You know those stories about people who walk into a grocery store with a fist full of coupons and walk out with a cart full of food, paying about $1.56 for about $156.00 worth of food? I’m not one of those people. It’s not because I have anything against hardcore couponers, I think they deserve a lot of respect for their organization, creativity and discipline, it’s just that I don’t have the time it takes to do hardcore couponing well. That and when I look at the coupon inserts, I see a lot of products I normally wouldn’t buy on a daily basis (a lot of prepared foods, microwavable meals and the like).
So how do they do it? Well, back when Fatwallet had a coupon section, I read all of it to figure out how these hardcore couponers did it. Basically, they keep the coupons they collect filed in a very well organized way; then they scour the local circulars to see where the coupons could be applied towards sales for the most benefit. Knowing which stores doubled or tripled (or more!) coupons made it possible for a savvy consumer, which all hardcore couponers are, to get products for absolutely nothing. Then, they would strike.
To get more than the typical consumer’s share of coupons, hardcore couponers resort to other means such as trading in online forums, joining coupon clubs, and dumpster diving. Dumpster diving isn’t as disgusting as you would think if you consider that if you live in an area with recycling, the inserts are going to be with other paper (not typical waste) products. You might even find a magazine you want to read. 🙂
There are other little tricks of the trade (such as sending in complaint or compliment letters to manufacturers in order to get free coupons) that I don’t know about but if you do and don’t mind sharing, I’m sure everyone would love to hear it. Thanks!