Extreme Couponing Challenge

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!

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19 Responses to “Extreme Couponing Challenge”

  1. Yes, I coupon and I’m pretty darn good at it. The folks on that show though? IMO they are touched with OCD and hoarding tendencies. (Not a shrink, but I play one in blogland sometimes). It takes a little time to get into the rhythm and a good system to organize your coupons, but there is lots of money to be saved.
    MrsTDJ´s last post: A May December Kinda ThingMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Congrats on your savings. I am on the show and what is not being said is that most of the people on the show host a blog or teaches workshops in their communities. This is why we spend so much time with coupons. Before I started my blog, I would spend 30minutes a day with my prep and shop on the weekends or thought the week. Once I started my blog, and started teaching classes . . . my time being spent around the topic of coupons increased.

    I think you did great by saving. It just goes to show if you apply some time to get the coupon you can save. Saving an $100 a week is a GREAT thing and I wish you more success on your Extreme Couponing journey.

  3. That’s some great savings! I do think that there’s a balance…When I go through the Sunday ads, I flip through the coupons but sadly, so much of what I buy isn’t there since we tend to shop organic and I try not to use a lot of prepacked stuff. There are great coupons in the Whole Foods monthly magazine thing at the customer service counter though and by picking one of those up before I shop, I do save a lot of money!

    But it’s always nice to save when we dine out! Have you checked out Restaurant.com? You can pick up dining certificates for $3 on $20 worth of food! I’ve found that some of our favorite places are on there! Major savings! Cha-ching! :)
    Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama´s last post: MoreBirthdayscom Birthday Bash at Mom 20My ComLuv Profile

  4. I’ve ad matched for a while, and would occassionally clip coupons. Like you, after watching Extreme Couponing, I figured I could do that too, but not to that extent. I also feel like they’re hoarding.

    My last big shopping trip, I saved an additional $50! And that rush you mentioned… it felt like the very first time I went to a casino, and won $25. I couldn’t keep going there, or I’d be divorced!

    Since then, I’ve been collecting coupons for my next big shopping trip, next weekend. I’ve also signed up for savings alerts with our favorite stores. For Easter, I saved HALF on two of my daughters clothes, with a coupon they sent me online!

    Okay, I’m going to stop here. I could go on, and on! lol
    LaTonya´s last post: Put Me In The ZooMy ComLuv Profile

  5. congrats on your savings! i’m trying to use more coupons. it feels good to see the savings when i do. but i agree, it takes more time and patience than i have to really get into it.
    Cam Bibs&Baubles´s last post: All Growed UpMy ComLuv Profile

  6. I have to say that I am completely hooked!!! I did go out and buy 14 Sunday newspapers and proceeded to clip and organize my coupons. I have yet to go to do my major grocery shopping but I did find a great deal at CVS, for BOGO free for gatorade. It just so happened that I had a coupons for BOGO free of gatorade also. I left the store with 22 bottles of gatorade for free (which I am very proud of myself). Now, I do have to say the rush was awesome but I dont think I could have stock up to the point of hoarding.

  7. I still think that show is hoarders with coupons but I like msot average people coupon. My only rules are i will not buy coupons. I know people who buy from ebay all the time.

    The best ideas are if you have friends and family that get Sunday papers but don’t coupon then ask for theirs. Then get to a coupon swap. If you are a big organic buyer those companies will send you the coupons directly if you sign up on their websites. My favorite no work coupon is foursquare. I’m already going to that store on purpose and the special discount for checking in is even better. I’ve gotten free food on multiple occasions.
    Kia´s last post: Reflections while coweringMy ComLuv Profile

  8. I coupon. I used to be more into it when I worked, actually, b/c my co-worker was all about price matching, etc. And my boss used to bring in stacks of coupons that we would then go out and use during lunch. We’d have milk and frozen stuff in the office refrigerator, lol. I’ve cut way back now and don’t go out of my way to get coupons. I subscribe to the site southern savers and one or two local blogs to keep an eye out for any spectacular deals.
    Dee´s last post: May 16My ComLuv Profile

  9. My huband and I have been so excited about Groupon, it has allowed us to do things that we normally would not or could not do. So couponing if you will has literally changed our lives!

    Colorado Dog Groomer

  10. You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the web. I most certainly will highly recommend this site!

  11. Couponing has become an art for some people, but it can really save you a hefty sum of money if you do it right and consistently

  12. I love couponing too, but sometimes when I get too many coupons I found it really hard to organize them, not sure if you face the same problem?

  13. I have a separate folder for my online printable coupons. You can organize coupons as per your requirement and needs.

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  15. Same Issues with my many online coupons, just cant manage to organize them. Have to start folding – one of my things in the new year resolution. Great savings by the way:))

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