Extreme Couponing – Lessons Learned

Extreme Couponing – I’m always amazed when I watch that show. I recognize that it’s for our entertainment, but if it weren’t for that show, I wouldn’t have known where to even look to begin to learn how to save money using coupons.Anyways, I’ve been couponing since mid-May and my average savings are about 60-70%. Twice I’ve managed to get 94% savings or higher — those receipts are taped on my fridge to remind me that it is possible.I find that I spend about 6-15 hours a week on couponing – when I combine clipping & organizing coupons, reviewing the ads and then actually doing the shopping. I have a subscription now to 2 newspapers (both of which I spoke to the newspapers and was able to get a discount just by asking — and the total for both newspapers, Sundays only, is costing me $4/year). If the coupons are good that week, then I’ll pick up 2 more at the local stand for a cost of an additional $2/week — but that usually only happens once or twice a month. I found that working with 4 inserts maximum is the best for me, otherwise I get overwhelmed, confused and frustrated. PLUS most coupons I’ve noticed limit it to 4 like coupons per visit — and since I do work full time, I just don’t plan on visiting the stores more than once a week.

Personally, I don’t see the point in spending thousands of $ in newspapers to purchase things that I simply don’t have the space to store, nor that I use. I completely understand donating unused items – but I’m really focusing on making my ends meet before I start solving the rest of the world’s problems. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also pretty heavily involved with non-profit organizations – so I’m not a selfish person – but as that trusty flight attendant suggests before a flight, I need to place the oxygen mask on myself first before I place it on those around me if I want to be of any assistance.

Anyways, thanks to a simple show, I’m now learning how to reallocate my money within my budget. I’ve read a TON of posts over the past couple of weeks that really knock the show down. I get that this show may not portray the reality of the sport, but I guess that’s why it’s on television — because otherwise it would just be a class at the local rec center. I watch the show to remind me that it is possible to save money if I pay attention to the tools that are around me — in this instance coupons and store sales.

Learning how to use coupons and pay attention to sales has made a difference not only to me, but to my parents as well. Being “Senior Citizens” they are on a fixed budget. This past weekend my mom and I sat down and put her binder together and then we went to a couple of stores so that I can teach her the little things I’ve learned so far to save money. Yesterday she had a 70% savings on her 1st trip purchasing items that both she and my dad use daily. I was so proud to be able to show her something that would make a difference on the bottom line.

So for all the sites and postings I’ve read who seem to look down on the show and all of the new couponers trying to score a deal — I ask that you please consider the good that the show does for some other viewers who are learning how to make ends meet in today’s tough world.

Just my .02

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