Everyone has heard of “Extreme Couponing.” If you haven’t, it’s heading to the grocery store with about a million coupons, coming home with million-and-one things, and having only paid something outrageous like $5 for it. It seems like it takes a lot of meticulous planning and patience, but two college students from the University of North Carolina have mastered it, and they’re going to give us some of their tips and tricks today.
“It honestly just started off as us being broke college students, and spending too much time watching the show [Extreme Couponers] on TLC,” Antonio Forte, said. The two boys, Antonio Forte and Elijah Cox, were friends in high school and decided to move in together when they both got into UNC. With both of them being athletes and having big appetites, their costs for food started skyrocketing. This is when the boys began asking their neighbors if it would be okay to have their weekly coupon ads that came in the mail, rather than just letting them go to waste. Luckily, the neighbors were very kind and multiple pamphlets began landing in their mailbox.
“We had to do a lot of research. Always check your store’s coupon policy. Going in with five of the same coupons is pointless if your store doesn’t accept multiples. Some stores also have a coupon limit which will result in you having to make multiple transactions.” Cox said. The boys also said it helps to make a list before you go, regardless of how many items you plan to buy. The key to successful couponing is a plan and organization. Keeping your coupons in an accordion folder and organizing them by product and expiration date makes sure you waste nothing.
Forte said it helps to go at a time when the store isn’t busy since you’ll probably have a very large haul. “When you’re using coupons, you’re always going to buy multiples. Making sure there aren’t 100 people in the aisle with you while you’re trying to count out a number of things you need, and make sure you’re handing the cashier the right coupons is a big help.” Another benefit of going at a less busy time is that there will more staff to help if you need anything or have questions, so you can make sure you’re getting the best bargain.
A lot of people don’t seem to realize that couponing can actually make you money. “Manufacturer’s coupons usually get forgotten because they’re found on product websites or in what looks like junk mail, but they are huge money savers,” Cox said. The two boys explained a situation where they had multiple manufacturer coupons that offered a product for $3.75. Most coupons of this type don’t expire for a year, so they held on to them until the product was on sale in their local store. Finally, the product went on sale for $3 apiece. Using the coupon, the store actually had to refund the boys 75 cents. Forte mentioned that not all stores will honor the overage fee, but they will apply the discount at a lower price to make sure you get an even greater sale.
“You don’t have to be a math genius or someone with all the free time in the world in order to get this stuff down. It just takes some planning and practice,” said Cox. The boys have been extreme couponing for almost four semesters and have saved more money than they imagined. Go to their Instagram for more details, and make sure to reach out to them with any questions!