A few weeks ago I got sucked into watching TLC’s new show, Extreme Couponing. The show depicts extreme bargain shoppers who have “mastered the art of saving.” Each episode features two or three people that can save anywhere from 95-110% per shopping trip. Some of these folks can pay $6.00 for $600.00 worth of groceries. Others will purchase several hundred dollars worth of products only to leave the store with money.
During your average extreme couponing trip, the buyer may purchase 72 boxes of cereal, 52 tubes of toothpaste, or 46 bottles of pain reliever, and 84 packages of toilet paper, and more. The couponers then add their purchases to their already expansive stock pile of stuff that resembled nothing short of the grocery store itself. One woman had her two car garage full of products from floor to ceiling, and had overflow items stored in every nook and cranny of her house including her master closet, her daughter’s drawers, under her son’s bed, etc. Seemed only slightly different the Hoarders show I watch except for the couponer was not only obsessed with buying but also getting the “best deal” on everything. And they organized their stash perfectly, like so:
After deciding that the extreme couponers all needed to find a coupon to have a serious mental health check performed on them, I decided to give it a shot. Why not? After all, anything that sounds and looks crazy and allows for you to get addicted fits right up my ally. One, my life gets more and more crazy each day. Second, I have an addictive personality. Don’t let me find an app that I really like because I’m the person that will not stop talking about it, will tell everyone about it (including the lady in front of me at the post office) and will use it day and night, including 2 am in the morning under the covers hoping no one is watching. This goes on until I realize my addiction has taken over my life and then I decide it’s either the addiction or my family and I finally decide my family is worth keeping, (I mean my kids are incredibly cute), and then I finally quit.
But I digress. So here’s what I did. Your average extreme couponer spends about 20 or more hours a week cutting and pasting coupons, matching coupons with deals, compiling spread sheets on shopping trips and transactions, and color coding their deodorants. I took the less obsessive route and spent about an hour on Sunday cutting coupons, then organized them into two envelopes – household products and food. I then wrote a list of stuff I needed wrote a (C) next to each item that I had a coupon for, and went on my way. At the store, I tried to double my savings by matching store deals with my coupons. When I was done checking out, I had saved a whopping $28.60! Wowzers!!
Next thing you know, I get this rush go through my body; my mind starts racing at all the ways I could save on everything – at the dry cleaners, the groomers, retail stores, the possibilities seemed endless! I went home, reorganized my coupons based on my shopping experience, added two more envelopes, then checked on-line for better deals. Saw a blog post in my future and it was on.and.popping.
I decided to do this for seven days. I downloaded a few coupon apps, and tried to find coupons for every transaction. Restaurants, Michaels, the grocery store, Smoothie King. You name it, I was clipping away.
I’m pleased to announce that at the end of the week, I had saved over $100.00 on things I would normally have bought that week!! Can you believe it?! One of my favorite deals was at our favorite Mexican Restaurants. Between a coupon and kids eat free, our bill went from $53.76 to $19.22!!! Since then, I’m still using my coupons. It did take some extra planning for every day, something I don’t have the patience or ability to do. But, with all things, balance is key so I still plan to coupon when I can.
Do you coupon? If so, please share any tips or sites that have helped you coupon easily and efficiently. Thanks!