Welcome to an irreverent, not-at-all comprehensive blog about my couponing exploits in Montgomery County, Maryland, with some annoying cats sprinkled about. Try not to step on them; they get ever so cross. Also there may be some law stuff here and there, but not too much, because most law stuff is boring.

If bored, feel free to follow me on Twitter @madcatdisease

Note: Nothing on this site should be construed as legal advice. Trust me, you can find a better lawyer ANYWHERE.

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New to "extreme couponing"?! Click here!

In my opinion, The Krazy Coupon Lady (KCL) has the best tutorials for couponers who want to step it up a notch. Here I am going to assemble some of that Web site's highlights, but by all means also explore their Beginners page thoroughly if you have the time. In addition, they've published a book; personally I think you can learn everything you need to know from KCL and other Web sites (and frankly from personal trial and error), but if you feel more comfortable with a tangible learning format, consider buying a copy.

As you found your way to my site, I am assuming that you have some basic knowledge of how coupons work and where to get them (I once had a man stop me in the grocery store and ask me where I got my coupons - he didn't know about Sunday inserts). If you don't, I suggest you read the above-linked KCL Beginners page in its entirety; otherwise you're going to be completely lost on this site.

Some basics you should already know:

1) Don't use coupons past their expiration date.
2) Don't use coupons for items they're not intended for.
3) Don't use more than one manufacturer coupon per item. If a coupon takes $1 off 2 items, then it counts as a coupon for each item. However, you can usually use a store coupon along with a manufacturer coupon for each item, pursuant to each store's coupon policy.
4) Coupons are meant for the items mentioned in their wording; the picture on the coupon is not the defining factor.
5) Coupons typically state whether they exclude or are limited to a particular size (e.g. "9oz or larger"; "excluding travel/trial sizes"). If they do not state any restrictions, it's presumed they can be used on any size (though sometimes they still won't work on trial sizes).
6) Don't make copies of internet coupons. They are limited to a certain number of prints and typically include a unique identifer number on each printed coupon. Also, often times they actually can be traced back to the IP address from which they were printed, so there's no where to hide. The exception to this is PDF coupons; these have no print limits and can be saved to your computer for future printing.
7) Basic sources of Internet coupons:
Facebook company pages
Company Web sites

Anyway, here are the highlights to how to EXTREME COUPON!:

How to Start a Coupon Binder (video)

Now, I've deviated from this standard a bit. I used to clip ALL my coupons and file them in the binders (that's right, plural), which took FOREVER. But now instead I assemble my coupon inserts by tear page (so all copies of each page are together back to back). When I'm out and about, I use my iPhone to visit CouponMom.com's coupon database (registration required, but it's free! Never pay for this stuff, people.) to figure out what coupons are available and where they are.

I file my internet coupons unclipped (typically three to a page) in sheet protectors in their own binder for easy thumbing through. I try to print multiple pages with the same three coupons so I can file them in the same protector. If I've cut a Internet coupon but haven't used it, I'll attach it to the other clipped ones via binder clips, sorted by category, and carry them around in my accordian folder (with my inserts, store rewards and rainchecks - DON'T TOUCH MY ACCORDIAN FOLDER).

Any coupons clipped from a newspaper insert but not used - as well as all coupons I receive from tearpads/samples/product packages/etc. - are kept in the baseball card style binders described in the above linked video from KCL.

Krazy Coupon Lady Tutorials for each store I frequent

How to shop at CVS - Video

CVS How-To Podcast

CVS Coupon Policy

How to shop at Rite Aid - Video

Rite Aid How-To Podcast

Rite Aid Coupon Policy

 How to shop at Walgreens - Video

Walgreens In-Store Shopping Tutorial - Video

* I love this video because Walgreens is SUCH a complicated store to shop and this really walks you through it. To my knowledge they haven't done this with any of the other stores I shop at. *

Walgreens How-To Podcast

Walgreens Coupon Policy

 How to shop at Target - Video

Target How-to Podcast

Target Coupon Policy

Planning Transactions and Tracking Savings

The art of drugstore couponing involves performing multiple transactions during one store visit in order to use rewards from one transaction on another. This involves a bit of planning, to ensure that you are minimizing your out-of-pocket spending. So I made these speadsheets (in Excel format) to help me plan while in store. I pick up all the stuff I plan to buy, sit down in the pharmacy area (assuming it's not crowded - it usually isn't on Sundays), and plan out my transactions before I go to the register. It makes for a far more pleasant experience (and I can do 5 transactions in the time it takes many to do 1!).

I also find it helpful to set a spending budget and track my savings. So I use this spreadsheet, created by The Coupon Project, which automatically calculates your savings off shelf price and how much you've spent for the month relative to your budget. I modified my copy by making an extra copy of each month and splitting my transactions into two categories: Drugstore couponing and Grocery/Pet shopping, which is completely different. I expect to save 95% + off shelf price every month at the drugstores. At Target, grocery stores and pet stores, where I'm more likely to be buying necessities as I need them, I'm happy if I save 60%.

I hope this information has been helpful. Now COUPON! But not at any of the stores I go to. Damn newbies buying up all my stuff. ;-p

Disclaimer: I'm not in any way affiliated with the Krazy Coupon Lady Web site or the krazy coupon ladies who run it. I just think they're swell.

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