The Ultimate Guide For Extreme Couponers

To help you find the answers you need to all your coupon questions I have created an index to go along with this coupon guide.

The Basics To Couponing

The basics to couponing are very easy and once you know them you will start to see some decent savings in no time at all. As you grow in confidence and abilities you will pick up upmore tips and tricks. However the key to being a successful couponer is knowing the basics rules that all good couponers live by.

  • Timing is everything! Don’t rush to use a coupon, wait until the item comes on offer or is on clearance and then use the coupon. That way you will get the optimum savings.
  • Plan your shopping trips in advance by comparing item prices online, use websites such as Work out which shop is the best to visit, keeping fuel costs in mind and make sure you set yourself a budget.
  • Plan your meals to help you avoid impulse purchases, a meal calendar can be
  • Shop weekly rather than monthly so that you can avoid wastage and make the most of the most recent offers and coupons.
  • Choosing the best time of day to shop is paramount, I prefer weekday evenings between 6-9pm. It is generally a quieter time and a lot of end of day reductions on
  • Carry your coupons round with you at all times as you never know when you will come across an unexpected price reduction, this is how you end up with free items.
  • Become coupon rule savvy, get to grips with your locals stores coupon policy’s and always remember to read the terms and conditions.
  • Try to get to know the best members off staff as you will find some are better with coupons than others, this can make the checkout process much quicker and easier.
  • Make yours and the cashiers lives a lot easier by always having your coupons in order, for example if you have £10 off a £100 spend you will probably need to use
  • Save time cutting coupons by investing in a small office paper guillotine, I found mine
  • If you have nice friends and family, they may let you use their computer to print off some extra coupons as most are one per desktop device. They usually don’t mind if you share a few good coupon finds with them.
  • The biggest rule of them all, never use a coupon without checking the expire date!

Where can you find coupons?

Once you have been couponing for a short while you will start to spot them everywhere! There is no need to spend hours trawling the net, I have put together a Full List Of Active Coupons. Bookmark it now as it will be updated as soon as a new coupon becomes available.

There are lots of different places to find coupons from company Facebook pages to supermarket receipts, some of them are right under your nose without even realising. I regularly get messages from Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK fans telling me you have found a new coupon that I hadn’t seen so thank you and please keep posting them to our Facebook page.

Types Of Coupons

I think one of the biggest parts of being a successful couponer is knowing all the different types of coupons that are available and where to get them. The most popular types are manufacturer, newspaper and printable coupons which are widely available but there are lots of others out their.

  • Printable – Usually found online, printable coupons are one of the most convenient ways to build up a good collection. They are most commonly a type of ‘safe’ coupon which has a unique number, this is to prevent fraudulent coupons being used.
  • Manufacturer Coupons – These are obtained via special promotions or by writing to the company directly. A company will send you coupons for various reasons such compensation for a faulty product or just for giving them some good feedback. I have gone in to more detail about this process further down.
  • Newspaper coupons – They are exactly what they say on the tin, large newspapers will advertise discount vouchers and coupons on the front of the newspaper. The Morrison’s £5 off fruit and veg voucher proved so popular it was nearly impossible to find a copy of the Sun by mid day. My top tip is to use to find out what is in the newspapers the night before.
  • Catalinas – when you get handed your receipt always check to see if there is a coupon printed on it, these are normally to use against your next shop.
  • Womble – This is the collection of discarded receipts which have the supermarkets price promise voucher on it. Many consumers will discard these not realising it is a voucher which can be redeemed against their next shop. These are the ultimate coupon as they have no minimum spend requirement and can be used to purchase any items such as fresh goods.
  • Free Sample Coupons – Many free postal samples will contain a coupon to use against a new product, the company is trying to promote. In many cases these new items will be on offer which is when you can start adding to your stock pile.
  • Store Coupons – Always check your supermarkets in-store magazine for coupons. If your local store doesn’t have any in stock then It may be worth contacting their customer service team to see if they will post a few copy’s out to you.
  • Peelies – These are coupons that can be found on supermarket products when you buy them. Some company’s will let you try a product for free, I have put together a full list of ‘Try Me Free’ products and advice in my blog, here.
  • E-Coupons – I really hope these become more popular as this would save us all a fortune in printer ink! E-Coupons are for making reductions to your online shopping basket.
  • Event Coupons – Many events such as baby shows and wedding fares will hand out lots of free coupons to entice people to try their latest products. I previously visited a fair and the was huge piles of coupons for Regina kitchen roll, most people discarded them so I ended up with in excess of £150 worth of coupons to share with friends and family.
  • Newsletter coupons – We all get a lot of spam but if you check it from time to time you will find hidden coupons within your newsletters. It is worth signing up to certain company’s newsletters, especially if you buy their products on a regular basis.
  • Junk mail coupons – Before you chuck your junk mail in the recycling bin, double-check the isn’t hidden coupons within it. A lot of discount stores have been placing coupons within their leaflets and fliers recently.

Answers To The Three Big Questions

Part of being the couponing community means helping each other and giving advice when needed. I have tried to answer my most commonly asked questions for you.

What is the difference between one per transaction and one per purchase?
If a coupon specifies that it is one per transaction then you can only use one against your entire shop even if you have bought multiple of an item. The is nothing to stop you from splitting your shop up in to multiple purchases which would allow you to redeem more than one coupon.

Usually you can only use one coupon per purchase which in other words means one per item. In the UK we can’t stack more than one of the same coupon, however you can combine different coupons against the same item.

Can I print off more than one ‘safe’ coupon?
‘Safe’ coupons have a unique code which means you can only claim one coupon per person but on many printable coupons you can click ‘back’ on your browser and it will print a second unique coupon.

What is overage?
Overage is when a coupons value is higher than that of the item you are using it against. The overage will be discounted from the rest of your shop which is how many people get discounted fresh goods. For example if I had a coupon for £1 off a bottle of washing up liquid and it was on offer for 85p, that would give me 15p towards the rest of my shop.

Where can you find coupons?

Once you have been couponing for a short while you will start to spot them everywhere! There is no need to spend hours trawling the net, I have put together a Full List Of Active Coupons. Bookmark it now as it will be updated as soon as a new coupon becomes available.

There are lots of different places to find coupons from company Facebook pages to supermarket receipts, some of them are right under your nose without even realising. I regularly get messages from Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK fans telling me you have found a new coupon that I hadn’t seen so thank you and please keep posting them to our Facebook page.

Beware Of Fake Coupons

Couponing has become extremely popular in the last couple of years and in turn this has seen the rise of counterfeit coupons. You can be prosecuted for knowingly using fake coupons or miss using genuine ones. It is great if you have a coupon buddy to do swaps with but check that what you are receiving is real and in date.

An estimated £500 million worth of vouchers are distributed to customers every year so supermarkets take the use of coupons very seriously. The rise in coupon fraud is bad news for genuine couponers as it means brands will stop issuing them and shops have every right not to accept them.

Be coupon wise and always follow the terms and conditions, never photocopy coupons and double-check the expire dates!

How To Get Fresh Produce

One of the biggest miss conceptions is that couponing is only for junk food items but with a little bit of extra work you can get your fresh goods reduced too.

  • Use overage and cashback apps to your advantage and get your fruit and veg with it.
  • Check the clearance sections of your store as many fruits such as berries and bananas can be frozen for a later date. This combined with overage or cashback can lead to a free item.
  • Newspapers often have free vouchers that can be used against fresh fruit and veg or your overall shop, more recently the was a £5 off voucher for Morrison’s.
  • Loyalty reward vouchers and coupons are your best friend when it comes to buying fresh produce for less, check out my full list of loyalty cards.
  • Keep a look out for peelies, these are coupons that are stuck on the front of products. I recently found a coupon on strawberrys that entitled me to £1 off my next purchase, this combined with cashback gave me a profit.

Healthy start coupons:

When you have a child you may be entitled to healthy start coupons, depending on your financial situation. If you are entitled to these weekly vouchers you can use them to purchase plain cows milk, fresh or frozen fruit and veg and infant formula milk. Find out here if you qualify for the healthy start vouchers.

Write To Companies For Coupons

Writing to companies is the single best way to get high value manufacturers coupons. I will start by immediately saying that you should never write to a company with a false complaint in order to receive coupons . This not only will make it harder for other couponers but can get your name black listed.

Many company’s are extremely grateful for feedback on their products and services as market research costs a lot of money. If you write to companies with good feedback on a product you have tried, they may send you some coupons or samples as a thank you. You don’t need to put pen to paper and spend money on stamps, most companies have a contact email address on their website.

You will save on the cost of printer ink and if well planned, gain coupons for items you really need. I write to at least one company every day and not all of them respond with coupons but roughly 50% of them do

My top tips to successfully contacting companies are:

  • Be unique, try sending photos, drawings, poems, riddles or my favorite is sending companies Christmas and Birthday cards.
  • Only contact companies with genuine complaints.
  • Keep a note of all the companies you contact, don’t contact them twice and remember some companies are part of a larger brand. For example the Unilever customer service team deals with Head & Shoulders,  Ben & Jerry’s, Lynx, comfort and more.
  • Use the email option where possible and if you do send a hand written letter then get free stamps by becoming a Royal Mail service tester. I am sent dozens of stamp books every year for just posting a parcel or letter once in a blue moon.
  • Always include your address when writing to companies or create an email template that will automatically insert your basic details.
  • Write your self a list of companies you wish to contact and a set amount of time as it is too easy to get carried away with it.
  • Larger companies such as the Coca-Cola company or Cadbury’s receive thousands of letters and emails so you may find you will only get a generic response. Try contacting smaller company’s with new products, they will appreciate the feedback and more than likely send you thank you coupons.
  • If you see that a company has re-branded or is running a new advertisement campaign they are likely to have coupons available so put these to the top of your contact list.
  • My final tip is to never automatically presume that you will receive a coupon or freebie, customer service teams have tight budgets to stick to  and may only have a limited number to giveaway.

What if a store doesn’t accept my coupons?

You can plan an entire shop, double-check your coupons and store policy’s to get to the checkout and have your coupons rejected. This happens to all of us at some point unfortunately but you must stand your ground and find out their reasons. In many cases it can be because the member of staff doesn’t understand how coupons work, be patient and politely explain or request for a supervising member of staff to be called over.

This should usually resolve the problem but if not make sure you have a printed copy of the stores coupon policy to hand. I understand that this process can be slightly embarrassing and hold up ques so you have every right to visit the customer services desk to complete your coupon transactions.

In the worst case scenario that the store point-blank refuses to help you then it is always advisable to get in contact with the stores customer service team. Write a clear and concise account of what happened, including dates, times and names of any staff you dealt with. The customer service team should investigate what happened and honour your coupons even if they are now out of date.

Store policy’s can be gained by contacting their customer services and requesting an email copy to be sent to you.

Keep your coupons organised

Every Couponer has a different way to keep organised, there is often quite a debate over which is the best option. Many people prefer a simple envelope and coloured sticky note system, where as others have meticulously planned binders. Over the last few years I have tried nearly every method but none seems to work better than my 50p photo album.

I picked my album up in a discount stationery store and found that the clear sleeves were perfect for keeping my coupons in order as well as fitting nicely in my handbag. I have my coupon policy’s, surplus coupons and emergency calculator and pen tucked away in an expandable A4 folder.

Sometimes you spot a newspaper or instore magazine coupon that you want to use their and then so I recommend keeping a spare set of child safe scissors in your coupon wallet. Walking round with a full set of scissors is not ideal as they can be classed as a weapon.

Start being printer, ink and paper savvy!

Admittedly the costs of printers, inks and paper can out weigh the value of the coupons you are printing so it is important that you start getting savvy! If you haven’t already got a printer for home use then I recommend checking your local Facebook selling pages, Ebay or evenGumtree. You always want to make sure you have a reliable product when it comes to electrical goods but there are some fantastic ex display items available, that are fully PAT tested.

Top Tips:

  • Use your loyalty points in stores such as Tesco to stock up on printing paper and inks.
  • Save ink by printing coupons in black and white or gray-scale unless it states otherwise.
  • Check out your local £1 stores for bundles of printing paper.
  • On sites such as SuperSavvyMe you can print multiple coupons on one piece of paper.If you have half pieces of paper these can be fed back through your printer for another coupon.
  • There are various places you can exchange empty ink cartridges for cash online.

Building a stockpile and don’t waste, donate it to Food Banks!

The stock pile is a couponers pride and joy, a well organised collection of essential products that have long shelf lives. If done correctly this can save you a lot of money in the long run. By making bulk purchases of items such as toiletries, nappies and tinned goods while they are at their lowest price you can ease the burden of monthly out goings.

All of my stock pile items are neatly organised by expire date on shelving units in the under stairs cupboard.  I can access them easily and rotate the stock accordingly.

Don’t Waste, Donate It To Food Banks!

This to most people is excessive but I do not store more than I need, any extras that I pick up  are given to family, friends and donated to the local food bank. Food banks are very grateful for donations of jarred, tinned and packet goods. Find out where your local collection point is and donate it rather than wasting it.

Coupon etiquette

It’s really important to support each other and not make it difficult for other savvy shoppers. When you start your couponing journey make sure you don’t forget these few simple common courtesy’s:

Don’t be greedy and be a shelf clearer, you may have fifty coupons for free biscuits but makes sure you leave some for other people.

Always be polite to the person serving you and let them know you have coupons before they start scanning, this gives them time to call the supervisor if they aren’t sure about coupons.

If people are waiting in line behind you and only have a few items maybe you could let them go first, rather than making them wait.

I mentioned it before but don’t pick the busiest times of day to do a coupon shop, it’s frustrating for you and the people stood behind you trying to get a quick sandwich on their dinner break.

Many company’s have a limited run of coupons and although it may allow you to get as many as you want, it’s not really the fair thing to do. If you abuse the system the company won’t release them again as they will release that they have all been redeemed at the same store. Who really needs two hundred packets of mints?

Couponing Tips & Tricks

  • If you’re a parent and have to do most of your grocery shops with the kids in tow then make sure they are well rested, well fed and have their favorite toy with them.
  • Set limits not only on the amount you spend but the time used, great savings can be made but not at the cost of quality time with your family.
  • Start small and don’t get disheartened if your first shop doesn’t save you a £100, if you only save a tenner, it’s still £10 in your pocket. Some weeks I’m busy like most mums so If I only save £20, I’m happy.
  • Don’t get pushed in to the mass panic of rushing out to grab sale items. All sales come in cycles so if you miss this weeks, don’t worry, the is always next weeks.
  • With all the fodder that comes with so-called ‘extreme couponing’ it’s very easy to lose sight of really matters. For the struggling family’s who are just trying to make ends meet, couponing can be a real life line.
  • Tell others about your new-found money saving technique and enjoy the true sense of achievement that comes with saving more money than you ever dreamed.