Extreme Couponing Meets Extreme Reality
UPDATE: This is an article I first published in April and I wanted to bring it back as we are getting closer to a new season of Extreme Couponing. A lot of the buzz has died down however, I've been approached several times this week from folks and media asking about the reality of extreme couponing so I thought I'd pull this one back up:
In coupon land, 'Extreme Couponing' is all the rage, everyone is talking about it...both good and bad. For the last week, we have posted quite a few 'reality' versions of Extreme Couponing. The point is to show, yes you can have extreme savings but there is a little bit of extreme reality that has to be applied here as well.
Top 5 Questions about Extreme Couponing...Meets Extreme Reality
1. Does couponing really take 20 hours or more a week? Well, goodness, I hope not! Couponing consists of locating coupons, clipping (my dad clips mine) and organizing coupons, finding great sales and the actual shopping. We do so much of the work for you on our site that I do not believe it takes 20 hours to do. In fact, I average less than 1 hour a week.
Once you learn how to shop strategically, you'll be able to get these deals every single week without sacrificing your entire life to do so.
2. Is it possible for the average person to get such extreme savings? Yes and no. Realize right off the bat, you will have to learn how to shop strategically. Once you get the method down, extreme savings are totally possible. In saying that though, as far as the show is concerned, these people spent a TON of time researching to get these deals for this show. Also, they ordered coupons so you do have to factor in the cost of the coupons as well...and they fact that many of the states used do not have grocery sales tax.
They also used generous store policies which many of us do not have access to and from what I can see around the blog world, many policies were bent and rules were discarded. Remember, we're talking TV here not the real world. In fact, some stores featured in the show have since changed their policies all together.
3. Do you teach hoarding? No. I do teach stockpiling though which is entirely different. I do not keep food in my bedroom or anywhere near where my children play and sleep. Our food is in the kitchen and our pantry and my soap is in my bathroom. No Frosted Flakes under my bed and no toilet paper hiding in my bathtub.You thought I did, didn't you? =)
4. Is saving money only possible in stores that double coupons? No way! I'm glad that's not the case or most of the country would be in trouble. The biggest factor in strategic shopping (aside from coupons) is learning what stores work best and in order to do that, you must learn the store policies. The store I shop at the most is Target, then of course Walgreens and CVS. None of those stores double coupons however, because of store coupons and other rewards programs they offer, I can still get double the savings!
Don't let the 'double coupon' thing get you down, you can save money wherever you are at, it's all about smart shopping.
5. Can you save on more than groceries? YES! That's the best part of this, you're learning a saving strategy or mindset if you will. Once you get the knack of finding coupons for products you really use you can take that to the next level for everything like technology, clothing or vacations.
Beyond that, I say instead of jumping on the bandwagon of 'extreme couponing' how about we jump on the bandwagon of extreme giving? I don't want to be known as a crazy couponer but I'm more than willing to be known as a crazy giver. Yes, I'm all for stocking up but what about giving back too?