Couponing 101: Couponing Ethics June 28, 2011

Filed under: Couponing 101 — extremecouponqueen @ 3:46 pm

Thanks to friend Julie for inspiring me to write this post! She recently posted on Facebook about her concern that the Extreme Couponing show is going to ruin it for the rest of us normal people. I named my blog Extreme Coupon Queen not because I get 100 of an item for free, I do the same thing as the people on the show but on a more normal scale.


TLC’s Extreme Couponing show…ironically they call it a reality show, it is anything but! Personally, I feel a lot of people on that show have a hoarding/OCD problem, even the savviest couponers don’t do trips like that, or buy that many of one item. Here are some Couponing Ethics to remember:


1. Do not clear the shelf. If you watched the show, there was a lady who cleared the shelf and bought 77 bottles of mustard. First of all, this is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure I won’t go through that much mustard in my entire life. Second of all,  how greedy is that? Let other people get in on the deal! If you really want that many because you have some weird mustard obsession, talk to your store manager in advance and see if they will special order some for you.


2. Do not scan/make copies of your coupons. This is coupon fraud and is illegal! Internet coupons have unique barcodes, and the store will only be reimbursed once for each barcode. If you make copies and use them, you are stealing that amount from your store. Coupon fraud hurts everyone, stores become more leery about accepting them, so do the right thing and obey the law.


3. Only use the coupon for what is stated. Make sure you are buying the right size, quantity, and variety. If it says it’s for a 50 oz or larger bottle of laundry detergent, don’t try to use it on the smaller size. If it says it’s not valid on trial sizes, don’t use it on trial sizes. If it’s for Frosted Cheerios, don’t try to use it on the regular ones. Besides being illegal, talk about embarrassing when your cashier goes to scan the coupon and realizes you are trying to cheat the system! You could even get the police called on you, so don’t try it.


4. If you’re not buying the product, leave the peelies there! “Peelies” are coupons found taped to products, intended for the purchaser, not some coupon happy person who notices them and rips them all off to use later and leaves the products on the shelf.


5. Have your coupons ready to go at checkout. This is pretty self-explanatory, have the coupons ready to go and don’t be digging around your folder or binder or whatever you use when you’re already at the checkout. What works for me is pulling out the coupon for the item I’m getting as I’m shopping, that way I also don’t forget any coupons.


6. Let people know you have coupons. If you have an obscene amount of coupons and there’s a person behind you with only a few items, let them go ahead of you. Warn people who get behind you when you have a lot of coupons, they will appreciate this and may choose a different line. If they decide to wait, discreetly check their basket for any items you may have a coupon for and can give to them. People love a nice coupon fairy!


7. Good manners. Even when you know you’re right, even when the cashier is in the wrong and scrutinizing every coupon, stay calm and hold your ground. Kindly ask for a manager if need be and don’t make a scene. It’s a good idea to keep the coupon policy with you just in case.


Keep these tips in mind and let’s keep couponing fun and legal!


Couponing 101: Coupon Lingo June 24, 2011

Filed under: Couponing 101 — extremecouponqueen @ 10:33 pm

Abbreviations explained!


SS: Smart Source, a coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper

RP: Red Plum, a coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper

PG, P&G: Proctor & Gamble, a coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper

Man, MQ: Manufacturer’s coupon

OOP: Out of pocket

OOS: Out of stock

EB, ECB: Extra Care Buck, the CVS rewards program, prints on your receipt

$1.00/1: The coupon value, such as one dollar off one

Filler item: A small item, something inexpensive, to use when your total is negative and make it positive (most stores, with the exception of Walmart, will not pay you the difference)

Overage, Free plus overage: When the value of a coupon exceeds the price of the item. For example: An item is on sale for $2 and you have a $3 off coupon, netting you $1 towards the rest of your purchase.


Let me know if I missed any and if you have any questions about what I’ve posted!


Couponing 101: Getting Organized May 31, 2011

Filed under: Couponing 101 — extremecouponqueen @ 3:15 pm

There are several different methods to organize your coupons. I originally started out with one of those small accordion folders, but now that I have so many coupons I’ve graduated to the ‘Coupon Binder’ like those you see on TLC’s Extreme Couponing. It fits in my diaper bag and it just works easier for me. At first I’ll admit I was a little embarrassed about lugging around a binder, but I’m over that now.

I like to organize my inserts from the newspaper in a small storage bin that I keep next to my computer. I can quickly get to a certain week’s worth of coupons since I have them organized by the weekly newspaper dates. I don’t usually cut them right away, I cut what I am going to use in the next week and I keep the rest of the inserts whole and just stick them back in the bin. I also like this method because I only ever spend a few minutes at one time clipping coupons, I’m not slaving away over a big pile. Then, when I see a deal online and the week the coupon came from, I can quickly go through my bin and get the coupon I need. This works for me, but please use the method that works for you!

As far as my binder goes, I have it organized by category. Actually, my ‘binder’ is actually a CD holder, so I put the coupons in the little pockets. Some people like to use baseball card inserts to hold the coupons, others like to use envelopes. Because I don’t keep that many coupons on hand, I don’t have that many categories.




Fruits/Veggies (including canned and frozen)

Convenience foods

Personal toiletries


Household items (such as cleaners, paper towels)


When I go to the store (with a list, always take a list! And watch those impulse buys, they really ad up!), as I pick up an item, I get the coupon out of the binder and make a little coupon pile in the corner of the basket. This way I don’t forget any coupons and I’m not scrambling around trying to organize them at checkout. Again, this is what works for me, so feel free to come up with your own method.

Lastly, do not throw away any of your coupons! Even if you think you will never use the product they are for. You never know when a deal is going to come around making it free or even a profit (and you can donate what you don’t need or give to a friend), so just hang onto them (until they expire, of course). If the coupons expire and you didn’t use them, no big deal…you didn’t waste time clipping the coupons, you can just get rid of them.


Couponing 101: Starting Out May 30, 2011

Filed under: Couponing 101 — extremecouponqueen @ 3:00 pm

To start out couponing you obviously need….COUPONS! Most of you already know you can get coupons from the Sunday newspaper, but did you know there are tons of other places to get coupons as well?

1. Sunday Paper

Your Sunday paper has coupon inserts from the following companies:

Red Plum (RP)

Smart Source (SS)

Proctor and Gamble (PG)

If you see me listing a deal and I say you can find a coupon from the 5/1 RP, this means you can find it in the May 1st Red Plum insert.

2. Printable Coupon Websites




3. Family and Friends 

Ask around, chances are you know many people who already get the Sunday paper but throw away the coupons and will be happy to give them to you! In turn, you can occasionally give them some of your deals you will be picking up!

4. Facebook and other social media

Quite often companies will have giveaways and high value coupons for their products right on their Facebook page.

5. Writing to companies with compliments, complaints, suggestions.

I can’t tell you how many coupons and free items (including receiving coupons for a completely free item) I’ve gotten just for complimenting companies on the products my family enjoys. You can usually find the company’s email right on their website. This also works for restaurants, fast food joints, and stores. Companies love to get feedback and will often give you something in return for it!

6. Coupon clipping websites

For a small handling fee you can order coupons from various coupon clipping services, such as The Coupon Clippers