In the previous section on how to select and find healthy extreme coupons deals we selected the items we want to buy and where to buy them at a discount.
So, in distinction to the other guides out there and in distinction to the TLC Extreme Couponing TV show we will not concern ourselves with buying everything and anything that we can get our hands on for free, or extremely low price, but will instead show you how to extreme coupon in a healthy way, meaning that we only buy foods that will benefit the health of our family rather than foods that are cheap or free.
In essence, you will be getting your Healthy Extreme Couponing 101 course right here.
We will also not be showing you how to stack, or "hoard" items that we got. Why not? Learning about healthy foods is an ongoing affair, and what you consider healty this year you may not consider healthy the next year. So why stack many years worth of items in our pantry, why set up a spare bedroom or attic as a storage room? This is really not needed if we follow the advice in this section.
This section will build up and present the meat and potatoes of how to extreme coupon in a healthy way. It is really not that difficult once you know a few guiding principles and extreme couponing tips. Then in the next two sections on couponing websites and couponing blogs, we will present resources that will make your job easier and more profitable.
There are just two guiding principles to know to learn how to be an extreme couponer who eats healthy foods. First principle is the principle of finding the manufacturers coupons for the foods that we like, and that are healthy. Second principle is the principle of sales cycle, which means that, in every store, the items we want will go up and down in price in a regular pattern. Combining the first and the second principle is the key to eating well and saving money throughout the year.
First principle: Find manufacturer's coupons for healthy foods
We wrote in more detail about this in section Healthy Extreme Coupons where we laid out the strategy that consists of two parts:
- Part 1: List all pantry items you want that you consider healthy, and put them down in words. Also put down more generic words, example: In addition to "Horizon organic milk" you would also put "organic milk" and "milk". In addition, if you shop in a healthy food store, you can even include the name of the store in the search, such as "whole foods" or "erewhon". Or, you can search for all organic products on the list by simply searching "organic".
- Part 2: Visit the couponing sites such as Southern Savers and print out the coupons that are available this month for the items you want. The reason why you selected many keywrods in Part 1 is so that you can expand your searc for the coupons into other brands, and other similar items, in case your favorite brand or item coupon is not available at the moment.
Second principle: Figure out store price cycle for the selected foods
Here comes the second main principle of successful extreme coupon clipping: Realizing that there is such thing as store sales and discount cycle and getting in tune with this cycle for maximum benefit and savings.
The store cycles last between 4-10 weeks, depending on location. What is a store cycle? Well, stores have decided that they can maximize their profits, and improve the quality of their foods by varying food prices over time. This is either achieved by rising and lowering the prices or by periodically introducing supermarket coupons, or grocery store coupons.
The underlying cause for this variation can be because of the storage/delivery issues, for instance, getting a new fresh delivery of certain items on a certain schedule, or it can be a natural consequence of fruits and vegetables coming in and out of season.
Whatever the reason, the fact is that the food prices for individual items follow a simple up and down pattern, or "cycle".
What is important is to note two characteristics of the cycle for each store item that you are decided to buy. The first characteristics is the price range. This is the range between the lowest price on an item in the cycle (let's say a 6-week cycle), and the highest price during the cycle. Knowing both the lowest price tells you when to buy (when the price has reached the lowest price in the cycle), and knowing the highest price helps you understand how many weeks you still have to wait before the lowest price will be assigned to the item.
What is the typical range of the price during the cycle? It depends on the store, and on the item. Some items in some stores will fluctuate in price very little, others will fluctuate significantly. As a rule of thumb, it is more than sufficient to find the lowest price in the cycle to be 30%-70% below the highest price. Anything more than 40% is excellent and will save you a lot.
Another important number to note with each item is the length of the cycle. Some items go up and down in price every 4 weeks, others every 10 weeks. Fruits come in and out of season once or twice a year (if they are also imported from the opposite hemisphere), so their cycles could be as long as six months. But for most items of interest your cycle will be between 4 and 10 weeks. Knowing the length of the cycle in weeks is important because it will determine the quantity of items you need to purchase to make it to the next cycle.
Combining the two principles for maximum savings
As you will see, in our "Extreme Couponing How To", there is no need to store many years' worth of items like some other "extreme couponers" would do. Also, you can select just the items that you consider are healthy, instead of picking items that you can get for next to nohing, but will not benefit the health of your kids and family.
All you need is follow the first principle above and collect and organize the manufacturers coupons for the healthy items that your family needs on a regular basis. Then, keep these coupons in an organized folder as described in the smart coupons section.
Then, follow the store sales and discount cycle for the items, and observe when they are at their lowest point in the cycle. At that point, pull out your manufacturers coupons, and purchase the amount of items that will be sufficient for your family to use throughout the length of the next cycle. As the cycles are 4-10 weeks in lenght typically, there is no need to clear the shelves with this system. You will be really well off just buying for the next 4-10 weeks at a rock-bottom price, knowing that in the next cycle, you will have a new set of coupons and you will be able to use these new coupons to buy at the rock-bottom price in the next cycle.
Another advantage of this method is that your items will be fresh, never older than 4-10 weeks. Plus, if the family members change their minds about which items they prefer, you will be able to pick a brand new set of coupons for the next cycle, and get new, more preferable items in the next cycle instead. Perhaps the family will get tired of the same item, or perhaps you will find a more healthy substitute. Regardless, this method is very flexible and will allow you to adjust your healthy extreme couponing strategy accordingly.
To maintain maximal flexibility, it is good to follow your favorite couponing websites and blogs. We will present them in the next sections on Extreme Couponing Websites and How To Extreme Coupon With Grocery Coupon Blogs.
Use Grocery Coupons Search Engine!
To go all out, and search ALL of the couponing blogs and couponing sites in one search, visit our grocery and restaurant coupons search engine. You will find coupons for items you need, right when you need them. Wasted time sorting and storing coupons can be eliminated. You can get the coupons as late as just before you leave the house to go grocery shopping!