Extreme Couponing Education: Focus on Personal Care Products


Because they don’t tell you everything on reality television we are here to reveal the secrets of Extreme Couponing. TLC’s Extreme Couponing is really not about education it is more about entertainment. Our goal is to educate you and empower you to save money for your family.

We have been talking about how one of the myths of couponing is that coupons are only for processed foods, junk food or food my family does not eat. I also told you we were featured in the New York Times Magazine and many of the people writing in the comments accused us of only eating  junk foods. All of this brought me to the conclusion that some people just need to be educated in the way we save money and still eat healthy. This week I am going to talk about another way you can coupon and still eat healthy, don’t focus on food.

Maybe couponing for food is overwhelming to you? Maybe you like to only eat organic foods? (We have a coupon for that!) Organic food coupons. Maybe you are on a gluten free diet? (We have a post coming for Gluten Free Coupons). Maybe you have food allergies and don’t have many food options? DO NOT FOCUS ON FOOD!

Focus on Personal Care Products

Price Point – You can get many personal care products to free! Yes FREE! See that picture above? Those are all products that I got for free using coupons. I did not get them all in one shopping trip. I did it one week at a time. You are not going to be able to get all your personal care products for free so it is important to know the right price points. Knowing the price points helps you know when you should wait for a product to be free and keeps you from paying too much for a product that you can typically get for less.

Shop the Drug stores – The main place to focus if you are after personal care products are the drug stores. So check the site for  CVS coupon deals, Walgreens coupon deals, and Rite Aid coupon deals.

Build a Stockpile – When you can get a good price on a personal care product buy a few of them. No need to clear the shelves. Just get enough to last for 3-6 months, which probably won’t be much. Personal care products tend to last for a long time. Much longer than food does.

Take a Break – The nice thing about personal care products is that once you have 10 tubes of toothpaste you really do not need anymore. So you can STOP stockpiling toothpaste for more than a year! Once you have built up a little stockpile of personal care products feel free to take a break and just use the products you already have.

Maintenance Mode – When I first started couponing I hit the drug stores once a week or once every two weeks slowly building up my stockpile. I did this for less than a year before I found that I had a well rounded stockpile of products and I did not need to buy any more. So I went into maintenance mode. Now I just buy a few things here and there when my stockpile gets low. For example when my toothpaste gets down to 3 tubes I keep an eye out for a free toothpaste deal.


Learn more about eating healthy and still saving money!

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  • Is it me or are the stores getting really picky with the coupons. Today I went to Walmart with a BOGO and a $2.00 coupon for the 1st item. They would not let me use the $2.00 coupon because they said I was doubling the coupons. I took my coupons and walked out. Next I went to K-Mart and tried to use the coupons there. They wouldn’t take the $2.00 coupon because it wouldn’t scan. Why is this happening? I could see it if I tried to use 2 x $2.00 coupons.

    • May

      Usually the BOGO coupon links 2 products, and you can only use one manufacturer coupon per item, it will beeps if you try to use both.

      • Belle

        I have never known any store to allow a BOGO coupon and a $-off coupon, and besides, it usually stated on the coupon itself (both even) that only one coupon could be used for said product. So, no double-dipping period.

        • You should be able to use a BOGO and a cents off coupon if you are buying 2 items and the coupons match the exact items. But I have noticed that this technique can vary by store.

    • Susan

      I’ve been couponing for several years now, and yes, I think the stores have gotten more perskickity, as are the manufacturers who issue the coupons. It used to be pretty easy to get stuff for free or really super cheap, but now it’s more difficult, partly because of the increase in people using coupons and partly because of the stores and manufacturers tightening their policies.

      I’ve had difficulty at K-Mart and Walmart too, where they wouldn’t accept a coupon that didn’t scan. It really depends on the cashier. Some of them are knowledgeable and will override a coupon they know to be legitimate; others won’t.

      I don’t even attempt to coupon at K-Mart anymore. Kudos to Fab Dawn for being able to successfully do so at K-Mart. Inspired by her posts I’ve made a few attempts, but it never works out, and I find it too much work to re-work my list to make it work.

      I still try at Walmart, but keep my expectations realistic. Sometimes coupons are worded in ways that can be interpreted differently, and the cashiers don’t always know how to handle it. Using a bogo with a cents-off coupon is a grey area. I think it’s one of those situations where Walmart would do it if it scanned, otherwise they wouldn’t push it.

      Walgreens used to accept a bogo with a cents-off, but now they do not. Rite Aid used to accept a bogo coupon with a bogo sale, but now they do not, although Albertsons will still do it.

      Sigh. It’s all so complicated.

  • Patti

    Good article Monica! We are the granola type of foodies. I use coupons, but mostly for non-food items. And let’s face it, those are often the highest value coupons! It helps a lot with our grocery budget.

    Thank you Fab Frugals for your great site!

  • Susan

    Ditto Patti’s comment. Great post Monica. I don’t think I ever buy a household or personal care item without a coupon, and usually am able to combine a sale price with a coupon. I find it a lot easier to save with coupons for these items as compared to groceries.

    When it comes to groceries, it’s harder. I use coupons for food when I can, but we eat a lot of fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, and whole grains where coupons are less plentiful or . With food, I do well by shopping sales, and I save a lot simply by not being wasteful — cooking more, using leftovers wisely, not buying more than we need. Too often fresh food would rot in my fridge because we didn’t eat it all, partly because I bought too much (with good intentions) and partly because we’d end up picking up take-out or hitting a drive-thru because I was too tired to cook or we were hungry then and didn’t want to take the time to cook.

    Nowadays I’m more conservative and buy less than I think we’ll need. If we run out of fresh, we’ll turn to canned or frozen until the next shopping trip. Nowadays I keep (1) a list of quick-to-fix dinners with all ingredients handy and (2) meals made ahead of time that we can just heat up. It’s just as easy to make 2 pans of lasagne as one, and have the second on hand for a quick dinner another day. Prep foods like fresh veggies ahead of time and it’s easy to toss some in lunch boxes, but if fresh veggies aren’t ready, I’m much less apt to peel and chop in the mornings when we’re trying to get out the door on time.

    These changes in our shopping and eating haabits have made a world of different in my wallet and my waistline.

  • Thanks all for your feedback and praise. Love your ideas added to the conversation.

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