Once upon a time, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on using coupons. I was so excited the first time I saved 50% of my grocery bill, although I’ve only managed to do that once. Usually, I’m happy to save $10. But then I heard about all these people who were saving bucket-loads of money and realized that I actually have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to couponing, let alone the whole “extreme couponing” movement. Fortunately, Extreme Couponing 101 by Sandra Alexander helps to fill in a lot of the blanks in my education.

The relatively short, easy-to-read ebook offers a ton of information on everything from the most basic essentials of coupon collecting to the nitty-gritty details of stockpiling, all with a great touch of humor. I love that the author explains stockpiling as enough to get you through to the next sale cycle, rather than as the act of filling your entire garage with mayonnaise or building a wall of toilet paper (although if you’re eating THAT much mayo, you probably need all that toilet paper I suppose!).

In Extreme Couponing 101, Sandra not only teaches you how to save massive amounts of money, but she also teaches you how to do it responsibly and with integrity. She explains how copying internet coupons is fraud and the same thing as stealing from a store (plus those who do it ruin it for the rest of us, as half the stores in my area stopped accepting them for anything other than very small amounts). With the press focusing on a lot of the less-honest extreme couponers out there, it is more important than ever for people to know the right and fair way to do it.

I love how the book is broken down into a logical progression of chapters, starting with the ever-important question of where to actually find the coupons. I don’t have $10-20 a week to spend on newspapers, and quite honestly, I think it defeats the purpose of saving money. The internet is a great resource, but you really have to know where to look and what all the rules are regarding printing them. Once you learn where to find the coupons, the book teaches you the best way to use them.

As an added bonus, at the end of the book you’ll find a great section on sales cycles so you can learn which products go on sale during which months. For example, diet foods are usually on sale in January (probably because of all those New Year resolutions) while all the yummy, fattening stuff is on sale closer to the holidays in December. With checklists and homework assignments, you’ll be saving money in no time by following the steps in Extreme Couponing 101.