Baby Steps to Extreme Couponing

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Baby Steps to Extreme Couponing

By Lisa Scarbrough

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve probably at least heard about the new show on TV, Extreme Couponing. Yes, I do know a few people who can buy hundreds of dollars of groceries for $20 or less. Having a baby that needs formula and diapers, I’m not going to be one of those people for a long time. But, I do regularly save between $60 and $100 on my shopping trip. Here’s how:


1. Get organized.
I learned very quickly that stuffing coupons into my tiny little coupon book wasn’t going to cut it. I took a hint from a fellow mom and got a 3-ring binder and some sheet protectors. (I’m actually going a step further and purchasing baseball card sheets to make it even easier on me.) Keeping your coupons in a book makes it easier to find when you need to match up on sales as well as reduces the clutter on your kitchen table.

2. Make a list.
I’m really part OCD, so lists work great for me. Before you start clipping, make a list of the items and brands in your house. This will help you know what to search for online and in the papers.

3. Register online.
You have your list, now go online to each brand’s website and register, and do the same for the stores you shop. Many sites will send you email only coupons for printing while others require you to login to their website first. Regardless, you get extra savings that only cost you a few keystrokes and some space in your inbox.


5. Start clipping.
Look for the coupons in the Sunday papers. My local paper has a special deal for coupon clippers to have up to 5 copies of the Sunday paper delivered directly to your home. Not only do I save on the newsstand price, but I save the time and gas it would normally take to drive to the nearest newsstand each Sunday.

6. Make a match.
Some stores will accept more than one coupon per item, usually their coupon plus a manufacturer’s coupon. Others go a step further and accept a competitor’s coupon on top of that one. So when you are organizing, put like coupons together.


7. Look out for those sales.
When the circulars come out, look for sales, especially those buy one get one free items. Just last week, I had saved four coupons that would get me $1 off 2 boxes of some snack bars my sweetie likes. A local store had a deal that was buy one, get one free on those same bars. I went home with 8 boxes of them costing me no more than $0.40 per box. That’s a pretty big savings.

8. Get only what you know you will use.
That is probably my biggest pet peeve of the couponing show. These families had stockpiled so much of their goods, they had to build places to put them. One family even said their son had 1400 rolls of toilet paper stored under his bed. Another said they could live off everything they had for three years. Some people get caught up in the thrill of buying items. But really, who needs 97 bags of croutons? Clearing off the shelves keeps others from getting the same deals, and spending money for items you don’t need doesn’t add to your savings.

9. Swap and share your coupons.
Before I became a mom, I had never clipped a coupon. But once the reality of the high costs of formula, food and diapers became clear, I pounced on them. Probably the best move I ever made was to swap coupons with another mom who uses different formula and brand of diapers from me. I do this with other moms for other items, sharing info on Facebook and posting requests as needed. Just last week, my friends were able to send me enough $5 off coupons for my son’s formula that I was able to combine with a local store’s $6 off for 2 cans to stockpile formula for probably 3 months, saving me $8 off the normal $25 I would have spent per canister.

For some, couponing is a sport. I see the challenge in trying to get the best deals, but I don’t let it consume so much of my time that it takes away from having fun and enjoying evenings at home. I’m just happy to save enough on groceries to keep my truck’s gas tank full.

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Reader Comments:


Hi yvetta i have four children one new born baby march 5 2013 that why iam looking for extreme couponing diapers wipe food cook fresh always maxi active the extrme couning i need everything the cant be save my children food thank so much i hope u get back on me

By yvetta cadet on March 16, 2013


I am new at this extreme couponing, i just dont understand how people get stuff for free.... I love buy one get one free items and i always have other coupons for the same item, but the store that i shop at wont double up on the coupons and ive noticed that with some coupons you have to buy two to save fifty cents......i have the basic knowledge of couponing, just dont get the extreme part....please help me

By robyn Hastedt on July 18, 2012


Lisa, I am new to this saving money and couponing. I have never had to do this and I am a bit overwhelmed. I have made so many changes but I still feel it isnt enough. Its really a big change for me to even try to clip the coupons and stay on track since I'm so used buying whatever I want. Thank you for the helpful hints and I know I will be asking you for more.

By kim on June 22, 2011


Hi Cindy. I actually only have 2 Sunday papers delivered. In order to get the coupon inserts (Red Plum, P&G, SmartSource, etc), you have to buy the paper. I find that 2 is usually sufficient to meet my household needs. However, if I find really incredibly deals in coupons, such as several BOGO offers, then I may head up to the store and buy a couple more copies.

By Lisa the Admin on June 08, 2011


You have inspired me. I can't wait to get started with coupons. Why do you get 5 copies of the paper?? Thanks, Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on June 08, 2011


Margaret, the people on that show are not the average couponer. In fact, several of them are being investigated for coupon fraud. In order to save more, you have to plan ahead. Do not shop without your coupons, stick to items that are on sale, and try to utilize BOGO (buy one get one free) deals. I do not ever come out of the store with $400 worth of groceries for $20, but I do typically save $60 to $100 when spending $40 to $100. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You have to get organized first, then pay attention to the Sunday circulars and online deals. Since I have to buy for baby and dogs, and I like to be able to have fresh fruit and salad, I still spend a bit for my grocery bill. But in a period of two months, I saved just over $600 on our shopping.

By Lisa the Admin on June 07, 2011


I Don't understand how you can save so much on coupons and how all these people can go into the gro. store and come out only spending $20.00 can you explain this to me, in sample words.

By margaret lewis on June 07, 2011


Lisa great advice...thank you for link me to this page, I always appreciate your helpful advice smile

By Michelle C. on June 03, 2011


Stephanie, for the most part, I use all the websites for the stores I shop and the brands I use. is my first go-to site, then I go on Facebook. There is a page for the Savannah Savvy Shopper that helps outline where to match up coupons and get the best deals. You should also look up other stores and brands on Facebook for additional incentives. I probably follow 50 or 60 various brands/store/coupons pages on Facebook.

By Lisa the Admin on May 31, 2011


i just read the article about Lisa Scarbrough's extreme couponing and wondered if she could email me some of the websites she uses? thanks Stephanie

By stephanie bradley on May 31, 2011


I try to have a savings of at least 80% on every item that I purchase. I love having such a large stockpile of items that I won't need BBQ Sauce, Lemonade drink Mix, Razors, Deodorant, Body Wash, Hand Soap, Bandaids or more for over a year! Couponing is great. I share all of my tips and deals with everyone at

By Official Extreme Couponing on May 28, 2011


thanks for these tips! I would just look at my coupon box and dread going through it! Now, I can at least get it organized.

By Wanda on May 27, 2011


Great tips! I, too, am a rookie couponer.... another step that can ease your transition into the "couponing" world is to google your city along with "coupon matchups". They will show you how to pair coupons with sales to maximize your savings! And, truly... IT IS ADDICTIVE! =)

By darcy on May 26, 2011


I learned a lot from you blog! I'll be sure to share with my friends grin

By Jess on May 26, 2011


Thanks so much! I will keep at it. It's fun, thats for sure. :0)

By Jennifer on May 25, 2011


I really have to try this! I may have to pick your brain if I have questions. I'm so glad you posted this. I was just telling my mother-in-law how I wanted to learn how to really use coupons more effectively. Great article!

By Angelyn Schoolcraft on May 25, 2011


I found this Most Helpfull!

By kathy young on May 25, 2011


Jennifer, it's best if you contact the store to find out their coupon policy. Some stores allow you to put a manufacture coupon with theirs, allowing you to get more off per item. Others accept a competitor coupon along with a manufacturer coupon as well. You also need to read your circulars each Sunday. Look for BOGO (buy one get one) offers and use your coupons on those for bigger savings. Joanna, the BIC coupons were for the Bic Soelie (sp?) razors that came out in one of the circulars a couple weeks back. The coupons were for $3 off a package of disposable razors. Walgreens was having a sale on them as well (Publix had them for BOGO but were all sold out for several weeks), so I ultimately got every package of razors (I bought 5) for about $2 each. Since I have really sensitive skin, I can't use the same razor more than about twice, and I turned out to love these so much more than the others I had been buying in the past. It was one of my best finds.

By Lisa the Admin on May 25, 2011


Hi, I'm new to couponing and had a question. I live on the west side of the state of South Dakota and have no store that double coupons. How can I take advantage of really good deals?

By Jennifer Moistner on May 22, 2011


I just love how you save so much money.......

By caroline on May 22, 2011

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