7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Couponing

Extreme Couponing Tips

Couponing Basics

I have been extreme couponing for 4 years now and I sure have learned a lot since my first time. Things that are so obvious to me now, but were not quite so obvious in the beginning.

Couponing is easy. Extreme couponing is not. I never thought I would be more than just an occasional coupon user, but look at me now. Never say never!

Below are 7 things I wish I knew before I started couponing.

1. It takes time to learn how to use coupons.

If you want to save the most amount of money possible, there is much more to couponing than just clipping a coupon, bringing it to the store, and redeeming it.

You have to get your hands on as many coupons as possible, organize your coupons, monitor the yearly sales cycle, read the sale flyers each week, plan your shopping list, go shopping, organize your stockpile – and those are just the basics.

It took me well over a year to “learn the couponing ropes”. If you are just starting out with coupons, don’t expect to learn everything over night. It takes time.

2. There will always be another sale.

When I first started using coupons, I would go crazy when I found a good deal. I would snatch up every free bottle of shampoo I could get my hands on. I would clear shelves of facial tissue, deodorant and feminine products.

Not only did I buy more than I could possibly ever need, I also prevented others from getting in on the deals as well. This makes me sad to think about now. I knew nothing about couponing etiquette and how my over-indulging was hurtning others.

3. Use coupons on sale/clearance items.

Thanks to that “can not be used in conjunction with any other offer” line on most coupons, I always used to think that you couldn’t use coupons on sale and clearance items. Wrong! That line is just a fancy way of saying you can’t combine coupons on 1 item.

The whole point of using coupons is to get a great deal. The best deal you can possibly get is to use your coupons on items that are already discounted. This is going to save you the most amount of money possible.

4. Organize coupons right away.

I use to organize my coupons by throwing them in a big pile on my desk and picking out the ones I wanted before I went shopping.

Big mistake.

Doing this prevented me from picking up unadvertised deals when I was out shopping.

What works for me now is clipping and filing my coupons as soon as I receive them. For times when this is not possible, I put the coupons in a bin in my office and clip them once a week while watching TV.

5. How to trade coupons to get extras.

I didn’t know that people traded coupons. I had no idea what that was all about. I thought everyone found their own coupons and either used them, or didn’t.

I wish I knew that there are coupon trading communities out there, and that I could actually trade the coupons I didn’t want, for ones that I did.

6. It feels good to be a coupon fairy.

I didn’t hear the term “coupon fairy” until I’d been couponing for over a year.

Paying it forward by leaving coupons for others is something I started doing as soon as I heard about this amazing idea.

I never knew how much happiness I would get from doing something as simple as leaving a few coupons on a store shelf.

7. It takes time to build a stockpile.

The reason I started using coupons is because I saw others getting things for free, easily. I also saw their stockpiles and when I learned how much they paid to stockpile the items that they had, I wanted a stockpile of my own.

Because I was eager to have an impressive stockpile, I went a bit overboard and bought many items that ended up expiring before my husband and I could use them.

I spent more on those items than I would today, simply because I did not know what a good deal actually was.

I have learned so much since I first started using coupons, and there are new things to learn all the time. Coupon policies change, new coupon rules are made, grocery prices are increasing… there’s always something new.

I have realized that although I do know quite a bit about couponing in Canada, I will never know everything. No one can possibly know all there is to know about coupons – and that’s okay.

The important thing is to keep learning.

What do you wish you knew before you started using coupons?

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  1. A. says:

    Thank you Cassie! I really enjoyed this and appreciate you taking the time to write and share it all with us!

  2. kimmy says:

    I lost my job from walmart over 2 years ago, because of my disabilities I end up on BC Provincial Government disability, So money is tight but by couponing I am able to save money. I give my extras coupons to other people I know that on BC Provincial Government disability which those coupons help them save money too. Over the year the free items I get by couponing I make care packs for the home less with beauty products.I all so help Pregnancy Options as well by give cleaning supplies and any baby item I might get over the year as coupon for baby products. I continue educating about coupons to these on disability and stock pile small amouts of supplies and spread the wealth of coupons every were I can .

  3. Jean Cuillerier says:

    Hi mrsjanuary is the best!….you talk the yearly cycle… that i new of but learned more about the months they come on cause i read you… how can we keep coupons to get there when they expire so fast…

    • Cassie Howard says:

      You’re so kind, Jean! The key to using coupons before they expire is to mark down their expiration dates in your calendar so you remember to use them up!

  4. Angela says:

    I love the look of your stockpile . It is awesome. I need to organize it again. I noticed a lot of your products r from Shoppers r the sales always better there?

  5. brenda says:

    Hi, I have to say up front I just love you,In my day couponing was to use 1 coupon and stores didn’t match.So I lived like that going to each one to get a deal at that time.Today my kids all coupon and do have to say they do a very good job.Now cause I am old and don’t under stand this they get up set with me.And don’t share anymore. So if and a little luck if I could learn from your tips ,I can show them a thing or two. My dream is to.Go into a food store with a hand full off coupons and walk out paying under 10.00 bucks. Boy that would show them their old mom can still do this.So I am asking if you could please help me.Thank you Brenda

  6. Tanya says:

    Can you please post a little bit more about what you know on trading coupons? Where are some sites, or message boards that I can check out? How do you find these people that want to trade coupons? Thanks a lot!

    • Cassie Howard says:

      Our Facebook page has lots of people that will trade coupons with you! https://www.facebook.com/groups/mrsjanuarytrades/

  7. maryam rose says:

    this is the collest thing i have ever read, im starting to use and learn a lot:) THANK you your a sweetheart!

  8. mariposaman says:

    Frugalshopper.ca is all but abandoned and full of spam.

  9. Wesley says:

    “2. There will always be another sale” for me was how I ended up spending more than I should at a particular store.

    These are some great tips!

  10. Cassie Howard says:

    I calculate my savings based on the regular price. If an item costs $3.99 regularly, and is on sale for $2, AND I use a $2 coupon, my savings would be $4. I’m not saying that’s how everyone should calculate their savings. That’s how I do it.

  11. Cassie Howard says:

    That’s wonderful that you are donating to your community. Good for you!

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