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by sitecore\akronzer on July 27, 2011

CouponsI recently caught an episode of "Extreme Couponing" on TLC. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about real people who obsessively use couponing to spend only pennies for hundreds of dollars worth of goods. Surprised that it only took some planning to save major bucks on groceries and personal items, I felt determined to get into excessive couponing myself! I quickly realized however that the show may be far from reality for me. Here’s why:

  • Lack of Time. It takes a lot more time than the minutes televised to coordinate product needs, coupon availability and organization, and sales promotions. Many of the show’s participants make extreme couponing their full-time job! If you’re not ready to give up your day job, extreme couponing may not be for you either.
  • Lack of Space. Stockpiling is a common practice for extreme couponers, and in order to be successful, you’ll need lots of storage space. However, if you’re like me and have limited space for the things you need now, extreme couponing may not be the way to go.
  • Lack of Need. Some of the extreme couponers purchased mass quantities of items just because they were nearly free. If you weren’t planning to purchase the product to begin with, you’ll be spending money (even if it’s pennies) on items you don’t need.
  • Lack of Options. Most products purchased on the show were packaged goods. I prefer fresh foods over packaged foods, but have yet to come across a coupon for produce or meats. In reality, extreme couponers will still need to spend some money on fresh foods unless they’re content with consuming packaged goods for every meal.

Although it definitely inspired me to take advantage of the coupons for products I would be buying anyway, extreme couponing isn’t realistic for my situation. If extreme couponing doesn’t seem realistic for you either, consider these other tips in Jumping on the Coupon Bandwagon to still save big.

You might also enjoy this article featuring MMI's community manager about what reality TV shows can teach us about credit and spending.

Posted in:  Cutting Costs, Frugality


20 and Engaged says:
July 27, 2011

I agree; I don't have the time to devote to it or the space for all those items. Plus, I looked to see if any of the items I usually get have coupons and most of them don't.

Chris says:
July 28, 2011

I was on a coupon kick for awhile but stopped for the reasons you described. One thing I continue to do is search eBay for coupons on the products that I already buy and don't mind buying in bulk (contact lens solution, for example). While paying for coupons eats into my overall savings, it doesn't take much time and I still end up on the plus side.

Lori Soard says:
January 16, 2013

We switched to a low-carb diet in September, which makes couponing difficult. I find I do best by stockpiling things when they are on sale (reasonable stockpiles of enough for a few months) and using a coupon if one is available. For example, if strawberries are on sale for $1 each, I might buy 10. We will eat some fresh and I'll freeze the rest. I will buy enough fabric softener (making own laundry soap now) or toothpaste to last us a year if I can get an extreme deal on it. These things have helped reduce our grocery bill by about $40/week for a family of 4.

Mike says:
January 01, 2015

I find that amusing for me. Looking at people using coupons for everything they buy is just smart buying.

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