanding no. You must buy what is specified on the coupon to get the deal.

      Reply
  • Donna June 26,

    Ruth,
    I am 19 and am injoying your websit while trying to get through college! I have yet to go shopping but have been asking friends and family but they dont seem to know. My store will double any coupon up to $0.50 if i have both a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon can you use them both on the same item and have them both double as well?
    Also, I dont find many store coupons. How can I find more?
    Thanks,
    Donna

    Reply
  • Lyza June 28,

    I am just starting the couponing game I am excited but wondering, how do I get the good deals when almnost every coupon says limit to one coupon per specified item(s) per visit??? I have watched the extreme couponing on TLC and it seems they use multiple coupons.is this a state thing? or I just havent gotten the coupons that are not limited yet?

    Reply
    • jay October 27,

      that just means that you can only use one coupon for one item. for example: if you had 2 of the $1 off coupons, you could only use it on one item, and would have to use the second coupon on another item. idk if that made sense

      Reply
  • Michelle September 22,

    Hi there! I have been searching endlessly for step by step help with coupons for beginners. I just discovered your site and I have to say…Your site is the BEST MOST USER FRIENDLY for me! I work 2 jobs and both have cut staff hours so things have been extremely tight. I have tried coupons before but never seemed to “save” much at all. I have often been in checkouts and think, “I sure wish I knew how to use coupons correctly. Everything is so expensive.”

    I have been reading up on your info and soaking it all in, chewing on it and setting some goals. I am sooooo excited to start! I will be starting Step 1 very soon and just wanted to say what a God-send you are to help others out there that, such has me who has no clue where to start. Thank you for all the resources and commitment for “newbies”! Many blessings to you always.

    Reply
  • Kelli September 27,

    I am so grateful for this information. I am new at this and already feel overwhelmed by all of the information. I have watched a couple ‘how to’ videos on youtube and noticed that there were times when multiple transactions were made. Why is this done and how do you know if you need to do this? I appreciate all tips!

    Reply
  • Analee October 21,

    I am just getting started, finished my first week homework, now I am very confused about this match ups websites, how do you use them? how do you pick the products on your list? how do you pick which coupons to print?

    Reply
  • Tiffany October 22,

    ****Please answer****

    Thank you very much for this info. I am excited and the info makes me confident that I can do this! I do have one area of confusion. Here is my question…

    The store has hamburger helper on sale for .99 cent a box. My coupon is for .75 cent off three. If I buy three, can I use three .75 cent off coupons reducing the cost down to .25 cent per item since you can technically use one coupon per item? Or can I only get .75 off for every 3 I buy?

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  • karina October 26,

    hey i like the website but what i dont understand is do you use multiple of the same coupon for the same product? i dont know if that even makes sense

    Reply
  • jay October 27,

    Hi, so ive been wondering, if im buying 5 things…does that mean i need 5 coupons? one for each item? and is there a specific day in the week that things are put on sale?

    Reply
  • Jessica November 1,

    Well today was the first day I went shopping with coupons…I spent 2.5 hours in the store and felt very overwhelmed. I did save 85% shopping at my local grocery store and saved about 45% at my local Dollar General. Organizing the coupons alphabetically seemed to be a fantastic idea until I reached the store…where I just seemed to “lose it.” Should I arrange coupons by isle or just allot 3-4 hours to shopping! I love this website and I really want to get the hang of this extreme couponing. I suppose I will have to be patient while I am getting the hang of it. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Dina November 8,

    I am very new at trying to coupon and I have 2 questions that i dont see asked or answered anywhere…1. How do you save or stockpile coupons to wait for sales for better deals when most expire within 4 to 6 weeks. It seems they try to expire before I can really get alot or put them to use.
    2. I dont understand how people (on extreme coupon) for example get higher ticket items for pennies or free. I mean i get how an item that can go on sale for $1.00 can be free if you have a .50 coupon but how on the larger ticket items..i mean tide never goes on sale that cheap….please help because these 2 things are discouraging me.

    Reply
  • Bill November 18,

    I am not sure if you are aware of this site, but the Shop Rite website publishes a link to a site listing fraudulent coupons that are not acceptable. The site is http://www.cents-off.com. This may be a good resource for you to check out before your trip to the store to save the hassle at checkout.

    Reply
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  • Linda January 2,

    Hi ;) I just came across your website today ;) my New Years resolution is to become an extreme coupon lady to save my family money. I am fixing to embark in nursing school and will be unemployed so this will help so much!! I have a question how do we know a QUANTITY to buy?? I see people get 24 of one item and 12 of this item and 8 of this item. How do we know what quantity we need to get for the most savings? Thanks so much!! Linda

    Reply
  • sarah January 14,

    what does this mean if my coupon says get $1 off any 5 chef boyardee. does it mean i get $1 off 1 can or $1 off 5 cans

    Reply
    • Anonymous April 10,

      $1 off every 5 cans.

      Reply
  • maru January 17,

    I have a question about the coupons from the store, I have been trying to look for them but no luck, do we add them to the store card and then when I go to shop this coupon will be effective on my checkout? or do you have to print them, if so, where do you find them printable?

    Reply
  • Guest January 18,

    Just did my first shopping trip. I seperated my transactions out…one with coupons and one without since this was my first shopping trip. I used 2 coupons on 2 times and my oop amount was .42 cents. They actually paid 3 cents towards my tax. Funny thing was I received 47 cents back from my first transaction, so it was like paying nothing at all. I thank you for your 8 week lessons. I knew I would not be able to sustain from peeking at the rest of the weeks after today’s trip went so well. Also, wanted to share that Walmart had some air freshner refills for .10 each, I got there to late :-( that would have been a money maker. Also, PLEASE PLEASE to everyone out there, do not take the coupons off items in the stores that you are not purchasing, be kind to other couponers. I went through an entire case of glade air fresheners and everyone of the coupons had been taken off except for the very last 2 I checked, I then bought one with a 1.00 off coupon I had that was expiring before the one on the air freshner, so now I have another coupon if I like this air freshner system or want to give it as a gift.

    Reply
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  • Alyssa February 17,

    Hello! I was just reading through this and was wondering what you meant by ‘Buy 1 get 1 free, you can use 2 coupons’… kind of lost me there. I thought you would use one coupon for the one you would be buying, then you would get the other one free? so confused.. lol. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Leah G. March 28,

      Alyssa, I am confused with that to. Have you figured it out yet?

      Reply
  • Gretchin March 2,

    OK. I love this course. Very easy to understand. This week I clipped and organized. And now, I can’t find anything worth buying. Is it a bad week (that’s what my couponing friend said) or am I still not getting it right?

    Reply
  • Cassidy March 3,

    I have some quick questions..
    I have one coupon for 40 cents off 6 yoplait yogurts, and another coupon for 50 cents off eight cups of yogurt, can i use both coupons on 8 cups of yogurts since they’re not exaclty the same coupon?
    One more..
    I have a save 50 cents off two boxes of fiber one bars coupon and i also have the exact replica of this coupon too, could i use both coupons since im technically “buying” two boxes of the fiber bars! THANK YOU!

    Reply
    • Mary March 9,

      Cassidy, Usually you can’t use both coupons on something like that (the yogurt). I never use the yogurt coupons unless it’s on sale for a really good price. It does go on sale very often where I live (SE WI) and multiple stores. I believe you can use both Fiber One coupons. I have done that on items like that many times, but some stores try to keep you from doing that. I say ask first or have the cashier ring up both boxes and then hand the coupons to the cashiers. Don’t be afraid to say I don’t want the item if the price is too high. I try not to do that very often, but if I’m unure I just bring it with me to the checkout. A hint though; don’t bring too many items like that at a time. It’s not fair to the cashier, the employees putting things away, and the fellow shoppers behind you. If a store has a service desk and you’re not sure just drop by and say you have a question about a coupon. They’ll let you know. In fact I work in a store and one of my local grocery stores had a great sale on cereal ($1.69 a box each if you buy 4—they only had a few to choose from, but they were cereals we buy anyway (chex, wheeties, cheerios, and others). I had a coupon for Wheaties $1.00 off 1 box. The store had double coupon days Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You had to spend $25.00 in order to get the double coupons and you could only use 10.
      I usually just buy whatever meat is on sale, produce, etc. to hit that mark. One of their cashiers happened to come into the store I work at on her break to buy something and I asked her if I could still use that wheaties coupon even though it would basically make that box free.
      I also had a .75 coupon for wheaties and a $1.00 off 2 for chex. I got 4 boxes of cereal for $1.26. That’s less than what 1 box cost at regular price (almost $4.00 for the wheaties here).
      I just shopped the ad mostly (I hadn’t bought ice cream in a while and splurged and bought what my mom likes anyway). I was trying to get under $50.00, but the ice cream brought up to $55.34. Still I saved $31.19 between the bag refund (some of our stores give you credit for bringing in your own cloth bags), having their loyalty card, store coupons, and manufacturer coupons. Considering I bought meat and ice cream I think I did fairly well.

      Reply
  • Justin March 15,

    awesome! Saved 87% on my 1st trip. On to week 3.

    Reply
  • Christina March 21,

    Hi! I have a question. When I see something like this:

    Gorton’s Skillet Crisp, Simply Bake, or Breaded Tilapia Fillets or Fish Sticks, 8.2-17.2 oz-$5.00
    $1/1 Gorton’s Skillet Crisp Item printable
    $0.75/1 Gorton’s Grilled Item printable

    Final Price $4.00 each

    Does that mean I use BOTH coupons and it is really $1.75/1? And how do I know what the original price was so that I can determine if it is 60% off?

    THANKS!

    Reply
  • Shelly March 23,

    I am trying to understand how all this works. I went to the store with a coupon for cereal 1 dollar off when you buy 2 boxes. I had a coupon for .50 cents off 1. The store said you can’t put those together. They said the 1 dollar off 2 boxes is the coupon for both boxes. Did I do something wrong??

    Reply
  • Stacey March 25,

    Ok I’m trying to make my shopping list and having a bit of trouble with it. Should I have a coupon for every item I purchase, even if the coupon says 1.00 off 3 items. I should have a coupon for each of the three items?
    I love coupons and I use them on a small scale , but I would like to start using them on a much larger scale.
    Your website is great, but for some reason I’m just not picking up the shopping list section :(

    Stacey

    Reply
  • Lisa April 12,

    Hooray! I just bought a dozen eggs, a tube of colgate, a 2 liter of pop, and a bag of chips for $0.90!! Super small purchase, I know, but I am so thrilled! I cannot wait to build my # of coupons so I can do a real shoping trip! Thank you so much for the tips and very well laid out website! Your baby steps are fabulous! I feel confident that I will succeed at this!

    Reply
    • Anonymous April 24,

      That was great and I was happy about my schick deal you did an excellent job I will start with groceries

      Reply
  • Cierra April 14,

    i am so over whelmed with all the different sites to try and find coupons just for one store. how do u no which site to choose there r just so many? and how do u get around putting ur address down?

    Reply
  • Heather April 18,

    I love this baby steps program! I just have one question. You mentioned that it’s only a good deal if it is saving you at least 60% off the regular retail price. I’m having a hard time deciding what is 60% or not because I don’t always know the regular retail price of a lot of the on sale items. The websites and store ads normally just put what the sale price is. Is there a simple way to compare retail and sale price so that you can see if the coupons will make it at least 60%??

    Reply
  • Lucas April 18,

    Hello.. I am on step 2 getting my shopping list and coupons in order and I am stuck…. I need help.. I was wondering if you could give me a call and help me out>?

    Reply
  • Ashley April 19,

    i have a coupon for 1.oo of any three items does that mean that i can use 3 coupons on all the items and make it free

    Reply
  • Silvana Roque April 24,

    What a great website thank you so much for all the info this is my first time using coupons I did the schick deal at target got the buy 2 get $5 off with target coupon and the schick hydro for man for 0.21 I saved a total of 24.14 thanks I will continue couponig wish I found this website before super happy :)

    Reply
  • Grace April 27,

    Hi, im 13 years old & today was my first day to start this couponing, and surprisling is really fun! This website is great! thanks. So far with printable coupons i have $49.83 !! i cant wait to get morre and help my mom go shopping!! :)

    Reply
  • Danielle April 30,

    Hello. I have been enjoying your site. The problem i am having is that i can not seem to match up sales at the store to my coupons for great savings?

    Reply
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  • Cailyn May 28,

    I LOVE THIS WEBSITE!! Very helpful.
    I have a BOGO coupon for by one Gillette razor, get a shaving cream free. If walgreens is having a sale on the same razors buy one, get one 50% off, can I use two of the free shaving cream coupons in that transaction, one for the full priced razor and one for the 50% off razor?

    Reply
  • Kayla June 4,

    I am a 15 year old teenager and i need to know how people i should bring with on my shopping trip.

    Reply
  • Karen Wilson June 18,

    It took me FOREVER just to figure out what you are talking about when you say “matchups”. I’ve finally deduced that it means a website where people have already figured out that there is a coupon of some sort that can go along with an item that’s on sale for a particular store. (It would have saved me a lot of time if you’d explained that.)
    In a Google search, I did not find a website for matchups for the only grocery store in my town (Scolaris), so I guess I will have to figure out if there are any coupons out there (somewhere!) for sale items at Scolaris, all on my own! So, I’ve gone to coupons.com, and I’m reading through pages and pages of coupons looking for coupons for “Lays Potato Chips” (that Scolaris has on sale), and I can’t find any. There has to be an easier way. I do not see a search option on the coupons.com site, so that I could just search for it. Grrr.
    I am finding that the TIME CONSUMING part of all this is trying find coupons that match the store’s sale this week. I can see how a matchup site would be very helpful.
    I’m trying to do “step two” of your instructions (to pick out three items that matches all the criteria), but I cannot even find ONE coupon that matches something (anything) that is on sale at Scolaris.
    Am I going about it wrong? First, I look at the sale ad, then I pick out an item, then I search online for a coupon for that item. So far, no luck. Any suggestions? Anyone?

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 23,

    I shop very few items within the aisles of the grocery store. I shop and cook fresh most of the time. My experience with coupons is that they are most often for packaged and processed food items. Is this true? Could I still benefit from couponing without changing the way we eat? Please advise. Many thanks!

    Reply
  • Kimberly July 9,

    I just found this section of your blog and I am sooooo excited I did! I have seen the other awesome tips on your blog and I can’t wait until I get to go to the store after matching up coupons! I am a stay at home mom of 2 boys so I need to be able to save as much as possible! The most % I have been able to get off my grocery bill is 26% but I haven’t been able to do that in a while! I know you will be able to help me do it with your awesome tips!

    Reply
  • Dawn July 11,

    I am loving your insights on couponing. I am definitely a beginner. Today I went to Kroger to buy Kelloggs’s cereal on sale with coupons and got to checkout and realized I couldn’t pay because my wallet was at home in my diaper bag. What a mistake to make! Anyway, I have a question for you. If I have 2 coupons that say something along the lines of save $1 on the purchase of 2 boxes of cereal, can I use the 2 coupons on just 2 boxes of cereal, or would I need to purchase 4 boxes to use both coupons?

    Reply
  • Alex July 27,

    Hi Ruth!
    I’m just starting this and I’m wondering how you know when your coupons will double or not?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Barbara August 9,

      Hi Alex!
      I just started couponing but thought I may be able to assist on this one. If you look up your store’s coupon policy it may state whether they double coupons. I looked up the policy online yesterday for the store I frequent and there was a line specifically that stated they do not double or triple coupons. If you are unable to locate the policy online or it does not address doubling coupons you could always call or speak with someone at the store for clarification. Hope this helps! :)

      Reply
  • Laura August 5,

    I have a question! When looking for what to buy that is ONLY on sale, do you have to look at the matchup site as well as the sale papers and see which item is on both lists? And if it isnt on BOTH lists, then I shouldnt buy it?

    Reply
  • Viki August 9,

    Hi, new at couponing. I started with your page, it’s great. I live in NJ, wet to Shoprite. Did pretty good on savings (67%), but how do you do it to come even lower. I purchased BIC pens $0.88, had $1.00 coupon, and it only took $0.88 off my bill. Same with the ice cream. Price was $1.19, had $0.75 coupon, which doubled only$0.44… So I get thing for free, but there is never a money maker, which I can use on other thing. Is it only Shoprite you think, or it was a cashier? She checked every single coupon throughly…

    Reply
  • Barbara August 9,

    Wonderful website Ruth, thank you for the resource! I did my first shopping trip yesterday with Part 2 specifications and it went great! Spent $2.34 and saved $6.98. I was even able to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for one item! Looking forward to following your guide over the next several weeks as I learn the ropes. Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Danielle November 3,

    I chose Smart Ones (regular price $2.18-$2.95) which were on sale for $2 a piece, I had a $3 off 9 and a $1 off 2 coupon, I also found out at the store that it was buy 5 get one free. So I bought 12 of them. The receipt is a bit confusing (for Meijer). It doesn’t say ‘smart ones coupon -$3, instead it just says coupon 10000111344etc -$3, and the free items are listed in the receipt, not at the bottom. So I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out exactly how much I spent on them. Here’s how I am figuring this out. I had 12 of them, and 2 were free at $2 a piece, that’s $20 for 12 before physical coupons. I had the $3 and the $1 coupon, which is $4 off, making it $16 for 12, which is not the result I expected, but is still pretty good

    Reply
  • Samantha November 4,

    I am confused about certain coupons and the equation that goes with it all. I don’t necessarily actually wanna call it confused because I’m actually VERY good at math, but I WOULD call it second-guessing myself. For instance I have a coupon for save .50 when you buy 2 of one product. I guess my question is would i receive .50 off BOTH or .25 off BOTH

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup November 5,

      You would receive $.50 off total, so it would break down to $.25 off each item.

      Reply
  • Stephanie Kasubaski November 8,

    Ok so almost all my coupons say limit one coupon per purches so how do I combined and save .

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup November 8,

      If you can’t combine manufacturer’s coupons, you can use one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon.

      Reply
  • Sierra Allen November 19,

    Hi, I’m new to the couponing world and had a couple questions about part two (I’m do the 8-week course :)) I don’t quite understand the term ‘matchups’. I don’t understand the shopping lists on the websites. I thought by clicking the checkmarks I was about to print out those coupons but that wasn’t the case. Also, do you get multiple websites because you want to print the coupons multiple times? I just used about 30 pieces of paper printing at random from week one, I should have realized the stockpiling part… Why should I pick more than one store? I do almost all my grocery shopping at kroger, sometimes walmart if i’m already there. Honestly, I think I need help navigating the websites. I used coupon.com for all the ones I have but I’m just not sure what I’m doing. Part two confused me a bit. Please respond as soon as you can. I’ll be clipping!

    Reply
  • Kristina November 20,

    Hi Ruth, thanks so much for all of this! I am using the site livingrichwithcoupons.com. I’ve gone through and checked items for my store and printed my list. However, I am confused as to whether I need to click the link for each individual coupon and print them. For most of the links I’ve tried already, I have been prompted to register at each individual site and sometimes I can’t even tell that the link is leading me to an actual coupon. Or, sometimes within the list, the coupon description is not even a hyperlink. Any advice or explanation here?

    Thank you!
    Kristina

    Reply
  • Connie November 21,

    Sorry another question. What if the coupon states manufacturer but has a store logo on it aswell?

    Reply
  • Toni November 24,

    Starting week 2, Thank you for the baby steps !

    Reply
  • D December 1,

    I am just starting this whole process. I am gathering coupons–but am wondering how this works when my P&G brand saver coupon says “limit one coupon per purchase of products and quantities stated”. “Limit of 4 like coupons per household per day”.

    Thanks for your insight.

    Reply
  • Ali December 12,

    This 8 week step by step program is helpful. However, in week two under gather coupons you state that if there is a BOGO you can use coupons on both items. This is not always the case. One would do well to review coupon policies such as this as well as doubling, restrictions on same coupon per transaction etc. The stores I shop at, I have recently reviewed their policies, prohibit a coupon on the free item in the BOGO because the item is free, prohibit a BOGO coupon on a BOGO item because you actually have to buy one to use the buy one coupon. They do allow using a cents off coupon on the buy one item in a BOGO because you have actually purchased an item. It does well to check policies too! Great site. Excited to coupon!

    Reply
  • Thera Joyce December 18,

    Hi there! I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this great series! I have taken about 3 shopping trips so far and have done excellent each time! I saved 99% my first time, 66% my second time and I took my third trip today. I only saved 57% (should of been 60%) but since a I had a few printed coupons that wouldn’t scan, Safeway wouldn’t take them. The clerk was a bit rude to me too, but I’m not going to let that bother me. Thank you again! :)

    Reply
  • Kristina December 27,

    I know I’m VERY late to the game on this but a family member turned me on to the idea and I’m trying really hard to figure it out. On some of the sites it will list an item and then there will be a list of 20 coupons beneath it. Am I supposed to print all 20? Do I just pick one? Is my question even making sense?? Here is an example of what I’m talking about: http://www.southernsavers.com/2013/12/kroger-ad-1215-1228-free-milk-promotion/ Under the GM Cereal AD there is so many coupons…I’m not sure what to do with them all?! Thank you so much and happy new year :)

    Reply
  • Abigail December 28,

    Hi Ruth,
    Im on step two..using publix as my store. do I go to the store to get the store coupon in the flyer or do i print it online? So far I can only see how to get the manufacturer’s coupon which also comes up on the publix site

    Reply
  • Anonymous December 30,

    Ruth,
    I have been using coupons for a few years without much success. So when I found your site, I decided to start all over from scratch. I cut and pasted this example from one of the coupon matchup sites you recommended:

    Bounty Paper Towels, 6 – 8 rolls – $6.99
    - $0.25/1 Bounty Towels and Napkins – Coupons.com – Manufacturer
    - $0.25/1 Bounty Paper Towel Or Napkins, Any (Excludes Trial/Travel Size) (Limit Of 4 Like Coupons Per Household Per Day) – PGEveryday.com – Manufacturer
    - $0.20/1 Bounty Towels Or Napkins, Any (Excludes Trial/Travel Size; Limit Of 4 Like Coupons Per Household Per Day) – 12-01-13 PG – Manufacturer – (exp. 01/01/14)
    Final Price: $5.74

    Please help me understand the math. If we can only use one MQ per item, then it would seem to me that the final price would be $6.74. Am I missing something? Can you please walk me/us thru the example I listed above?

    P.S. Love your site! Thank you so much for the service and information you are providing.

    Reply
  • Irma January 19,

    So I have a coupon save .50 cents on any 3 campbell soup. Right now when you buy 8 it’s $1. This is my 1st trip and want to know Can I use that same coupon for 9 soups or do I have to print 3 coupons? This is a manufacturer coupon and I am going to use it at Shoprite. Kind of confused if the coupon will come off every 3 I buy or ONLY 3.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  • Kate January 26,

    Hi,

    I am trying to learn how to extreme coupon and have been wanting to do it for a long time but every time I start. I feel overwhelmed and stop. I don’t understand if we are able to user more than one coupon per item? I found a lot of coupons but very confused as to how to use the. All I wanted to attempt for my first trip was free paper towels and free toilet paper or at least get the cost down by 50. I have two shoprite coupons one for brawny which says save 1.50 off a six roll and one for scott toiet paper that says save 1.50 off of any 6 or more. I wasn’t able to find any other coupons for brawny or any sales in stores so I guess for that brand, I am out of luck? for the scott paper I was able to get an extra coupon off their site for 1.00 off or a .75 off of 6 or more. so I was thinking of using my 1.50 and then giving the store the75 cent because the double unless it says not tot double. but will they take both those coupons for one big lets 24 pack of toilet paper? I thought most stores are limited to one coupon per item?

    sorry if this is confusing but its bc I am very confused and frustrated myself but this is something I would really love to learn to do. any suggetions would be greatly appreciated :)

    Reply
  • Lindsey January 27,

    I am addicted to extreme couponing on TLC. I watch it on netflix all the time! I am a senior in high school and I just came across your blog and I love it!! I live with my mom and when your bills add up to more than your check is then you need to save where ever possible. I think I’m going to try doing couponing. Even if I can save 5 or 10 dollars at the register it’s all worth it!! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  • Kate January 28,

    Hi again,

    I did my first shopping trip and I was able to save 22.00 dollars. so instead of paying 62 for a small shopping trip I paid 40. I was very happy but I had more coupons I thought I could have used but they didn’t let me bc they said only one coupon allowed per the item on coupon but the lady at register did say I could use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon? is this true? even though the manufacturer coupon says only one coupon per item? I was proud of myself but deff need to learn how to do better :)

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup January 29,

      Great work!
      Yes, you can use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item.
      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • lisa February 2,

    Hello and thank you for your site! I live in SE Florida (Siuth (Palm Beach County). We only have walmart publix and winn dixie. I have been using coupons and ad match at walmart for years. What I cannot figure out is how to use my coupons before they expire. Usually they are only good for 4 weeks. How do you make the most of them during this very short period of time???

    I am REALLY looking forward to knowing how. Thank you very much!

    Lisa

    Reply
  • lisa February 2,

    I just posted a question but I have another. Here is SE Florida none of the stores will double your coupon. How would I be able to really save without being able to double?

    Thanks again!

    Lisa in SE Florida (with limited options:(

    Reply
    • Nestor February 3,

      Although doubling would decrease your savings substantially, you can still save without them. I live in Southern California where doubling doesn’t happen, and today I saved 71% of my tab from MQ and store sales.

      Reply
  • Nestor February 3,

    Hello Ruth, I’m on week two of your blog. This was my first time shopping with coupons at hand, and I bought $30.00 worth of cereal and power drinks for less than $9.00! That was a 71% savings! I know the cereal I got isn’t the best, but this is my first visit. Like you said, I’ll eventually start having variety as my stockpile goes up. Thanks, moving on to week 3!

    Reply
  • Erin February 5,

    Okay, so I’m very new at the couponing thing. I have clipped and printed my coupons and want to start my list. My question is do I start my list by my coupons? And how do I know how many coupons to use at one time, and how can I figure out my total cost. For instance Hefty Slider Bags are 2 for $3 and I have a dollar off 2 packages. So would I want to use 2 coupons or more? Confused, and I know this is is a silly question. Just trying to get the hang of this stuff.

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup February 6,

      Hi Erin,
      You would need 2 coupons to purchase 4 boxes of Hefty Slider bags since the coupon states $1.00 off 2. I have included a link to my FAQ page: http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/faqs/
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • stephanie February 6,

    hi, im currently trying to do the couponing, and im trying to see how I need to save 60% or more. how do I do that if I don’t have he price of the item? I don’t want to have to go to the store and look at every single item and write it down so I can know? how do yall do it. Any help would be awesome!! thank you, Steph.

    Reply
  • Thomas Dieter February 9,

    So i just did my first extreme couponing exercise that was from this assignment. I don’t think that I did very well. I didn’t follow the assignment perfectly because I thought that I had a firm grasp of couponing after reading over the first week and second weeks assignment for an additional 2 weeks and watching the TLC Show Extreme Couponing. I ended up buying $81.44 in products and only paid 58.20, a savings of 29%. Is that normal? I know that a few things that I got and used a coupon for were needed, but everything else didn’t need and got cause it looked like it would be a good deal.

    I know that one thing that didn’t help is the store didn’t follow threw with the ad matching like I thought that it would, and caused 2 of my deals to go from 95% and 75% savings down to almost nothing. In all i think i would get a D grade. what do you think?

    Reply
  • Brittany February 10,

    Hi Ruth!
    I am starting coupon-ing and taking your course now. I am on the second week and just went on my first shopping trip. I only had about 40 coupons on various items. I went to 2 different stores in my small town. However, I was only able to get one or two deals. A couple boxes of cereals for $1.75 each. (Sale price: 2.50. Coupon for 0.75 cent off)
    I am trying to find more deals and better prices. How can I tell when stores are going to have their sales on products? Also, I have found many manufacturer’s coupons online but having trouble finding store coupons. I have some friends that give me the inserts out of their sunday papers and mail, but still nothing more. Is there any other way? Are store circular’s the best way to find in store sales?

    I am a fresh out of college student that is looking for any way to stretch a dollar! If I could learn to do this for my household it could lead to a way to donate to the community as well.

    Thank you for your blog and help!

    Britt

    Reply
  • Mia February 11,

    Ruth,
    I love the idea of couponing and am trying very hard to learn it! I have 1 question though to make sure I am understanding this right. My local grocery store has a deal of buy any 3 Oscar Mayer lunch meats get $3 off (with in store coupon). I also have a manufacturer coupon of get $1 off any 2 Oscar Mayer lunch meats. Does this mean I can use these coupons together?
    Thank you for your help!
    Mia

    Reply
  • Elaina February 16,

    Hi Ruth!

    I loved reading your personal story on your About page. Thanks for being so open about why you started couponing! I’m just now starting, and am just looking ahead to figure out what I want to buy for week 2. When you are figuring out the percentage you will save to see if an item fits the criteria for 60% savings, how do you know the pre-sale price of the item you are thinking about buying? I don’t see it listed on the weekly ads or on the coupons. Do you just have to know the price from previous shopping trips?

    Thanks!!
    Elaina

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup February 19,

      You can keep track of items that you regularly buy and their prices. You must also realize that Mega-saving (70-80% or more) on a regular basis takes time. You need to first establish a plentiful and varied stockpile, as well as a good supply of coupons. You also need to commit to buying only what is on sale each week. A few non-sale–especially milk, eggs, dairy, & produce– or impulse items will really affect your bottom line. I personally almost always buy milk at CVS using Extra Care Bucks, and I usually buy eggs at Walgreens using my Register Rewards. But be patient and consistent, and you’ll get there. And remember, ANY savings is better than none!

      Reply
  • Steffani Dyson February 18,

    Hey, Ruth!

    My boyfriend and I have recently started couponing. I find myself getting overwhelmed..a lot..but he seems to pick up the slack when I get frustrated. After I followed your advice, his shopping trip was a total of $27.68 and we paid only $12.58. 55% savings!

    Thanks!
    Steff

    Reply
  • Alexis February 24,

    I need your help! I’m confused on the math part

    Reply
  • Kaitlyn February 25,

    I’m very excited to be starting the week two assignment on the the beginners guide but am a little confused on one thing. Many of the coupons on sites like coupons.com don’t share the original price of the item, so I’m not exactly sure how to tell if I am, in fact, getting 60% off the original price. Thanks again for the step-by-step, it’s really great!

    Reply
  • Kaitlyn February 25,

    Looks like someone beat me to the punch on my last question, sorry about the repetition.

    Reply
  • Kelly February 27,

    I’m a college freshman and I wanted to start couponing after seeing my friends grocery bill come out to be $93 for a single transaction for ONE week. 1. Living in Florida, I know that Publix doesn’t allow “doubles” of the coupons. 2. Looking up one item to focus on, I found a coupon for Yoplait Greek Yogurt on the Publix website that is “Save $1.00 on Five”. 3. I visited the iheartpublix website and looked up Yoplait Greek Yogurt and saw a plethora of links to coupons with the post entitled “Yoplait Greek Yogurt as Low as 20 cents Each”. So my question is: are all of the links to coupons provided usable with the coupon that I found on the Publix website? The coupons provided are:
    -$1/5 Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt cups 5.3- or 6-oz. Target Coupon
    -$0.50/1 Yoplait Greek Cup
    -$1/5 any variety Yoplait® Greek yogurt (Void in LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN)
    -$1/5 Yoplait Greek Yogurt, Any ( Void In LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN) – 01/05/2014 SS Insert
    -$1/3 any variety Yoplait® Greek yogurt (Void in LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN)
    -$1/5 Yoplait® Greek yogurt Upromise Deposit
    Can this process be broken down further for me? I just want to understand more, because I’m just not getting it. Thank you so much for your help!

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup February 28,

      Hi Kelly,
      You can generally use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item. Upromise can also be used but you will not see the savings at the checkout but added to your Upromise account.
      I’m also attaching a link to my FAQ post: http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/faqs/
      I hope this helps!
      Good luck! :)

      Reply
  • Kristin P. February 27,

    I just wanted to say that I’m so glad I found your blog! I live in Northern California where double coupons don’t exist. I always thought in order to stockpile, and really grab the best freebies and deals, I was just plain out of luck. Not so! After reading week two, and becoming instantly obsessed with Norcalcoupongal.com (one of the blogs you posted) I tried a small couponing trip to Target. Actually, two…because I saved so much on the first trip ($25 worth of products for $4.98) that I went back the next day with more deals and saved even more ($46 worth of products for $4.45)!! I am so proud to say I have begun my own small stockpile, and my friends have all asked me how I did it. I texted them a link to your couponing course and Norcalcoupongal.com this morning! I have always said that Target OWNS me, now I feel like I own Target!

    Reply
  • Amanda March 3,

    So I am just starting out. My first week my sister and I spent way more than we planned basically because the store we go to had the savings card sales all over the place. One coupon didn’t scan because the barcode wasn’t across the coupon? Why did that happen. I was going to save 4$ on something and it didn’t work. Can they use the code thats on the coupon? I need advice basically. I get that it is baby steps.

    Reply
  • Morgan McAstocker March 11,

    All of the print out coupons say one per purchase so how does that work if you cant get multiples of the item.

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup March 13,

      Are you talking about any specific coupons in particular? Most coupons specify “1 per purchase,” which really means “1 per item (or 2 items if the coupon is for $ off 2)” Unless a coupon specifies “1 per transaction” or “1 per person per day,” you can generally use as many coupons as you want. You’ll also want to check your store’s coupon policy. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Tiffany April 3,

    Hi Ruth! I am trying out the couponing and I get a little confused as to how the “doubling coupons” works!

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup April 3,

      Hi Tiffany,
      “Doubling coupons” is when one of the coupons is a store coupon, it will say the name of the store next to where to find the Q. Generally you are allowed to stack one store coupon with one MQ per product. I’m also attaching a link to my FAQ post: http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/faqs/
      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • heather April 13,

    Hi. I just discovered your website and so far love how organized it is. I am on week two of the eight week couponing lesson and I have a question. I went to one of the coupon matchup site but I don’t think I understand how they work. could you explain it for me? thanks

    Reply
  • Kat April 20,

    Hi Ruth,

    so i really like how simple the process seems until now but i’m having trouble finding and understanding a coupon matchup site. i seems like it’s very regional and i can’t seem to find anything that has offers and coupons on it that are actually valid where i live. Would it be easier for me to just look at available coupons and do the matchup part myself?

    Reply
    • Rachel July 21,

      Hi Kat, I am having the same problem with the match up sites, I have just been getting all the sales papers in my area and trying to match each coupon to the best sale, but I also left a message for Ruth because this is becoming a little overwhelming/time consuming so I asked if she had any other suggestions but it seems she has not been responding to these messages in a while, so I don’t know.

      Reply
  • treadmills for sale April 23,

    Sometimes they can be more expensive, unless they are having specials.
    If you maintain your belt well and keep it properly lubricated it will not only make your belt last longer,
    but also keep your treadmill running better for longer.
    A distinctive and versatile equipment that is good for all
    those who need to be physically fit.

    Reply
  • Tara May 1,

    im not understanding the example how would i end up with .50/box ? i got .99/ box because 1.99+free item than you have the 1.00 off 2 boxes so i subtracted 1.00 off the 1.99 and i got .99 ? im confused when it comes to the math ?

    Reply
    • Aryn May 10,

      .99 for one box, but the other is free. So, .50 per box if you divide the .99 by the 2 boxes.

      Reply
  • Samie May 11,

    Question with coupons that are unable to be printed any more cant you just screenshot the page and past it to pain and then print it as many times as you wish?

    Reply
  • Stef July 6,

    On the first lesson you had us collect coupons from the paper etc. but in lesson 2 you just seemed to have us make our list and get our coupons only from the computer. Will we be using the newspaper coupons later or should we make our list with our paper coupons in mind as well?

    Reply
  • Katie July 10,

    Hi Ruth, so i’m brand spanking new to this couponing thing, and so far your website has TOTALLY helped answer the majority of questions I had about couponing, but one thing i’m strugging with is finding coupons to double up on to get the best deal? I currently like in the Spokane, WA area and being as you’re from Seattle I was wondering if you had any stores you preferred to do your couponing at over another? I’m just having a hard time piecing everything together. Any input or advice is much appreciated :)

    Reply
  • Anonymous July 20,

    Hello, I am new to your page, I am on week two. I recently bought 10 packs of batteries 4pk and 10 packs of toilet paper 4pk for $5.85 it was pretty cool. But I am starting to get a little overwhelmed. I don’t really understand the whole match the store sites with coupons, but I have been looking through all of the sales papers from all the stores in my area and matching them with my coupons, but I have so many coupons and by the time I get just half of them matched up the new sales papers are coming out. am I doing something wrong or do I just need to spend more time matching them and getting it done faster. and I also feel awkward handing them 20 coupons but it was $1.00 off and the batteries were on sale for $10 for 10 and the toilet paper was on sale $5 for 5 and I had a coupon for 55 cents off. and yes after that big of a savings I was a bit embarrassed but it felt great saving so much! Thanks for this blog and hopefully I can get better at this. Rachel B

    Reply
  • cari July 22,

    there are many sites to get items free however you have to answer so many questions to do so. is that like that for all of them?

    Reply
  • Elliana July 25,

    Hello Everyone,
    I am a coupon virgin. I’ve never used the and do not know how deals work. I read this, and it’s giving me some sort of understanding for them. My question is, If I have a $2/2 coupon, and I use two of them to have $4/2 would it apply or would I have to actually get 4 items? I want to know before I start couponing in the stores. Also, the .75/1 my store does double, so would I have $1.50 off or .99?

    Please help…. T_T

    Reply
  • Anonymous July 26,

    I am a disabled 47 year young lady. I live in the state of TN where in my area we only have 2 stores 1. Kroger’s (who no longer doubles coupons :( ) and wal mart who does coupons comparison and who will accept some other store coupon. My question which store is can give me a better deal on my monthly bill. And I will be starting my assignment with the binder and tub and files this week

    Reply
  • Mo July 29,

    I just wanted to comment that when you talk about printable coupons, as well as the fact that they’re limited to 2/computer, something to consider is this: if you have a copy/print combination printer, you can scan the coupon, set it up to print multiple times on a page, and then print as many copies as you like without having to go through the online printable again.

    Reply
  • Dana July 31,

    This might be a silly question….But when I go to the coupon matchup site and pick my 3 items, after the coupon none of them are 60% off! What am I missing here?

    Reply
  • Angel August 1,

    so if an item is on sale bogo i can still use a coupon making it even less? just wanted to make sure. by the way thank you for your site, this is very helpful seeing as me and my fiance just got our first apartment and money is tight . im excited to learn on how to save money . your awesome :)

    Reply
    • Ange F August 4,

      Yes, you can use a coupon on BOTH items bringing your cost per item even less.

      Reply
  • carina August 2,

    I have a coupon that says $5 off any three of an item. Then another coupon that says $2 off any one of that item. Can I combine the two coupons on the three items???

    Reply
  • Angel August 4,

    I am new to couponing and have a question. Let me first start off by saying thank you for taking your time to share your knowledge with the world about saving with coupons. You are making it very easy for someone to learn. Next I would like to let you know that I have made a few trips to the stores and am happy with the savings; from Walgreen’s I bought my husband Right Guard deodorant for $0.49 each and at Bi-Lo I was able to buy him Dove body wash for $0.99 and stocked us up on shampoo and conditioner for FREE! Because it was free I gave some to my neighbor that just had a baby… Now to my question; some of the ads are just around the 50-55% savings, how do you know if/when a better deal for a product will be better. Example: I can go to CVS and buy razors with coupons and get cash back rewards, I am still paying $3 for them. I see on TV most of those people aren’t paying anything or at less under a $1. So I am just wondering if I should just wait and see if a better deal will come along. Thanks for any help you can give.

    Reply
  • Janie August 5,

    I am very new to couponing and I am on my first shopping trip but I can’t seem to find the right deals. I think I have a good deal and after all calculations I still would be paying a lot of money OOP.What am I not seeing or calculation right. Most of the coupons I have are to me seem not that valuable like .75 off 2 or three how do you make these worth useing.
    I love your site by the way Thanks!!

    Reply
  • Jess August 6,

    Hi Ruth, I am so eager to get out there & start saving. I’m so grateful to you for all the helpful information. I’m still reading the steps here, but I have a question. I thought there is always a limit on everything you purchase. What will be the most efficient way to figure this out when on 1st shopping trip.

    Reply
  • amber August 7,

    If you have a q that says $1 off of 3 & the items are a $1 already that makes it free right? Or does the coupon mean buy 3 take $1 off Wyb 3 leaving it $2?

    Reply
  • Monica August 9,

    Hi, I was wondering how I can find coupons that are the same value as the product. I watched Extreme couponing contest and Chris purchased $6,300 in groceries and his total was $0.00. He had a coupon for $6.99 which was for a pizza that cost $6.99. How did he get so many items and his coupons were for the total amount of his order? Please explain cause I’m driving myself crazy. Thank you:))

    Reply
  • Alexis August 17,

    Hi Ruth,
    I got inspired to start couponing and I love your website! You’ve done a great job at breaking down couponing because before I found your site I was seriously confused and a little overwhelmed. I just finished my first couponing shopping trip and I was very proud I got a good amount of stuff for only $20. However, I do have some questions about combining coupons and knowing how many of one item I can buy with one coupon. I found two different cereal coupons one is a $2 off when you buy 3 and the other is $1 when you buy two could I combined those two coupons to buy 3 boxes of cereal or do I have to buy 5? and lastly how do I know how many items one coupon covers? if it doesn’t say is it how many the store allows or are most one coupon per one item? Any help or tips would be greatly appreciate!
    -Thanks

    Reply
  • Angela August 19,

    Love this website. I am at week 2 and finished my shopping and wanted to post how I did. I purchased cereal, tuna and yogurt. The cereal has a regular price of $3.69 per box and was on sale 2/$5.00 and I had a coupon for $1 off. The tuna is regular $1.79 and was on sale for 4/$5.00 and I had a coupon for $1 off. The yogurt is regularly .69 each and was on sale .49 each and I had a coupon for .40 off six and the store doubles coupons so it was .80 off. The regular total was $18.68, the sale price was $12.94 minus the coupons of $2.80 so my total was $10.14. I am so excited.

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 21,

    What about when its says 2 FOR 3 with a dollar off.

    Reply
  • Sam August 21,

    I have been researching which stores to shop at and reading their coupon policies. So far I can’t find a single store that doesn’t specify that they only accept one coupon per item! Is this normal? It seems like most the big savings come from using more than one coupon for a specific item. Please help!

    Sam

    Reply
  • mia August 22,

    I live in tn everything is diff here .You can only use 4 like coupons. I have been cutting coupons every sunday. I want so bad to teach me how to really coupon shop. I am disabled and 4 in my family. I need help plzzzzz

    Reply
  • Lauren August 28,

    My husband and I just bought a new house and are starting a plan to save a sizeable nest egg – NOT easy when you just bought a house! The one area that seems to be the only area we can save money is groceries. I’ve tried couponing before and failed…many times. I’m reading this process and I’m already feeling light-headed after Step One. Looking at all the coupon sites and clicking offers, I found myself in a blackhole of needing to sign up for things I didn’t want to sign up for! I WANT to do this and know the effort is worth it but I haven’t seen it before and am having a hard time trying to get back on the horse again without completely melting down. Help?

    Reply
  • Jennifer September 2,

    A question for week 2! I have gone to a coupon website and for example I saw a coupon for $1.00 a specific brand of toilet paper for any larger than 6 rolls. I read the fine print and it said LIMIT ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE. So how can I get the most savings with this one item if I can only use one coupon? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Angela September 7,

    Hi my name is Angela I’ve read this artical over and over still feeling overwhelmed I live in parma ohio which website would you recommend for matchups I have giant eagle Marc’s Dave’s supermarket there are also save a lot

    Reply
  • Nancy September 10,

    Question I’m new at this so if I go to store and there is a sale of cookie dough for 2.54 each and buy 3 and get one free and I use 3 manufacturer coupons for those items in that same transaction?

    Reply
  • Amber September 16,

    Hi, thank you for this site. I do have a question. I was told that I can stack coupons. Meaning I can use the same coupon reprint on one item if the store allows its.

    Reply
  • Lindsay October 14,

    hello, I am just getting started on making my first list! Will I have to download each coupon printings site program? Just worried about running so many on my computer. Love this though and have already began to learn so much! With a family of 7 we need all the savings we can get!

    Reply
  • Chanda October 18,

    How do you calculate your savings before actually shopping?

    Reply
  • Anonymous October 18,

    Hi! Thank you so much for making this series. I really want to jump ahead and figure out how to save the big money, but I am doing what you suggest and am starting nice and slow. Here’s the problem I have. I find these coupons, some for things I might actually use and many for things I have no need for. Nevertheless, what I am finding is that none of them offer savings that come anywhere near 60% or more off. Usually it’s like 30%… Am I supposed to be combining something with something in order to get to the 60%? I just don’t know how to get more off than what I am already doing… Any thoughts?

    Reply
  • Amy October 28,

    Just did my first shopping trip – it was really fun and successful! I did a run to CVS which took a long time to plan, but in the end I got over 60% off every item I bought. Wow! I used to avoid CVS at all costs because of their regular high prices. Thank you for the eye-opening information!

    A question: you suggest sitting down to look at “this week’s sales.” Is there a best day of the week to do this? Sunday or Monday? Last Sunday I tried doing this but some of the match up sites didn’t have the upcoming week’s info posted yet.

    Thanks again for the inspiration -

    Reply

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