Top 10 Tips from Extreme Couponers

American women are savvy shoppers, according to a new national poll featured in the May 2011 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports. Over three quarters of women (76%) consider themselves to be bargain hunters, with 10% admitting they like the challenge of finding the best deal. The poll also found that two thirds (65%) of women typically wait for a sale to purchase items.

“I’m such a sucker for a bargain, especially when I have a coupon or there’s a sale for 50% off,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.  “According to ShopSmart’s national poll, many of us are helpless against a great deal, and retailers know this. However, there are so many new opportunities these days to shop smarter, and if you play the sale game right, you can save really big.”

Top 10 Tips from Extreme Couponers:

  1. Check your grocery store’s policy. Some stores will double and even triple coupons on an item (usually up to a certain amount, typically 99 cents, max). But sometimes that’s only on certain days of the week, so find out ahead of time and plan your shopping accordingly.
  2. Save your coupons for when items are on sale. Plan ahead using weekly sales flyers to match deals with available coupons. But also take your entire coupon file to the store with you; many stores don’t advertise all deals.
  3. Take inventory mid-month. Many coupons expire at the beginning or end of the month, so take time in the middle of each month to see what coupons in your stash need to be used ASAP.
  4. Track price cycles. Items usually go on sale at regular intervals. Keep a log of the price of items you buy most often, so that you know how much they usually cost, when they will likely go on sale, and when a sale is really a good deal.
  5. Watch closely during checkout. Cashiers sometimes neglect to properly scan all coupons and store-loyalty cards. And if you accidently picked up the wrong product size, you could end up wasting a coupon.
  6. Don’t automatically reach for store brands. ShopSmart’s tests over the years have shown that store brands are often just as good if not better in quality than national brands. But with the right combination of sale price and coupon savings, a national brand might actually be cheaper.
  7. “Stack” coupons to maximize your savings. Some stores include additional coupons in their weekly circulars and in the e-mail newsletters sent to loyalty-card holders. You can use a store coupon on top of a manufacturer’s coupon for even more savings.
  8. Shop at stores that accept competitors’ coupons. Strange as it may seem, some stores do so; after all, they want your business! Make one of them your go-to spot and take other stores’ exclusive coupons with you when you shop. Sign up for loyalty cards at all of the stores in your area to get insider deals.
  9. Use coupons on trial sizes. Unless a coupon stipulates that you can’t, using a coupon to buy trial sizes of items could make them free.
  10. Don’t toss those expired coupons! Your store may still accept them—don’t be afraid to ask.

About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at and

Information provided by SOURCE ShopSmart Magazine, a Consumer Reports Quick Shopping Guide

Bonus Military Coupon Tip:

You can also send “Expired” coupons to military families who are living overseas. They can use them up to 6 months beyond they expiry date. Visit for information visit for their list of bases & their addresses. Remember it just takes regular postage to send to a military address overseas and make sure to fill out the address exactly as it is written so it gets delivered. Quite often the food shopping (commissary) at bases overseas can be signifigantly more expensive that here in the US so sending any of your expired coupons really helps military personnel out.

Thanks to ready Rachel P. for the tip.

Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links. Some products may be media samples given to us to for our honest review. All opinions are our own and not that of the brand. Read our policies for more details.

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