Extreme Couponing

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

After watching a program on television about extreme couponing, it got me thinking. I expected to see one person clip stacks upon stacks of coupons and save hundreds of dollars. Instead, I saw several people do it. One woman's bill was over $800, but by the time she doled out her coupons she owed less than $3. It's unbelievable, unless you watched how they did it.

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This extreme level of couponing is beyond most of us (none of the coupon addicts had full time jobs, one was retired and others were stay at home parents), but we can learn from them. However, if I could bring my $160 grocery bill down to $120, I'd be ecstatic.

The List

What I learned most about the extreme coupon clippers was that they were not shopaholics. Their shopping list was comprehensive of their coupon inventory, and if an item was not on the list it was not in the cart. They didn't walk up and down the aisles or sniff around the bakery; they only purchased what was on sale and had a coupon. This is a lesson that we can all apply to our shopping trips.

Often I receive coupons from home improvement stores that offer $10 off my next purchase of $50 or more. Could I take advantage of this without falling for their gimmick by spending money on something I wasn't planning to buy? Could I purchase my cleaning supplies there and save $10? Once in awhile I see a coupon offering $5 off any purchase at a department store I rarely visit.

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Rather than throw it away with the thought that I'd go there and spend more than I originally intended, why not pick up a pack of socks and walk out? Paying $0.50 for a pack of socks would motivate me to keep my wandering eyes to the ground and employ the get in and get out shopping tactic.

Matching Sales with Coupons

What made these coupon clippers earn items for free was their diligent research. By scanning store flyers, they could note what items were on sale, add store coupons to clipped coupons, and get the items for free. It still baffles me, but what I learned was that I need be more aware of the coupons I hold and the sale cycle at the stores.

If cereal is on sale for 2/$5 and I have two copies of a manufacturer's coupon for $0.75 off, the coupons will double to a maximum of $1 each. That brings my cereal to $1.50 a box. With a store coupon of 10% off my order, my cereal will cost only $1.35 a box. I don't meet up with the levels of the extremists, but I think they'd be proud of my 60% discount.

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Multiple Coupons

While my coupon clutch looks empty most of the time, it's my responsibility to fill it up. Good coupon clippers look beyond the newspaper circulars. They visit online coupon sites and manufacturers' websites. They scour the neighborhood for leftover coupon circulars, earning multiple copies of each coupon. Could I learn a little from them?

Of course I could. By arranging to swap coupons with a group of friends, you can double up on the coupons you don't use. Each person can cut from the flyer and then pass it on. Earn a store receipt coupon that you don't want? Pass it on to someone who can. Drop a box in your break room and fill it with your unwanted coupons, inviting others to do the same. People could grab what they use and donate what they discard.

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Don't Wait Until There's a Need

Another similarity among all of the coupon cutters was the moment they became die hard clippers. They all either lost their jobs or were in a state of financial despair. It's wonderful to see that they had found a way to manage their money successfully, but we all don't need to wait for rock bottom to become savers. Start clipping with purpose now and save while you have the money.

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February 14, 20110 found this helpful

Extreme Couponing is one thing, being a hoarder is another and I felt that these people were hoarders. It would take a family a lifetime to use their stash and they are still stocking. I believe in couponing only, if you can use the product, not because the coupon is a fantastic deal. My goal is to save a minimum of 50% of my bill. My recent visit to Randall's in Houston was $263.54. After coupons it was $65.64. The next day was the final day of my monthly shopping. My bill was $109.29 after $91.13 in coupons.

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February 25, 20180 found this helpful

I don't see many hoarder's when I watch Extreme Couponing. In fact I saw one man who filled his basement one day and then the next day he turned around and packed it into the local foodbank's truck and gave them everything he had. He saves very little for his family. Just what they really need. I also saw one women who would open her stash to neighbors and other people she knew to help them when they needed help. She purposely lived in a area with people who were on really low incomes.

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They also had a show where couponer's went to their stores and they showed how that they saved so much money and everything they bought when to local food banks, safe houses for abused wives and children and other non profit groups. The ones that are horder's are not usually shown on the show. I know at first they did because those were the ones who were usually shopping like that now those who want to help people but can't actually send money buy groceries and send them to the non profits and they can give more than they could if they sent money.

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Anonymous
February 23, 20110 found this helpful

My daughter has gotten really good at couponing, paying only about $100.00 for $300.00 worth of groceries,With a family of 5 she doesn't stock anything that she isn't going to use for herself and her family. But it's much smarter to buy T. paper,and laundry detergent and that kind of stuff when it is on sale than to run out and have to pay lots more for it. She shops at Krogers where they double coupons and run the mega sales. Where I live we don't have any stores that double coupons or have a senior discount day like they use too. Use to have a Kroger's but it went out of business after Wal-Mart moved in. I don't like Wal-Mart and won't buy groceries there. Have an Aldies but they don't take coupons so I don't shop there very often. I don't save a lot on my groceries but do manage to save some.

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September 8, 20150 found this helpful

I like to see people give what they don't or can't use to food pantries Items that they get free, no cost to them but someone can always use it. To build an extra room for outdated stuff is greedy.

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September 8, 20150 found this helpful

Yes but they can only really get it that low by buying all that processed junk

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November 24, 20150 found this helpful

You are exactly correct. I hate to be in line by a person with a binder of coupons.

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February 25, 20180 found this helpful

I extreme coupon and donate items to the food pantry. I dont hoard.

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