Extreme Couponing. WOW.

coupon kids victory photo
I was switching back and forth between the Packers game and My Strange Addiction on TLC this weekend (which, let me tell you, is really strange!), and one of the episodes featured something that just completely blew my mind — Extreme Couponing!  Wow.

You should have seen the look on Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy and I’s face. Utter amazement. Mouths wide open and everything – I’ve never seen anything like it.  Some of these rock stars were literally saving HUNDREDS of DOLLARS!  Hundreds – no joke.  They’d come in with like 1,000 coupons (also no joke! haha…) and leave 4 hours later with truck-loads of stuff.  They couldn’t even fit it all in one car, it was crazy.

My favorite part was at the end when they were done bagging all the items and started scanning in the coupons. The original total would be around $800, but after all was said and done they’d pan to the screen again and you’d see a grand total of somewhere like $35 left!  And the receipts that flowed after that was hilarious, haha… longest thing ever. (that’s what she said!)

We were so inspired/amazed that we actually stopped watching the Packers and hopped online to see what kind of coupons we could find before we lost our motivation ;)  Unfortunately it only lasted about 20 mins, BUT we found out that Safeway (and I’m sure others too) allows you to store all your coupons right online and have them xfered to your Safeway Card!!!  How easy/cool/sexy is that?  VERY!!!  That means no sorting through newspapers and no clipping whatsoever — you just log in and click away.  In LOVE.

And then it reminded me of all those bloggers out there (maybe you?) who double up on CVS rewards and what not to get things for mere pennies – if not free.  They even have forums out there where you can pay someone to clip your coupons for you for a small fee – it’s crazy.  It’s like this whole underground world of super couponers just workin’ the system and calculating the *best* times to get in there and do their thing.  I want to be like that!!! But at the same time I also don’t want to spend the time ;) After watching these people go at it on TV, it REALLY does eat up the day.

One of the coupon-obsessed has made it her full-time job spending 6-8 hours a day researching for the perfect combination of savings.  It comes across as an art form, and one that you better be passionate about if you want to reap the rewards (I feel like a reporter here?).

I like my money, but I don’t like it that much. I just can’t spend any number of hours finding coupons and organizing for the big plan of attack. Plus, I don’t have any room to STORE all of that extra stuff!  The professionals build racks and racks of storage – they’re hardcore. I don’t think my minimalism can take it ;)

And with that, I have convinced myself I am just fine with the way things are. It may seem like I’m coming up with excuses here, but no kinds of extremeness is good for you.  These couponers were on that show to begin with – they’re addicted. I want a happy medium, not 1,000 extra cases of deodorant.

If you have any tricks on couponing, let us know!

(Victory photo by Tammra McCauley)

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  1. Lindy Mint January 17, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    I like how these extreme shows have the result of making us all feel better about our non-extreme ways :)

    I’ve noticed in the couponing world that you get to brag about your savings percentage. Some people boast upwards of 90% savings. But you pretty much have to make it your only hobby, or in some cases your life. As soon as someone shows me a coupon method that requires little effort, I’m all in!

  2. Leah January 17, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    I caught an episode where a gentleman brought his grand total down from $5000+ to under $100!!! It was fun to watch; and the fact that he later donated it to the soup kitchen was nice. But, it was obvious that he didn’t really clip coupons to live within his grocery budget, it was a game to him.

    I did the CVS thing for a while and spent a lot of time to stock up on a few tubes of cheap toothpaste. There is a part of me who feels a bit inspired by extreme couponing, though. It’s just nice to know that it “can” be none if you want/need to.

  3. Niki January 17, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    It does take a lot of time. I like to use coupons for items I know I am going to buy, not buy things because of my coupons. Then you start buying things you don’t really need for the “savings” but you would save more in time and money not buying it.

  4. Trevor @ Financial Nut January 17, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Yeah–no thanks. :D

    Clipping coupons is not my cup of tea. I would rather work and make more than what they are doing saving money using coupons.

    I wonder what their hourly is like? That’s always how I like to view things. Could they work a $15/hr job and end up making more than couponing?

    Maybe that’s not the point.

  5. Grant January 17, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    If you’re a stay at home parent then I think you have enough time to do this. Those of us with two working spouses? Tough to pull off. I have researched this before and have found that it takes hours of clipping, hours of shopping and several trips across town to pull this off.

    And quite frankly, most of the stuff you save on isn’t something I want to put in my body on a regular basis.

  6. Ashley January 17, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    I haven’t seen this show yet but one day I came across a blog written by a local (to me) woman who used coupons like that. She would bring a $100 grocery bill down to $10. She is a stay at home mom so it works for her.

    I’ve since found tons of other blogs that match the sales in the store papers to available coupons and that is what I used. Couponmom.com has match ups for large grocery stores in almost every state and then national stores like RiteAid, Target, etc. That makes it very easy. Just scan the match ups, clip the coupons you want to use and you’re done.

    You can also use cellfire.com to load coupons on to a store card.

  7. Steve January 17, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Every so often I’ll get a bug up my butt and start hunting for coupons. I’ll raid the Sunday paper, I’ll look online, and I’ll end with a HUGE pile…that I forget about immediately thereafter, and they either expire or get thrown away. I try to look out for deals via my Giant bonuscard, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be a couponer.

  8. Diane January 17, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    That whole pile looks like pre-processed foods, loaded up with stuff that’s not so great for you. Soda, snacks, a few doughy things, frozen meals. Only the TP looks like anything I would ever buy.

    I’m pretty darn frugal ($40/wk food budget), but I don’t coupon much. Why? I don’t often see coupons for whole chickens, sacks of potatoes, or frankly even bags of frozen vegies that aren’t “with butter,” “new sauce,” “fancy steam in bag,” etc. that cost 2x regular old frozen vegies. Couponing doesn’t work that well for many who try and eat a healthier diet. I do use them for detergent, TP and the like.

  9. me in millions January 17, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    I play the CVS game and get most of my toiletry stuff for free. I used to keep track of the deals on my other blog (http://meindeals.blogspot.com/) but I’ve lost my motivation to update and take pictures. Oh well! I still get lots of things for free and have donated a bunch more. It is like a game and it’s fun to play and win.

  10. Jennifer R January 17, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    I work a full time job (40+ hours a week), take care of the house/dogs/hubby, cook, clean, workout every day – and I still have time to coupon shop :) It’s not as hard as many people think. Granted, I believe it’s a lot easier for some than others (I’m a total math nerd, so I am able to work out all the “deals” in my head in a matter of seconds) but eventually you can get to the point where you are only spending an extra 20-30 minutes a week organizing before you go shopping and end up saving a ton of money.

    Finding places to store the stuff does clash with my inner neat freak (I can’t stand clutter!) but you just have to come up with a system that works for you. My husband and I spent a weekend last summer building shelving into the walls of our garage (it’s a one car garage that houses his motorcycle rather than my car, so we have lots of extra room in there) and now all of my stock pile is in organized bins on the shelves. It works for us, but I know it wouldn’t for everyone.

  11. Jennifer R January 17, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Oh, and for the poster who said that couponing doesn’t work for those who eat a healthy diet, that’s actually not true. We eat 90% organic, non-processed foods in our house (I am vegetarian, and don’t eat meat, but buy local, organic meat for the hubby) and I am still able to have a $150/month food budget for both of us that we hardly ever even use half of :)

  12. Aimee January 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    I did The Grocery Game (http://www.thegrocerygame.com/) for a while. Yes, it works. Yes, I got a ridiculous fuckload of crap and used a ridiculous number of coupons and got some ridiculous discounts. All of that is true. But lemme tell ya, that shit is a full-time job. It takes TIME and ENERGY and a hell of a lot of strategery. What I discovered was that a lot of the people doing this were doing it because they enjoyed doing it, and actually saving money was a close second. What I discovered was that I did not enjoy doing it, regardless of how much money I saved. But if this sorta thing is up your alley, go for it. You’ll save a shit ton of money and be ready for Armageddon all at the same time ;)

  13. Jennifer January 17, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Sorry, Jennifer R, but I agree with Diane. I rarely find coupons for skinless chicken breast, fruits, veggies, eggs, milk and other healthy, non-processed foods. Sometimes I find coupons for chicken wings (which have more fat, sugar and calories) but that is about the closest.

  14. Jennifer R January 17, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Like I said, it takes some getting used to. When I first started out, I didn’t know where to find coupons for those things either. But I promise they are out there. I have coupons for meat, seafood, chicken, produce, etc. I have tons of coupons for eggs, milk, cheese, etc. It’s also about learning how to get overage on things you might not need (I got paid $2.50 for every box of gelatin I bought last year – I don’t use it, but I can donate it to the food shelter so that someone else may be able to) and so I can use that overage for other food items. Again, it’s not for everyone, and some people just don’t have the mindset for it. I just can’t stand when people assume that using coupons means you are not buying healthy food – because I can guarantee you that is just not true. Come over and check out my fridge anytime :)

  15. Marshall January 17, 2011 at 11:26 AM


    I’m a long-time reader, first time commenter. Try moneysavingmom.com. Every Sunday they show the best deals from the CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens free stuff/store credit world. Coupons are a cult, but if it’s something I use I don’t mind stopping by for free stuff. Haven’t paid for shaving supplies (for example) in years and I’ve always got the best/newest stuff out.

    Love your work!

  16. Melissa January 17, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    My biggest tricks are to check out the coupon mom blogs and online coupons, there are a ton of them out there and they all seem to share the same info so just having a few on daily read list gets me info on whats on sale where and best way to use available coupons. I am a single mom so finding ways to save money is important to me but without sacrificing time with my daughter. Sunday afternoon is family movie day for us so as the movie is playing I use that time to check out deals online, ads, print and clip coupons, and set up my shopping strategy for the week. I only look for deals on things I actually need. I agree with others that most coupons are for processed crap but occasionally come across a deal for some guilty pleasures (got a great deal on my Diet Pepsi and Hot Pockets last week). Mostly I use coupons for cleaning supplies and toiletries. I have a small house so don’t attempt to do the stock up especially with only 2 people it would take forever to get through it all and most likely be on sale again the next time I need it.

  17. Eric Lowery (Thrifty, Wealthy & Wise) January 17, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    I’m just going to up and admit I can’t muster the patience for couponing. I’d rather work a few hours on my side hustle. But that’s just me. As long you make being financially healthy fun and enjoyable, that’s all that matters.

    Just don’t be the person in front of me if their’s only one register open, I’m getting bread an milk, and you’re trying to check out $3,000 worth of food with 700 coupons to scan. I will not be happy. :-)

  18. Eric Lowery (Thrifty, Wealthy & Wise) January 17, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Oops. “there’s” (the book nerd in me had to correct that glaring error.)

  19. Candice January 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I used to use coupons (though not to the extreme) and I have a friend who can walk out of a store paying $5 for $30 worth of food.

    My #1, biggest, loudest, soap-boxing problem is that yeah, you’re using coupons and getting tons of food for free. But the food you’re getting is literally junk. It’s processed, unhealthy, sugar/sodium-laden crap, not whole, healthy foods. Because, ya know, they don’t give coupons out for the healthy/good stuff.

    I’d much rather (and am more than happy to) spend my money and know that I’m getting good, healthy, natural foods. I’m sure my body will thank me in 20 years, whereas people eating this junk may be having heart attacks and high blood pressure and various other health issues caused by fueling their body on complete crap.

  20. Tim @ growrichsimply.com January 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    We watched the show too, and like millions of others, immediately began plotting our strategy. My wife was super motivated Saturday night but it had basically worn off by the time I went out and bought two Sunday papers (yes, two). I actually do think I’m going to try the toiletry route and see if I can get some (nearly?) free toiletries and consumer products. It’s probably worth a little bit of effort to follow some coupon blogs in my RSS and snap up a copy of the Sunday paper. We’ll see how long I stick with it.

  21. Jessica, The Debt Princess January 17, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    J$, I recently wrote a blog about this. It was a What Not to Do w/Extreme Couponing (http://www.thedebtprincess.com/2010/12/29/what-not-to-do-extreme-couponing-lessons/) I think the key is moderation. For my family size of 3 (sometimes buy for my mom too) I can usually do just fine with two newspapers. This covers the times when sales are 2 for 1 or similar. I just buy 2 newspapers at my local supermarket/drugstore. I then follow any number of blogs looking for the sales for the week. I also use to use The Grocery Game which made it super easy but it cost money. The Coupon Mom is free (at least it use to be) and gives you the sales each week so you know when to buy and when to hold on to your coupon.

    The important (and healthy) thing to do is buy all that you’ll need for 12 weeks. Most products go on sale every 12 weeks or so. So when ketchup goes on sale, and you know your family goes through a bottle every month, you will want to buy 3 bottles (maybe 4 in case there’s a delay on the sale). There is NO NEED to have 456 bottles of ketchup.

    It’s also important to remember, it will always go on sale again.

    I love couponing and with it, I’m able to stretch our grocery budget a long way (esp since I’m on food stamps). Feel free to ask if you want more info.

  22. Michelle January 17, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    I would like to think that I’ve found a decent balance with my couponing. I will admit, when I first started, I got so excited with the savings that I may have gone a tad bit overboard :0) The majority of my savings are on my toiletry items that I purchase from drug stores (CVS, Rite Aid, & Wal-Greens) using their sales and reward coupons. For groceries, I attempt to shop the store that has the lowest price each week or price match. For non-perishable items, I will wait for those to go on sale (preferrably, buy one, get one sales) and use coupons on top of those savings. Most grocery stores will double up to $0.55-.60 on manufacturer coupons. We only purchase our meat once a quarter from a meat market which is a huge savings overall.

    The key, in my opinion, is not to let it consume you and your daily routines. There are lots of websites out there that will do coupon match-ups and price comparisons, so I let them do the work and just verify the information with my local circulars. I plan my trips for the middle of the week on my lunch break so I can go without my kids and the stores are generally less crowded.

    Couponing definitely is not for everyone, but, overall, it’s been a definitely money saver for me over the past 3 years when it comes to our toiletries and diapers and formula when my youngest son was still in that stage.

  23. Laura @ A Frugal Chick January 17, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Oh J$ what a big discussion this could turn into. As a Frugal Blogger this show has been my best friend and my worst nightmare. Its been great because people have an interest in coupons now. I teach coupon classes and my calendar is getting packed.

    It’s been awful because the show was completely unrealistic. And TLC has signed it for 12 more episodes, so there could be more of this to come. Many of those grocery stores changed their coupon policies specifically for that broadcast- under normal circumstances you couldn’t do what they did. Some states even have limits that the government has given- no way in Virginia could you ever use 1,000 coupons in one transaction. And the food they bought was not what most people want in their houses- Americans DO have a tough time NOT buying something that is on sale.

    However I do coupon on a regular basis, eat organic (I have a soy allergy so my grocery list is extremely limited), work two jobs and run my blog. If you want to coupon, you can do it just like anything else in life. Statistics on-line say that couponing 30 minutes a week will save you $1,000 a year. Not a ton but I will take it. :)

  24. Dawn January 17, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    I am a committed couponer but I feel that, like everything in life, the intent of any action is of utmost importance. Some people use coupons as an excuse to go shopping and justify their consuming habits (I think the first woman in the episodeof Extreme Couponing fit this profile.) If you are purchasing things you do not need or could never live long enough to use, this verges on hoarding, in my opinion. Everything has a cost even if it is not realized at the cash register. You must store those 1000s of deodorant containers which costs mental energy to organize and deal with, a portion of your mortage to pay for the space, as well as the time and gas to travel to the storeto purchase those items. All of that makes any “free” item not so free after all. The remaining people profiled in the episode seemed to have cometo their “extreme” ways for very legitimte reasons – loss of employment, etc. While one wonders if even they will ever need hundreds of bottles of shampoo, it is understandable why they are preparingfor that rainy day ewven if their life situation never becomes so dire. i was encouraged to see the one man who donates a large portion of his stockpile to charity. To me, this is a reasonable and generous use of time and of goods that otherwise could never be used in the lifetime of one person.or family. I coupon and stockpile to the point that my weekly grocery bill is about $30 for my husband and myself (a fact which seems to have inspired a lot of comment on one of J$’s recent posts) but I do not want my life to be held hostage to stuff edible or otherwise. Thank goodness this is just another aspect of life in which you can choose your level of involvement based on your perspective and values.

  25. Brian January 17, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    I don’t like using coupons, but I do like taking them to the store and putting them on the products for others to use. It’s like being the Batman of coupons. Maybe I could get a shirt that says Phantom Coupon Guy! LOL!

  26. Bridget January 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    I’ve never seen this show, but just looking at what they bought, this seems stupid. That’s all JUNK! It should be illegal to feed your children so poorly.

    If they were sitting there with real food I’d be impressed but let’s be real here: they didn’t get a deal, they exchanged some coupons for garbage. It’s like getting a deal on obesity — why cheer for that??

  27. retirebyforty January 17, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    The Mrs. collects coupons from the paper and the mail. We just take the one we need for that shopping trip and save only a few dollars at a time. I don’t want to spend 6 hours dealing with coupon, sounds like a job from hell. On the other hand, it’s amazing when I read what Khaleef can do with CVS though.

  28. J. Money January 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Awesome to see so many of you watched this episode too! Are we all THAT nerdy on a Saturday night? Haha… I liked how that guy donated all those boxes of cereals to charity too – that was nice :)

    And Laura @ A Frugal Chick, if you’re right about how that show got all the rules to be changed – that is incredible!!! Sucks that they basically ruined it for everyone, but really interesting how that stuff plays out.

    I won’t comment on the “junk vs. not-junk” discussions going on, but I do think moderation is key here as many of you pointed out. And the motivation behind the reasons why some are so good/hardcore about couponing. It takes all kinds to run this world ;)

    Thanks for all the comments/thoughts everyone — looking forward to reading more.

  29. Jenna January 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    I think couponing only works on things you need. It can be a waste when people go to the extremes and buy stuff they don’t need because it was on sale.

  30. Cheryl January 17, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I am a couponer who saves anywhere from $8-$15 per week off my weekly grocery/drugstore bill. I have to say, the people on this show are borderline OCD/Hoarders – to have NINE carts of groceries and TWO rooms in the house to store the groceries you got for free /pennies is ridiculous! Get enough for YOUR families needs, and leave some for everyone else. A shopping cart of Butterfinger candy bars just because they are free? Really? Are they going to eat all of them? Who needs 100 boxes of pasta? If you are going to donate it to a local food pantry, great – but to fill 2 rooms full of free candy bars, pasta, gatorade, toilet paper, shampoo, etc and call it “stockpiling”? That’s just hoarding.

  31. LB January 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    I don’t use coupons unless I know I can save money on something I would normally buy. There aren’t very many coupons for items that I purchase, there aren’t any stores close by that offer double coupons and the closest CVS is an hour and a half away. Not worth it in my opinion. I would rather spend my time searching for the best deal on the stuff I want and not deal with coupons for the stuff I would never buy.

  32. Jane Sanders January 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Wow, those coupon addicts are truly insane. If only it didn’t take 6-8 hours a day to get those results. Also, you probably don’t need or want most of that stuff anyways. I’d like to figure out a way to get some extreme couponing in for the stuff I already buy though.

  33. J. Money January 17, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I forgot to mention – that pic up there is just one I found on Flickr of a family who (it seems) loves coupons. They weren’t from the show. I think I’d need the entire width of your computer screen (and then some!) to show a picture of all that stuff they were getting. Imagine a whole level of your house, or garage, filled wall-to-wall of extras. They don’t play around ;)

  34. Jonathan January 17, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    We use coupon.com to print off coupons. Sometimes we find good deals, but lately we haven’t found much. I’d rather just limit the amount I eat. Helps the budget, and the belly. :)

    And like everyone points out, it’s always for crappy food. I don’t know why they can’t give out coupons for healthy stuff.

  35. Bobby January 17, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    J, you skipped the best football game this weekend?!?

    Just make sure you make up for it next weekend. GO PACK!

  36. J. Money January 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    All I care is that Dallas is out – all other teams are fine in my book ;)
    (Go Redskins!!)

  37. Sense January 18, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    I just clicked on your link and i am flabbergasted–at first i thought it was a teaser, like, click this and see what i’m currently addicted to, rather than the actual name of a show. i must say, WTF?! WHYYYYYY are people eating laundry detergent and toilet paper?? i don’t know if i could watch a whole show about that. i WOULD like to see that couponing one, though…sounds fantastic! i wish NZ had coupons. :(((

    How is life going now? Are you adjusting OK to the big life change?

  38. Donna Freedman January 18, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    Couponmom.com is still free. You pick the state in which you live and the stores at which you want to shop. She highlights the best prices and gives the dates when coupons ran; she also notes that many of these items are desperately needed by food pantries and shelters.
    I get most of my toiletries and OTC medications free or nearly so and some food products as well. And like the Coupon Mom, I donate a bunch of the extras to a local food bank and also to a tent city encampment. They are greatly needed because guess what: If you can’t afford food, you can’t afford toothpaste or soap, either.
    Granted, a lot of coupons are for less-than-healthy items. But if you had planned to buy a quart of ice cream or a bag of pretzels on payday, why pay full price?
    However, it is possible to find some decent foods among the dreck: plain frozen vegetables, tuna, soy milk, whole-grain pasta, plain canned beans, orange juice, organic broth, rolled oats, all-natural peanut butter, Shredded Wheat, mandarin oranges and cherry tomatoes are some of the ones I’ve seen/used.
    For some people, coupons make a big difference in the budget. I know a woman whose food/toiletries/diapers budget is $475 a month for nine people — and she works and blogs in addition to being a mom to seven kids under age 14. Clearly it is possible to work, parent and clip coupons. For her it’s a necessity and thus a priority. But if it’s something you don’t care to do, just DON’T DO IT. There’s no need to proclaim that it’s a bad idea/waste of time.

  39. aj January 18, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    I agree with Grant and others – “And quite frankly, most of the stuff you save on isn’t something I want to put in my body on a regular basis.”
    But a long time ago, atleast 10 years ago before I began using natural cleaning products, and non-chemical laden hba’s, and before I started avoiding processed food…I do remember a 3 hour trip to Kroger’s when they were tripling coupons up to a $1…I came home with a whole car full of toothpastes, shampoos, and some food for almost free.
    But my husband almost divorced me because he was stuck to entertain a couple of toddlers the whole time I was shopping…they were all so tired and grumpy by the time I was done…and we were still an hour away from home! I gave alot of the toiletries to shelters/people who lost their homes in fires so I feel good about helping them out but I don’t think I would go through it again, lol.
    Now I don’t even buy those types of items. And I no longer collect coupons.
    If I find an item that I see we buy a lot of, I will go online to see if there are any coupons out there for that item (you can even find them on eBay- you pay for the person’s time to clip & s/h). If I find them I get them in bulk & be sure to put them in my purse where I will have them to use when I get to the store.

    I find better use of my time & money by just trying to stock up on things when they are on sale…but I do still get a little excited when I happen to have a great coupon & find the sale at the same time…but only if I was planning on buying the item anyway.

  40. Ally January 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    This past weekend, I went to Target, between sales, Target coupons and manufacturer coupons I saved over $50, and spent $150 (part of that was diapers, which are not counted in our grocery budget). Our cupboards were literally bare! We also haev a store here called Hy-Vee, similar situation, but spent $63, and saved almost $50!

    I also think this was show was shot back when in most stores you could get away with stacking manufacturer coupons, and also not have a limit on the # of coupons, and a limit on dollar amount of coupons.

    On Extreme Couponing you see Joanie from The Krazy Coupon Lady; she later put up a blog post that mentions she didn’t spend only the $6.00 and change.. she actualy spent closer to $50; but it was over several transactions.

    At the same time I feel it is unnecessary to have such a stock pile. But Joanie metions she donates to the local food shelf, and women’s shelters, etc. If you get it for free, why not.

    It really does make a difference. that $50 I saved was a tank of gas and a half between my car and my husbands. Just think if I actually spent that!

  41. 20 and Engaged January 18, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    I heard of that too. I thought about doing that as a side gig, clipping and selling coupons, but like you said, it’s so time consuming! All the coupons I find limit you anyways, so I’m not really sure how all these people save all that money. Many coupons can’t be combined with others.

  42. Jaime January 18, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    I don’t have cable and I’ve never heard of that show, I usually watch shows through itunes,netflix,hulu…So I went to that link and watched a couple of clips, and these people have issues, I seriously think they need to get professional help.

    Lately I’ve been watching A & E’s Hoarders through itunes and netflix, it seems there’s this trend on networks to highlight people with serious problems. Yeah I mean its kind of interesting, I’m totally hooked on the Hoarders show but at the same time, I’m thinking, aren’t they exploiting these people by filming them and us by watching these programs?

    I DK though a lot of reality tv is fake. How do we know that the girl who eats toilet paper isn’t being paid by the networks? Yea I know my post has nothing to do with coupons. :-P

  43. J. Money January 19, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    @Sense – Yup! It’s still very VERY weird, but I’m starting to get used to the new ME and I like it :) A lot. Need to get my sleeping patterns down right, but we’re getting there… would be nice to have more money too ;) How are things on your end?

    @Donna Freedman – Agreed. I give these super couponers mad credit for their skillz, just not a priority for the J. Money household (yet). Btw, was kinda skyping with someone you know today :) (“Kinda” because I was on a call with my boy Nate who was having a Skype call with this person in question, and held it up so I can talk w/ her – haha… did that make any sense?) Anyways, I was talking to Jennie from Bargain Blessings :) I saw some Savings.com video and you were in it! So cool. We’re all going to Blissdom together next week so will be nice to meet her and some others in real life. Are you going?

    @ally – Oooh that’s interesting! I didn’t know one of the featured ladies were coupon bloggers (even though I was paying attention trying to figure out If I knew any of them! haha… I got love for my coupon bloggers!)

    @Jaime – Hahah, I mean yeah anything is possible I guess, but some of these are hard to make up in my opinion :) I do think a lot of these people DO get help though. I bet the shows help them out in return for sharing their stories, at least I really hope! That’s what I LOVE about “Intervention” — you get to see them at the end usually getting help and seeing if it works or not. Pretty cool stuff. We all live in different reality!

  44. Lucille January 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    I had to write because I saw that episode and since that day the question I have is—-it’s just her and her husband, that chick who did the big shop with the 5-6 carts of crap (I mean, carts of food)….. I thought the husband was going to break down in tears. I mean, won’t some of those 100 boxes of pasta she bought that one day go bad/expire before she ever gets to eat it? If I thought she was doing all of that so that she could then donate it, or at least a portion of it, then well, how altruistic, but to stack toilet paper to the ceiling? Have pallets 4-5 stories high of Windex or whatever? What’s the chick really proving? I think it’s a psychological problem. That’s hoarding too—-just in a neat organized way, right?

    Even if she’s saving money, or she can say that those two rooms full of stuff only cost her 75% or less than retail price, STILL….. the time she spends planning, and then the time in the store itself? Madness.

    And doesn’t the food go bad?

  45. J. Money January 19, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    yeah, that’s a good question. who knows how long that stuff lasts I’m sure they have a game plan for it though considering they all get pretty efficient at their processes :) they’re all pretty smart people and know things go bad.

  46. rosebriars January 19, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Like all other ‘reality’ shows, they took the MOST extreme they could find, and then did a lot of editing to make it ‘compelling’. I only saw bits of the show, but as an ‘extreme’ couponer myself, I read lots of coupon blogger reactions to it, and read all of Joanie’s posts on what doing the show was like.

    And the time requirement – 6-8 hours a day? Who IS that lady! I used to spend probably 20 hours a week on it, (including the actual shopping) when I was brand new, and also really, really jazzed…(I admit, it was a bit of a high) and I was saving about $300 a month on items I *would have purchased anyway*. Now I spend probably 4 hours a week average, once again including shopping (which took me 1 1/2 hours weekly before couponing). It’s NOT for everyone, which is great, because if everyone did it then the manufacturers would just quit putting out the coupons because it would no longer be financially feasible for them.

    And yes, most food coupons are for junk. However, I got my supplements and natural remedies and natural and organic health and beauty items for about 80% off this week. The point is to stock up on an item when it’s at its lowest price…so when your organic, grain fed beef is on sale you buy enough for 3-6 months. And I have about 40 boxes of whole wheat pasta I got most of for free (and yes, my family will eat it before the expiration date)…and if there are blizzards/floods/hurricanes/worker strikes my family will have the toiletries, water, food, and fuel we need to make it through. THAT’S the secret bonus of couponing…having enough to take care of your needs for a long time. But no, for me, that doesn’t mean an entire garage full.

  47. Lazy Man and Money January 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Safeway invited me to see the coupon thing that you found so amazing. It is only a small part of the amazing stuff they had to show off. You can read more at my review here: Safeway’s Just For U Program Reviewed.

    Safeway actually invited a dozen bloggers to show off the new stuff. I was the only guy… and I was the only one who didn’t have a blog about this extreme couponing/deal hunting. Imagine not watching it on television, but sitting in a room with these people. I was like, “Umm, the military commissary has amazing prices. Occasionally I look on Ebay and buy coupons for some of the more expensive stuff that I use a lot. It takes me about 30 seconds every couple of weeks.”

  48. Carmie of the Single Nester January 25, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    I was amazed at this show as well. But did you notice that so many of the participants were sooooo obese. So what if you get 100 Butterfingers for free. Your valves are busting out of your chest!

  49. LegallyMinded January 26, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    You can totally do couponing in the less extreme and not waste a lot of time and not spend a lot of time on it either. It’s really *maybe* a couple of hours, if that. All you do is look at the coupons on Sunday (doesn’t take long) and then see what’s on sale at your store(s) and make a list. Easy peasy. Those people who coupon like that are horders. Many people don’t need that much stuff (even if stockpiling). I, personally, feel that even if I spend 2 hours a week (including shopping time) and I save $100 then it’s worth it. That’s just me. :)

  50. Sarah January 26, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Didn’t watch it, but from what I gather these people are definitely the extreme. I use Southern Savers, because she does coupon match ups to the sales each week, and has a shopping list feature, so as I read her site I just click next to each item I’m buying, and then print out my list and off I go. Also, I’ve started using almost 100% online printable coupons. The supply isn’t as good as in the newspaper, but it’s easier to not have to store them. I figure since I’m a SAHM, if I can regularly save $20-50 a week, then it’s the hour I spend reading Southern Savers.

  51. Denise @ Shopper Strategy January 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Hey J$! I enjoyed meeting and talking with you at Blissdom this week, came to visit and just had to chime in on this one since I’m a coupon and deal blogger. I enjoyed the show also, unfortunately I think it just further serves to make couponers look like wackos with nothing better to do. A couple people I know were in the show and they’ve told me that it’s been picked up for 12 more episodes. My biggest problem with the show is that they left out some important info – they only showed where one of the shoppers got their qs (in the dumpster), the others ordered theirs from clipping services but they didn’t include the cost of the qs in their trip. NO store will allow you to use that many coupons in one trip (unless you bring your own camera crew), and the gentleman that bought 1,100 boxes of cereal and 200 toothbrushes had pre-ordered them from his store (shelf clearing is a big no-no for couponers).

    I run a business, three blogs, and I’m Chief Exhausted Officer of my family of seven so I have to keep good track of my time and savings to make sure it’s worth it and I’m happy to share those numbers (since Trevor asked!) – last year I bought $15,249.05 worth of groceries and toiletries for only $3,743.84, simply by spending two hours a week matching sales with coupons and prepping for shopping trips (I don’t clip a single q till I need it). That’s a savings of 75% and equates to $110/hour for my time ($11,505 savings / 104 hours). The truly amazing thing is that we eat better now than when we were spending $350/week before we started shopping strategically because the best sales and coupons are typically for the newer or higher dollar items.

    On a final note, couponing isn’t for everyone, but even if you’re not interested in going to “extremes” to save 75-90% you can easily save 50+% by buying things in their sale cycles and buying enough to make it to the next cycle (without using qs at all). For example, baking items are always on sale around the winter holidays (flour, vanilla, pumpkin etc) so buy enough to last for 3-4 months, then stock up again during the next big sales around Easter. The trick is finding your happy medium – what is your perfect savings/time/trouble ratio? For me personally, the comfort level that comes from using the savings to pay down consumer debt, and knowing that I will never have a problem feeding my family no matter what the economy brings, is priceless!

  52. J. Money January 30, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Hey Denise! Great meeting/chatting with you too this week – miss it already! :) Thanks for stopping by and dropping some feedback – always great hearing more to the story. That’s so cool you know some of the people on the show too! In fact, there was a guy at the conference that I thought I knew but couldn’t place, and when I just went back to check out the press release at TLC I realized that’s where I saw him!! haha… at least I think. Do you know Nathan? So funny…

    And I loved your last line there: “the comfort level that comes from using the savings to pay down consumer debt, and knowing that I will never have a problem feeding my family no matter what the economy brings, is priceless!”

    ROCK IT, Girl!!

  53. Denise @ Shopper Strategy January 30, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Yeah – Nathan and I are online buds – he’s an affiliate of mine and I’m an affiliate of his. He’s well aware that he’s considered controversial in the “couponing world”, but he’s a good guy and he means well. He’s in my Blissdom pix here http://cbuz.com/bliss11, and so are you (sort of!). I’d love to do a guest post sometime on “how to save on your grocery budget without using coupons” ;)

  54. J. Money January 30, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    YES! I knew it. haha… that is all kinds of awesome. Damn. Wish I would have talked with him more then – I think we just exchanged “what ups” ;) RE: guest posting – sure! Would be interesting to hear how you do that without couponing. Shoot me an email and we’ll go from there: j (at) budgetsaresexy.com – thanks! Will def. see you in real life again soon :)

  55. Deidre G March 3, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Did you know you can get all coupons doubled at Kmart this week? A $2 off coupon scans at $4 off! I saw the full list of deals on Cuckoo for Coupon Deals.

  56. Chloe A. March 24, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Jennifer R. — Please shed a little light on the non-processed food coupons. I’ve seen you defend against nay-sayers, but I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary (an invitation to check out your fridge doesn’t count.) Believe me, I want to be on your side. But I’ve looked all over and haven’t been able to get any coupons for non-processed items, or any healthy items for that matter. Where do you recommend looking? I’d be so grateful if you could shed some light on this. It would fantastic if you could share a source or two.

  57. Melissa March 25, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    I go through the coupons in the paper each weekend, but usually don’t see products that I purchase. It doesn’t make sense to me to buy something I wouldn’t otherwise buy just because it is on sale. Even if I get it for 90% off retail price, I still spent money that I wouldn’t have otherwise spent on something that I wouldn’t otherwise want. My mother is the exact opposite – she delights in buying things that are on sale or marked down so she can gloat about how much money she “saved.” She is particularly triumphant if the thing is name brand and otherwise expensive (“I got an Armani jacket for $5!!!!” “Yes, but it is flourescent green and clashes with itself”, etc.) As a result, our house growing up was bursting at the seams with stuff we never used. It made me nuts. Now I only buy things that we need (or, in the case of dry goods or staples for the freezer, that I know I will use). Most of the time, those things are not on sale via coupons. I do save a couple of dollars a week using them, but nothing to write home about. Even better, though, my house contains only things that I WANT and NEED. It’s a great feeling. To the people who can save 90% off what they wouldn’t otherwise spend at the grocery store: MORE POWER TO THEM!!!!

  58. J. Money March 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    @Deidre G – Love that site name, haha… good one.
    @Chloe A. – I’d be interested in learning more about that too, not that I’d actually go and do it though ;)
    @Melissa – Yeah, if you’re not finding anything you actually USE on sale then def. a different story, I agree. Although sometimes I end up picking stuff up I’d normally not get and then actually LIKE it! Usually has to do w/ certain clothes or toys though over food. I pretty much know what I like to eat by now ;) (And speaking of Armani stuff — my fave pants in the world are Armani and when I found them for only $20 (instead of $120) I about lost my mind! haha… bought 3 right then and there and sadly all now have holes and are falling apart…)

  59. Angela April 17, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Sometimes just stocking up on non-perishable items & freezer foods when they are on sale, as opposed to clipping coupons, you can still see huge savings. Cuckoo for Coupon Deals website lists all grocery store deals that she recommends stocking up on each week, and lot’s of deals don’t require coupons.


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