Extreme Couponing – Coupon 101 For Coupon Newbies!

Learn How to Use Coupons!

With the new Extreme Couponing show that’s airing tonight on TLC (9/28), I thought it would be a good time to bring back some posts I’ve done from the past for new coupon users!! I also want to remind you all to remember that this show is indeed “EXTREME” and couponing is so much better on a more sane level and easier too! Just start out slow, get the deals you LIKE and remember….you are trying to SAVE money, not spend it!

I’ve had this posted in the “Coupon 101” tab in green up top but I’m not sure how many of you have seen it. It’s just some information on Coupons for “coupon newbies”. So enjoy….

Welcome! If you are new to using coupons then you’ve come to the right place! Here I am going to give you some tips and teach you what I know about using coupons and saving lots of money doing so! After reading through my guide, I suggest heading on over to the FAQ section!

First of all, what is “couponing”?

A lot of people don’t understand how you can take a $0.50 off coupon and save so much money, get things for free, or even make money! It’s possible, I do it all the time, and you can do it too. Here is the basic concept that has to be applied when using coupons: Only use a coupon when paired up with a sale! Here’s an example of what this means:

If you have a coupon for $0.50 off Libby’s Green beans and you take that to the store and pick up a can that is priced normally at $1.00, then you are going to pay $0.50 and therefore you will have only saved $0.50. NOW, lets say that you wait until you see those green beans go on sale for $0.50 (and they most likely will) then after your $0.50 coupon, you will get these for FREE! Also, if your stores double coupons, you will have just made $0.50 to go towards the rest of your order! So really, that’s the secret to using coupons. I help make this easier for you by providing you with free lists of sales matched with coupons and post any good deals I find at stores with coupons.

You will find that you won’t have to pay for many different necessities again! Such as, toothpaste, razors (even the nice ones), toothbrushes, deodorants, soaps and more! I remember when I first heard this and thought to myself “say what”?! Yes, this is very true and the stores you will be getting them for free from are Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, & CVS!

Where do I get my coupons you ask?

Well, there are MANY different places to get coupons…

· Sunday Newspaper – These are the mega coupon papers! You will want to get one (or more) every Sunday. They will have coupon inserts in them including Red Plum (RP), Smart Source (SS), Proctor & Gamble (P&G). Occasionally you will get bonus inserts including, General Mills (GM), Target and more.

· Printable Coupons (from the Internet) – My favorite sites to print coupons from are Coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, and Target (yes, they have coupons)!

· MagazinesAll You Magazine is a great one to get. You can find these at Walmart or you can get a subscription here. It is full of manufacturer coupons. Also, the Parents magazine is a great one that has good coupons for parents such as, Gymboree, Amazon diapers and more.

· Products you purchase – Keep in mind that on a lot of boxes of items you buy, there are coupons! For example, my box of Tide Laundry Detergent had $4 in coupons in the inside cardboard.

· Tear Pad or Blinkie – these are found in the Grocery stores and have coupons on them that you can take.

· Peelie – Coupon sticker found on the outside of a product.

· Catalina – These will print on the back of your receipt or with your receipt and usually for an item similar to something you purchased.

· Coupon Trains – Consider circulating and trading coupons via mail with family & friends.

Tips before hitting up the stores!

· Start out slowly and don’t plan on getting in on every single deal or it will all feel overwhelming! When I first started, I would find a good deal and go out and get it but I found I was doing this way too often and really just using a lot of gas. Understand that you don’t need to get every deal.

· Be organized! I shop one day a week and the night before my shopping day, I get my lists ready and coupons together. I choose Sunday because you will see that on Saturday I post the coupon matched lists and Sunday is when the new ads start (for drugstores where you will find a ton of great deals).

· Figure out a way that best suites you to organize your coupons. This is so important because if your coupons are not organized, you are going to get stressed out when you can’t find certain coupons and using coupons to save money is going to take a lot more time.

· Print out Store Coupon Policies, (which you can do here) and I highly recommend this in case you have a problem with a cashier honoring your coupons. If you have your store policy with you, you can just pull it out and it will make things a lot easier for you. Not saying you will have problems, but sometimes there are cashiers out there that feel like they are doing something wrong when you are getting items for free or close to it.

· Get your store’s weekly ad circular. You can also view it online or it will come in the mail so that way you can match the items on sale with your coupons.

· Only purchase the items on your list!! Doing this alone will always save you money….unless of course you find a freebie!

· Here’s an important one…Sometimes a smaller sized item is a better deal! Some coupons don’t have a size restriction (these are my favorite) so therefore you may be able to get that item in the travel section for FREE and if you have several coupons, you can stock up!

· Brand Loyalty is a no-no! Be willing to try out new products that you have coupons for. I use to never do this before using coupons and now that I do, I have actually found a lot of things I really like that I normally wouldn’t have tried.

· Overage = AWESOME! Understand what overage is and that it can dramatically lower your grocery bill. Lets say a product is on sale for $1 and you have a coupon for $2/1 for that item. After using your coupon, you will get $1 in overage, which will then be applied to the balance of your order! Do you see how that can really lower your balance…it’s like getting paid to shop! Note: Some stores don’t allow for overage.

There are a lot of times when I will refer to something as 11/28 RP, and you new coupon users out there will say “huh?!”. So I’ve compiled a list of different abbreviations often referred to in the coupon world. If you can think of anything else you’d like me to add to the list, please let me know!

  • ECB– Extra Care Buck (CVS store credit voucher that will print when specific items are purchased)
  • RR– Register Rewards (Walgreens store credit voucher that will print when specific items are purchased) – these do not “roll”, meaning if you purchase the same item you received the voucher for, another one will NOT print.
  • +Up– Rite Aid store credit voucher that will print when specific items are purchased – these DO “roll”!
  • P&G-Proctor and Gamble
  • SP-Stockpile
  • SS-Smart Source coupon insert
  • PG-Proctor and Gamble coupon insert
  • RP– Red Plum coupon insert
  • Peelies-sticker like coupons found on products.
  • ECB-Extra Care Bucks (CVS money)
  • RR– Register Reward (Walgreens money)
  • MQ-Manufacturers Coupon
  • OOP-Out of Pocket Expense
  • Q or CPN-Coupon
  • YMMV-Your Mileage May Vary (A deal may work for someone else, but may not for you.)
  • TMF-Try Me Free offer
  • FAR-Free After Rebate
  • CAT-Catalina coupon (Manufacturer coupons that print out from a machine at the register depending on what you uy.)
  • B1G1F, B2G1F-”Buy one get one Free”, “Buy two get one Free”
  • TEAR PAD– A pad of refund forms or coupons hanging on a shelf at the store.
  • BLINKIE-A machine that spits out coupons.
  • UPC-Universal product code (those black straight lines with numbers under them)
  • POP-Proof of purchase (like a product label or UPC)
  • DCRT-Dated cash register receipt
  • GC-Gift Card


  1. Jessica Sherrill says

    Thank you so much for all your helpful hints- I’m just getting started. In fact i planned out my very first coupon shopping trips for tomorrow. Target, Walgreens and Harris Teeter! I’m pretty excited. I’m not extreme by any means but I’m shaving atleast 50 %. You have been so helpful. I’m just waiting to get in on one of your binder give aways next! Seriously you are helping my marriage, my finances and my life. Thank you.

  2. Thank you!! Just what i was looking for… hopefully, i will get the hang of this. Wedding planning has left us on a tight budget 😉

  3. Cynthia L says

    I’m very excited about your website. I have been couponing for a while but wasn’t a Walgrens or CVS shopper because I just didn’t understand it but now I do, thanks to you for your help. My hubby is very excited when I tell him what I’m getting for free.

  4. Thank you so much this is so helpful and i actually have others stopping me in the store trying to ask me how to do things LOL and i try to help out as much as i can but this helps out more and i will pass this on 😀

  5. Thank you so much for this site. I used to coupon but I was never very good at it. Thanks to your tips and deals I am already saving a ton of money! You are so helpful and I am looking forward to learning all I can from you.

  6. Brigitte H says

    Thank you so much for explaining all this, it can be overwhelming if you starting out…..

  7. Does the overage apply at all stores? I don’t think they apply overage at my local Kroger in Illinois.

  8. Is there a way to get past/old (but still good) coupons from SS or RP on-line? I know I can go to their sites and get the current week coupons, but what about coupons from last month? I’m not terribly interested in going through a coupon clipping agency or buying them off of eBay….I’m not *that* dedicated 🙂

  9. Thank you soooo much! I’m a newly-wed who is trying to save money each and every way I can! Becoming involved with coupons has really helped me, I brought down my grocery bill this weekend down 43.00 thanks to your help! Thanks for making everything so easily understandable!!!!

  10. I love this site! I’m just getting really serious about coupons, and my first couple shopping trips were a disappointment… it seemed like the items were either out of stock or cost more than quoted on blogs. But this week I worked hard on my research and brought home two full bags of food and toiletries at Walmart for $8!

    I have two questions — do I look at the UPC codes to see if two coupons are unique, and if they are, can I use them both for the same item (i.e. a coupon for $1/1 and a coupon for 75 cents/1, to get $1.75 off)? (I shop most often at Walmart and also Hy-Vee).

    Also, when I sign up for product samples online, will I still get the freebie if I don’t opt to receive their offers/newsletters? I’m always afraid to leave that box unchecked, but I don’t want a bunch of spam either.

  11. I have a question for you sara. If you are buying an item say bob evans mac n cheese at walmart and you have a B1G1 free coupon for it, can you use 2 $1/1 coupons on top of the B1G1 coupon for even better savings??? or would you just have to use the B1G1 coupon and only one $1/1 coupon?

  12. I live in Littlefork, Minnesota… a small town in Northern Minnesota with a population of 690. The closest Walmart is 90 miles from here and they do NOT double coupons. The first time I watched extreme couponing, I was hooked. I try my best to do what I can with the coupons I get, and the most I have saved so far is $24.00. What you do for us is awesome and I just wanted to thank you for taking your time to help all us! So, THANK YOU”! 🙂

  13. This is a awesome site. I got started from this site and of course, “Extreme Coupon”.

    I love that there are people like you blogging. I don’t have time to shop, so this is my quick stop shop to start my list.

    Thank you!

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