Forums » Shopping

Extreme Couponing: Is it Real

    • 535 posts
    July 18, 2014 4:42 AM PDT

    Cartloads of items for almost nothing, you too can feed your family for cents!

    Really? I am not so sure about that, especially if I have to spend $20 to buy the book to learn the secrets of these super shoppers.

    Serious couponing can work if you have a stack of coupons and match them to items on sale. Buying 6 months of toothpaste for your family that cost less than half of what you normally spend is a money saver in the long run. You spent less for 6 months, right?

    But can you really spend ONLY $75 a month to feed your family of 6 every month? What do you think of the extreme couponing methods? Real savings or not really true for you?





    • 173 posts
    July 18, 2014 5:48 AM PDT

    I have a friend that does extreme couponing, and she gets some major deals. However she puts a lot of work into it between, pouring over sales ads, collecting and cutting coupons, hopping around stores (most stores limit the amount of coupons you can use per type of item per transaction now because of the extreme couponers and the show) and just getting stock.  Between gas and time (how much is your time worth?) I don't really know if it's much of a deal.

    I can see the appeal, but as someone who doesn't really buy name brand items, doesn't get a newspaper (why pay for that? news is free on the internet!), and doesn't want to spend my free time when I'm not working pouring over sales ads when I could be doing other productive things and just plain relaxing after a week of work, its just not for me.

    Realistically I don't think it's feasible to feed a family of 6 on $75 a month. Stores are wise to extreme couponing now and severly limiting coupon transactions. No stores in our area double coupons anymore, and that's part of the appeal and savings. Not to mention the majority of coupons I see are for overprocessed junk, so you may be "feeding" them on $75, what exactly are you feeding them? Are you making up for that savings in health issues years from now?

    I'm not knocking it.  If it works for some people, that's great.  I just have my reservations about it.

    • 92 posts
    July 18, 2014 8:51 AM PDT
    I think I would just have more stuff than I could eat or use. If you have a big family and they eat things that are often couponed, then I can see it being worth it. I also agree with JessYeast about "what are you feeding" your family with these coupon deals. If I were truly poor again, I know I'd go back to couponing and eating what I could get (most calories for least $). Life is a constant negotiation
    • 294 posts
    July 18, 2014 6:04 PM PDT

    I cannot eat alot of processed foods so extreme couponing is not for us. The only things I use coupons for is health and beauty products and baby items. I wish they had coupons for fruits and vegetables.

    • 6 posts
    July 26, 2014 2:12 PM PDT

    I see fewer healthy food options available couponing. I get healthier food & better deals buying generics, onsale produce and marked down meats at local market. I buy the cereals, milks, eggs, cheese products and only limited convenience foods at Aldis once a month.

    After trying the Walgreens sale ad tactics and the store shelves are bare as soon as the store opens doors on first day of sale, a monthly stop at Dollar Tree takes care of most of it. I do coupon for the 2-3 items I am picky about - deo, hair products & try to only buy these when I have a high value coupon. I rarely try to match coupons to sale ads as I usually just shop Dollar General here as the local Walmarts here regularly miss-price items so they ring up $2-3 more. I hate to get sucked into going to Walmart or Target only to have items ring up wrong after waiting 20 minutes in only 3 checkouts open in store with 20+ checkouts...then have to wait on manager to fix errors.

    • 27 posts
    July 29, 2014 7:35 AM PDT
    If the shelf is bare at Walgreens, ask an associate to check the stockroom. They often have more in the back. I prefer unprocessed and don't use many coupons, but clip for the boss's wife and a couple of tenants. In exchange, Mrs. Boss has been known to slide me an occasional $5 off $25 catalina. Store coupons-JoAnn Fabric and a few others-do save when combined with a good sale or a list of purchases.
    Amazon occasionally runs freebie on frugality books. Check SlickDeals' forum on free digital goods. I've scored several good ones there.
    • 149 posts
    July 29, 2014 8:35 AM PDT

    To some degree, it is real.

    I used to be pretty heavy into couponing. I spent maybe an hour a week between getting my coupons together, organizing them, and then checking match-ups online. All of my coupons were free, as our neighborhood throws a free weekend paper that includes coupons, and my neighbors would save them for me. I was able to get a lot of household items & groceries for free or very, very low prices - most health/beauty items such as detergent, all kinds of soaps, dish soap, lotion, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, razors, toothpaste, medications, and also a lot of our grocery items - dry pasta, spices, canned goods, some frozen goods. A lot of people say couponing is only for "trash" and convenience foods like Hamburger Helper or ramen, but that definitely isn't true.

    What you typically cannot get with coupons are things like fresh meat, fresh dairy, and fresh produce. However, you can get so much of your other stuff for free/cheap, that you free up money to buy these items. Still, $75/month for a family of 6 is quite a stretch IMHO.

    As I said, I didn't spend hours on end clipping, I never paid for coupons online, and I didn't drive to 10 different stores. I think you CAN get some great deals & build up a good stockpile with couponing.