Extreme Couponing: College Version
Ever wonder how people on TLC’s show Extreme Couponing purchase several grocery items and pay next to nothing for them? They put in time to research prices, clip coupons and set limits to their spending. This same strategy can work well for college students on a limited budget. You may not walk out of the store without paying a dime, but if you follow our rules, you will certainly pay significantly less for your everyday needs.
The first thing you will need is a 3” binder. Since you are already in school, you may have one of these in your room. Be sure to stop by a local dollar store and pick up some baseball card plastic insert sheets as well. These will be used to separate and organize your coupons.
Next, you will need to get a copy of the Sunday paper; we suggest you pick up two, as most deals come in pairs. Don’t want to get the Sunday paper? Go to Coupons.com, thekrazycouponlady.com, smartsource.com and/or redplum.com, and simply register for a free account and download your coupons to your printer--it’s that simple!
You also may want to start a coupon exchange with other students. By having multiple students cutting and collecting coupons, you will have access to more deals. Cut out all coupons that relate to food and personal hygiene, as well as any restaurant coupons. Sort the coupons into categories, such as: dairy, frozen, breakfast, treats, breads and drinks. The coupons should then be place together in sections of your binder. You can also use tabs to make them easier to locate while shopping.
Now, here is where your shopping habits will need to change. Instead of running out to purchase items when needed or on a whim, plan your shopping trips around the weekly deals. Most local grocery stores will offer buy one, get one (BOGO) deals that can translate into big savings when combined with coupons. Look for sales on items for which you have coupons, as well. Never, we repeat, NEVER go shopping without your coupons. Some of the best deals are unadvertised. Also, partner with another student and split the bill. By working together, using your coupons and locating the best deals, you may be able to walk out of a grocery store with $100 worth of products and pay only $30 to $40 total ($15 - $20 each).
So, leave the Ramen noodles behind and start shopping smarter. Before you know it, you will have some spare change in your pocket to go with that room full of snacks and food for the semester!