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Thanks for a very sane look at using coupons! The one good thing that has come from the recent extreme coupon craze is that is has made me more mindful to use coupons in general — when I find one that I will actually use for a product I really want! And you will have bought it at a really good price.
I get a lot of stuff free an only pay taxes. Several have said that couponing has taken over their lives. Some of the stockpiles are beyond good stewardship and have become hoards. I have decided to focus on couponing in a small way and look for coupons online and from friends. Like anything in life, as Jill said in her article, the scale can tip and what started out being good stewardship can become obsession and hoarding.
With a family of 9 one now married this has worked well and yes we are careful to compare. Even with sales, Walmart is often top or bottom in the prices around here, so we tend to shop there the most. We cost cut by NOT taking the paper unless I see coupons we really will use. Thanks again.
I really appreciate your information! I watched every episode of extreme couponing on TLC and I just cannot find these big sales??? I do use kroger coupons sometimes but I stay away from Target. I love couponing. What a great commentary. I enjoy watching the show if it is on, but it is not something I choose to do.
With all of the time it takes to deal with the couponing, organizing and maintenance of the stockpile, I find it more time effective for me just to shop at Aldi and buy just what I need. Thank you for not making me feel like an oddity for not jumping on the coupon bandwagon. Thank you for a well thought out article that says the things many of the rest of us are saying at home.
Keep up the great work. I want to be a good steward of the health God blessed me with and eat for strength. Run away now! Thanks for your comments and letting me know I am not alone in my frustrations of using coupons. Recently, I watched the extreme couponing show and had many of the same thoughts that you mentioned as these ladies were shopping and saving.
It can be an addiction. I enjoy saving money, shopping for the best buys and seeing all the items I find on sale. Many times I had the same conversations with the casihier. Hello Jill, I used to use coupons a lot more than I do now.
I found that using coupons gave me plenty of high sugar, high chemical and preservative, prepackaged foods. I rarely found a coupon for fresh produce. Now I save by buying food as close to how it was grown as possible, farmers markets in the summer, Aldis for snacks. Pastured meat and eggs rather than conventionally produced meat. We have gradually altered our diet to be primarily plant based,as the USDA recommends. I waste very little as any leftover foods can either be made into omelets, fritatas, or soup.
As much a possible we eat seasonally. I do use coupons for paper products which I only buy on sale. It results in healthier food and healthier people. I live in what is now considered an aging inner ring suburb of a large city but it is still possible with a little planning. Not as much as when I used to use more coupons and went through all the things you described in your article. I agree! Anything taken to the extreme is unhealthy! With that being said, I do use coupons. I just wanted to share the little challenge that I have created for myself and my husband.
This works for us because we do not coupon out of necessity. We only buy things that we need and use about a 2 month supply of any given non-perishable item. We save our receipts each month, and at the end of the month we go through and add up the amount that we saved using coupons.
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These savings have helped us not feel too guilty about taking nice vacations! Thank you for your realistic breath of fresh air attitude toward couponing. Too much work for too little return. Shopping clearances and store brands and other frugal measures is just much more suited to my needs. SAL used to offer coupons for their products and I snapped them up. This stretches the food budget immensely. Well, yes, I know where I could put the baked beans, HA. AND do these items get used before they go bad or off? OR are these people giving to a shelter, food pantry, or other charitable place?
Just wondering. Kathleen, to answer your question, I know that some people do donate, but they are also good for bartering. The woman with the washes got them for very little. I would never have paid for them, but dh thought it was a nice treat. I bought several makeup items last week using a high value coupon from the newspapers, and am trading them for some organic chicken. Thank you for your frank article. My adult daughters have been super excited about the show and while I am too as a mom I see some of the drawbacks you mentioned. Thank you for being real, practical and honest that allows us to take an honest look at the hidden costs of time coupon expenses etc.
Thanks for the realistic view on extreme couponing. The realism is refreshing. I am all for saving money by using coupons but these extreme couponers are nuts. When something consumes you it is not healthy. I, too, have just finally discovered the treasure trove of non-perishables offered at drug stores like CVS and Rite Aid! I have seen the show as well and have been amazed at the amount of items these people seem to be able to bring home for little to nothing.
If it works for them great but I have found that it does not pay me to be so coupon conscience. It seems that a lot of the products they get free are for noodles or things high in carbohydrates. Being diabetic husband too and with young adults living in the household with this predisposition, why would I want something that could harm our health?
Clearance, markdowns, bent and dent are more feasible for us. Love all that you do. Even the area where I store all my coupon-ing supplies — scissors, tape, files, boxes to sort, etc. Thanks for giving some balance to this issue. I have developed my own system of couponing. I clip only the coupons for products I actually use, file them by date and not by type of product, and look through the current three months of coupons to pull them when I go shopping. When I do this consistently, supplementing with internet coupns, etc. I completely agree about moderation!
I think we need to figure out what works best for us — in any situation. Following the crowd gets us in trouble many times. She even tells me what I will pay after the sale and coupon. Of course, there are people there who do it despite the popularity, as I do and have done. In fact, many of them have come up with very creative ways to save money in other ways.
My thoughts on extreme couponing: anything — even good things — taken to an extreme will throw your life out of balance. It is easy to get obsessed with saving money to the point where it can affect your mental and physical well being. HOw could I not be like them… I know how to save money and be as cheap as I can,this article made me feel better about all of this couponing..
Thanks again for the article. I have to say I agree with a lot of your points and common sense! If I get a coupon for an item I definitely use, I take the time to print or clip it and file it, and I take my notebook to the store. Life is too short and there are other ways to save, like you said, and house-keeping, smart meal planning, family time, etc. A small stockpile for a few weeks or possibly months on SOME items is fine for me. I only cut the coupons that I really use. I also still check the generics.
Sometimes they are still cheaper even with a coupon from the name brand. Any thing over that, and I am a success. I also live in Los Angeles area so any savings is good. Appears to be another type of hoarding. I am keen with finding deals,but keep it real. And,they are less costly than the larger chains with coupon use. I agree that when something goes to an extreme it is not healthy. I have only seen the show a couple of times and get irritated at the amount of items that these people buy. While I understand that some of them are donating them to food banks, etc.
They are way too stressed, I think. The couple of websites that I use to get some coupons from now come with a message that due to the popularity of using coupons, you better print yours as soon as you get this email. This morning that email came in at a. That means that if I wanted any of those coupons I better have been sitting at my computer at that time. This was very timely for me as I was considering getting deeper into couponing.
I want to only focus on toiletries for my major couponing. Anyway, there was a lot of common sense in the article, Thank You. I coupon, but on a somewhat lower level. I try to save what I can, but not to the point of stressing myself out each week. Thanks for all that you share. Diana Metz. Thanks for pointing out the expense that goes along with the extreme couponing. Also — it looks an awful lot like hoarding to me.
If the extreme couponing people gave their excesses to charity — maybe I could see the good in it. Thank you for helping to alleviate the guilt I had for not couponing. We live 20 miles from the nearest store, do not get the paper thus no paper ads and could not justify spending hours online searching, printing, saving, scanning, etc… coupons. Thank you again for this article!! Who needs 62 bottles of mustard when the husband says he doesnt even eat it even if it doesnt go bad or toothbrushes!
Like another person said much of it just seems like hoarding. I too like to save money but when we have enough, that is ok with me. You are probably going to get a lot of comments on this both ways, this sees to be a strong subject! First, let me say I have used coupons for over 20 years. I find that tv show fascinating, just to see how people manage to get so much for little or nothing — I wish I could manage some of that myself,it would save my family so much money!
This show is hurting everyone who uses coupons. These people are cutting their own throats, along with the rest of us, very soon, none of us will be able to get much benefit from couponing. Thank you for your honest comments about extreme couponing. I agree that it can be stressful and has become like an Olympic event, which is something I am no longer in shape for. Connie, not all of the troops have the supplies that they need unfortunately. I know of a platoon who moves several times every few weeks, and for them to get supplies is extremely hard.
We have to send them necessities of life, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, hand sanitizer, and a list of many, many other items. I am proud to be a part of this group, and thank you to the man who thinks of others and understands their needs who sent the toothpaste. I forgot to add another backlash because of this tv show. Jill, My thoughts exactly on extreme couponing. Thanks for pointing every angle out to those who may not have taken everything into consideration.
I have not seen the show you are refering to, but I have seen television specials regarding super couponing. After the show I would be inspired to try couponing, but within two weeks I would be frustrated and lose momentum. Recently I have considered trying again, mainly because I can see how this method can be used to help stock food banks and shelters. I think if more people used coupons in that way, we could help restock the food pantrys that are having so much trouble these days. This program is like so many others that are on TLC and others channels, things are taken to the extreme.
I have no problems with the two or three people who give their stock pile to charity but the others—When will they ever use of that food that is date sensitive? I have been couponing for many years and will continue to do so but I do not stock pile. I buy only what we will use. This program and others like it are giving everyday couponers a bad rep and at the same time they are causing problems redeeming coupons.
Every little bit helps in todays economy. I wish the program would be pulled from the air. What they do is not normal by any means. Thank You. Thank you! I appreciate all the great info I get from Living on a Dime. Thanks for your opinion. I can feel as though I am not doing enough because I do not extreme coupon.
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I do not have the storage space for a load of stuff I may never use. Often I find that the store brand is cheaper than using a coupon and I have not found a coupon that gives me free stuff. We do not have an Aldi where we live. I wish we did. United and Wal-mart has the run on our town.
I would like to issue a caution about going on the links provided here for signing up for coupons and other special deals. After I did this a couple of weeks ago, our mailbox began being flooded with all sorts of junk mail, which I consider to be spam. We had just changed email addresses for the purpose of not getting so much junk mail.
I watched that show and part of me was pretty ticked off because I do clip coupons in a balanced way, but these people go in and clear the shelves. After they have gotten their year supply of deodorant, there is none for others that would like to take advantage of the same deal and maybe put one or two ahead to prevent paying full price. Then there is a fact that they cannot use significant portions of their home because of their stockpile.
Really, a two-car garage that is stocked better than a convenience store? Who needs a hundred jars of canned gravy? You can make better gravy from the drippings and a little flour! I had a friend whose mom was an extreme couponer and kept her stash of paper goods in the garage. They ended up throwing away hundreds of dollars worth of paper goods that were soiled and torn up by mice.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the article. I do have a small stockpile, mostly because I work full time and go to school. It is nice to not have to run to the store or pay full price. But any extreme is not a good thing. Even with coupons. My strategy is cooking mostly from scratch, reducing meat, buying on sale, using leftovers, etc. We go to other stores when we spot a deal that beats their prices. Have not seen this show as we do not have tv, but this comes at a good time.
I just told my husband I was going to e-mail you to see where to get coupons. When I go to websites to print them it always seems they are a treat to my comupter so I dont use them. We live very frugaly to begin with and dont buy name brand,shop sales,grind my own wheat to bake with and can as much as possible. I like to stock up on things we use but since I dont use most of what the coupons are for I think shopping sales and stores like Grocery Outlet,Big lots and Winco are my best bet.
I have family members who are at the extreme on the couponing but they dont live like we do and eat alot of processed items. Your article has confirmed what I think about couponing. I am in agreement with all the comments below — this was a timely article with great points! My husband and I watched an episode of EC a while back, and we both agree that the stockpiles are just organized hoarding. Now, we joke about mustard purchaces when we actually DO need to buy it. And, we also noticed that most of the best deals seemed to be for energy drinks bad for you! What good is saving money on those purchases when you might end up spending the savings on health-related issues later?
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Honestly, I think the best way to avoid guilt over non-extreme couponing behavior is to keep it simple. Check out the circulars and sales. You save money and will likely have little waste. I have watched the TLC Extreme Couponing show and have felt guilty that as a stay at home mom of four I am not jumping on the couponing bandwagon. I love your perspective on the subject and that of the other readers of your website and it has alleviated that guilty feeling. I have read every article on your website on my quest to become frugal because I am not naturally frugal and I have mad great strides with our families frugality.
When we moved and I was no longer working, I was determined to get our family back on track. Thank you so much for your insights into frugality and for letting those of us who have doubts know that we can make it and even flourish on one income. Hi Jill, Thanks for writing about the extreme couponing.
I have changed the way I eat by mostly eating fresh vegs and meats. I have cut out all the processed foods. When I did this I found that most coupons are not useful. I have lost over 30 lbs and feel better. I would rather be healthly then listen to the food industry that only wants to sell more food.
I agree Tawra. Extreme couponers are few and far between where I live. Really, does one need a tubes of deodorant? That may not seem like much to some, but for me, it was awesome. A fresh perspective! I always feel so guilty when I forget my coupons at home and have to buy the ketchup on sale without a coupon! Thanks to your article, I am going to give up the beast all together and focus on other ways to save money. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have no problem with coupons, but I found too… the stress I was under to do it and the fact that NOTHING I ever bought was useable with a coupon made it nearly impossible to achieve the savings others were able to reach.
I appreciated the time and effort you put into sharing this. J — I agree with you completely and feel the exact same way. My Kroger has changed their coupon policy as other stores in the area. Very sad. I hope the show gets cancelled too — but I think it is too late. I save plenty by shopping the way I do. I agree with you! Couponing can be fun, but can stress you out too. I love Aldi. Most of the items I can get there for less than a product with a coupon at another place. Yes you do have to bag your groceries, and borrow a cart for.
But it has allowed me to feed my family and a lot of guests. Just some random thoughts! I loved getting stuff for free, or almost free. But I discovered it took a LOT of time to coupon, and when I backed off using coupons — yes, our grocery bill increased, but my stress level dropped immensely. Now, I do use coupons on things I need… I snatch them up and enjoy the normal savings off of my grocery bill. I also rarely get the in-store coupons that hang on the shelves — they are usually gone in a flash, because people take stacks of them instead of just one or two.
I use a few coupons, but only for things I normally buy, and still half the time I forget to use them at checkout. Then when I find the expired coupon in the bottom of my purse, I get annoyed. I also agree with most of the commenters here. It seems like these extreme couponers are under way too much stress just to stockpile items that they will never use. Instead, they are being praised for saving so much money. No thanks — groceries already take over my house after a weekly shopping trip, and I need every bedroom in our house for a person to sleep in — and I like my garage just the way it is!
I think your article was right on top of it, you cant have everything in one basket, and you cant spend you life coupon-ing searching clipping and etc. I am so thankful to read this newsletter. I coupon but like my mama did, just on the items I had plans on buying. Occassionally, we have the funds to stock up but that is not very often. I get very frustrated at times when I go the store to purchase some great deal that is already sold out because of others extreme couponing.
I really enjoy your money saving newsletter. I live in Texas. I very very seldom can use coupons. On top of that, I shop as basic as I can. No place I know gives coupons for rice, beans, pinach, fresh fruit and so forth. I get generic this or that or other.
I very very seldom buy mixes food allergies to some additives and have been known to make my own from recipes I find on recipe clone sites for just that reason. If there is a store brand for something I need I buy it. I also agree. I used to do extreem couponing and stopped about 3 years ago. I still have enough shampoo for about 2 years.
Excellent points. Thank you for putting it in perspective. A couple of years ago I tried diving in with both feet and got completely overwhelmed. The time it takes to find, clip, organize, watch for sales on items for which I had coupons to maximize savings and then actually shop sucked up an inordinate amount of my time and energy. The only coupons I use now are ones issued by the stores I shop and only for products I use. I have tried to coupon, but found that there are very few for things that I actually use.
It is normally for prepackaged, sugar-free, chemically modified, diet, or what-have-you. I try very hard to eat a homemade as possible. I hve found that there are much simpler ways to cut my grocery budget, just buy shopping wisely and watching sales and such. All of this extremem couponing causes the cost of groceries to increase to the rest of us. Yes, the stores get pais back for the coupons, but not to the handling time they create for their employees and such.
They pass those costs onto everyone across the board. Sad really. Thank you so very much for this article. I have been couponing for about 2 years, and have gotten some incredible deals. I thank my Father for your using you to speak to my heart. Cory also on the nate show on NBc at 3 pm est time When i was younger had more time and lived a block from my grocery store I used coupons And saved some money Now Being a 10 mile drive to the local town And own one car. We shop at a Pricerite. They are in The Northeast Area. If you live in that area of the country try them out.
I definitely agree with you and with the other comments made about Extreme Couponing. These people on this show seem as addicted to this as gambling. Who wants 70 bottles of mustard? This is not to say that some of these people who use the extras to donate to shelters are doing wrong, it is a wonderful thing, but moderation, please. Jill, you hit the nail on the head. I totally agree with every point you made. Some of the extreme couponers seemed like hoarders, getting things just to get them. One lady looked like she had about 20 packages of 5 or 6 fresh tomatoes each- how can she possible use them all before they are moldy?
How are you really saving if you are spending any money at all for more things than you really need? No store here in Los Angeles will take Internet-generated coupons. The grocers are worried about fraud, even when the coupons come from official sites. Only one store chain still doubles coupons anymore but only up to 50 cents ; the others have all stopped.
The three major stores in the area all have loyalty cards, which I take advantage of. Two of the stores in the area Sprouts and Whole Foods offer a five-cent per-bag discount if you bring your reusable bags. The whole hoarding thing that people get into takes the fun out of it as well. Every now and then send off coupons to those Moms I know that are in need of saving on those diapers etc. The coupons that go fast are the baby items and pet food. It brings me great pleasure to be able to share any of the surplus of abundance that comes out of it with family, friends and aquaintances.
I live in a rural area where the nearest Publix is an hour and twenty minute round trip. Couponing is great under the right circumstances, but some extreme couponing is completely counterproductive. I did this for a while. In fact, I just opened my last stockpiled roll of free plastic wrap received 4 years ago. I did stop for many of the same reasons that you mentioned, mostly stress. So, I stopped stockpiling and kept praying.
I enjoy your website, thank you! Gosh I thank you for giving us permission to NOT do coupons — I was a coupon junkie with two small children, who helped me on the weekends cut and sort coupons. My grocer would always announce out loud the percentage I saved and I did get a rush, but had way too much backstock at home. Now we do more locally produced Farmers Markets, Dollar Stores or the occasional warehouse store free membership thanks to my parents , and I rarely hit a regular grocery store — saves the sorting through ex dates and right size bottles — now I need to sort through the rest of the paperwork nightmare at my house, but this one — eliminated!
Those items lose effectiveness over time. I have started clipping coupons. It is unlikely not impossible, but again, quite unlikely that a store will accept them, since they cannot be scanned at the register. Megan in the first couple of lines of the newsletter Tawra mentions that she knows this will seem contradictory but like she explained as much as we feel and have found so many other ways to save, couponing is one of those things people just want to do and they find it works for them so for those who still really want to do it we did the the e book on couponing.
Within the next week or so we hope to have a sale on something will help those who want to find other ways of saving other than couponing of which there are many.
I agree with you about the stress, time more stress in the actual shopping. On that show it shows poeple with tubes of tooth paste, why and what does one do with all that? I have 10 children and we certainly don. One thing I do is buy in bulk or cases when things are on sale. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You bring up a few of the reasons why I decided, long ago, that extreme couponing is not for me. I would also like to point out that a few of my normally courteous, follow-the-rules type friends seem to have no problem bending the rules and disregarding common courtesy when it comes to proving to themselves and others how much they can save on their grocery bill.
Should you really use four different computers to print out coupons when the company clearly wants to limit each consumer to two? How about wiping out a particular product off a store shelf and leaving none until the store gets another shipment next week? One hour plus checkout time is a definite problem for anyone having to wait if you are taking up one of only two cashiers. I understand the need to save, trust me, but we need to remain the same people we are in other areas of our lives.
I tried to download your ebook offer on couponing. I paid for this by Paypal. When trying to download, the Adobe window came up, I downloaded it but the book never appeared. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. I try to find coupons for cleaning products, laundry soap, etc. Your article today was a good one. Sometimes couponing can be a bit too much and you do need to figure in your time spent doing it.
Good point!! Thanks for a really great newsletter!! I had a friend in high school whose parents did this years and years ago darn I am getting old! All of the family was overweight since most of the things they ate was junk food from the deals. When I started hearing about saving so much money with coupons, I knew that it would take a lot of time! Living on a Dime has helped me lot to cut expenses and save. It s how we stay motivated.
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