Extreme couponing the college way

Saving money is easier than you think

Going grocery shopping is often a chore many students hate.

I remember as a kid having my mom drag me along to the store, even after hours of practicing my excellent protests and coming up with excuse after excuse.

Now on our own, we still ride in the carts and convince ourselves we need that extra box of zebra cakes and pack of Gushers. Except now, we are expected to fend for ourselves at our two local grocery stores, Wal-Mart and Meijer, with the few hours we work a week at minimum wage.

With a little organization and motivation, saving money may be easier than you think.

In case you have not watched this summer’s latest trend on TLC, Extreme Couponing, here is a little recap.

Shoppers around the country are recorded as they purchase hundreds on items worth hundreds to even thousands of dollars. After the mass amounts of coupons are scanned the final savings is revealed.

As a personal fan of saving money, this show fascinates me and motivates myself to become a better saver. Getting a hold of coupons on campus is easy during the first few weeks of school, as there are back-to-school deals and ads constantly floating around. As the year continues on, it becomes harder to look for great deals and focus on saving money, especially with stress continuously piling up.

Here are a few tips to save money throughout the school year.

Buy only what you need. Stores are designed to intrigue and tempt you. They do this by putting candy in the check-out lane and making carts bigger so it looks like you bought less.

Buy a Sunday paper. It is filled with weekly coupons and upcoming sales for local stores. Plus this helps out the newspaper business as well. Job security, people!

Cut out the coupons for items you really need and maybe want. Do not keep coupons for items you do not like or ones that have expired. This makes your grocery trip confusing and stressful, so be organized about it.

Practice your organization skills by categorizing your coupons. This makes it easier, because just like your coupons the store is organized in categories.

Stores are tricky though. They like to move items around. So when you think you know where a certain item is, you may have to go searching for it again. This leads to more time in the store and you could catch your eye on a product you did not know you wanted.

Saving money is really up to you. If you are motivated to find deals, print and cut out coupons, you may be able to have a few extra dollars for things you want.

Just a little bit more advice: Make sure you actually bring the coupons you cut out with you to the store. Cashiers usually do not take invisible coupons. Not that I am writing from experience here or anything. n