A while back, extreme couponing was the popular thing to talk about, but for the rest of us, is using coupons even worth it? Here are some things to consider about using coupons and how the might not really be saving you anything.
Is Using Coupons Worth It?
“I recently saw a special on the TLC cable channel called “Extreme Couponing” where people use coupons to stockpile grocery items, which they get nearly for free. I would love to hear your thoughts about it.”
I have seen that show. I have no problem with using coupons even though I sometimes sound like I don’t like them. As a matter of fact I used to be an “extreme” couponer. I would go the to store armed with my coupons and would often get my groceries for free or for very very little money. I loved it. I would even get a “high” from it and be so excited. I could hardly wait until the next time I went to the store so I could do it again.
It wasn’t until years later when I couldn’t get coupons anymore and lived in a town where I couldn’t use them that I realized the stress I had been under while I was using coupons and the effect it all had on me while I was doing it.
I don’t have a problem with couponing but extreme couponing has me concerned.
Let me pause right here and say please don’t e-mail me and say, “You don’t know my situation. I don’t have a problem with anything you mentioned and I coupon all the time.” That’s fine. There are exceptions to my rule and you might have circumstances in your life that make it easier for you to engage in extreme couponing so, if this describes you, I am not talking about you.
I am talking to the thousands who feel guilty, like they are failures in some way because they don’t jump on the bandwagon and start clipping every coupon in sight. When riding on a bandwagon you can run into lots of potholes, which advocates of something don’t always tell you about.
Most things, when done in the extreme, are not good. You have to have balance in life. What happens to a set of scales when you add way to much to one side? It can cause the scale to topple over, creating a chaotic mess.
Here are some things I found out about extreme couponing in my own life and from watching others:
Even when I was well organized, it still caused me a lot of stress when I went to the store. I had to keep track of so much — Did I get the right size milk so I can get the free cereal? Was it the right brand? Was it sugar free or regular? Do I have the coupon for the milk? Was it the 14.5 oz. size and not the 15.4 oz. package?
Do they even have the item in stock? Many times, when an “extreme” deal comes on the scene, it is gone before you can get it. I’m sick and I don’t have the energy to go back to the store several times to get a deal. Doing this with so many of the items I shopped for was stressful.
Then, when I got to the checkout, I had to watch every item like a hawk – Did I get the two cans of beans to get this bacon free? Did this item not have a coupon? Am I a coupon short? …and on and on.
Half the time I had to convince the store clerk that, yes, this coupon can be used with that item. When you have 50 items you are doing all of this for, it gets tiring.
To add to the stress, there were always people in line behind me making it known that they weren’t happy with the holdup I always caused.
These were just a couple of the little things that made extreme couponing stressful at the grocery store itself.
At home, before I left, I would spend ages clipping and sorting my coupons, putting them in order to make the shopping easier. Then, when I came home and found I had bought something without a coupon or had forgotten to give them a coupon, I would be so upset at myself.
I didn’t realize until after I stopped doing extreme couponing how much it controlled me emotionally. It was like an addiction.
On the show you don’t always get all of the real information. They don’t add all of the expenses to give a true amount of the savings. For example:
I paid almost $100 a year for a newspaper subscription to get my coupons. (Yes, I know you can get the coupons free off of the Internet now but I am talking about adding up the expenses and the newspaper happened to be one of mine).
On one extreme couponing show, two people took a day off of work just to go shopping. If they make say $20 an hour that was $320 they lost from not working. If they saved $920 on groceries you have to subtract the $320 and that meant they only saved $600.
A lot of those people buy coupons off the Internet. If you do this, you should subtract that cost from your savings.
You should also add in the hours you spent organizing, clipping, searching for or printing the coupons. At different times, I have made $25 an hour on my business so if I spent 4 hours couponing instead it would cost me $100 from my business. You have to take that off of the amount saved or you’re fooling yourself about the savings. Yes, I know a lot of people clip coupons in their spare time and if you truly have so much spare time that it’s worth it then that’s ok. In that case, it’s like working another job.
It may sound exciting but, like so many things, it can get out of control.
One couple had enough deodorant for more than 100 years. I know some people give it away but it still took lots of time, energy and thought to deal with all of that deodorant. Then the people had to pay for shelving to store it (another expense), they had to insure it (more expense), sort it, stack it, put the newer things toward the back, etc. They went to all of that effort for deodorant they probably won’t even use.
There is an old saying– Beware of things that sound too good to be true. At the risk of sounding negative, there really are very few “free” things in life. There usually is a certain amount of work involved.
Lastly, I hate to have all of my eggs in one basket. I learned how to shop on clearance, how to shop at Aldi and how to stretch the food I did buy and not waste it. That way, if I couldn’t use coupons, I had other means of saving.
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Thanks for a very sane look at using coupons! You’re right that anything taken to extreme can be harmful. The one good thing that has come from the recent extreme coupon craze is that is has made me more mindful to use coupons in general – when I find one that I will actually use for a product I really want!
what i dont understand is how these people say they save so much with coupons.when we get the sunday paper most coupons say 1.00 off when you buy two or three so how is that a savings. maybe i want to try it before i buy so many.i only use the ones who give so much off when you buy one.
A key component is to purchase the item when it’s on sale AND use your coupon. Yes,in the example you gave, you’ll still be buying more than you need at the moment, but when you DO need the item again, you’ll have it already. And you will have bought it at a really good price. :)
You have to use the couponsame with a sale or you don’t save money. I wait til kroger has their buy 5 items get $5 off at register an then use a coupon on top of it to really save money. I get a lot of stuff free an only pay taxes. What I don’t use I donate.
I donate a lot of baby food an female items which help people
You couldn’t do the extreme couponing thing here in CA. Not where I live, anyhow:
*Only a very few stores will take internet-generated coupons.
*Some stores have limits on what coupons and how many they will take.
I’ve been getting coupons for “free” 12-packs of soda (from points on a website). Reading the fine print: “free” up to $4.50, and I still have to pay the tax and redemption. So while the price comes down significantly, it’s not “free”.
While I think couponing in order to save money and build a reserve of food and household/personal needs is fine and even desirable, I think some of the people featured on the show “Extreme Couponing” have taken this to an unhealthy level. Several have said that couponing has taken over their lives. Some of the stockpiles are beyond good stewardship and have become hoards. I love the idea of sharing what you don’t need, and that is to be commended, but some of these extreme couponers won’t part with their surplus.
I have decided to focus on couponing in a small way and look for coupons online and from friends. I also shop at Aldi, Big Lots, several grocery stores and Target’s pantry. I have a small linen closet I’ve allocated as my stockpile closet and once that is full, I’m done. I won’t put shelving in our bedroom! I also won’t collect products we can’t or won’t use unless I plan to donate them to charity.
Like anything in life, as Jill said in her article, the scale can tip and what started out being good stewardship can become obsession and hoarding.
one woman that was featured on extreme coupon bought so many feminine products, that she said that she would go through menopause before going through the products. why not donate these to a womans shelter???
another woman bought dry cat food, and she did not have a cat. she admitted that. if I didn’t have a cat, I would buy the animal food and donate to my local shelter.
I just want to say THANK YOU! I know couponing works for many but I just can’t get in the groove. I don’t really have the time, don’t want to take the time and really just want to be able to learn the tricks to save money without the coupons! I do use them everyso often, I just can’t do the big stuff! We shop at Sam’s and are very careful. With a family of 9 (one now married) this has worked well and yes we are careful to compare. We like to eat as “clean” as possible and Aldi’s isn’t always an option for that although it does work for many things. Even with sales, Walmart is often top (or bottom) in the prices around here, so we tend to shop there the most. Thank you for saying, “it’s okay” I know I don’t need your okay but it’s nice to have it from someone that does work to save for their family when so often I hear, “but you could save so much more with coupons!” As you said, the costs outside of the savings do add up. We cost cut by NOT taking the paper unless I see coupons we really will use. Our time as a family can be minimal (even with homeschooling) so we value that and don’t want to “have” to prepare the coupons! Thanks again. I really appreciate your information!
I too was “glad” to hear it is okay to not coupon…to an extreme, that is. I have been saving coupons, reading some people’s blogs as to how to become an extreme couponer and I DON’T GET IT??? I watched every episode of extreme couponing on TLC and I just cannot find these big sales??? But, the shows I had seen must have been reruns from awhile ago…now days, the coupons state right on them…”no trial/travel sizes,” or only one coupon per purchase, or in one shopping visit. I live in MN, so I don’t know these other grocery stores that some people mention…I am only close to a Walmart…which has sales that are better than even using a coupon??? The grocery stores around here aren’t big ones, so I would have to travel two hours…waste the gas to hit stores where I would have a chance at getting something at a cheap price. BUT, I still haven’t figured out how to pay measly amounts like the people on the show. So, I am done kicking myself over these darn coupons,which I am trying to keep organized, but every Sunday, comes more, then the printables…in which not all stores take I have heard…oh, it’s so overwhelming. I do not work due to a disability, that is the only reason I allow myself to put time into it…but, the savings just don’t seem to add up for me…grrr:)
No they just aren’t always worth it. I think for most people it’s a hobby. :-)
You have to have a kroger or target to get good deals with coupons.
I do use kroger coupons sometimes but I stay away from Target. Generally their prices are higher than Wal mart and other similar places and the have an awful return policy so I really can’t recommend them myself.
I love couponing. I do the research on my lunch break an get the coupons together an go on my way home to the store I don’t extremely coupon but I do save over 50 percent. If I didn’t coupon I couldn’t support my disabled brotherso an my grand kids on one pay check . I can’t afford walmart so I shop at kroger an sometime target
What a great commentary. I enjoy watching the show if it is on, but it is not something I choose to do. With all of the time it takes to deal with the couponing, organizing and maintenance of the stockpile, I find it more time effective for me just to shop at Aldi and buy just what I need. I know families that do very well with couponing and even built it into a ministry, but it isn’t the right lifestyle choice for me right now. Thank you for not making me feel like an oddity for not jumping on the coupon bandwagon.
Thank you for a well thought out article that says the things many of the rest of us are saying at home. Keep up the great work.
I totally agree with your thoughts and that is the reason I don’t use coupons to the extreme.
Grizzly Bear Mom
If these are manufacturers’ coupons how can they be for other than prosessed foods that contribute to obesity and not health? I want to be a good steward of the health God blessed me with and eat for strength. And isn’t it cheaper to whip up your own white sauce and add cheese rather than by Box-O-Cheesy Potatoes? Run away now!
I agree with you totally.
Thanks for your comments and letting me know I am not alone in my frustrations of using coupons. Recently, I watched the extreme couponing show and had many of the same thoughts that you mentioned as these ladies were shopping and saving. It can be an addiction.
I enjoy saving money, shopping for the best buys and seeing all the items I find on sale. However, you talked about the time involved and the thoughts of failure when you come home and realize you forgot a coupon or didn’t get the right thing. Many times I had the same conversations with the casihier.
Now, I coupon save when I can, but thanks to your website, I have learned many other ways to save money on my groceries and I feel that I have much more time and my son doesn’t dread going to the store with my when he sees “the box” of coupons.
Hello Jill, I used to use coupons a lot more than I do now. I found that using coupons gave me plenty of high sugar, high chemical and preservative, prepackaged foods. I rarely found a coupon for fresh produce. Now I save by buying food as close to how it was grown as possible, farmers markets in the summer, Aldis for snacks. Pastured meat and eggs rather than conventionally produced meat. We have gradually altered our diet to be primarily plant based,as the USDA recommends. I waste very little as any leftover foods can either be made into omelets, fritatas, or soup. As much a possible we eat seasonally. I also make my own bread which is very easy using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method. I do use coupons for paper products which I only buy on sale. It’s more work, but about the same amount as our mothers and grandmothers did. It results in healthier food and healthier people. My sister does the same thing and she works full time so it’s possible to do whether you are a stay at home working Mom or an employed outside the home working Mom. I live in what is now considered an aging inner ring suburb of a large city but it is still possible with a little planning. Not as much as when I used to use more coupons and went through all the things you described in your article.
I agree! Anything taken to the extreme is unhealthy! I also agree that these shows don’t take into account the actual cost (not only monetary) of extreme couponing.
With that being said, I do use coupons. I just wanted to share the little challenge that I have created for myself and my husband. This works for us because we do not coupon out of necessity. We only buy things that we need and use (about a 2 month supply of any given non-perishable item). We save our receipts each month, and at the end of the month we go through and add up the amount that we saved using coupons. We then tranfer that amount from our checking account to our “vacation savings” account. Some months we only transfer about $25 but there have been months where we have saved as much as $100. These savings have helped us not feel too guilty about taking nice vacations!
Thank you for your realistic breath of fresh air attitude toward couponing. With chronic illness, a needy little one and a small-town paper that doesn’t carry coupons, much of what you express has been my experience as well. Too much work for too little return. Shopping clearances and store brands and other frugal measures is just much more suited to my needs.
Kathleen in IL
Jill and Tawra: I do NOT do extreme couponing for several reasons. 1) I usually do not buy name brands. I shop at Save-A-Lot and SELDOM, SELDOM buy the (few) name brands that they offer. Yes, I shop at Kroger’s and Wal-Mart too, but Kroger’s only occasionally and only for those specific items I cannot get elsewhere. SAL used to offer coupons for their products and I snapped them up. BUT…. 2) Most of the stores in my town offer limited coupon usage, usually up to a maximum of a few dollars per shopping trip. They won’t usually double coupons, either. So I’d have to make many trips in and out, and that would be time wasteful. 3) I’ve learned, as you have, that I need to use my leftovers creatively and not waste. This stretches the food budget immensely. I also try to balance menus, using higher-cost items in one meal, lower-cost items in another, and trying to feature “free” meals periodically (think soup out of leftovers, casserole using leftovers, etc.).
In all honesty, I don’t know where I could put those dozen jars of mustard, or 50 tubes of toothpaste, or dozen cans of baked beans, etc. Well, yes, I know where I could put the baked beans, HA. AND do these items get used before they go bad or off? OR are these people giving to a shelter, food pantry, or other charitable place? Just wondering.
Kathleen in IL
Kathleen, to answer your question, I know that some people do donate, but they are also good for bartering. Recently I traded some Legos that were gathering dust for 4 of those expensive body washes that men like (and women can’t stand, no matter what the ads portray). The woman with the washes got them for very little. She got her son’s birthday present in return. I would never have paid for them, but dh thought it was a nice treat. I bought several makeup items last week using a high value coupon from the newspapers, and am trading them for some organic chicken.
Charities won’t take expired food due to liability issues, but food isn’t really “expired” on the can date. That’s why many read “Best by…” The people with the thousands of deodorant are hoarders. At least they’re hoarding something clean instead of trash, but hoarders nonetheless.
Thank you for your frank article. My adult daughters have been super excited about the show and while I am too as a mom I see some of the drawbacks you mentioned. Thank you for being real, practical and honest that allows us to take an honest look at the hidden costs of time coupon expenses etc. I like that I can pass your words of wisdom onto them and let you be the “moms” voice of reason. :)
Thanks for the realistic view on extreme couponing. I’ve tried it several times and run into many of the same problems you’re discussing and always felt a little guilty that I couldn’t pull it off. The realism is refreshing.
I am all for saving money by using coupons but these extreme couponers are nuts. When something consumes you it is not healthy. GET a LIFE people.
I have to say I agree with most of your points about the show—-When I watch the first few I was upset they didn’t say the names of sites these shoppers go to for the coupon deals….the money spent on getting the coupons–I’ve been lucky to find family and friends who will give me Q but some of them spend monies buying Q’s so the “savings” they showing are not the real amount. Also now because of the show I’ve noticed A LOT of Q now have a limit of how many can be used in one shopping trip, so now along with store policies you have to read each Q VERY carefully. I’ve never had an EXTREME trip as the show shows, but I can understand the “HIGH” I just ahd a trip to CVS and bought $25 worth of items for less then $2!!! with Q and CVS bucks.
I, too, have just finally discovered the treasure trove of non-perishables offered at drug stores like CVS and Rite Aid! I get more of a high walking out of their with a stack of TP and shampoos than trying to figure out couponing walking thru walmart or Price Chopper with 2 little kids “helping” me shop.
I have seen the show as well and have been amazed at the amount of items these people seem to be able to bring home for little to nothing. If it works for them great but I have found that it does not pay me to be so coupon conscience. It seems that a lot of the products they get free are for noodles or things high in carbohydrates. Being diabetic (husband too) and with young adults living in the household with this predisposition, why would I want something that could harm our health? Clearance, markdowns, bent and dent are more feasible for us. Love all that you do.
Amen! Even the area where I store all my coupon-ing supplies – scissors, tape, files, boxes to sort, etc. gets out of hand! Also, I find I’m tempted to spend money I wouldn’t spend to try an item that has a great coupon!
Thanks for giving some balance to this issue. I have developed my own system of couponing. I clip only the coupons for products I actually use, file them by date and not by type of product, and look through the current three months of coupons to pull them when I go shopping. When I do this consistently, supplementing with internet coupns, etc., I routinely save $15-$20 a week shopping. Since my grocery bill is $150-$200, I am saving 10 percent, which is not bad. If I even save $10 per week, I have saved $520 a year; $20 is $1040 a year. I probably could do better, but that’s not bad!
I completely agree about moderation! I think we need to figure out what works best for us – in any situation. Following the crowd gets us in trouble many times.
I coupon, and I’m very, very thankful that where I live I can take advantage of a website called SouthernSavers.com – she does all the work for me. (I’m not being paid to say that!) I merely click the check box next to the sale items I’m interested in, click the link to the printable coupon if there is one, or find the coupon in the circular indicated. She even tells me what I will pay after the sale and coupon. So an hour a week and I’m set. I don’t run to multiple stores unless the deals are worth it. And it stretches my family of 5’s budget -right now we are surviving on about $100 a week quite well.
But if I didn’t have that website, it probably would not be worth the time and effort it takes! But since the website is available to me, it’s a very valuable resource and I generally save 50% off my bill.
I do think it’s interesting, though – and I’m going to generalize terribly: I live in the country, smack dab between an up-and-coming, upper middle class town and a more rural, lower middle class town. Most of my friends from Rich Town are very into couponing – there are classes on how to do it, they post their shopping trips on facebook, and it feels very much like the “popular” thing to do. Of course, there are people there who do it despite the popularity, as I do and have done.
I haven’t seen couponing as a fad in “Poorer Town.” I know few people in “Poorer Town” willing to take the time and the effort to save the money. In fact, many of them have come up with very creative ways to save money in other ways.
I know that this is just two towns and just a very limited circle of people, but it makes me wonder about the demographic of the people who are on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing”! (I don’t have cable, so I’ve never seen it!)
My thoughts on couponing in general: a lot of coupons are for packaged convenience foods, which I try not to use, and “name brand” products, which are overpriced to begin with. My thoughts on extreme couponing: anything — even good things — taken to an extreme will throw your life out of balance. Anything that consumes a disproportionate amount of your life (I’m not just talking physical time, but emotional energy, concentration, etc.) can be endured for a short time, but will eventually wreak you. I sometimes combine coupons with sales to get super good deals for our church’s food pantry (example – got cereal for 25 cents a box). I’m not anti-couponing. I’m just anti-extreme anything. It is easy to get obsessed with saving money to the point where it can affect your mental and physical well being.
I loved that you wrote this article…I have been watching the show and trying really hard to figure out how they really saved all of that money…First of all, I don’t get but a very small amt.of coupons and you would have to be wealthy to use them, 2nd I was feeling guilty that my family lives on one income and I could not make or save all the money that they were,so I started beating my self up for it….HOw could I not be like them…
I know how to save money and be as cheap as I can,this article made me feel better about all of this couponing..
The stores I shop at in my rural community only allow so much coupons and it is usually for things I don’t need or ever want, even if I could get them free..
Thanks again for the article
DuckDuckGo it; a lot of what is shown on the show is fraud, misuse, or the store’s allowing things for the show that would never be allowed for the rest of us.
I have to say I agree with a lot of your points and common sense! I was starting to get into couponing a lot, and I never got real extreme (I’m glad!), but I felt the lure of it, and stress and disappointment when I didn’t use a coupon I had, and the hours spent scouring the email ads and papers for coupons. It took a while for me to find out what works for me and get organized: set up a binder with plastic card sheets labelled according to store sections, and print out pre-made, not exact, but closely matched lists I receive from couponing mom’s emails (Frugal Living NW or such others) on the internet for what is in each insert, and staple the list on the front. Then if I didn’t have time to clip, I had a stored insert; and those moms send notices of what things are on sale at which stores, and they list the date of the coupons that go with it. If I get a coupon for an item I definitely use, I take the time to print or clip it and file it, and I take my notebook to the store. If I don’t have time, I have to let it go so it doesn’t consume me. Life is too short and there are other ways to save, like you said, and house-keeping, smart meal planning, family time, etc. I don’t want my life centered around grocery trips and stockpiling lots of items. A small stockpile for a few weeks or possibly months on SOME items is fine for me. Thanks for your newsletter – I’ve enjoyed them a lot!
I agree! I only cut the coupons that I really use. I also still check the generics. Sometimes they are still cheaper even with a coupon from the name brand. I try to save about 35% per trip, on a combo of about 10 coupons, store value cards and just sales. Any thing over that, and I am a success. I also live in Los Angeles area so any savings is good.
I recently saw an episode of “Extreme Couponing” you refer to. I was impressed at first with the store balance being $0.00,but thinking about how much energy & time spent not only organising coupons,but 2 hrs. or more at the store is insane. Then,they have every available space in their home set up for “stocking” items.Everything has a shelf life,even cleaning supplies & beauty products. Appears to be another type of hoarding.I am keen with finding deals,but keep it real.I am a huge ALDI shopper & fan.And,they are less costly than the larger chains with coupon use.
I agree that when something goes to an extreme it is not healthy. I have only seen the show a couple of times and get irritated at the amount of items that these people buy. While I understand that some of them are donating them to food banks, etc. they are still buy all that the store has. My problem with that is that when Suzy goes to buy some bacon, pop, whatever, it’s gone and Suzy doesn’t get the 10 for $10 deal or get to use her coupon on something because that product is no longer there. I also get pretty irritated that when something messes up they act like it’s the store’s fault or the cashier’s. They are way too stressed, I think.
In fact, it’s messed up the little bit of couponing that I do. The couple of websites that I use to get some coupons from now come with a message that due to the popularity of using coupons, you better print yours as soon as you get this email. This morning that email came in at 2:47 a.m. That means that if I wanted any of those coupons I better have been sitting at my computer at that time. I wasn’t, I got that email at 9:30 when I checked my email.
This was very timely for me as I was considering getting deeper into couponing. For many of the food items, we just don’t eat that way. I want to only focus on toiletries for my major couponing. Anyway, there was a lot of common sense in the article, Thank You.
I agree that “extreme couponing” can be stressful. Though I don’t feel I’m ever an “extreme couponer” I have felt stress when I am at the store for over 2 hrs. trying to make sure what I get fits the coupons or getting home and realizing I ‘messed up’ somewhere and really didn’t get the best deal.
I coupon, but on a somewhat lower level. I try to save what I can, but not to the point of stressing myself out each week. I enjoy your perspective on saving $$$. Thanks for all that you share.
Thanks for pointing out the expense that goes along with the extreme couponing. Also – it looks an awful lot like hoarding to me. If the extreme couponing people gave their excesses to charity – maybe I could see the good in it.
Thank you for helping to alleviate the guilt I had for not couponing. We live 20 miles from the nearest store, do not get the paper (thus no paper ads) and could not justify spending hours online searching, printing, saving, scanning, etc… coupons. We have had to make due with limited resources and shop/stock up when certain items are on sale and while being on a budget is hard, I am happy knowing I am not buying something we don’t need or won’t use. Thank you again for this article!!
I too have watched those shows and was appalled by some of the unadulterated GREED. Who needs 62 bottles of mustard when the husband says he doesnt even eat it (even if it doesnt go bad) or 201 toothbrushes! Like another person said much of it just seems like hoarding. I too like to save money but when we have enough, that is ok with me.
You are probably going to get a lot of comments on this both ways, this sees to be a strong subject! First, let me say I have used coupons for over 20 years. I’ve used them more than ever in recent years because I really need to save money on grocery bills for my family & because the stores have been very ‘coupon friendly’ compared to 20 years ago.
I find that tv show fascinating, just to see how people manage to get so much for little or nothing – I wish I could manage some of that myself,it would save my family so much money! I’m horrrified at the OCD tendencies some exhibit in filling entire rooms to everflowing with stuff.It seems like an addiction/adrenalin high to me. You can’t use all that stuff! They either let it sit till they have to throw it away (like my aunt & her extreme hoarding ‘in case of an emergency & the country shuts down’), give it away as some do, or sell it for profit like others do.
Now here’s the problem, & why I wish that show had NEVER aired & would be cancelled. This show is hurting everyone who uses coupons. When it was just a few, unknown people doing the extreme thing, it didn’t hurt anyone. But with this show, there are so many people trying to repeat what they are seeing & the stores are fighting back. Most of the major grocery/pharmacy stores have already changed their coupon policies to limit coupon use. Many stores now have a limit as to how many coupons you can use, how many ‘like items’ you can get,or if you can use a coupon for a free item(they honor ‘buy 1/get 1’, but not free). Because of these people who get an entire cart of candy bars for free or cents on the dollar – I can’t use my coupons for free bottles of Power Aid that I earned through the Coke Rewards program, because the stores now will not allow me to use a coupon that is for a free item. I belong to a few couponing websites & we are all seeing the effects of extreme couponing. It’s creating a huge backlash from the stores that will have a major effect on anyone who uses coupons.
These people are cutting their own throats, along with the rest of us, very soon, none of us will be able to get much benefit from couponing. The families barely scraping by, depending heavily on coupons to feed their families are the one’s who are really going to suffer – but we are all going to pay for the greed of a few.
Thank you for your honest comments about extreme couponing. I agree that it can be stressful and has become like an Olympic event, which is something I am no longer in shape for.
One of the things that bothered me when watching the show was seeing stockpiles of goods that they couldn’t possibly use before the best if used by date. Even deodorant won’t last forever and it will go bad (it just doesn’t smell bad!). And the one man who gave his 1,000 tubes of toothpaste to our troops overseas…does he think our troops don’t already have toothpaste?
Connie, not all of the troops have the supplies that they need unfortunately. I know of a platoon who moves several times every few weeks, and for them to get supplies is extremely hard. We have to send them necessities of life, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, hand sanitizer, and a list of many, many other items. It is sad that they can’t get these items at a PX where they are stationed. I am proud to be a part of this group, and thank you to the man who thinks of others and understands their needs who sent the toothpaste.
I forgot to add another backlash because of this tv show. Because it shows people dumpster diving for coupons, our city has seen more & more people getting into the recycle bins. People putting their kids in there after coupons was the last straw & now our recycle center that puts the bins out has made it known that they will have anyone caught going through their bins arrested & prosecuted!
My thoughts exactly on extreme couponing. Thanks for pointing every angle out to those who may not have taken everything into consideration.
I have not seen the show you are refering to, but I have seen television specials regarding super couponing. After the show I would be inspired to try couponing, but within two weeks I would be frustrated and lose momentum. I rarely eat processed food, and I’m a single person with no kids, so the items I would usually find were of limited or no use to me.
Recently I have considered trying again, mainly because I can see how this method can be used to help stock food banks and shelters. I think if more people used coupons in that way, we could help restock the food pantrys that are having so much trouble these days. Processed food is not good for you, but when the choice is between something easy to prepare when you don’t have a kitchen, or not eating at all, the choice is clear.
My husband was channel surfing the other night and stopped on TLC while “Extreme Couponing” was airing. He sat there for a long time beofre saying “these people need to get a life”. This program is like so many others that are on TLC and others channels, things are taken to the extreme. I have no problems with the two or three people who give their stock pile to charity but the others–When will they ever use of that food that is date sensitive? I have been couponing for many years and will continue to do so but I do not stock pile. I buy only what we will use.
This program and others like it are giving everyday couponers a bad rep and at the same time they are causing problems redeeming coupons. The most I have ever saved is 62% off the entire purchase and I was so pleased. Every little bit helps in todays economy.
I wish the program would be pulled from the air. What they do is not normal by any means. Thank You.
Thank you! After watching the show I did feel guilty of all the money I was wasting my family by not couponing however, just the thought of it was stressing me out and I had come to the conclusion it wasn’t the right thing for me, but it is always nice to hear that from someone else too!
I appreciate all the great info I get from Living on a Dime. Thanks for your opinion. I can feel as though I am not doing enough because I do not extreme coupon. I do not have the storage space for a load of stuff I may never use. Often I find that the store brand is cheaper than using a coupon and I have not found a coupon that gives me free stuff. We do not have an Aldi where we live. I wish we did. United and Wal-mart has the run on our town.
God bless you for a dose of common sense — I feel better and I thank you!
I would like to issue a caution about going on the links provided here for signing up for coupons and other special deals. After I did this a couple of weeks ago, our mailbox began being flooded with all sorts of junk mail, which I consider to be spam. I’m still getting them, and I know it’s a result of getting into those links, such as WalMart and other places offering deals. I’m sorry I did it. We had just changed email addresses for the purpose of not getting so much junk mail.
Thank-you, Jill, for a very balanced article on couponing.
I watched that show and part of me was pretty ticked off because I do clip coupons in a balanced way, but these people go in and clear the shelves. After they have gotten their 100 year supply of deodorant, there is none for others that would like to take advantage of the same deal and maybe put one or two ahead to prevent paying full price.
Then there is a fact that they cannot use significant portions of their home because of their stockpile. Really, a two-car garage that is stocked better than a convenience store? Who needs a hundred jars of canned gravy? You can make better gravy from the drippings and a little flour! I had a friend whose mom was an extreme couponer and kept her stash of paper goods in the garage. They ended up throwing away hundreds of dollars worth of paper goods that were soiled and torn up by mice. If you need 25% of the space in your home to stash your stockpile, then 25% of the expense of keeping your home….utilities, maintenance, and mortgage, need to come out of the “profits”.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the article. I do have a small stockpile, mostly because I work full time and go to school. It is nice to not have to run to the store or pay full price. But any extreme is not a good thing. Even with coupons.
I have a friend who uses coupons and swears by them, but I just can’t seem to get into them, especially since a lot of the time they’re for things we don’t buy like convience foods. My strategy is cooking mostly from scratch, reducing meat, buying on sale, using leftovers, etc. We’re military so I shop almost exclusively at the Commissary. We go to other stores when we spot a deal that beats their prices.
Have not seen this show as we do not have tv, but this comes at a good time. I just told my husband I was going to e-mail you to see where to get coupons. Our Sunday paper is at $2.oo now and everytime I have splurged and bought it for the coupons there is nothing I can use. When I go to websites to print them it always seems they are a treat to my comupter so I dont use them. We live very frugaly to begin with and dont buy name brand,shop sales,grind my own wheat to bake with and can as much as possible. I like to stock up on things we use but since I dont use most of what the coupons are for I think shopping sales and stores like Grocery Outlet,Big lots and Winco are my best bet. I have family members who are at the extreme on the couponing but they dont live like we do and eat alot of processed items. Your article has confirmed what I think about couponing. thank you
I am in agreement with all the comments below – this was a timely article with great points! My husband and I watched an episode of EC a while back, and we both agree that the stockpiles are just organized hoarding. Now, we joke about mustard purchaces when we actually DO need to buy it. And, we also noticed that most of the best deals seemed to be for energy drinks (bad for you!) and processed food items (also horrible for you!). What good is saving money on those purchases when you might end up spending the savings on health-related issues later?
Honestly, I think the best way to avoid guilt over non-extreme couponing behavior is to keep it simple. Check out the circulars and sales. Plan your menu based upon the sales and what product coupons you do like/use/need, and then shop and cook for your menu. You save money and will likely have little waste.
I have watched the TLC Extreme Couponing show and have felt guilty that as a stay at home mom of four I am not jumping on the couponing bandwagon. I love your perspective on the subject and that of the other readers of your website and it has alleviated that guilty feeling. I have read every article on your website on my quest to become frugal because I am not naturally frugal and I have mad great strides with our families frugality. When we lived in California and I thought I had to work for our family to make it, we wound up in over $50,000 of debt! We ate out, bought things we didn’t really need and just generally miss-managed our money. When we moved and I was no longer working, I was determined to get our family back on track. We are actually managing much better on one salary and have managed to pay off a huge chunk of debt and get rid of “toys” we didn’t really need. Your articles on groceries and savings have taken our monthly food budget of over $1,300 to $500 a month which I hope to get down even further! Thank you so much for your insights into frugality and for letting those of us who have doubts know that we can make it and even flourish on one income.
Thanks for writing about the extreme couponing. I have changed the way I eat by mostly eating fresh vegs and meats. I have cut out all the processed foods. When I did this I found that most coupons are not useful. I have lost over 30 lbs and feel better. I would rather be healthly then listen to the food industry that only wants to sell more food.
I agree Tawra. Extreme couponers are few and far between where I live. I do use coupons, but I am not “tied” to them to the point where I would take days off work, or make sure I have 100 of some particular item. (Really, does one need a 100 tubes of deodorant?) My savings using the coupons that I do utilize, average around $40-$45 a shopping trip, which is every two weeks or so. Once a month, my daughter who lives with me and her 2 children, make our “big trip” to shop, which includes the laundry soap, dish soap, etc. This last trip, I had my personal best of $68.78 in coupons used. That may not seem like much to some, but for me, it was awesome. Plus, I don’t ever have to worry about where do I store all I bought…cause I only buy what I need!!!!
A fresh perspective! Thank you! I always feel so guilty when I forget my coupons at home and have to buy the ketchup on sale without a coupon! Thanks to your article, I am going to give up the beast all together and focus on other ways to save money. Let’s face it, it’s a pain in the neck. I figured I make about $2 an hour couponing – it’s just not worth it anymore!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have no problem with coupons, but I found too… the stress I was under to do it and the fact that NOTHING I ever bought was useable with a coupon made it nearly impossible to achieve the savings others were able to reach. I don’t buy anything preprocessed and very rarely is there a coupon for the whole foods I prefer to buy. I appreciated the time and effort you put into sharing this. :) Blessings!
J – I agree with you completely and feel the exact same way. I, too, have been couponing for over 20+ years and it is true that these people have ruined it for mainstream coupon users. My Kroger has changed their coupon policy as other stores in the area. Very sad. I hope the show gets cancelled too – but I think it is too late.
Thank you! I felt so guilty for not wanting to do “extreme” couponing! I don’t need the added stress nor the dirty looks from clerks and customers behind me in line. I save plenty by shopping the way I do.
I agree with you! Couponing can be fun, but can stress you out too. I love Aldi. Most of the items I can get there for less than a product with a coupon at another place. Yes you do have to bag your groceries, and borrow a cart for .25(of which you rec your $$ back when you return the cart). But it has allowed me to feed my family and a lot of guests. I do use coupons for the things I can’t get at Aldi. Just some random thoughts! :)
Thank you, thank you, thank you! For taking the words right out of my mouth!
I tried “extreme couponing” a few years back – what a thrill it was! I loved getting stuff for free, or almost free. But I discovered it took a LOT of time to coupon, and when I backed off using coupons – yes, our grocery bill increased, but my stress level dropped immensely. Not just the time it took to clip & gather & print & scour the web for great deals, but then matching it all up at the store & making sure it was right, and 9 times out of 10 the coupon wouldn’t scan right, so the manager had to come over… and really, as a homeschooling mom with 2 kids, I just want to get in and out and get home with my groceries.
Now, I do use coupons on things I need… I snatch them up and enjoy the normal savings off of my grocery bill. Even if I pay full price for my laundry soap each week, and a coupon knocks a buck off – then I’ve saved a buck, and that makes me happy.
And to Monica who posted just above me – they have totally ruined it for the rest of us, haven’t they? I can’t get coupons online anymore – by the time I log on and see a good coupon, all of them have already been printed out and there’s none left for the rest of us. I also rarely get the in-store coupons that hang on the shelves – they are usually gone in a flash, because people take stacks of them instead of just one or two.
Sad how a handful can ruin it for the rest of us!
Couldn’t agree with you more about couponing! I use a few coupons, but only for things I normally buy, and still half the time I forget to use them at checkout. Then when I find the expired coupon in the bottom of my purse, I get annoyed. I’ve found I do much better just buying items I normally use when they are on sale, and not getting more than a months’ worth since they seem to go on sale on a regular cycle.
Love your newsletter!
I also agree with most of the commenters here. It seems like these extreme couponers are under way too much stress just to stockpile items that they will never use. The last episode I watched was where they got something like 63 boxes of Fruit Loops, and they didn’t have any kids! And not to be judgemental, but every episode I’ve watched looked they they needed to be on a diet instead of buying all the junk food that they had.
PS I forgot to mention – a few friends were having a discussion about this subject, and one friend nailed it: if these people weren’t saving so much money & giving us the shock factor, people would look at them and say they were suffering from a hoarding disorder. Instead, they are being praised for saving so much money. No thanks – groceries already take over my house after a weekly shopping trip, and I need every bedroom in our house for a person to sleep in – and I like my garage just the way it is!
My house is a home for humans, not a storage shed for groceries & household goods.
I think your article was right on top of it, you cant have everything in one basket, and you cant spend you life coupon-ing searching clipping and etc.
Every thing in moderation, should be everyone motto now with the world like it is.
I am so thankful to read this newsletter. I coupon but like my mama did, just on the items I had plans on buying. Occassionally, we have the funds to stock up but that is not very often. I get very frustrated at times when I go the store to purchase some great deal that is already sold out because of others extreme couponing. Plus, I don’t have the time or the proper stress level to “do it all.” Thanks for the encouraging words. I really enjoy your money saving newsletter.
I live in Texas. I very very seldom can use coupons. I checked, and in an 120 mile radius around where I live no store has “Store Cards”, no store doubles coupons, not store(except Wal-Mart) honors other store’s coupons. On top of that, I shop as basic as I can. No place I know gives coupons for rice, beans, pinach, fresh fruit and so forth. I get generic this or that or other. I very very seldom buy mixes (food allergies to some additives) and have been known to make my own from recipes I find on recipe clone sites for just that reason. If there is a store brand for something I need I buy it.
I also agree. I used to do extreem couponing and stopped about 3 years ago. I still have enough shampoo for about 2 years.
Excellent points. Thank you for putting it in perspective. A couple of years ago I tried diving in with both feet and got completely overwhelmed. The time it takes to find, clip, organize, watch for sales on items for which I had coupons to maximize savings and then actually shop sucked up an inordinate amount of my time and energy. The only coupons I use now are ones issued by the stores I shop and only for products I use. I admire those with the drive and organization to pull it off, but it’s not for me!
I have tried to coupon, but found that there are very few for things that I actually use. It is normally for prepackaged, sugar-free, chemically modified, diet, or what-have-you. I try very hard to eat a homemade as possible. I hve found that there are much simpler ways to cut my grocery budget, just buy shopping wisely and watching sales and such.
However, I haven’t noted this brought up in the comments (I didn’t read EVERY one, but most). All of this extremem couponing causes the cost of groceries to increase to the rest of us. Yes, the stores get pais back for the coupons, but not to the handling time they create for their employees and such. They pass those costs onto everyone across the board. Sad really.
Thank you so very much for this article. I have been couponing for about 2 years, and have gotten some incredible deals. But lately I’ve been less and less motivated to spend the time to prepare for each shopping trip (clipping, sorting, etc.). After reading your well expressed thoughts, I feel free to lay it all down and focus instead on stretching my dear husband’s paycheck in other ways, many of them mentioned on your website. I thank my Father for your using you to speak to my heart.
Cory also on the nate show on NBc at 3 pm est time
When i was younger had more time and lived a block from my grocery store I used coupons And saved some money
Now Being a 10 mile drive to the local town And own one car.
We shop at a Pricerite. They sell discounted brand as well as fruits ,veggies, and I only spend $450 . a monh to feed my family of three .They don’t accept coupons and need to bring your own bags . They are in The Northeast Area .
If you live in that area of the country try them out
I definitely agree with you and with the other comments made about Extreme Couponing. I do use coupons and have “stockpiled” for years, but mine doesn’t consume my house, it simply keeps my pantry full. These people on this show seem as addicted to this as gambling. They all talk about the “rush” they feel when doing it. Who wants 70 bottles of mustard? I sometimes wonder if some of these people ought to be on “My Strange Addiction”. Hopefully, those who have become caught up in this “craze” will chill out and start to realize that if couponing takes up 60 hours per week, you need to take a clear look at your life. This is not to say that some of these people who use the extras to donate to shelters are doing wrong, it is a wonderful thing, but moderation, please.
Jill, you hit the nail on the head. When this “extreme couponing” phenomenon struck, I almost fell into it. The more I thought about the stress, time spent (searching, clipping, away from my kids), etc, I knew it wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that a couple of stores in my area have changed their coupon policies recently and that really bums me out!!! No doubt due to “extreme couponing” . . .
I totally agree with every point you made. I coupon some, but to me, it’s only a good deal when you get what you NEED for the least amount of money. Some of the extreme couponers seemed like hoarders, getting things just to get them. One lady looked like she had about 20 packages of 5 or 6 fresh tomatoes each- how can she possible use them all before they are moldy? How are you really saving if you are spending any money at all for more things than you really need?
No store here in Los Angeles will take Internet-generated coupons. The grocers are worried about fraud, even when the coupons come from official sites.
Only one store chain still doubles coupons anymore (but only up to 50 cents); the others have all stopped. The three major stores in the area all have loyalty cards, which I take advantage of.
Two of the stores in the area (Sprouts and Whole Foods) offer a five-cent per-bag discount if you bring your reusable bags.
i dont do the couponing thing anymore .. i found that i spent more money buying the name brand product and getting a few cents off of the product .. the supermarkets here do not do double or triple coupons ..
the one supermarket i do go to sometimes have buy one get one free item (their store name brand) and its just as good as the regular name brand product only cheaper ..
one time i save $100! yep $100 by buying the store brand item .. same thing .. same taste .. just different packaging ..
and well i wouldnt have believed it except i used to deliver newspapers to a fella that worked in the tg lee milk factory and told me that this supermarket brand is the same chocolate milk that tg makes but less expensive .. and well .. he was right ..
and sometimes we get $5 off or $10 off if u buy a certain amt of food (one per customer) and in this case, i make my son go in one line with money and the coupon and i go in another line ..
same thing when we used to buy lots of soda .. buy 3 get one free .. deal good for one cust only … and that is fine with me too .. and also walmart will honor the same supermarket deals there .. it just has to be the same name brand that is being advertised . if its the store brand advertisement .. then no they dont honor it ..
just ask to make sure .. which i do all of the time ..
my daughter does the coupon things all the time and saves .. esp on makeup and stuff like that ..
and yes i have done some couponing but i do not go out of my way to do this ..
i do think its awesome if there are people who can do this .. and save . ..
but most of the time whenever i used to watch those shows the people being shown doing this live in areas that offer the double/triple coupons ..
With the whole couponing thing I found myself buying things I didn’t need #1, didn’t like #2, went out of my way milage wise and spent more money in the long run(a big #4 here). The whole hoarding thing that people get into takes the fun out of it as well. I’d go into a grocer and find an item completely wiped out for the entire week of the sale. I know, you can get a rain check, but that’s not the point. Now I just buy what my family enjoys, look for a coupon or sale if available in the stores I enjoy shopping(Aldi’s and other local grocers). Every now and then send off coupons to those Moms I know that are in need of saving on those diapers etc. When I have the time, I’ll still cut them or print them out, place them in an envelope and pass them on to co-workers and members at work. It’s a YMCA and people come and go all day long. The coupons that go fast are the baby items and pet food. I have a veggie garden I’ve tended for 20 yrs. It brings me great pleasure to be able to share any of the surplus of abundance that comes out of it with family, friends and aquaintances.
Don’t forget the fuel costs in going to one or more stores just to save a few bucks. I live in a rural area where the nearest Publix is an hour and twenty minute round trip. I lived without Publix for 33 years so I sure won’t die without it now. Couponing is great under the right circumstances, but some extreme couponing is completely counterproductive.
I did this for a while. In fact, I just opened my last stockpiled roll of free plastic wrap received 4 years ago. I did stop for many of the same reasons that you mentioned, mostly stress. My thought when I stopped was “if I pray give us our daily bread and then stock pile was I really trusting God to provide?” I didn’t think so. So, I stopped stockpiling and kept praying. We all still have toothpaste & food with an occasional dessert to enjoy plus we eat less processed foods. Now, My husband gives me $120 a week and I use it for everything from food to shampoo for a family of 4 living in the Los Angeles area. I enjoy your website, thank you!
Gosh I thank you for giving us permission to NOT do coupons – I was a coupon junkie with two small children, who helped me on the weekends cut and sort coupons. They enjoyed the mom-time, but it really wasn’t quality time. My grocer would always announce out loud the percentage I saved and I did get a rush, but had way too much backstock at home. Now we do more locally produced Farmers Markets, Dollar Stores or the occasional warehouse store (free membership thanks to my parents), and I rarely hit a regular grocery store – saves the sorting through ex dates and right size bottles – now I need to sort through the rest of the paperwork nightmare at my house, but this one – eliminated ! What I will still do is bring in the stack of uncut coupons for others at work – I just don’t use them myself.
After seeing a few episodes of ‘Extreme Couponing’, I’m left wondering why anyone would stockpile things like batteres and pain meds. Those items lose effectiveness over time.
I have started clipping coupons. But I’m going to start limiting mine to stuff we actually use. I really don’t use eye makeup (due to an allergy).
BTW, just read an article–if you have coupons with ‘No Expiration Date’ and no barcode, you might not be able to use them. http://www.dailybreeze.com/lifeandculture/ci_18317186
From the article: “First…they do not have a UPC bar code on them. It is unlikely (not impossible, but again, quite unlikely) that a store will accept them, since they cannot be scanned at the register. Stores rely on the register to scan the coupon’s value and match that coupon to the correct item being purchased.”
OK, I am in agreement with the article and pretty much all the comments I’ve read. BUT…what is up with the fact that just today Living On A Dime sent an email advertising a special e-book promotion teaching Extreme Couponing???
Megan in the first couple of lines of the newsletter Tawra mentions that she knows this will seem contradictory but like she explained as much as we feel and have found so many other ways to save, couponing is one of those things people just want to do and they find it works for them so for those who still really want to do it we did the the e book on couponing.
We aren’t completely against couponing and in spite of all the cons there are still people who love it so we wanted to help them. Within the next week or so we hope to have a sale on something will help those who want to find other ways of saving other than couponing of which there are many.
I agree with you about the stress, time more stress in the actual shopping. On that show it shows poeple with 50-60 tubes of tooth paste, why and what does one do with all that? I have 10 children and we certainly don.t need that much tooth paste on hand. I agree with some clipping, but Aldi’s work for me as well as the specials that are at stores.. One thing I do is buy in bulk or cases when things are on sale. For instance not to long ago my grocery store had chicken noodle soup 4 cans for $1.00 I bought 3 cases because I know that is a reasonably amount that my family can use.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! You bring up a few of the reasons why I decided, long ago, that extreme couponing is not for me. I would also like to point out that a few of my normally courteous, follow-the-rules type friends seem to have no problem bending the rules and disregarding common courtesy when it comes to proving to themselves and others how much they can save on their grocery bill. Should you really use four different computers to print out coupons when the company clearly wants to limit each consumer to two? How about wiping out a particular product off a store shelf and leaving none until the store gets another shipment next week? One hour plus checkout time is a definite problem for anyone having to wait if you are taking up one of only two cashiers. I understand the need to save, trust me, but we need to remain the same people we are in other areas of our lives.
Christine De Longchamp
I tried to download your ebook offer on couponing. I paid for this by Paypal. When trying to download, the Adobe window came up, I downloaded it but the book never appeared. I tried to send an email to the address in the ad but it wouldn’t go through. It said it couldn’t find the IMAP. I have no idea how to solve this, especially since the email address for them doesn’t seem to work. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Christine, I will send your message to Cory and she can get you fixed up.
I do use coupons whenever possible but I’ve noticed that often coupons are for convenience foods and things that I would never buy since I mostly cook from scratch. I try to find coupons for cleaning products, laundry soap, etc. Your article today was a good one. Sometimes couponing can be a bit too much and you do need to figure in your time spent doing it. Good point!!
Thanks for a really great newsletter!! I’ve been following you a few years now and have a few of your ebooks.
I haven’t watch the extrem couponing show for all of the reasons listed. I had a friend in high school whose parents did this years and years ago (darn I am getting old!) and I was always amazed at the amount of stuff that over ran their house and things that seemed of no use. All of the family was overweight since most of the things they ate was junk food from the deals. When I started hearing about saving so much money with coupons, I knew that it would take a lot of time! I spend some time now looking through the sales ads and clipping some coupons but I don’t stress over it. Living on a Dime has helped me lot to cut expenses and save. I have had some challenges with our finances over the last several months and we just took another hit so the tips on saving have been great!
Would have to agree with the comments posted. We live in a very rural area. The nearest large town is 45 mts away @ 4.00 per gallon of gas. We have a Thriftway and an IGA nearby(6 miles) and while they will accept coupons, I rarely use them. We shop the specials and will stock up on meat or staples when on sale but have found a once a month trip to Costco and Winco (great bulk food section!) takes care of our needs nicely and we keep a pantry too. We raise a big garden, can, dehydrate and freeze. Coupons are generally for items I can make myself or things we don’t use. Thanks for reminding people that moderation is the Key!
Thanks for this article, and the many insightful comments. Luke 12:16 – “And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
Although I am an avid couponer and have been told that I need to be on the show, I do agree with your assessment. The major difference in what the show portrays and my couponing is that it does not consume my entire life and I DO NOT take an entire shelf of a product. Nothing gets me more frustrated than if I need a specific item and the shelf if wiped clean. If I get the product for free, then great, but if not, then nothing lost. I believe some of these people border on “hoarding”. I mean how many tubes of toothpaste does 1 person truly need???? If you’re providing for charity, then that’s great, but if not…then I say you are truly hoarding.
Thanks for a great website!
Dear Tawra, Thank you for your balanced view and experience. I have add and I deal with so much guilt over NOT couponing. I have tried it many times and it’s too overwhelming. The things you mention above have freed me from this guilt. I am doing a lot of the things you mention and I do like Aldi. Huge help, thanks so much.
I watched the show last week. One man was a seminarian and he and his wife (with baby in tow!) shopped for a soup kitchen, got over $800 worth of groceries for a minimal price. THAT I was impressed with. Stockpiling groceries, household goods & toiletries is simply ridiculous. We use store brands & shop sales, and only one chain in our area doubles coupons. I like ALDI, and also some “scratch & dent” grocery outlets we have in our area to help keep our grocery bill low.
I am all for saving money. I am a stay at home Mom and homeschooling Mom. But I really think that some of these people need to get a life. Do you really need 200 toothbrushes or 600 tubes of toothpaste? Plus the hours a day and week “getting ready” for the shop. Sorry, I have better things to do.
I do use coupons, but I use ones I need for what I want to buy and leave the ones I don’t with the products that are on it.
A few of the people on the couponing show were collecting things for others: the military or some charity. All of the others were stockpiling for themselves or family members.
I am a cashier and also a coupon user. I see both sides of this story. When I first started 8 years ago as a cashier I bought all the items I could for the coupons I had. That was 8 years ago after the first year I had alot of stock pile and am still trying to use some of the items today. During this time I have had to toss numerous items. Deodorant gel type went to liquid couldn’t use. Shaving cream went flat wouldn’t spray. Not to mention food items that lost flavor and wasn’t good tasting. Most grocery stores in my area have sells on items every 6 to 10 weeks so buy only for a 3 month period at most and enjoy good quality and less STRESS.
Where in the heck do they store all this stuff I do not have room ,no basement and attic too hot . There is just so much you can put in your house
I am a cashier at a store that doubles the dollar coupons and even though I coupon myself, some people are out of control. The problem I’ve had of late, is couponers getting angry at me and yelling or causing a scene when they get the wrong product, size, item, or blatantly try to get a whole other item instead of what they’re supposed to. There are lots of people who do try to scam the store, so I think you would have to understand the position we are sometimes in, and therefore nitpick everything you buy. We have to look it over carefully because that is our job and some people (it seems like a LOT of people lately) really do attempt to scam us. Some of them have been going to these “classes” and they are specifically teaching them to argue with the cashier, or to look for the new one. That is why we have become so skeptical. I just wanted to add the other side of the coin, because for every problem a customer has had with a cashier, the cashier has a whole arsenal of stories about couponers :) love your site, I follow it faithfully! :)
They have classes for extreme couponing? That’s a new one….
I did make a mistake with a coupon, but (as I explained to the cashier) the sign read ‘cantaloupe melon’. I took it to mean either the cantaloupes or the small watermelons next to them. He checked the price. The sale price was for the cantaloupes, so I couldn’t use the coupon then.
the stores have to raise the prices on brand name items to take a coupon. Don’t get me wrong, I will use a coupon, if the item is on my shopping list. On most items, I purchase the store brand, Wegman’s is freezing prices of their brand for the remainder of the year.
Most of their products taste just as good a Hellman’s or Kraft. The prices are better and you don’t have to look for a coupon for the store brand. You can even see the savings on the bottom of your receipt, and most of the time, the store card savings are higher than coupon savings. One more thing, if you have a Wegman’s near you, Log onto to the website and make your shopping list. You will see the price of the items desired. There will also be a shopper’s club symbol if the item is on sale with the Shopper’s Club card.
some items that are on sale for an extended period of time will post how long that sale lasts.
FYI: The show “Extreme Couponing” is unrealistic, although I am now addicted to seeing every episode. I doubt most stores allow for 1 person to use 100 coupons for the same item all at once. I know ShopRite limits 4 like coupons per trasaction.
Denise–thanks, but we don’t have Wegman’s out here.
I do usually go for the store brands where possible. Turns out that the store brands are usually made by the same people who make the name brands, anyway. However, there are two people in the house who are INSISTENT that Best Foods/Hellman’s is the creamiest mayo. No store brand will ever change their mind (but I’d consider it)!
i use coupons on items i use and i can see stocking up a bit on items you know you’ll need such as toilet paper, toothpaste. i’d love to be stocked up on things like that. but to me stocking up on it would be say 2 or 3 months worth. not 2 or 3 years worth. that to me would just be going overboard.
what i don’t get is the one’s who get things they can’t use just because it’s free. like people buying diapers and they have no baby. now sure if i could get a pack of diapers free i might do it but then i’d donate the diapers to a family with an infant or to a pantry/shelter. i’m not going to have 100’s of packs of diapers stocked up in my home.
I have watched the show and couldn’t believe how some get their coupons. Not only do they buy the coupons online but some also dumpster dive all night and some even steal newspapers off their neighbors driveways! I think that is terrible! I do use some coupons but really who needs all the junk food that coupons are mostly for? I saw on the show where a woman got 30 bags of candy for free! Unless i is Halloween or some kind of party who really needs all that candy? Why can’t they have more coupons for fresh produce?
If anyone is looking for an easy way to match coupons with sales then see www.mylitter.com
It is an excellent site. Not only do they show you the match-ups, but they also link to where you can print out copies of the needed coupon for any particular match-up.
I really enjoy watching the Extreme Coupon show. I have no desire whatsoever to do anything to the extreme (sounds too painful). I will use coupons when I get them (if they come in the package with an item). If we happen to get a Sunday’s paper. And mainly, if it’s for something we use or is interested in trying. I shop at Save-A-Lot (Dallas, TX), haven’t gone to the Aldi’s. Will shop at Walmart sometimes, mostly for paper products bought in bulk, soy milk, some health and beauty products, or things we can’t get for a good price at our neighborhood stores. Also, Minyards. When there are sales on chicken breasts (.99 cents a pound), i’ll stock up. Frozen veggies, loaves of bread. Canned soups, tomato products, fruit, milk. Since there’s only 3 adults in my household, I’ll cook up meats and veggies on the weekend, so we can make quick meals and take lunches during the week with out so much work.
None of this is to the extreme. We have plenty of room for our purchases, and donate items through the year and it doesn’t depleate our supply. My grocery bill isn’t huge, but manageable. Once every two weeks is fine, works for us.
I really enjoy your site. A lot of common sense and cents articles. Thanks.
I have watched the Extreme Couponing on TV. It was interesting at first, but then the more you watch then more unpractical it seems. Wiping out the entire store stock of an item seems very greedy to me. Very few stores where I live in double coupons. We have a salvage grocery store tha serves me well. The other day I spent 12.65 and got 8 boxes of cereal, 5 boxes of Hamburger Helper, 2 small cans of Dole Pineapple rings, 2 large jars of Mayo, and 2 cans of Campballs soup. Pretty good I thought and only took about 30 minutes out of my day.
Carolyn those were good deals. There are so many different ways of saving then couponing and some of them are less work. That is one of the reasons why I wrote our Grocery Shopping on a Budget e course to tell and explain how to do them. Many don’t have the time or the situation where we can get or use coupons. It is like having your eggs all in one basket too. If that basket breaks you are in big trouble.
I use coupons but extreme couponing I don’t think would work for me here (I live in Maine.)Many stores here do not double coupons or accept Internet coupons. To print coupons off the Internet takes a lot of ink which is expensive, plus the paper. And while it’s nice to stockpile it takes a large amount of money to begin with sometimes to get extra foil, toilet paper, etc. I can’t always spend the money and coupons don’t last forever. I haven’t seen a coupon with no expiration date for a long time and most coupons I see last a month or two at the most. If you only get paid twice a month or if you only get a check once a month like people on pensions or social security you may not always use the coupons before they expire. I’ve seen the show but I don’t think it tells the whole story. If it did probably people wouldn’t be so excited about it!
Carolyn, I wish we had a salvage-grocery place. We have Wonder-Bread outlet stores here, though. Mom used to go there to stock up on snack cakes and such for school lunches.
I’ve started checking for the clearance racks at the grocery store. No produce there, but everything there is half-price. The Ralphs across from where I recycle my cans and bottles has the largest clearance rack.
Hi Jill and Tawra, I just love your site, and can’t wait to get new e-mails from you. Just wanted to add a comment to your post on Extreme Couponing. Thank you so much. I too watched the EC shows and decided to give it a bit of a try. Well, unless I either bought 10 newspapers each Sunday, or went into people’s recycling; I was not going to have more than 5 coupons for an item. I couldn’t figure how they came away with so much free..here in PA, most stores will double coupons, but only up to $1.00. And I agree with Carolyn that it does seems quite greedy to take an entire stock of an item and leave none for others. Especially if it is going home on your shelf. Plus, many items carry expiration dates including toothpaste, mouthwash, make-up, etc. Can anyone ever use 100 tubes of toothpaste before the expiration date??? Just my input. Thanks so much for the article. Now I don’t feel like a failure, and I know that I am not alone.
Joyce–batteries and pain meds have expirations. Never noticed it on toothpaste, as I also buy only a little more than what I need (love the 10-for-$10.00 sales)….
I so agree with you I too go to discount stores like aldis, pricerite and whole sale meat stores plus I use coupons and get the sale items from the grocery stores but I use a variety of sources. The show is funny but not really practical and what about expiration dates??
I enjoyed reading this article and all the comments. Once again Jill hit the nail on the head…one can take anything too far.
I have used coupons and not used coupons and I can save either way. Currently, I do coupon. I save $35 a week by clipping coupons and using my Rite Aid Wellness + card and my Kroger Plus card. At Rite Aid, I can get almost all of my health/beauty and household cleaning supplies for free or pennies. I do have small stashes of items in
my bathroom cabinets and cleaning closet. I buy 2 papers each week. So I have 2 coupons for each deal and usually Rite Aid limits each deal to 2 per Wellness + account. This is perfect to last my family until the next sale.
I am currently in good health and do enjoy the ‘game’ aspect of finding the good deals. My kids are 14 and 9 and I have time to spend clipping/organizing coupons now where I didn’t when they were really little. I find it relaxing to clip and sort coupons while I’m watching tv at night or during my lunch hour at work. I like shopping for deals during my lunch hour at work since the stores are so close to my office.
That being said, this ‘extreme couponing’ craze is annoying to someone who does my level of couponing. Like others said, the cashiers are scrutinizing coupons more than ever and stores have tightened policies. I have to get to the convenience store near my home really early on Sunday mornings or else extreme couponers have stolen all of the inserts from the papers. Just yesterday when I went to get my two papers, I witnessed a lady pick up a local Sunday paper that is $.75. She then picked up two of the bigger Sunday papers that have coupon inserts in the
and cost $1.75 each, stole the coupon inserts and hid them in the cheaper local paper. Then she walked to the cash register and paid $.75 and left. Her daughter watched the entire thing. Nice, huh?
I like to coupon some and it currently fits my life but it is not my life.
Angie it is that type of thing I am talking about when I say when things done to an extreme makes everything get unbalanced and causes chaos.
To me taking the coupons without paying for the paper is stealing. The person is stealing from the newspaper company and is also stealing from the honest customer that pays for the paper and gets home to find there are no coupons. It’s sad that people do this.
Yes, Alisha–and it looks like the retailers are taking steps of their own….
The retailers are pushing back, putting limits on what we can do. We’ll still be able to coupon, but the rules are changing.
angie m, i have one to top that.. and its even sadder .. a mother told her child to go and steal the neighbor’s paper so she wouldnt have to go to the store to buy one or even get a subscription for her own (at that time, it was only $1/week for 7 day delivery!) ..
how sad is that?? .. teaching ur child to steal .. and the child was little (i think he was like 10 or younger at the time) ..
and her response “well, they can always call for another one and get that one for free” .. little did she realize we had to pay for that “free” 2nd paper ..
or this is another scenario: .. we deliver the paper and later that morning the customer calls to get a free paper by stating we never delivered it .. (now i know in some cases papers werent delivered or they were stolen or even damamged bc of the weather (wet).. and those things do happen) but after calling up week after week, the carrier realizes either there really is a thief in the neighborhood or the customer’s husband/wife is picking up the paper and taking it to work and not telling the spouse and when u confront the customer that maybe there really is someone stealing it bc you place the paper in certain areas and they fess up and say “well, i wanted more coupons and that is why i am calling” when all they had to do is ask if there was any left after bagging them can the carrier please throw an extra set or two of the coupon flyers to them (which we gladly did bc we didnt have to recycle them) ..
Jill you are so right. I hope the extreme coupon craze is over soon so that things get back to normal. I have watched a couple of episodes of the show and it’s insane. They have hundreds of copies of the same coupon. Sometimes they take several people to the store with them to try and bypass limits. In my area, the stores limit everything to four like coupons, which I think is fair. So extreme couponing wouldn’t even work in my area unless someone is willing to make hundreds of little trips to the same stores each week. No thanks. The level of couponing that I do supplements my grocery budget yet is fun and relaxing. The extreme couponers on the show…some of them are practically having panic attacks in the checkout lines. Insanity! My dad always said “everything in moderation” and I try to always live by that. Thanks for your common sense articles Jill. It’s so refreshing to hear a voice of reason among the madness. :-)
Oh, I’ll still be using coupons well after ‘things get better’ (whenever that happens to be).
But it IS sad to see what people will do…stealing from the neighbors, from the papers, and even teaching their children to steal. And then they wonder why the stores are clamping down as they do.
Yes, extreme coupon is very important to me. I have relatives that have gotten caught in the housing remortgage
scam and is close to losing their home. I am trying to learn how to find coupons that will help them save cash. I also have friends who have an autistic child and is in need of special organic, gluten-free foods to help maintain and balance the child’s brain activities to some degree. We have all seen a change (for the good)in some of the child’s behavior since the parents have changed over to gluten free.
This has been hard on the parent’s pocket book, that is why I am looking for gluten free coupons also.
Delia, this site has a gluten-free section. Also, check out ‘Cooking for Isaiah’ (cookbook available through Amazon.com). Isaiah is the author’s son (who happens to also need a gluten-free diet).
IIRC, Chex cereals are gluten-free.
A balanced approach is always best. I never see people on the popular blogs including the cost of buying extra newspapers, clipped coupons from services and gas/car expense for all the extra trips for deals. In my book, that’s just not honest.
Like others have mentioned,I found a way to make couponing work for me. I set LIMITS for myself. Since we eat lots of fruits & veggies, so I still do only two shopping trips a week as I’ve always done. I really took up doing coupons so we could afford to keep buying healthy food. I sure wish they would have a lot more produce coupons – they are so rare.
“The concept is impressive, they may proudly hand over a handful of singles for hundreds of items, but is this level of couponing wise?”
I could honestly see stocking up on some canned foods for emergencies. But clearing out a whole shelf of canned tuna just because it’s on sale is a bit much.
Thanks for breaking it down to the “real” costs involved in Extreme Couponing. I’m considered the coupon queen and was a little leary of “extreme”. My concerns have been addressed.
I started using coupons because of the extreme couponing show. My dad was an “extreme” couponer. I actually find couponing enjoyable but I placed limits on it. I can only use a coupon to buy three of the same items at the two stores I shop at. I usually only shop at one store, which has a gas station and gives $$ off for buying gas and food. Three items is plenty in any one trip. I only buy 3 to 6 Sunday papers. I don’t use internet coupons because with two children, I don’t have the time to spend looking for coupons on the internet. I can clip coupons when they are playing outside, etc. My papers cost me about 6 dollars a week. I buy 3 $1 papers and two $1.50 ones–depending on the coupons that week. The savings more than pays for the papers. People also give me coupons. I don’t buy things I won’t use. The biggest stock pile I have is toothpaste (I probably have 8 tubes I got for free on different shopping trips) and the spaghetti sauce my family likes..I have about 20 jars because it went on sale for $1 a jar and you got additional money off for buying so many jars. I guess my point is, like your point, that it is okay in moderation. Some of the people on the extreme couponing show do border on addiction. I get a little frustrated when I forget a coupon, but it’s not the end of the world. I also have room to store items. I wouldn’t buy more than I could use in a reasonably amount of time. I liked reading in the tightward gazzette, it is not the amount of money you save, it is the amount that you spend….both dollars and time. Who really needs 100 deodorant. I have to give credit to those who donate the items..that is a really nice thing to do. Will I ever be an extreme couponer, probably not. But I do like saving 30 to 50 dollars on my shopping trips.
Aldi and clearance are life savers.
Rachael I know many people think I am against couponing (not you but others) but that really isn’t the case. As a matter of fact many people don’t realize that in our Grocery Shopping on a Budget I have a whole chapter or section which teaches how to use coupons, organize them etc. Like you I just believe in moderation and using and learning all different ways to save just the way you are doing.
Found out that Walmart will (from what I have read on their coupon policy) take Internet-generated coupons. They have to come from the manufacturer’s site, though, and be marked accordingly.
I’ve also found that you can get coupons via Facebook (which is how I got a coupon for a free bag of frozen fruit at the nearby Sprouts market).
I’ve only been clipping for what the family needs. Some things are worth stocking up on if you’re going to be using it regularly. At our house, that list would include be cereal, peanut butter, toilet paper, and soap.
I’m not into extreme couponing because it requires buying alot of processed foods. I buy ingredients in bulk & make most everythng from scratch, can’t beat those savings.Mayonaise is around $3.89 a quart, make your own!It’s mainly blended oil & eggs, with a little vinegar & salt.I’m never buying it again.Peanut butter is easy to make, (I live in the south & peanuts are easy to get.)Never buy cereal boxes, I make breakfast oatmeal, grits, eggs, toast waffles etc.Make salad dressings, they’re super easy.
“I didn’t even know that getting things for free or for a few cents was even possible. I figured if those people could do it, I could do it. If I can save my family money, then why wouldn’t I?”
One of my adult sons works at a newspaper and for the longest time, he had been able to grab a stack of coupons that were left over and give them away. His sister in law would get a big stack from him and she would really save. Our stores don’t often have a limit on how many, except for in store sales. It always amazed me how much she could save. But, all good things come to an end. He can no longer get those coupons. I don’t know why. He is able to bring Sunday papers to church and all the couponing moms love him.
I usually shop at Aldi so I don’t use coupons a lot. And often times, there are few I would use anyway. I cook a lot from scratch and don’t like processed foods. My child still at home has just now started eating cereal, so now I look for coupons on the kinds he likes, but there is little else I use. Sometimes cleaning supplies and toiletries. I buy store laundry soap and save that way. Walmarts brand does work well. I use their HE soap, fabric softener and dryer sheets and save a lot. Walmart paper towels are good. So are their diapers. My daughter in law says they work great and save you big $$ off the name brands. We always used Parents Choice real cloth wipes, too. I have many times compared name brand minus a coupon to store brand and found the store brand still came out ahead. There are things I won’t compromise on, though. That’s where I look for coupons. I am pleased with Aldi brands. They are good quality. Ours is a new, big store and I find that I buy more and more there all the time.
Maybe more people are taking up couponing, Gayle. Or the policy at your son’s paper changed and he can’t bring the inserts home anymore.
I also learned (from the Food Network) that many of the generic-brand cereals are actually the same as the major brands. The major brand simply switches boxes (or goes to bags) at the factory.
You can also get coupons off the internet. Try ‘liking’ your favorite products or stores on Facebook. You’ll find out about deals you wouldn’t otherwise learn about. I got half-off a bag of frozen berries from Sprouts that way.
Walmart will take internet-generated coupons, as long as they are legible and have the following printed on them: ‘manufacturer coupon’, a valid remit address, a valid expiration date, and a barcode. What coupons Walmart won’t take (as per their coupon policy: those that dollars (or a percentage) off the entire basket, competitors’ coupons, or internet coupons that don’t require a purchase.
Hello all! I used to be quite the “coupon queen”, but that was back in the day when they were actually worth something. You used to be able to combine them with in-store promotions and specials (i.e.: “Get an extra $5.00 off with every $40. you spend, etc.). I’m finding that todays coupons aren’t nearly what they used to be. For instance: why do you have to buy two of something? With kids grown and gone, I’m single and alone. There are very few things I can think of that I need more that one of. I’m not saving anything by buying an extra item…unless it’s a ‘buy one get on free’ deal. Also, I don’t purchase a lot of pre-packaged things. I usually get fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and cheeses. I realize that when you have a family, it’s harder. But it can be done. I recently went grocery shopping with my best friend, who still has 2 boys at home. She had 2 carts, one of which is full of junk, like chips, snack cakes, sodas, and so on. She said that she only shops like that about once every 4-6 weeks, so she didn’t mind spending the money. My question was: how much are you spending on junk food alone? I raised 3 boys by myself, and the only time there was junk in the house was for special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays. Drinks were milk, juice and water, water, water. They wouldn’t eat vegies if they were cooked, so I simnply cut them up and they would eat them raw. Ranch dressing and Jif peanut butter were food groups all of their own, but at least they ate these things. Point is: there are other ways to cut food costs without all this couponing. I do use them from time to time, but only for items I usually buy, only when I need them, and only one at a time…my grocery bill every 2 weeks, including meats, is usually less than $70. Time is a factor for a lot of people as well. I usually shop different places. I buy my fruit & vegies at the local farmer’s market (helps to support local economy, and you know where it’s coming from). Meats/cheeses at the local butcher shop. Toiletries and so on from dollar stores…when you shop at one place, even a place like Wal-mart, you tend to spend more. And of course, you always pay for convenience. I guess it all depends on your situation and what you’re willing to do with or without…
It’s been my experience that most of the coupons are things I don’t use or need. Does it really save you money if you are buying things that one doesn’t use or in the case of processed foods, are not very healthy for you? My view it’s not.
I just read this and let me tell you about the cashier’s point of view. Two cases I have one customer who saves about $150 -$200 when they shop,they only shop once a month and pays cash. The coupons are stacked and anything free is on top and the item is first on the belt. This person is disabled unable to work so gets the coupons ready the day before shopping.At the store if the customer saves a certain percentage of the bill we need the manager. This person is fun to check out and people are amazed by the savings. There is the other customer who makes you stop every so often and scan off the coupon write the total down, in the end they may save about $50. This customer does this three of four times during the check out process. I realize they are just watching out for their money but when they shop at the busiest time of the day and then they have to stop the check out because they forgot something it gets very upsetting to the customer behind them that has a child with them who is tired of shopping or hungry. The first customer I mentioned in the comment usually jokes around with the person next in line and apologizes for any hold up the second customer just yells at the spouses because something is forgotten or they got the wrong item. Sorry so long.
I think extreme couponing is a waste unless you are buying items you are actually going to use… For instance, I buy bodywash routinely.. the best deal I ever got were when I got coupons for 3.00 off, and i held on to them for a few weeks. went to Target, and the same brand was just 3.04.. so I got 3 bottles of it for just 4 cents apiece! The only time I use coupons are for items that I routinely use, or for things I may buy if they are cheap enough with the coupon.
Because of the extreme couponing craze generated by the TV show, some of the grocery stores here have begun limiting customers to no more than 4 coupons per type of item at any one time.
There are a few ladies in my church, including myself, who are into couponing (not extreme couponing). Our pastor mentioned the other day that since there is a growing interest in couponing within our church, we could easily start a food pantry with extra or “free” items that we receive–especially if we get too many items that we are unable to use up ourselves or before the expiration date. It’s a good thing to be thinking of others and not just hoarding things for ourselves! Just an idea.
Your pastor has an excellent idea, Chelsea!
There were a few people on the couponing program who were actually collecting things for others. One man was buying razors and such with coupons. He donated them to the military.
I have been couponing for years. But I have never been extreme. I have gotten an amazing deal here or there and stocked up. But I only stock up on non-food items. I found food items expire too quickly to stockpile. I like saving money, but don’t like wasting things. I do enjoy using coupons but think I would enjoy it less if I was extreme. That being said, I do still enjoy getting the free shampoo, etc. I just think like anything extremes are not usually good. It seems really stressful to be extreme!
I used to save $70 weekly on my groceries with coupons and double coupons. It took my 2 hours to shop while I had my sons work out the cost of item and figure out the best deal. It wasn’t always with the coupon!
I rarely use coupons now. Like someone else said, they are not the same. I still aim at buying my items at a certain price. I try to buy meat at under $2/lb. and cereal at 10 cents and ounce or less. I have my favorite stores to buy each item. I stockpile when something is an extreme deal. I’m very happy when at the bottom of my receipt, it shows that I saved half the price. I usually come very close. And that is without coupons, except at JoAnn fabrics.
Now from the other side of the check out counter. The coupons in the JoAnn flyer say only one coupon per customer, but often they want me to ring them up two and three separate times to over use these coupons. I understand why they want to do that, but now being on the other side, I see that as my wages going bye-bye. This kind of cheating can close businesses AND it’s a bad example for your children. Please follow the rules. It’s only fair.
For those of us that buy Sunday papers for the purpose of getting the coupon inserts, I have some money saving ideas and tips. I don’t like to waste anything and I always try to make sure that I get the most out of the money I spend.
In my situation, I buy two $1 Sunday papers each week when there are coupon inserts. Some Sundays, especially on Holiday weekends, there are no coupon inserts. I don’t buy papers those weekends. There is a website: taylortowncoupons.com where you can check the schedule for each Sunday. It will show what inserts will be in the papers or if there will be none.
First of all, I had to justify that the cost of the Sunday papers is worth the coupon savings I get. For me, it is! Since I buy 2 papers each Sunday, I will say I spend $104 a year on papers. Actually, a little less because as stated above, I don’t buy the papers when there are no coupons. I keep track of how much I save with coupons each week. The store receipts make this very easy to do because it usually prints at the bottom. I have found that I can save AT LEAST $15 a week with coupons. More likely, I will save $25 – $35 a week but even on a bad week I can save at least $15. So, if I save $15 a week with coupons, that is $780 a year…minus out the $104 a year for the papers and that is still a savings of $676 per year. In my situation, it’s worth it because I enjoy the couponing.
I know some people buy more than 2 Sunday papers to get more coupons. It’s not worth it to me because the stores in my area have limits to how many like coupons they will accept. I use the Rite Aid Wellness + program and they have very specific limits as to how many of the deals you can take advantage of per card…it’s usually between 2 and 4. Rite Aid will only take 4 like coupons per visit and my Kroger will only take 3 like coupons per visit. I realize that some people make more than one trip but for me, 2 coupons is usually enough to stock-up on a good deal for my family.
In reading some of the other comments here, I agree that there are more coupons out there for toiletry items, household products, pet foods, etc. than there are for food items. I now get toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shaving cream, razors, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, facial cleansers and lotions free or for pennies. I use my Rite Aid + Up Rewards in conjunction with sales and manufacturers coupons to get make-up and other neat beauty products for free or for pennies. I don’t get these items completely free but I save a very significant amount on household items such as toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing liquid, laundry soap, fabric softener, bathroom and other household cleaners, sandwich bags, etc.
Now back to what to do with the newspapers! Even though I justified that the cost of the papers is more than worth it due to the coupon savings, I still wasn’t happy. LOL! I don’t want to waste the newspapers. We aren’t big newspaper readers in my house. My husband and I both use the internet to read local and world news daily. I do use the weekly sale ads that come in the paper. My sons look at the sports and comic pages. We clip the Sudoku and Crossword puzzles and work those. Okay…now what to do with the rest of the paper? I could recycle but we aren’t really big on recycling either because we usually just keep using things until they can’t be used anymore.
It finally hit me a couple of weeks ago…WINDOWS! I now use my Sunday papers to clean my windows, and mirrors. I was previously using papertowels to clean all of the glass in my house. I can’t even believe how much my papertowel use has dropped since I started using the newspapers to clean the glass in my home. I really used a lot of papertowels because I really like clean windows and mirrors! With 2 kids and 2 dogs, there are always finger or nose prints on the glass. And the newspapers are even better than papertowels for cleaning glass because there are no streaks!!! :)
This was like an ‘AHA’ moment for me…followed by a ‘DUH’ why didn’t I think of that a long time ago moment. LOL!
I know Jill and Tawra have most likely already posted about using newspapers to clean glass somewhere on their VERY helpful website but a little reminder never hurts. So often, I know I forget things until it finally is helpful in my situation and then it clicks.
Some other uses for newspapers is to roll them tightly into logs for your fireplace, you can lay some in the bottom of your trash can to absorb the things that seep out of your trash bag once in awhile, it also helps absorb the odors in the trash can and in empty suitcases or wadded in shoes. If you have a garden thick layers of newspaper laid around plants thing covered with a thin layer of mulch helps with weeds.
With just my husband and me at home now, I find that I rarely use coupons anymore. I shop at the Farmers’ Market for most of our fresh produce and the Safeway for meats and other items. I usually go to BJ’s for paper products and while they do take coupons, their store coupons are often a better buy than the mfg. coupon. They will let you double them but I hate the fact that I have to buy 2 to get $1.00 off. I believe that the Extreme Couponers are hurting the rest of us because mfgs are requiring more items for a small discount or there are no items left on the shelf because of the greed of a few.
I do have to watch myself at the Farmers’ Market, too, to keep from buying too much. I limit myself now to only what we can eat in a week and know that I can shop again next Saturday for 2 more peaches, pears, etc.
I make my grocery list first using the store flyer and then check my coupons for the items on my list. I don’t usually make my list by the coupons I have. I also share the ones I know my kids use and send them along to them. I’d much rather have them take advantage of the extra dollars since both are on tight budgets.
Thank you, Jill, for the breakdown on the true value of coupons. Sometimes they work and sometimes not. Thanks to the rest of the posters for all their helpful hints and comments.
I tried to read through to make sure no one else mentioned this so forgive me if this is a repeat. As we all know these “free” items cost the manufacturers money….so how much more is everyone else paying for others to get their “free” stuff? I personally don’t have the time or mental strength to spend this much time and effort. Spiritually, I have to question if I spend this much time trying to get something for nothing…..then am I putting this before God? I keep saying I because I have an addictive personality and I know that this could come at devastating spiritual cost! For those who do not have this problem….that is fine….but I know me!I will just keep treasuring my time with my family and friends!
I use coupons when I can. But it’s not a deal if it’s something we don’t need. And my family does not need processed foods. The majority of coupons are for terrible stuff that no one should eat! Over half of America is overweight, does no one see the connection? The saddest part of all this is that I am unable to feed my family for $50 a week because I refuse to put garbage and chemicals into the people I love. I am fortunate that my local Cub Foods often has store coupons for fresh produce and organic whole foods. Is extreme couponing really a savings when you factor in the healthcare costs (in addition to the other time and expenses already mentioned)? I have three children (ages 3 to 16) who get a light cold or two per year and aren’t battling weight problems. In fact, all of my children LOVE vegetables, quinoa, brown rice, 5/7/10 grain hot breakfast cereal, all fruits, tofu and lots of other very healthy foods. I firmly believe my children enjoy these foods because it’s what was put down in front of them, and they didn’t know any different. Don’t get me wrong, they dig candy and chips (soda pop is still forbidden), but they never refuse healthy foods. I held off on “treats” until they were about 3, to make sure they had a good eating foundation first. I guess my point is, we can have a healthier future if we focus on the right foods and really look at what we are feeding ourselves and our children. Read the ingredients! Can you make it? If it’s not something I can make at home, it’s not an ingredient I want to eat. Even then, I may avoid a product. Example: I buy peanut putter in the dairy section, because I don’t understand why it needs sugar in it (the stuff I buy does not). I buy fruit spread sweetened only with fruit juices. I buy whole wheat breads (real, not just colored brown) that have no corn syrup and other chemicals. My kids love PB&J’s, I don’t have to fret if they aren’t getting sugar when they eat them. It would be wonderful if eating healthy (even organically) was cheaper than living off hamburger helper and kraft mac & cheese. Until then, I’m taking another job. Money is extremely tight for us right now, but healthy food is just one thing this family won’t sacrifice (cable tv is gone, you name it, we live without it).
I don’t know ANYONE as broke as we are right now. It’s painful, but I feed our family of 5 on $150/week right now.
I wish you all the best of luck and excellent health. Take care!
I have lived many decades now and have watched people’s eating habits for all those years. Actually the obesity problem started about the same time people started eating “healthier” and more organic ironically enough. It is really more portion control then anything along with reasonable eating habits. People think because they are eating organic they can eat all they want and thus eat more then they should.
I worry about pushing nothing but organic because years ago before processed foods people were malnourished because they had no pesticides, good fertilizers or added vitamins and minerals in the foods. Bugs and diseases killed the food crops all the time. Food was not near as plentiful as is now as a matter of fact during WWII they started fortifying the food because so many of the farm boys raised on the organic food were malnourished. It wasn’t until pesticides came into play that we started eating better because we were growing more food.
You have to be careful because there is always a negative to every extreme swing one way or the other . For example since they have put a stop on the old pesticides bed bugs have started taking over in an awful way especially in the places that have put a strong control on pesticides and where they push eating organic more like in California. The same thing will eventually start happening with other pests. I find it interesting that the Bible talks about in the end days there will be famine and pests will come in and wipe things out. I find that very easy to believe if we keep down the same path we are going. We need to be careful.
Plus I see my parents generation (85 plus) and my generation (baby boomers) who were were young or being raised on processed foods living much longer lives then the generations before us who grew everything organically and then there is the new generation who have started being raised on organic things and obesity, allergies and so many other things are getting out of control. But even with those facts there are many more factors in play in our lives in play besides the food that we don’t take into consideration. I have known people who have gotten sick because they worry and are so stressed with everything in their life – what they eat, if they exercise enough, are they breathing the right air but never thought about how much stress the they were putting on themselves and there families causing another set of problems. Once again we need balance.
It’s like one lady said from a third world country – Americans wouldn’t worry so much about eating organic if they could see how many awful things and diseases the pest themselves can cause. Millions and millions die because of awful diseases that insects carry and millions are dying from starvation because the pests are killing crops.There is another side to this organic thing.
One thing I always wondered too is if organic farming and gardening was so successful in the first place why did they feel a need to invent pesticides in the first place”
I’m just saying all this because we need to look at the full picture and try to keep some balance on things.
I so appreciate you showing the other side. I had a son 10 months ago and had someone tell me if I just couponed I could stay home. They failed to see the per hour salary I would be loosing, but also coupons are almost always on boxed items. Don’t get me wrong no one is going to die from a box of mac and cheese here or there, but getting 100 because it’s a good deal. Personally, I rather spend the money and feed my family fresh meats, veggies, etc.
I was also behind a person doing extreme couponing the other day who was fighting with the manager over their policy of how many coupons she could use. Yes, she saved 50 dollars on the dish soap she was buying, but she also told me she bought 42 papers to get the coupons…by me that’s $63 dollars in papers.
I think you hit the nail on the head with saying everything in moderation.
Grizzly Bear Mom
After paying careful attention to time invested and savings I figured these people are paying themselves $8.57 an hour to coupon. Additionally they are purchasing mostly prepared foods which contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressue, heart disease, etc., which are a negative to one’s health;, beauty care products and must store them. Other than those who contribute to their area food banks, I don’t see the positive in this. I agree that this is some kind of sickness and merely organized hoarderers. Besides it the same show each time “Can lady purchase all this food for $30? Will the casher register system go down because of all of her purchases? Yes and Yes. Senseless AND boring.
My family began a switch to eliminate chemicals form our household a few yrs ago & my daughter now age 5 has never lived in a home with chemicals used & last yr for the first time she was put on antibiotics for an ear infection. My son’s on the other hand had ear infections & other medical issues all the time & were on antibiotics many many times. Since we switched my second son(still at home) has not been sick as much either.
Pesticides were “invented” to make farmer’s lives easier & help them grow crops faster & grow more to sell. But at what cost to us? Since pesticides have been invented cancer rates have increased too. Our soil health has went way down in this country too.
If you truly use organic methods to grow your food & keep your garden healthy you will have a natural balance & you will not need pesticides(chemical or organic) at all.
I do use coupons & have for years, I save an average of at least $60-$75/mo. I have gotten some great deals when using some with a sale. Sometimes I get free items or they don’t cost much at all. I asked at Church for coupons & members put them in my mailbox there. I pass on what I do not clip to another family to use & then they go in our recycle bin. My mom also gives me her’s from the paper. I always thought you should add the cost of the papers into your equation of savings to get a true picture of savings.
I really try to only shop the loss leaders to get the biggest savings for my family & if I can combine them with coupons then all the better to save even more. We raise our own beef & chickens(meat & eggs) so I really wish I ould get more feed coupons to be quite honest, but feed companies don’t really put them out there. We homeschool so grocery shopping is a math/economy lesson too. It seems the prices at the stores keep going up while my husbands paycheck goes down due to higher taxes & paying more into retirement. As does the elec bill & here in the desert you need elec for the ac. So anywhere I can trim off I will & coupons help a great deal. Of course there are times where it is cheaper to buy the store brand even with a coupon & the item on sale & so that coupon goes back in the storage until I can use it or it expires. then on to the recycle bin it goes.
I buy as much as I can in bulk & cook from scratch, I have even made our own bread & buns & pizza crust. I really know what is in them & know my family is getting the most nutrition from those food items(I grind my own wheat).
Another note on organic’s & chemical free: my second son has ADD & without the chemicals he is a lot better, we took out HFCS & soy too. No meds needed to keep him focused.
Sorry to go on so long.
One thing we need to take into consideration is sometimes we twist things to fit what we want to be true. For example you really can’t say everyone one will not get sick or even feel better if they are chemical free. I have known people who eat organic etc. and they get sick still, I have know people who eat nothing but processed foods and yet haven’t been sick a day in their lives, I have know people who live in the same households and eat the same things and half of them will be sick and the other half are never sick. We lived in a very unchemical free home and yet I never once had to put my kids on antibiotics for an ear infection but I wouldn’t dream of saying that it was the chemicals which helped them stay healthy because there are way to many other things involved. But see if I wanted too I could have said that to prove the point chemicals helped my kids. We all know that would have been foolish.
People can sometimes think themselves into being sick sick or well too. The mind is an amazing thing.I remember when they first came out with being allergic to MSG. MSG had been in everything and I had never heard of on person being allergic to it then a famous doctor had Chinese food one night and became deathly sick. He wrote a paper saying it was an allergic reaction to the MSG. Immediately everyone jumped on the band wagon and they were taking MSG off the shelves and changing the food in restaurants and it became a big deal. Later that same doctor wrote a retraction saying he had been wrong and there was really nothing in MSG to be allergic too and he had been made sick by something else. As often happens the retraction went unnoticed.
Now decades later they have been doing studies on it again. They tell people they are eating MSG and the people start having an allergic reaction to it only to be told there really hadn’t been any MSG in their food. Then the feed people who were allergic to MSG food were told there was none in it but there really was and they didn’t get sick.
Then there was the sugar thing making kids hyper. The funniest and to me stupidest thing I ever heard was the tested the sugar theory out on kids at birthday parties and Christmas. Duh. My kids didn’t need any sugar to make them hyper at those times. How silly was that. Now again years later they are running studies again and have shown sugar doesn’t make kids hyper at all. I have lived long enough to see this happen time and again over the years.
I’m not saying that in some cases the food we eat doesn’t make a difference and often it isn’t so much the kind but more the fact we are controlling and just watching how much we eat and making sure we are getting a balanced diet that helps most of all. There is a happy medium there.
I heard something on the radio today that had me almost falling off my chair laughing. Get a load of this, “The USDA may ban potatoes from ALL school lunches because they make kids get fat!!! It’s not the fact that kids watch too much TV, play on their cell phones all day, and go home to their computers! NO, it’s the potatoes in school lunches! Too funny. It’s scary that so called educated professionals believe this.
Oh, I forgot that corn, peas and lima beans are on their way out too.
So does that mean now Bea that we can’t eat potatoes, corn, peas, lima beans then there are eggs,any thing with fat, anything with sugar, most meats are considered bad for you… I didn’t have room for it all. I wonder what there will be left to eat when all is said and done. Although I did hear the other day you are suppose to eat 3 containers of yogurt a day for your digestive system then I heard you are suppose to eat at least 4-5 prunes a day maybe the yogurt will counter act what the prunes do to your digestive system.
Whew! I’m worn out just thinking about it. Oh well guess I will go up and fix me some mashed potatoes and corn on the cob for dinner and finish if off with a big helping of one of those good deserts you posted. :)
You all are too funny! I think we just don’t teach kids moderation, in anything. A lowly potatoe is so good for you — and is only about 100 calories or so for a small one! What nonsense! if you eat too much of anything it will hurt you, but a little or moderate portions are fine!
I hate schools telling me how to parent! HATE IT! And now, I’m going to bake myself a big ole’ potatoe, with butter AND sour cream, salt and pepper!
Oh Donna that sounds even better then mashed potatoes, maybe a little cheese with bacon bits too. Humm. I had better back track because we were talking about moderation huh?! Oops.
Jill, I never heard of vegetables of any kind being bad for you before this new idea from the USDA. It’s so sad. I like mashed potaoes and baked potatoes and french fries too and love butter and sour cream on them. Bacon bits too. I think you just have to use common sense in anything you eat. Common sense is a rarity these days though. The food police are funny.
I agree with you completely. I went to a couponing workshop and even subscribed to duplicate copies of my local newspaper (at a huge discount from the workshop) but after a few weeks of excess newspapers and clipping coupons (many of which I didn’t use) I decided it was WAY more work than I realized it would be and I quit. I cancelled the subscriptions, pulled 8 or 9 coupons from my briefcase collection and have never regretted the decision. I just don’t use enough sanitary napkins or deodorant to justify all the hassles.
Bea, I have it on good authority that eggplant, kolrabi and brussel sprouts will definetly kill you before it is time to do the dishes.
authority is my younger sister. Have been thinking about her a lot since she is gone and reading your post made me think of that comment from her years ago. I think she was about 10. Mom made her eat the brussel sprouts and I had to do the dishes. She recovered when they were done.
Jill I do not really believe all the food theories. There are just too many for them all to be right.
Eating foods made from scratch will make you healthy.
I cooked from scratch my entire life and ate processed food rarely. I am now diabetic, have RA, degenerative discs in my back and nerve damage through my entire body.
My brother and sister ate identical foods while we were growing up one meal fit all and my brother had nose bleeds and ear aches almost constantly. I had a constant headache, my two younger sisters were so healthy it made you jealous.
My youngest son if he has a glass of orange juice he goes hyper he is now 30 years old and it still happens. Give him a coke and no problem.
So it is different strokes for different folks and is not one meal fits all.
Life health attitudes are all basically trial and error and unfortunately it is sometimes a lot more error than success. Live and learn.
Grandma, my oldest brother says that about hominy. However, Mom does like her menudo when she’s unwell (and menudo does have hominy in it).
Another family member thinks that any veggie (other than corn, green beans, iceberg lettuce, and a few others) are bad for you.
Grandma, Kielbasa, brussel sprouts and eggplant are yummy!!! People have something to say about everything as far as food goes. Some people won’t even drink tap water, only bottled, some won’t drink coffee, but smoke up a cloud with cigarettes. Eveyone has their theories.
I do know that Bea. Actually heather grew up to love egg plant. Still not keen on brussel sprouts but the kalrabi is served so rarely it wasn’t really a problem.
Kelbasa I love.
I think it was George Bush who started a flap about brussel sprouts.
We had a foster brother for a few years and he was fed the same as us but one day mom said we were having cauliflower. He turned red and said you can make me eat liver and carrots but there is no way you can make me eat a flower.
I just read an article that says if you eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits they somehow block the gene that causes heart disease. Just informed my husband that he will have to have more vegetables. He just said ok I guess you love me as you want me to live longer.
I can’t drink the tap water in town. Don’t know why but for 26 years if I drink it I get sick. Nothing serious but who wants to feel yucky for 2 days after a drink.
Other towns it is ok.
some theories are so funny you just have to pass them on to some to share a laugh while others make a bit of sense. more vegetables even if it doesn’t work is a healthy diet.
Grandma: “I think it was George Bush who started a flap about brussel sprouts.”
Nope–George W. Bush’s vegetable noir was broccoli. He really didn’t like it.
My faves: cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes.
We have one family member who refuses most veggies. His faves: potatoes, corn, green beans, and shoestring-cut beets. Salad for him is a bowl of the iceberg-lettuce mix you see in the stores (don’t even mention other lettuces to him).
That is right. was thinking brocoli and wrote brussel sprouts.
I do not even live in the states but a friend said if
George W Bush hates them there must be something good in them. He ate his 2nd bite of brocoli in his life and he was 30.
Strange how people think.
My husband likes raw vegetables so we have lots of salad. At home he will only use thousand islands but when we go to a salad bar he will be more adventurous.
Corn corn and more corn are his vegetables of choice.
thank heavens for micro waves where I can cook one portion things so everyone is happy.
I love cauliflower raw better than cooked and will not eat cooked turnip but could eat an entire small one raw.
I am alergic to oranges and just recently Don bought a box of those small mandarin ones. I thought I would go nuts trying not to eat them but everytime I reached for one I thought of how much my personality changed for the worse I went and chomped on a carrot.
Grandma, Brussell sprouts are good smothered in melted butter. YUM.
Bea everyone tells me that and that is how they are always cooked.
Major problem with that is I hate butter.
I have tried all sorts of vegetables and usually find something good to say about them but unfortunately brussel sprouts are something I will not even buy.
wish they were citrus so I had a health reason for turning them down.
I keep hearing about how hard it is to go gluten free.
When I was trying this diet I found I had to switch one product I had in the house to a different brand.
Ok so here in Ontario we do not get the gluten free bisquick which would have been nice and gluten free bread is sold from the freezer and costs an arm and a leg but those were the only problem.
I even found frozen pizza dough gluten free which a friend said tastes just like the real stuff.
I found I missed bread the most for breakfast so instead of having eggs and toast I had rice chex cereal and since I haven’t had cereal for years it was a great taste change.
I find it harder to find products with no citric acid than gluten free.
Ontario does have gluten free Bisquick some of the brands are Betty Crocker, General Mills. You just need to find a store with a good health food section..
Also gluten free is available in many shop in Ontario easy to get. So I have no idea why you say Ontario it’s hard to find less expensive gluten free breads.
Some exampels to name a few: I could go on for weeks listing all the Ontario places to get gluten free stuff besides the freezer of your local supermarket.
Bunner’s Bake Shop
3054 Dundas Street W. Toronto
Melissa’s One Stop Gluten-Free Shop
53 George Street, Brampton
Two Girls Cooking
Available in stores all over GTA.
In some place as big as Ontario it is hard to hit all the places in town and it is especially hard when you have chronic illnesses like Grandma does. I know there are places here in Wichita that if I spend time looking could probably find the thing I need but most of the time I barely have the energy to hit my favorite stores so unless someone is nice enough to tell me where to find things and they don’t have it at my favorite major store I go to then I am not always sure they have it here.
cm123, the places you mentioned are basically in the Toronto area. Usually within a 2 hour tops drive from that area.
I am on the north shore of lake superior. 14 hours away from any large centre.
fortunately for people in my town who have to go gluten free the lady who owns the grocery store in the town 1 hour away is gluten free so she is ordering gluten free things to sell. Only place that does until Thunder Bay which is about 4 hours away in the winter.
Things are changing up here but with towns dieing due to mill closures it may all go back to the way it was 26 years ago.
Where you live and what transportation you have makes a lot of difference in your ability to save money and get things you need to be healthy.
I am just glad the gluten free diet didn’t work for me. Didn’t mind the food I could get just couldn’t get a lot of things I would like to have.
Grandma, is there some place like a Sprouts Farmers Market or a Whole Foods Markt in your area? I know Sprouts carries gluten-free items; WFM most likely does also.
I just had to say a few things.
1) There are lots of from-scratch-cooking you can do gluten free. Rice, buckwheat, quinoa, soy, corn, tapioca, oats, arrowroot, teff, potato and more.
2) There are a lot times that I am shopping, I know my friend wants something from where I am going and I will shop for her too. If I happen to be out of my valley at Costco, I call my friend for a shopping list. Other places too. After Beth was born, I just couldn’t go out to do many errands. I had a friend do my returns from the baby shower and do other errands that were just too much.
3) There are health food co-ops in many places that have truck drop off locations. Find one, join one and if it is too far for you to go, find a friend that will go for you. Feel free to pay for their gas too…
4) If a store you shop at sells a brand name that has the gluten free products, but your store doesn’t carry it, talk to the manager about a special order! If you order a full case, it should be easier to get it. Sometimes, places give you a discount for buying a whole case too! Ask! It can’t hurt!
Gluten free is not so hard if you look at the possibilities instead of the obstacles. Find a friend.
here in central florida .. our main supermarket i go to (publix, which is also in several other states .. not sure which ones, but do check if there is one near you) have alot more gluten free items on the shelves and i do know that if u ask the manager he/she will order the products for you too .. also, our local walmart has more gluten free items too .. this is something i have noticed the last few times i have been there ..
hope everyone is doing ok :D
I really enjoyed your article and the other side you don’t see to extreme couponing – the stress. I shop with two children and grocery shopping can often be stressful for me – managing the kids (its getting easier as they get older), getting the right size the coupon requires, looking for the best bargain, etc. Thanks for sharing.
I didnt jump on the bandwagon. I have been doing coupons for over 30 years before they built the bandwagon. My mom used coupons but I took it to a different extreme. “NOW” its in style. I am NOT an extreme couponer. I cut them, file them, and search sales adds to do my match ups. I get my rewards from stores that give them. I have been payed to take stuff out of the store. I dont miss work. I cut the coupons while watching TV or babysitting after work. I shop normally but stock up on stuff we use. I have 50 rolls of paper towels but they dont go bad. I dont run out of toilet paper. I did run out of Eggs this week because they havent been on sale lately so I had to buy some retail. BUT with a low paying job and hubby now on unemployment we still live and eat well. Theres a way to do it without clearing shelves or stressing out. Just do it as a hobby.
I recently made a trip to purchase several of Walgreens “FREE” items . I didn’t really think about it , but I ended up paying tax on all the items that had register rewards . Also , they told me that on most of the extreme couponing episodes they were in states other than TN where I am from . In TN , they will not take a coupon that is more than the price of an item after sales , rebates , etc. On the extreme couponing , the states it is filmed in does that and sometimes the shopper actually gets money back for coupons . It is best to carefully consider each stores coupon policy as well as the your states policy on money back items .
Yeah, I’ve watched Extreme Couponing. It seems like a lot of the really good “savings” are from multiple coupons for the same item. They have multiple subscriptions to the same paper just for the coupons. Or they get peoples coupons who don’t use them. Either way, they hold on to these coupons until they either expire or a really good sale comes up and the coupon covers the cost of the item. So, basically they spend countless hours clippin coupons, eyeballing sales around town at different markets, spends hours driving to the multiple markets to catch the sales, and hopefully they don’t run into any problems with using their multiple coupons. Clipping coupons on something you’re going to get or try anyway is one thing. But, getting an item just because you have a coupon for it is kinda wasteful.
About the extreme couponing, take a close look at what they buy. Most of the stuff is pure junk food. They don’t issue coupons for fruits and veggies in the produce department. There is little nutrition in a lot of the things that can be purchased with coupons. Better to buy food high in nutrition, and purchase it on sale, and in moderation.
If you watch the show closely many people say they use the money they save with coupons to buy fruits,vegetables, and meats. If they didn’t use coupons then they would not be able to afford these healthy foods. And many of these extreme couponers donate items to charity if they are not going to use them.
I think the thing about extreme couponing that concerns me the most people on that show are the people with enormous stockpiles of things they don’t use! One woman had over 1000 diapers stockpiled – she was single and didn’t have children! Or the people who have 100’s of deoderants, etc. One woman on the show joked that her family was going to smell good “forever” with her shelves of soap, shampoo and deoderant behind her (yes, shelves – plural).
I look at it this way – if I’m not going to donate it right away and I can’t use in the allotted time (max 12 months), it is wasteful if I buy it. I don’t care if I spend nothing – I am wasting the product itself, the time it took to shop and the space to store it.
I do coupon – and often get things for free! – but don’t shelf clear or stockpile to the extent that many do. We use approximately 5-6 tubes of toothpaste each year. I do NOT need more than that in my cupboard – if I can get it for free, I’ll get one and drop it off at the foodshelf on the way home. Otherwise, I don’t get it. I don’t care how good of a deal it is. And if I don’t have time to run by the food shelf on the way home – I don’t by it either!
How much do we really need? A lot less than we think….
Thanks for this article Jill!
If you look at all the stuff the extreme couponers buy, it is stuff that you couldn’t use all of in your lifetime. Who needs 64 boxes of cereal? You can’t eat it all, unless you have a big family, in time before it goes bad. 105 tubes of toothpaste? That’s enough for your kids’ kids lifetime. It would go bad before it got used. Also, most of the extreme couponers, in my opinion, are addicted to the rush of getting things for free or at the least cost possible. The only ones I admire are those who go to the extreme and then donate it to food banks, and/or homeless shelters, or to our armed forces overseas.
Alot of extreme couponers also donate alot of stuff to charity organizations. I’m sure they must be getting money back on their taxes for making those donations too. Can you imagine that? Using coupons to get money back on your taxes and helping others in need. More people should this.
I love getting free or cheap stuff with coupons and sometimes will even get coupons on eBay if I want to purchase a lot of something. I don’t stock up more than we can use in a reasonable time and I just LOVE being able to give bags of stuff away to friends and family who need them. My nephew recently came to stay for a weekend from college. I was able to send him home with toothpaste, laundry soap, shampoo, deodorant, snacks, cereal, drinks etc. It felt so good to help out someone who is working so hard to better his life! I suffer from insomnia so use that “wasted time” to clip, sort, etc. BONUS: sometimes it even bores me back to sleep! lol
I love couponing. I mean hey, if you don’t want to do it and it stresses you out then don’t do it. It doesn’t stress me out and for my family, it’s way better than me getting a job for minimum wage (I’ve been out of the work force a loooong time even though I have a B.A.) and leaving my home. I feed my family of 7, plus 3 cats and a dog for about $250 per month. Before I couponed, it was about $500-$600 per month. I like to cook and bake and often do so from scratch which makes for further savings. I very often get coupons for meat, fresh vegetables and dairy items so we don’t eat a lot of “junk” and the stores I frequent are never a hassle when it comes to using the coupons. They are usually thrilled to see me get such deals. I also don’t have stores that double my coupons and I’m still able to do this. I also love my stock pile. This month my grocery bill will actually be very small because they only thing I will need to buy is milk each week. Everything else is already in the freezer or pantry. I love to pay it forward to the food bank and friends. I also save thousands annually on toiletries and paper products (toilet paper, etc…) and this has changed the financial situation for my family significantly. It is my job so to speak so I don’t mind spending a few hours per week getting organized and a few more at a store. I don’t do this every week and my shopping trips rarely resemble the t.v. show but I am more than satisfied and my husband is too. I can’t ask for more than that.
also when people print TONS of coupons off line they do not add in the ink cost which is not cheap,and paper.
I do take into consideration the cost of printing coupons from my printer both in terms of ink and paper. I also consider how much gas it costs me to shop at multiple stores and the time involved. I still save at least $150 per month but usually more. It’s very worth it to me.
i was considering starting to do extreme couponing, but after you told me what is involved, i got tired just reading about it. you have saved me a lot of time and money, and with that, I thank you very much.
I choose to use coupons. I have a simple, affordable way of doing so. I get the weekly ads for each of my local grocery stores, look for the items on sale that I would like to buy, then I look for coupons for those items on a coupon clipping service website. (Palmetto Coupon Clippers)I use a clipping service rather than buying a $3 newspaper because of all the coupons I don;t use that just go to waste. At a clipping service, I can use that $3 to get multiple coupons for the items I want to buy. The coupons usually cost $.05 – $.10 each, so I can get a large amount for just $3. I like using Palmetto Coupon Clippers…www.palmettocouponclippers.com
it doesn’t make sense to do any extreme couponing in my town because all the stores here do not allow more then 1 coupon per item(either store or manufactures coupon) can’t use both and none has double coupons anymore, so they make sure you have to spend your hard earned cash at their store and everyone has the same price on everything. if it’s cheaper it’s only by a penny or 2
Love your article. No, I do not extreme coupon and frankly I find the thought of it to be time consuming and pointless. I rarely buy name brands and shop at cheaper stores. Some items I do go name brand and can occasionally find a couple coupons online for so its okay. I have seen that show and I just do not understand why someone needs that much stuff!! One show a woman had enough razors to last her for 7 years….awesome but really?!!
Jennifer Freeman, who was on the show, runs a web site called tipresource.com here in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can click on the store you want to shop at(Target, Walgreens, Albertsons, Smiths or whatever) and click on what you want to buy that week. She will tell you which circular/flyer to pull out for you coupons and that is when you cut out your coupons. It takes about an 1-2 hours a week to follow her system. You date the circulars and file them in a large file box or just a larger box and when you write your grocery list you cut your coupons. Check for something simular on the net for your town. This is what I use and I save money without that much work. This is the best of extreme couponing and regular couponing.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this article. I actually do extreme coupon. However, I only coupon for things that will not go bad, and that I will use, like deodorant, makeup, and toothpaste. I am about to go to college, which will be incredibly expensive. In my situation, I believe that it is worth it to stock up now on thing that I am getting for free, rather than having to pay later while I am strapped for money. I do agree with your statements that the show is ridiculous. I agree mainly because most of the people on the show are packrats. They will buy enormous amounts of ridiculous things that they will probably never use, and store it simply to show off. I believe in “everything in moderation”, and I use my extreme couponing in moderation, and in a sane manner. Thank you for this wonderful article.
“Moderation in all things” needs to be our motto. Only one local store accepts internet coupons. It takes me so long to locate appropriate internet coupons. I usually look for coupons that supplement items already on sale at local stores. the author of “Tightwad Gazette” gives some good advice which could be applied to couponing. Whatever you are doing to save money, figure out how much per hour you are saving while you do that activity and determine if your time is worth that. If it is very time consuming without much profit, consider another way.
THANK YOU for helping to not feel so guilty over the fact that I have been slacking off lately on my couponing. I by not means am an extreme couponer, but I do like a great deal. Since I haven’t bought a newspaper for a few months I keep hearing of deals I am missing. So I was starting to feel discouraged and this was a great pick-me-upper. THANKS!
Not to mention that the Supergrocery Store that I work at, has some of those “Extreme Couponers” black-listed. Just because they are buying the shelves clear with all their cpns. Wasting the time of the clerks and the people behind them, and than they will turn around and sell their “free” or next to free items on their garage sales for twice what they paid for most of the items.
And don’t think that the stores don’t know these folks, they do. Reason why these people are no longer wanted, nor are they welcome in stores.
Yes, I do use coupons, but I only buy what I have need of, and perhaps one or two Buy-One-Get-One-Free. That is the other thing that some will do, they will hold up the line wasting not only the cashiers time, but also those that are behind them, arguing that the B1G1FREE cpn, they feel that they should get money off the one that they are getting for FREE. It just does not work that way. Nor can you get money off of the one that you buy in order to get the one that is free. You would be using 2 Manufactures cpns on one item.
As an ex-extreme couponer i thank you for saying its ok. I still use coupons when i want a brand name item, but the stores around me wised up and now the sales never come for an item when a coupon is out for that item. They even jack up the price of the cans in the dented can bin if there is a coupon. So its now just about always cheaper to buy the store brand. I assume that making me buy their generic was their plan all along. I have felt so bad about it. We ran out of our year supply of laundry detergent because there were no decent coupon deals IN THE ENTIRE YEAR for the stuff. I ended up making my own detergent. However my dad wont use it (i think the jiggliness freaks him out) so only loads i do end up with the home made stuff. Honestly im getting scared because our pasta is running out. I try to not pay more than 60¢/lb for it but everywhere i look prices are going up. 77¢ is being treated like a good deal. Its just crazy how much our staples have gone up this year. Growing up in an italian american house, to not have pasta on hand is unthinkable.
Hi Kate, yes that is unfortunate, but because of all the extreme couponers, there will be more of that. They are closing the loopholes. I am surprised that people are allowed to use more than one coupon of anything. Even though it states you can’t use more than one on one trip. But I think that rule gets skirted by buying one item per coupon. Anyway, I know coupon helps with the budget. My problem is clearing the shelves so others don’t get the product. If you know you are going to get 100 of an item, at least be courteous and order ahead of time. Nothing is more frustrating that going in the store to get a product only to see none on the shelves because the couponers have taken them all.
That being said, Out here in California, there are no double up coupons and they have made it difficult to use coupons except sparingly. Many stores won’t take ones printed off the internet and many stores have a policy not to take more than one coupon product. In other words you can’t buy 4 ketchup with a 50 cent coupon for each ketchup. I try to use them once in a while but most coupons are for products I don’t use anyway.
Hopefully, in other states they won’t start closing the loopholes and making it so you can only use coupons for certain things. It may go that way soon.
Jill the way to get around the one coupon for order is to divide your order up and say they are for someone you are buying for. it is a separate order and should be no problem for the cashier at the end of the day or the store when they report how many coupons they used.
I don’t use coupons but sometimes turkeys and hams go on sale and I like to buy a couple. All I do is have my husband come and he has an order with a turkey and so do I. You end up spending the same amount because you are getting your list anyway just it comes in two receipts.
I like your idea of ordering ahead if stocking up. This month I am in the pickling and preserving mode and wanted lots of pickling cukes. I called the owner and asked how much a case would be. $60. well that was for a bit over 60lbs which was a bit much so I asked if I could buy half a case. He said no problem they would be there in 2 days. Still a lot of cukes but am half way through them.
The next store had peaches so I bought a case of them for $19 and tomorrow they will be processed. As soon as pears and plums arrive I am ready to conquer those.
So yes if you want or need a lot try ordering in advance. It is only curtious as it keeps the customers happy with the store and the owner knows what you like in big quantities so when a sale comes on he may call and let you know.
I agree with you that extreme couponing isn’t worth it, at least for me. But I must say, I have gone to YARD SALES of extreme couponers, and I love those! I run in to one of these sales about three times a year, by accident. You can stock up on toiletries for pennies on the dollar. Last weekend I went to a yard sale of an extreme couponer and stocked up on deodorant that we use anyway, large ones for $1, half sizes for 50 cents each. We got all kinds of great stuff. I paid $17 and probably got $80 or more worth of stuff that we use anyway.
I started couponing last year. I had a about 50 bottles of dish soap that I am still going through. I stopped after about 4 months. Omg the rules! Not to mention when you see people with hoards of expensive paper towels, lets say Bounty for like $1 for a 12 pack-most are bought fraudulently. They use a coupon for another item like white strips, and code match. I have learned that you can get name brand products in store brand labels. All store brands are name brand. Sooo why go through the hassle. Then if you use 100 coupons you have to take people with you because of the limit. You have to do multiple transactions and keep track if that. Then pick your cashier wisely. It really is a huge pain, and to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered. Doubling,matching,staking coupons , arguing with the cashier, pulling out their stores coupon policy, educating the cashier 1 per transaction didn’t mean I could only buy one. Getting up at 4 AM on Sunday to get 50 newspapers, hassling you friends and relatives in other parts of the country to send you their inserts, I swear it was all I did, all day. Buying crap I didn’t even use so I could get the $$ off my next purchase that I would roll over to the next transaction.
Now I buy Lancôme makeup that would be like $25 for $5 under the name brand Rimmel. I do this with Clinique as well, and I buy my name brand foods and supplies from the Dollar store. They are what’s called x-pac. Simply put like Campbell’s Soup- they put the wrong size carrots or too much chicken, ect. Same with the cleaning products. Now I can just go to the store and get what I need and save my sanity and day for something fun.
This is a great article. One trick I found is to do smaller shopping batches. If I can’t go through the line with 100 coupons, can I go through with 50? It just makes sense to break it up a bit even if I have to go back to the store twice in one week. Also, another great tip I discovered years ago watching a lady in our store was to get some inexpensive scotch tape (think after Christmas sales) and tape my coupons to the items. At my store the clerk appreciates the bit of extra effort and it really makes it less stressful for me because I don’t have to stress over whether or not I have a coupon for said item. Since stores (in our area) go on a 6 week sales cycle I can predict what will be on sale sometimes and stock up for the sale. I don’t go to extremes but my family is well fed and we are on track with our budget. Having just overcome a debt of $60,000 I want to keep saving and putting money away. The few extra minutes and shorter trips to the store have really helped us to stay on track and now work on saving all that money that we’ve been having to use to pay off debt.
hi…I was once an extreme couponer (got my coupons free from recycle bins…very dedicated to the cheapest price!) However, for all the reasons you stated, I eventually gave up on this PART-TIME JOB! You didn’t mention one of the main reasons that I quit..that is the temptation to eat a ton of JUNK FOOD! Cooking healthfully and cheaply is now my focus. Thanks!
I don’t extreme coupon but I know what you mean about the high and the let down when you can’t find the coupons the blog is talking about or your store doesn’t have the same price so it isn’t a good deal…. etc… I still coupon but at a lot less stressful level. I love getting free stuff and if it is free (minus taxes of course) I will purchase it and give to neighbors or donate it to a food bank if I can’t use it. I have a bag that I fill up through out the year with my free samples, free products (etc deodrant, toothpaste) that I use as stocking stuffers. I have friends that are on limited budgets and they love getting all the stuff in their stockings. Now that my brothers and my granddaughter are living with me I have to make my budget go further and couponing helps. I work 6 days a week so even though I want to make from scratch I can’t do it all the time. My brothers are so picky eaters that I think twice about getting foods unless I know that they will eat it or it is free so I can donate it.
Extreme Couponing is exsaguated (sorry about the spelling). They don’t tell you how they get their coupons from the manufactuers for the shows a lot of the time. They don’t really get things for free when they buy 10 newspaper subscriptions or buy them from a clipping service. Most states you have to pay taxes and I don’ tknow any store in AR that will pay you the credit like on the show. I use coupons from friends and neighbors but I also buy them things to help them out when things are low priced. I am helping my daughters 72 year old neighbor right now because she isn’t elligible for state help because she works 2 hours a day. I stock up on free or cheap stuff and take it to her. I don’t really have a stock pile (okay about 5-10 shampoos, deodrants, toothpaste but not one like the shows) but it helps when I hear of people that need help and I can bring a bag of stuff to help. I love couponing but I don’t get as stressed out as I did when I was younger. Ha!
My favorite blogs for couponing is Hip2Save and SavingLifestyle (Kroger). Kroger has free baby food this week and last year Walmart had free formula (after coupons minus taxes). The foodbank was really happy to get the ones I donated to them.
I just got on to CouponMom (which gives you lists for various stores). Will have to see if the stores actually HONOR those prices.
Great article. I haven’t read all the comments–so I apologize if this has been mentioned already. When my boys were in diapers I extremed couponed–but only for diapers. I routinely got diapers for nearly free. I got to the point where I would not spend more than 4 cents per diaper. Sure at times I had a box of the wrong size because my kids grew faster than I thought, but they made great shower gifts. I confess it made me a little crazy– but we were so strapped for cash, it would stress me more wondering how to keep food on the table. It was cheaper than cloth for sure–especially when considering the time.
I was really into couponing and getting free stuff a few years back. I got enought toiletries to last me a few more years. Even if you get an item free with coupon/rebate/rewards you still have to pay tax on it. So if I get a free after coupon/reward item for lets say $4.99 I would still have to pay about 40 cents tax on it. Sometimes it’s not worth it because the container is really small and you get a better deal at a dollar store. I used to get things like hair styling products and otc meds that we don’t use and endup paying tax on them and giving them away, not anymore. So, I don’t get all the free items anymore, just those that I would really use.
I am a beginning extreme couponer because I have to be. We transfered to Indiana for a promotion. I gave up a home business I loved so my husband could be happy. The job didnt work out but we still have to pay for our big house and expensive schools. I was spending too much on groceries and found that I still was going back to the store several times a week to buy staples. This annoyed me because I was out of money before payday nearly every week. I started clipping coupons and researching how to save more and more. I save at least 50% each shopping trip. I have a pantry full of things that will feed us for at least 3 months if needed. That being said, I am also a organic farmer, and I can my own vegetables and make my own sauces and jams. I try to buy fresh, organic and healthy foods for my family. It is possible but a little harder than they show on tv. You have to know what to buy and when to buy it. You have to know what you dont need and what is a waste of money. Just because its free doesnt mean its for me. It takes more time but we search for organic sites on the web and ask for coupons from companies we love. I also dumpster dive for my coupons. I do not buy 30 copies of the paper on Sunday. I give my extras to the shelters in our neighborhood and also share my unused coupons with my neighbors. My kids come first always. There health and well being and education is the most important things. Ive choosen to live frugally and not depend on government assistance. We do everything ourselves yet we still have time to help others too. To each his own. You must find what works for you and work together to find a true happy place.
I did the couponing thing for half a year. I also gained 40 pounds. I had lots of stuff that I dont use or eat. I did the couponing thing because my boyfriend wanted to try it. I stopped doing it when I got rid of him. since it got rid of him and stopped eating processed foods I lost that 40 pounds! Since i eat mostly produce lean meats and whole grains I save more money buying only what I can use at farmers markets and buying in bulk what is on sale at the whole foods markets. I also went back to cleaning with mostly vinegar and baking soda. The difference in my grocery bills was astounding. I wish that coupons were offered for things that were good for you….
THANK YOU! for giving a practical viewpoint on the extreme couponing craze. It was great to hear that I was right in some of the questions I had about the effects of doing this type of couponing (stress, actual savings vs. buying coupons etc).
Where I live it is not practical to do this because of store restrictions on coupon use.
Here is my savings for not using coupons unless it is something I really use: Most coupons for food (I know there are exceptions) are for processed items. By buying fresh or organic I keep my blood pressure down thus a savings because I don’t have to buy meds. I don’t need the fat, sugar, or salt in those products.
I have tried to figure out how to coupon like they do, but I have had no such luck. Yes, I have saved $200 on a few shopping trips, but had to spend about $150 to save that much! We also have to remember that this is a show and with all shows, reality, is what they want us to see. These people plan very carefully for that show to be taped. Yes, they have great stockpiles that are not needed, unless shared.
I still cut coupons and use my binder so I don’t lose my coupons, but now only clip what we actually will use or what I know my grown boys might need with a couple being out of work. They like “shopping” at mom’s if they need it.
I am glad that I read this because I am no longer going to stress out how they get to $0.00 anymore. I was thinking that I was just stupid that I couldn’t get it and get that low of a total. I have not had a problem with cashiers not liking my coupons or store policies.
Thanks again for making me feel normal. I also have a chronic pain issue and I can’t do anything for two days after couponing, so I only do it once a month. After getting married and part of the income being lost, we need the savings.
Thanks, I try to use coupons but the coupons that are out there are mostly for stuff I don’t need to live on. I have moved to a trailer and space is at a minimum. Cant store all the soaps and things like that for years. I can only afford to spend on what I need. Now if they had produce and meat coupons more often I would stock more.
I am always curious as to where these people live, because none of the stores near me are that accommodating! Where we live now NO stores even double coupons, much less triple, the way some claim on the show. Having said that, I do use some coupons, usually at CVS on toiletry items. Otherwise, we buy meats, fruits and veggies, which as many have pointed out already, very seldom have coupons! (I soooo miss living near Kroger, where they would send me $5 off meat/produce/etc coupons occasionally!)I try to buy meat when it is marked down (then I freeze it), and we shop at our local farmer’s market frequently. Having grown up with a borderline hoarder, I have no place for that much “stuff” in my home, usable or not. If you really want to save money–don’t buy stuff in the first place!
How true! I tried to start some couponing and found that I did not find coupons for things I needed. I’m retired, I don’t need 20 packages of diapers or 4 year supply of shampoo and conditioner (since I use the baking soda shampoo and vinegar rinse); which works
GREAT and you never find coupons for baking soda, white distilled vinegar. I make my own laundry detergent and I never find coupons for Borax or Washing soda and the list goes on. Thanks for this sensible post to extreme couponing.
I stopped using coupons years ago…
They never have anything that really need or they have such small amounts on the coupons that it’s not worth my time to cut & use.
I harbour no ill will against those that do use them, it’s just not something I care to spend my time doing(cutting & using coupons).
Hi there. I just found your page/site and LOVE it! Like other things, some things pertain to my life and style and others don’t. I live in Canada and have to say coupons are few and far between here. I tried the coupon train groups, where you share what type of coupons you are looking for and do some trading, but found I was spending so much more money buying things that I didn’t normally buy just to use the coupon! It was crazy how the “rush” would make me feel. Then I realized, between the cost of postage to send coupons back and forth to people, the gas to get there, and buying things I never tried, used, or wanted, it was not worth it. I am still jealous of all the coupons and sites you have in the US, and would use them if we could, but only on the things I normally would buy. I agree that there can be too much..and even from watching the show, the stress levels they must feel, especially when they bring only a certain amount of money, etc. No way! I try to shop for good deals when they come around, but again, living in the country, we have one grocery store, a big name brand kind and to find a discount store, it is 40 minutes away…so again..it is looking through flyers and trying to do a weeks worth of meal planning to see if I can save. We all love and usually need to save money where we can, but my opinion is that if it causes you all that stress, and you have all these things that you will never use in your lifetime, then why put yourself through it! Donating is great..but maybe an option would be to contact the agencies you are donating to, and ask them if they would like the coupons to pick up the things themselves…or if they don’t, then just go for the things you want to donate in the numbers they portray on the show. Much love to all :0)
I just finished watching a rerun of extreme couponing and was struck with the thought about the lady I was watching saving so much on her groceries. She was talking about budgeting her monthly expenses and paying extra on her mortgage and such with her savings. I was unable to figure out where her income was coming from, since no mention or sight of a spouse to help her financially care for her kids. She mentioned no outside of the home job of her own. She told of the time she spent clipping coupons, planning shopping trips, taking shopping trips, tracking her expenses and savings and price matching on what appeared to be an excel type spreadsheet on her laptop. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was on disability. Sorry if this offends, but if you truly qualify for disability then you wouldn’t be offended. If she was on welfare then she would be getting food stamps to buy groceries. (If she is getting food stamps then she/the show is lying about her getting by on so little dollars per month to feed her family). Am I the only one wondering: If you can do that much walking and cart pushing, carrying groceries in and out and putting them up, able to do an excel spreadsheet, then why would you need disability, there would be plenty of jobs you could do. Sorry to be B, but I’m fed up with the “I can’t work because…. (some stupid answer – you fill in the blank)” That money doesn’t grow on trees, the government gets it from somewhere: those of us who get up and go to a job even when we don’t feel like it, it’s a deduction on every working man or woman’s paycheck. Sick of the “free” mentality from every direction!
I totally agree with you. The sad thing is it is getter worse instead of better. What really concerns me are the children growing up with parents of this mentality. What are they going to be like especially when the generation like my parents who were such hard workers are gone and there will be very little influence like theirs left.
I so agree. I raised a friend of my daughters cause her parents got evicted again from another apartment. Both parents went their separate ways and didn’t take their 16 year old with them. She lived with a few families before she came to our house. She did pay for her home schooling at a church with her child support. If she didn’t go and get her child support on payday her father would drink all the money up. It was such a shame.
Not to mention that generic store brands are often cheaper, and just as good usually. Always check, and as someone else mentioned, the coupons are usually for name brand processed food, it is cheaper to make your own using your books, and many free recipes on line.
I never bought over a hundred dollars of groceries so the line didn’t last long an I usually paid 60 or less for the groceries so it was worth it. I only shopped once or twice a week
I love saving money with coupons. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to support my family on one paycheck. I have two disabled brothers and now that my parents are older they sent them to live with me. I have 3 grand kids that I support at times too. I also help two elderly neighbors whenever possible. I don’t buy a lot of processed foods but I will if they are free with coupons and then donate them to the food banks. I have lived on top ramen raising my daughter at times so I know how it feels. I use Hip2Save and KrogerKrazy to make my shopping easier. I love ibotta and checkout 51 so I can save on milk, eggs, dairy, deli, cereal, produce, etc. Just scan and the money goes in my account. I use that for xmas shopping. Wonderful. I am not an extreme couponer or a stockpiler. I usually spend about $80 a week and that includes everything except clothing and shoes for the kids it even includes diapers. I buy a lot of organic foods with coupons too.
We don’t say not to ever use coupons but people tend to get locked into couponing thinking that is the only way to save money or use the excuse that if they can’t use coupons then they can’t save money.There are so many different ways to save and we are trying to get people to look at other options and not just do couponing because that is what they are seeing all over the internet and the media. We are trying to get people to think out of the box and find other ways to do it.
When we were allowed to use expired coupons and the store would double up to a dollar I used anything I could to get most of my shopping for under $5. The best I did was a shop I did with our coupon group. We called it the Turkey Trot as we could get our turkey free after spending a certain amount. I did three shops. One for my family, one for my neighbor who’d lost his job and one that was donated to a family in need. Each shop was got about $200 and I paid about $3 for each transaction. To say the feeling was addicting could not be truer.
Along with the great coupons there were a few under the table dealing. There were some coupons you could use on any product they made as the bar code would just ring up.
You are so right Jill! I have been behind people in the checkout and they seemed so stressed out from making sure they had everything that matched their coupons! Me, I shop at Aldis and once in a while I browse just the clearance aisle at other stores. I have found closeout cat food for as little as 2 dollars a bag and bought several for my outside cat. That outside cat doesn’t care what brand or if it’s out of sell by date. He loves it! Just goes to show you can save money and not always have to use coupons.
Have a blessed day
I will use them if it really saves, but I found the store brand is usually cheaper than the name brand with the coupon. So far the store brands have all tasted good except one. It’s about saving, not spending hours clipping coupons.
Just don’t worry about coupons anymore. Takes too much time and encourage me to buy items that I really don’t need! Also, saves time at the grocery store. Just my 2 cents worth!
I used to be an extreme couponer. Two years ago our stores stopped allowing stacking, so the savings dried up. I also found out that toothpaste and other things do expire, so those walls of toothpaste that you see on the show will go to waste if not donated.
At this point, I have one or two extras. The clutter was starting to bother me. I am an empty nester now and we don’t use that much anymore.