4.15.2011

Going to Extremes

Yesterday, J and I watched a few episodes of TLC's Extreme Couponing online {which we found here}. It was CRAZY. In a horrifying-yet-fascinating, finger-pointing, oh-my-gosh-I-think-I-want-to-try-that kind of way. 


I've spent the morning looking up couponing websites, reading local couponing blogs and generally getting a massive headache. I want to save money, but don't want to buy a bunch of junk food. {We try to eat as fresh and organic as possible-- especially after watching Food Inc again} 


Anyone ever tried this? Is it worth all the math hours of effort? Considering that we're living off of our {dwindling} food storage, I'm willing to give it a shot... I'm just rather overwhelmed and grumpy about it at the moment.

11 comments:

The Dragonfly said...

What a coincidence - my husband and I just watched a few eps too. This is the conclusion we came to {for us}: I'm not willing to make grocery shopping my full time job. I also don't want to buy a bunch of food just because I can get it for free if it's not stuff we usually eat. We watched one family buy 46 packages of cream cheese. Another woman had let her "couponing hoard" take over their entire home. I think there is a fine line between trying to save money by using some coupons and following the sales and this EXTREME version of couponing.

Chelsea said...

I watched it, too. What I liked was that they weren't just buying food, but also necessities like toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers, and deodorant. Even if you get interested JUST for that, you'd save a bundle.

I really want to figure out how they do it, but I don't know if I want to sacrifice {essentially} a whole work day...but then again, time is money and if you don't have money, you often have time.

ellen said...

I'm not really into couponing but my friend sent me this site last week: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/

Hizzeather said...

The Krazy Coupon Lady is the best site, in my experience, because funnily, it's the least crazy. Most couponers (like me) do not do the crazy things you see on the show. That is simply for the show (even they'll tell you that!). I use coupons and match them to sales and store promotions with the help of the Krazy Coupon Lady (KCL) site. I save a lot on my grocery shopping, restaurants, online purchases and toiletries thanks to their giving me the heads up. Couponing will not let you get all your groceries for free. But you can get them for really cheap. I have a good 6 months supply of toiletries that I got for pennies each and that lets me use that budget towards produce and health food. The most extreme shopping I have done is I once bought 50 boxes of fruit snacks, but that's because I got them for less than 10 cents a box and I use them in my calling for the YW. KCL can help you figure it all out if you explore their site, and I really recommend buying their book! It really helped it "click" for me. You will get your money back within a week or two by buying the book, IMHO. The first few weeks of couponing are tougher and take longer, but after you get it down, it becomes second nature and doesn't take much time at all, I promise.

My best advice would be to get a few subscriptions of the Sunday paper, pick just a few stores to focus on, and add some couponing sites to your google reader. (KCL, My Frugal Adventures, & Passion for Savings are my top 3). KCL will tell you to clip every coupon and carry it around in a big binder, but what works for me is clipping the ones I KNOW I will use, carrying them around with me in my little coupon file thingy, and then storing all my coupon booklets in an accordian file by date for a nfew months so I can go back if I need a coupon I didn't clip. Also, make sure you have a printer, change the default setting to low ink, and start getting some deals on paper, because you can get LOTS of coupons online too (but only 2 coupons per computer - I'm glad we have 3! :).

Can you tell I'm passionate about this? In my case, I have more time than money (I am very busy and don't have much time...that should tell you how much money I have! :), so for me, couponing is a necessity, and I'km grateful for it and sites like KCL!

If you have any questions, email me! I want to help people figure out this amazing way to control the price you pay for things and to get the most for your money!!! hizzeather@gmail.com

Jenny D. said...

I just typed a whole thing, but it wouldn't let me post so I will try to recap!

I am fascinated by that show as well, and definitely appreciate the different approaches they have -- I like the people are are better organized and buy what they will actually use!

I tried couponing once, but it didn't last long because it took my hours just to make my grocery list! And we only had one paper so my results were very small. Flipping through the coupons, I would only find a few that I would actually use. Sorry, but I'm not going to buy "junk food" just because it's almost free.

My approach lately has been heavy on the fruits and veggies. We get our Bountiful Basket almost every Saturday (about $15) and then I plan my menu off the basket. When your meals are heavy on the fruits and veggies, you don't need a whole lot to round out the meal, and you definitely don't feel deprived. The basket is fun because sometimes we get things we normally wouldn't buy, so we try new things and have discovered new favorites! I know we are still eating healthy and spending less at the store so that provides great satisfaction.

http://www2.bountifulbaskets.org/

If couponing works for you, great! But don't exhaust your time, energy, and sanity when your talents as a creative woman may help you find other solutions that are a better fit for your family. Either way, don't get discouraged, your efforts will be blessed!

Rebecca said...

My favorite site is moneysavingmom.com She has a weekly roundup of the best deals for target and drug stores with the corresponding coupon on a hyperlink, just click and print, no searching papers or site. Super fast and easy with quite a few of the totals below a dollar or free. I just got my husbands three month supply of degree deodorant from Target for free because of this website. Nothing extreme just a (for me) managable about of coupons and deals. I love that she does the work for me at stores I always shop at.
Good luck on your couponing adventures, hopefully you'll find a site that works for you!

Apis Melliflora said...

Here are my current cost saving practices:

I always use my Target coupons.
I always buy seasonal fruits and veggies.
I always buy extra of food on sale {that we eat.}
I often buy cleaning and paper products at the $1 store.
I often buy kid craft supplies at estate sales.
I sometimes buy clothes second hand.
I sometimes use those Gap/Banana Republic family coupons.
I sometimes sweet talk my way into sales for major appliances. =)

Don't forget to factor in the cost of gasoline and time when deciding what coupons are truly worthwhile!

Yvette said...

I just started doing this too. I signed up for couponsense which you have to pay a fee for. After I signed up I found out theres a free website that pretty much does the same thing. Its called Pennypinching. Couponsense basically just helps you find what things are on sale at all of the different stores. It will also help you match up a for sale item with a coupon which helps you save the most like the show. I don't go crazy I only clip the coupons of the stuff we buy and need. It helps with cereal paper products and Bath items. I just go to either Fry's or Walmart and they price match so I don't have to go all over town. Warning:When you get into it almost becomes an obsession. I dreamt about coupons one night and how much money I was going to save. What does that say about my life. Hmmm I'm not sure

hukolb said...

I used to be much better at watching sales, using coupons and stocking up and then kids started to come along. Its hard to run around to mutliple stores and spend hours scouring coupons. My sister in law has some good tips on using store ads at wal-mart as they honor them like stated above and factoring in gas if you plan to run around. As for coupons, you can print them off on scrap paper to save that way and always do black/white if that saves, though we have an inkjet so it is always black and white. Wait for sales for big ticket items like appliances, they always have spring sales and after thanksgiving sales, etc...We like the dollar store for certain things. My dad is like a magnet for reduced dairy and produce items! You find deals in the oddest places, maybe someday when our kids are grown and i have all this "free time" I can get back to the couponing. I'm interested to watch that show!

McBooter said...

MS - start easy. Look for BOGO's on your favorite things. Realize that you probably live within 2-3 miles of 3-5 grocery stores, all of whom have specials and many which carry the same brands.

Target products with good shelf life and stock up: canned goods, pasta, tomato sauces, Quaker Oat Squares, Diet Coke.

The really good stuff.

Buy ahead. Nothing more luxurious than stepping (reaching) into your store of Good Eats and bringing out that next bottle of EVOO, purchased at half-price and ready for the skillet!

Pan-fried chicken breasts using half-price olive oil:

Cover bottom of fry pan with about 1/8-1/4 inch EVOO, start heating to medium high.

Pound (flatten) breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure they are moist, then drop into plate/pie dish of flour, turn over, cover each side.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Check oil with moist gob of flour, if it sizzles, it's ready.

Lay breasts into pan. Turn once only, when bottom side is rusty, crusty brown.

Place on paper towel to drain some.

Serve with garlic mashed potatos and steamed carrots, broccoli.

We've even got the chicken and vegetables BOGO.....;)

Elneeta said...

The Mekong Plaza off Dobson & Main has a special market the second weekend of every month. You can get tons of veggies for $10 (a full stock box). Last weekend they had cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, yellow squash and more. You might want to check it out.

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