/ Money, Shopping

Extreme couponing – taking vouchers to the next level

Lady cuts out coupon

Do you know about stacking, peelies and rain-checking? If so, you’re probably already an expert in ‘extreme couponing’. And if not, then listen up – there are bargains to be had.

The extreme couponing fad is a big hit in the US of A, helped in part by a reality show of the same name.

Of course, we tend to like things in a bit more moderation in the UK, meaning the trend hasn’t quite caught on in the same way. But that’s not to say we don’t like a bargain.

In fact, according to industry research, the number of vouchers being redeemed in the UK nearly doubled between 2009 and 2012.

And 16-year-old Jordon Cox – nicknamed The Coupon Kid – is an example of this trend. Scouring newspapers, magazines and the internet for vouchers, he says his best success was reducing a £105.88 bill, covering everything from cereals to cheese, snacks and drinks, to just £1.62.

Making the most out of coupons

The general idea of extreme couponing is to collect as many vouchers as possible – from newspapers, magazine and online – and combining them where possible with in-store discounts, multi-buys or loyalty schemes to get huge discounts.

Even if you think that’s a bit much, I’m sure most of us have used a voucher at some point in our lives. And with Which? research showing that three quarters of Brits are worried about food prices, vouchers are hard to ignore.

Of course, there’s no point ‘spending’ vouchers if we use them to get money off things we don’t actually need. Sometimes they can make us buy items or from brands we wouldn’t normally consider. After all, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Have you used couponing to get huge discounts off your everyday shopping? And are you one of those people with 50 packs of loo roll in the spare room just because you thought they were a good deal?

Oh, and for those still wondering: stacking is using two different coupons for the same product; a peelie is a coupon attached to another product; and a ‘rain check’ is when a store promises to hold the price of an out-of-stock item you want to buy. The more you know…


If I had to watch every single penny, I’d probably do more, but, sorry, life’s too short…..

I agree with Vynor. Coupons don’t feature much in my life.

I decide what I’m going to buy and I don’t let myself be manipulated by supermarkets. I would not be surprised if I spend less money than those who buy things just because there is a coupon.

I enjoy using a coupon – but I don’t go out of my way to find them, and a lot of the time actually forget I even have them nestled away in my purse. Or remember at the end of the shopping that I have left them in the car. Or, of course, they expire too quickly – one of the main cases of this is when doing my monthly shop at Sainsbury’s. They always give me the money off your next shop voucher at the end, with a minimum spend of £50 and an expiry date of a week. It is very rare that I would go in to a shop within a week of spending a large amount to spend another £50 just to get a few pounds off. Bit of a con really. I started giving these vouchers away to friends planning to do a big shop, and we now share money off vouchers for all sorts of things!

I agree with the above. As a pensioner money is tight and savings almost gone so I do use coupons but find they usually have very short life especially £s off next shop at Sainsbury’s when often the cost of fuel to get there is not worth it and I use own brands anyway. I do not buy newspapers and magazines and wait till neighbours have finished with them I look at sell by dates and look for the longest date time or buy when reduced and freeze straight away. Often Aldi’s brands are just as good and £’s cheaper than any other brand for allmexcept meat and veg. Their clumping clay cat litter is very cheap. A light spray of Febreze keeps fresh so I do not need to totally change it every day, Our elderly indoor cat is fussy but does not mind this. M & S and Sainsbury’s meals deals are good offers when you want a quick meal but I cannot always be certain that all meat is free range. I always keep rump and sirloin steak and beef when reduced and keep it for another week longer than the sell or even use by by date as it is not hung long enough to bring out the flavour and tenderize it.
I watch air miles and try to shop in season and use the money I save to use local food producers and find a fortnightly veggy box is organic, fairly local and so fresh when it arrives that I use broccoli first and then things like carrots and cabbage and potatoes that keep throughout the week. We no longer have a garden so use frozen peas as fresh peas are so rarely tender.

Overall, I share Wavechange’s view on coupons, but with fairly high spending at Sainsbury’s that earns Nectar points which can reduce future bills I share Hannah’s annoyance at Sainsbury’s short-dated vouchers. Our shopping habits are not particularly regular but about every two or three weeks we do a big shop at Sainsbury’s and end up with a Nectar bonus points voucher. Last Friday we spent about £200 and got a voucher for 260 extra points if we spent another £130 in the next seven days. Unless we buy a big-ticket electrical item this is out of the question. I have asked Sainsbury’s why they cannot break the voucher down into more useable amounts [plus some other relevant questions]; if they did we might actually spend more at Sainsbury’s by doing our top-up shopping there instead of at the closer Tesco’s.If I get a worthwhile response I will post it here in due course.