Extreme Couponing 101: How to Make Money Using a Lost Art Form

It’s no wonder that extreme couponing has become such a popular pastime. With an economy struggling to get back on top, many people are looking for more ways to save. Not only does extreme couponing help you pinch your pennies, it’s also a great way to make a little extra money and supplement your income.  Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of this extreme sport, you can save on your own purchases and make money at the same time. Read on to find out how.

Mastering the Art of Extreme Couponing

There are many opportunities to profit by way of extreme couponing, but before you can began to make money, you have to learn how to coupon. Just like any other part-time job, it will require a small investment of your time along with some good organizational skills and a motivated attitude.

Hunting for Coupons

The first thing you need to do is start gathering and collecting coupons. If you don’t already have a subscription to the Sunday newspaper, get one. The Sunday paper is full of coupons, coupon inserts, store sale fliers, and much more. In order to get even more newspaper coupons, ask your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to save inserts and coupons for you. Many people end up just tossing them out, so put the word out that you would be happy to take them. You can also find and an endless number of coupons online, for both in-store and online purchases. Many online coupon databases will allow you to search for coupons by item, brand, store, or category making it easy to locate items that you actually use and would like to purchase. Other places to find money-saving coupons are in the stores themselves. Next time you walk into a grocery store, department store, or any other type of retail establishment, look for sale fliers. You never know what you might find in them.

Getting Organized

After you’ve gathered your coupons together, you’ll need to get organized. If couponing is going to be a business venture for you, you should treat it like any other business and keep your coupons, inserts, sale fliers, and other paper goods neat and orderly. Recipe boxes, binders, and file folders are great for separating and storing coupons–any of them will help you keep your coupons organized and make it much easier to locate a particular one when you need to. Always check the dates on coupons, and clean out expired ones on a regular basis to make room for new coupons that you’ve got coming in.

Learning the Tricks of the Trade

Extreme couponing has a language all its own, and in order to get the most for your coupons, you need to know the lingo. There are store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, Catalinas, and online coupons, just to name a few. Some coupons have certain requirements and limitations–make note of what these might be so that you don’t find yourself in an awkward or uncomfortable situation once you go shopping. Besides learning coupon language and terms, you should familiarize yourself with store policies regarding coupon acceptance. Some stores will let you “stack” coupons (for example using a manufacturer’s coupon on top of a store coupon), others won’t. Knowing what to expect from the stores you will be shopping at the most will allow you to find the best deals and get the most savings. It will also minimize the likelihood of a lane hold-up when you’re trying to use your coupons!

Utilizing Online Resources

There are many websites and blogs dedicated to the art of extreme couponing (check out iheartcvs, iheartwags, hotcouponworld forums, afullcup forums for starters). Not only do these sites feature coupons for you to use, they also offer tips and advice on everything related to couponing. Many of the sites are free, and some of them will even send money-saving coupons directly to your email if you subscribe to their sites.

Business Ideas

Now that you know a little bit about how couponing works, you’re probably wondering how you can make money through couponing. There are several ways to profit, most of them fairly simple and straightforward, with minimal time investment and little or no overhead business costs.

Saved Money as Income

The most basic way to make money through extreme couponing is to look at the money you save on your own purchases as extra income. If you typically spend $150 each week at the grocery store, and end up saving $50 by using coupons, the savings can easily be viewed as additional income.  Coupons can instantly make your regular paycheck seem much larger–all because you’re saving more money. If you choose to view your savings from coupons as extra income, be careful not to fall into the trap of buying bargains just because they are bargains. Only use coupons to buy things you would normally buy. Buying stuff you don’t plan to use because it’s “on sale” defeats the purpose of extreme couponing and will only cause you to spend more.

Buy Items for Resale

If you can buy something for substantially less than its typical price-tag, why not purchase it for resale? There are coupons and rebates for nearly any kind of item–from electronics and clothing to cosmetics and food items, you can buy many things for cheap and still sell them for less than their full values. You can resell the items you buy with coupons at garage sales or flea markets, or by using an online auction site like eBay (check out our ebay selling tips).

Become a Personal Shopper

If you get really good at extreme couponing, you can extend your talent to others by offering couponing and shopping services. Health issues, lack of transportation, and busy work schedules make it difficult for many people to get out to the stores. The money you save shopping with coupons will allow you to offer your personal shopping services at prices potential clients can afford.

When most people think of extreme couponing, they instantly think of it as just another way to shop frugally. It can be so much more than that, though–with a little creativity and some coupon know-how, you can turn this money-saving hobby into a money-making venture.

About the Author: This is a guest post from Adam. Adam writes about online coupons for FrugalDad.com.
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