Is Extreme Couponing Dead?

Remember when Extreme Couponing was all the rage? And everyone was talking about it and/or trying it, even people who normally hate talking about money? ;)

A reader recently unloaded a whole bunch of (pretty hilarious) thoughts on it which we’ll get to in a bit, but a quick search of my own E.C. postings definitely points to the fad no longer being a fad anymore… (Though of course regular couponing will always be in, as it’s just plain smart!)

Here are all the articles we’ve published on extreme couponing:

It all came full circle, haha… And my friend Debbie here seems to be over it too.

Here are some comments mashed together from her, which can pretty much be summed up with this line here – “coupons were almost a narcotic to me.”

Sounds about right :)

Extreme couponing was a real problem when we moved. Hauling 96 packages of toilet paper, 72 tubes of toothpaste, 66 sticks of deodorant, 84 rolls of paper towels, 69 bottles of body wash/shampoo, 57 bars of soap, 48 bottles of dish detergent was exhausting, not to mention countless cans of veggies, soups, tomato sauce, peanut butter, jelly, and boxes of everything from cookies to mac & cheese. We have enough toothbrushes to last into the next century.

The list goes on & on but the real killer was 46 heavy containers of laundry detergent. What a pain in the ankle (and every other bone it took to move all these treasures…cough cough).

And yes, I had already donated a ton of my stockpile! This is when I FINALLY realized this obsession had gone off the deep end. God forbid I missed a sale or a coupon expired at one of the 10 stores I shopped – I’d cry in my pillow all night, LOL. Okay it wasn’t quite that bad but man, this was a drain on my time & emotions running from store to store & hoping to get there before they ran out of stock on a good sale item (I always fell for the fine print in an ad “while supplies last” = run to store immediately).

I remember once a month Harris Teeter had “Super Double Coupons”. They doubled any coupon up to $2 (so a $2 coupon would double to $4). They were the only store in the area to do this. Lines of people added to my anxiety “forcing” me to get up at 4AM to arrive at the store at 4:20AM to beat the competition on the first day of Super Doubles. Store policy though? No check out before 7AM during Super Doubles.

Like an idiot, I shopped the store 2 hours & stood on line over 1/2 hour until they opened the cash registers at 7AM. Some sale items were out of stock by 7AM on the first day! And they almost never restocked during the sale (I knew this as I’d go back to the store 2-3 times during Super Doubles after I printed out more coupons or if my mother snail mailed me more coupons) so this added to my frenzy.

Coupons were almost a narcotic to me. Today I’m proud to say I’ve attended Super Double coupons only twice since we moved & it was purely by accident that I walked into the store for something else I needed. It’s nice living off this stockpile, but I now only clip coupons for things needed in the immediate future & only go to 2 grocery stores within 2 miles of each other. I stock up on sale items we use, with or without a coupon & no more big stockpiles.

I no longer HUNGER for this FEEDING frenzy, LOL. No more extreme anything for me except regret for letting myself get caught up in this crap. What good is having 50 jars of peanut butter if they all expire next week?


PS: I also used to wait in the parking lot for drug stores to open at 7AM, especially on Sundays, when traffic was low & the sales started. Everyone knew me by my first name since I was a regular customer. Since we moved & I broke the coupon addiction, no one knows me in any store now, LOL.

PPS: I found myself emailing companies often too, asking for more coupons and pretending to be a brand new customer wanting to try out their products. It worked every time. Presto, more coupons emailed or snail mailed to me. Lordy lordy, what a trap I allowed myself to fall into…

Oh Debbie :) But rest assured, I guarantee you’re not alone here. I bet if we polled everyone reading this right now, at least 10% would admit to extreme couponing in some fashion or another! I would have too if I weren’t so lazy! Haha…

But it really was such a craze… I remember reading Predictably Irrational over the summer by Dan Ariely (a fantastic book, btw), and a big part of it was how everyone goes gaga for “FREE” anything as if it were in our genes and we couldn’t control it, haha… But then if the cost changed from $0.00 to $0.10 or even $0.01, the excitement dropped sharply! Even though we’re talking about literal pennies!

it's for free

We are a crazy race, let me tell you… And I fully admit to falling for this “FREE” trick over the years too. (“A Free t-shirt? And all I have to do is sign up for your $200/year credit card??? GIVE ME THREE PLEASE!!” Ugh…)

But it is what it is, and Debbie left us with a few helpful tips from her experiences. Which she aptly labeled as “The best advice in the world.”

  1. Stay out of stores! See less, buy less, spend less!
  2. Shop at only 1-2 grocery stores & use their sale inserts
  3. Clip a few coupons only for items you truly use/need
  4. Put the rest in the recycle bin

And then also added, “If you truly want to save $$, set up a budget, say $75 a week. Then take this $75 CASH to the grocery store & you won’t/can’t spend more. It worked for us years ago when we were saving for a house, long before the coupon crazies took over my sanity!” Hah!

So what do you think? Is extreme couponing over, or is it just living underground more hiding from its rap? Did you ever get into it, or are currently into it? Tell us all your stories!!

I’m pro saving money, but def. not into spending gobs of time and/or stressing about it… Although out of all the addictions to have, there could be worse things to snort! ;)

// Scary shopping cart pic by schizoform

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  1. Ms99to1percent January 29, 2018 at 5:38 AM

    I think it’s hiding underground and will resurface during the next recession.

    As For me, I think I’m too lazy for extreme couponing :-)

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 6:56 AM

      You could be right!!

    2. Jim Wang January 29, 2018 at 7:16 AM

      Everything happens in cycles… but when you have enough toothbrushes for life, will you still coupon your way to more? :)

  2. Lily | The Frugal Gene January 29, 2018 at 5:45 AM

    Oh I was just about to say what Ms 99 said. Those shows were big during the last downturn. Yes to 100 bottles of ketchup for $1 please. I can’t imagine all that storage.

    There are business online that clip coupons for you in bulk and you pay a few dollars to save like $20-40 dollars if you really needed something in bulk. Diapers, bread crumbs, etc.

    I use to go on eBay to buy pre clipped coupons for fast food restaurant that I wanted to go to (it was the only affordable place near work). I would definitely do that again. But I wouldn’t exert effort on something I didn’t care about. Like a TV, or skates or whatever else that isn’t food.

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 7:01 AM

      Hah! I can totally see that being worth it if done strategically :)

      In fact, I think we actually had a post on this once, only from the other side of the transactions (those who *sold* coupons/deals!). Yup, here it is!

      “TODAY I made the proudest addition to my $10K challenge collection by selling my junk mail. You heard me, brother. Yesterday, I got a coupon from Tommy Bahama in the mail for $50 off a $100 holiday purchase. Worthless to me… (I bought a gift for my cousin a few years back and have been getting junk mail from them ever since.) So, I decided to pimp it out on ebay with a starting bid of 99 cents. And BOOYAH, BABY – $14.51 for my junk mail.”

      Maybe that’s where the real money is? Selling coupons vs using them? :)

  3. Mr. Tako January 29, 2018 at 6:31 AM

    Wow, some people really can take things too far. I use coupons for items at the grocery store, but that’s about it.

    Only spend on what you really need I say!

  4. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance January 29, 2018 at 6:37 AM

    Coupons are great. That is until you spend three hours shopping for stuff you don’t need at 4am. We frugal folks need to remember that time is money too.

  5. Cubert January 29, 2018 at 7:01 AM

    We never really got into this fad ourselves. Partly because we quit the Sunday paper (minimalists – so annoying…)

    Our last vestige of coupon craziness is the occasional Open Table / Chinook Book / Groupon for dining out. Often times it’s “experience arbitrage” where you’re giving up a sure thing at restaurant A to save a few bucks at restaurant B, only to wonder why so many open tables at B and the food is awful.

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 10:38 AM

      Ahhh the Sunday paper! I kinda miss those showing up at the door, even as a minimalist…

      Something about holding print in your hand and reading it always felt so good- even if the news was 24 hours old by the time you got to it ;)

  6. Accidental FIRE January 29, 2018 at 7:05 AM

    As we all know time is money. To me, spending all that time clipping coupons and going out of your normal routine to shop at different stores is the same as driving 10 miles out of the way to save 2 cents a gallon on gas. I shop at Trader Joe’s and they don’t even do coupons so, problem solved. They just run reasonable prices all the time.

  7. PaulM January 29, 2018 at 7:10 AM

    I could never understand how people spent so much time on it. I use the occasional coupon and will use coupons printed in my weekly paper for restaurant deals but then again only for restaurants we want to go to. I also get retailer coupons in the mail but never thought about selling them on ebay. Great idea J!.

  8. Mrs. Kiwi January 29, 2018 at 7:11 AM

    Our frugal home was never into couponing. It seems like a lot of work to buy things we won’t really use. So, we live by a lot of the advice the reader said, mostly staying out of stores and consuming less media that encourages crazy spending!
    I’ve been planning out a home renovation and searching for matierials/ideas and I’ve seen my spending creep up (new tools :) ), which is fine for the renovation, but after we’re done I’ll be avoiding those websites, ads, and magazines.

  9. Mike @ Balanced Dividends January 29, 2018 at 7:21 AM

    I think extreme couponing (didn’t realize this was a verb :) ) is underground a bit. But it’s still around and it has evolved.

    Some traditional retail stores – Macy’s and Bed Bath Beyond, for example – are all about couponing. If you shop at one of these or related stores, you’re almost always going in with at least some type of coupon.

    Technology might have also made couponing easier (eBates, etc.), so the days of someone taking 30 minutes to checkout for 15 items because they’re asking the cashier to scan 50 coupons for the best deals might be less common.

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 10:50 AM

      Oh yeah… and tons of auto-coupons being added to store apps too, from what I hear! I’ve even stopped using those loyalty cards that clutter up your key rings and now just enter my phone # directly anytime at CVS or wherever – love it.

  10. [HCF] January 29, 2018 at 7:27 AM

    I can not really relate to this as shops over here are not so generous with their discounts, especially in terms of coupons. You can catch some good deals if you watch close enough, but given that we don’t shop a lot it just simply does not worth the hassle. For smaller items, I use discounts/coupons if they happen to be at hand, but if I need something I buy it anyway. In terms of bigger purchases like electronics or furniture, I check the sales every sometimes, especially at specific times of year and act if there is a deal. In the end, the situation is the same, if there is no deal and I need the item I buy it anyway, which is handy because I don’t buy it if I don’t need it. Also, have these folks deducted from the savings their time spent on shopping and researching at a reasonable hourly rate?

    Lately, I want to pick up the habit to stock up when there is a deal to save time (and maybe some money too, but time is more precious). Ok, not in the mentioned amounts, but having a supply of household and toiletry items for a year seems a good thing for me. Am I wrong?

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 10:55 AM

      I love that you always pop over and share what it’s like in your country – so fascinating to see how different we can be :) (like the other year when we shared how *debt* is super common here but not in many countries! incredible! )

      1. [HCF] January 30, 2018 at 9:32 AM

        Wow, good post, I missed that one and this type of comparisons are rare (however, I have something in my mind to act against that). It turned out our systems are similar to the French (well, even my bank is French). Thanks for stating that you like my insights, I was afraid that sooner or later someone will call me an attention wh*re :)

        1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 10:28 AM

          Hah! No way man – I’m all about open dialogue on this site! And even more so smart and interesting dialogue that you always seem to bring :) So please keep sharing your insight!

  11. FullTimeFinance January 29, 2018 at 7:48 AM

    It’s definitely still out there though technology is evolving. Now there are apps to identify and provide coupons when scanning items. I would say I was never extreme but I’ve had my share of spending more time trying to save then actually saving.

  12. Apathy Ends January 29, 2018 at 8:06 AM

    I am SO happy that our grocery store put all their coupons on their app and a loyalty card, all you have to do is swipe or scan and everything comes off.

    I was the guy hand ripping coupons as we walked through the store.

    I looked into extreme couponing when these shows were popular and quickly realized it is a shit ton of work!

  13. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance January 29, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    I have never been into couponing. I once watched the extreme couponing show and couldn’t help thinking that they could spend their time working for more income than mind-numbing finding and cutting coupons. But I guess we all have different preferences.

  14. OMGF January 29, 2018 at 8:13 AM

    I wanted to be an extreme couponer for toothpaste and toilet paper. I never found the motivation.

  15. Sean @ Frugal Money Man January 29, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    I am definitely way to lazy for this, but I still remember my mother back in the day being all over this!

    She wasn’t buying 72 tubes of toothpaste, but I think it was more the addiction of having to grocery shop for 4 children all the time. She would come home with food we never really ate just because it was on “sale.” If something that sells for $40 is on a 50% sale for $20, that doesn’t mean you saved $20…It means you spent $20 you didn’t have to spend.

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 10:57 AM

      Haha yup…. But still hard to turn down cuz it feels so exciting!! :)

  16. Chris @ Duke of Dollars January 29, 2018 at 8:29 AM

    I could see how much it can help when you live in a stable home without the intention of leaving for a very long time, buying a lot of toilet paper or laundry detergent at cheap prices can make sense.

    Moderation sounds like the key to keeping the craze locked down a bit.

  17. Lilith January 29, 2018 at 8:35 AM

    I definitely use coupons, but I hope that I’ve never wandered into extreme behavior. I do have a small stockpile of toothbrushes, toothpaste that I got for free and nice shampoo that were $1 or less. I think of couponing as a hobby. Each year I save around $2k on food, toiletries, and pet supplies by using coupons and it satisfies my need for the hunt to find good deals. It is really easy to slip into extreme behavior, but I think I’ve managed to keep it under control.

  18. Rocky January 29, 2018 at 8:50 AM

    I don’t think its coincidence that extreme couponing is going the way of the dinosaur during a historic stock run. Habits like this generally are born out of necessity and then grow into a fad/mini cult. Once stores started actively attempting to keep customers from using some of the best perks of this hobby and the economy rebounded people lost their taste for it.

    I think her tips on how to deal with the addiction are excellent. In the end extreme couponing allowed people to still practice consumerism but feel like they were being fiscally responsible. Too much work for me!

  19. Debbie January 29, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    Here’s another lesson learned: not long ago I got 4 cans of organic soup. All free with coupons so how could I go wrong? Never tried this soup before but labels indicated a healthy choice. MISTAKE! Never buy more than 1 of anything if you’ve never tried it. I took 3 sips of this soup & it burned my tongue. Way too spicy. So this “free” soup is no longer free as it will now cost me gas & time (25 minutes to the nearest food pantry) to donate the 3 other free cans. GRRRRRRRRRRR

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 11:07 AM

      There she is! I told you I was going to share this with the world, haha… Sparking up quite the discussion already – thanks for unloading on us :)

      1. Debbie January 29, 2018 at 12:26 PM

        I plead the 5th to being the former coupon addict in this posting. I’ve now been in coupon rehab just over a year. It took awhile to realize…it’s a store’s business to get you to spend as much money as possible. Notice all that tempting candy & other $1 stuff at the check out register. They count on us to impulsively grab these items & imagine how much more $$ they make, if each customer spends just $1 on this stuff. Many stores purposely put the most desirable items (milk, bread, eggs) at the back of the store forcing you to walk by a ton of other displays that catch your eye & (they) hopefully catch your wallet! I’ve learned to put my blinders on to these tricks & stick to my list. Some stores hand you Catalinas when you check out which can’t be used until your next trip to the store…these are more coupons, some for items you JUST BOUGHT enticing you to return to spend more $$ ASAP since many of these coupons expire in just a week or two. With so much competition, especially at grocery stores, they try every trick in the book. Buyers beware!

        1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 6:40 AM

          Indeed!! I remember working at our college bookstore once and wondering why they put all the catalogs that everyone needed allllll the way in the back and not in the front to make it more convenient for people? I asked my manager about it and he shot back – “We don’t want it to be convenient! We want people searching all around for it so they hopefully pick up other things to buy too.” My mind was blown… and then I vomited a little in my mouth.

  20. Olivia @ Birds of a FIRE January 29, 2018 at 8:57 AM

    I’m always amazed at these people but being that I live in a HCOL city there’s no room for storage lol. Maybe once I retire and move I’d consider it. Sounds fun, but I really don’t need that much stuff!

  21. Ted January 29, 2018 at 9:04 AM

    Anything with the word extreme attached to it isn’t a good idea. I do see the benefit of reviewing the weekly circular to find meat and produce on sale for weekly meal prep and food budget reasons. People mentioned apps, does anyone care to share a good couponing app?

  22. G January 29, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    There’s a diminishing return on effort. If you walk by a penny on the ground, pick it up. If you get a hot tip that there’s a penny on the sidewalk on the other side of town, do not drive over there to get it. Coupons are a target of opportunity. If extreme components put that much effort into a minimum wage job, or even better their next promotion, they would be in a better position than with the coupons.

  23. Joe January 29, 2018 at 9:58 AM

    It’s dead because the economy is awesome. Couponing will make a come back when we’re in a recession.
    Buying too much stuff is crazy, though. That’s hoarding.

  24. Kate January 29, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    I have been encouraged time and again to get into extreme couponing, but every time I tried the apps and coupons, it was too much time. I just focus on store brands and buy when items are on sale or in season. That seems to save me quite a bunch, and I’m able to skip scanning into a million apps or finding digital coupons. It saves so much time, and time is a little more important to me right now.

  25. Roxanna January 29, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Once I started shopping at Aldi’s I realized that they were almost always cheaper than my regular store was even when things were on sale and I used coupons. I now almost exclusively shop there and don’t give it another thought or second of my time clipping or apping any coupons!

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 11:19 AM

      I feel like they need a bumper sticker or something because people rave about them!!

      “Once you go Aldi, your wallet never goes baldy” haha…

  26. Done by Forty January 29, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Generally, I try to go with the ‘you do you’ approach to these things. While I’ve never been in to extreme couponing, I don’t have any problem with it on its face.


    These sort of things do have externalities: costs that the rest of consumers (including people who are crazy poor) have to bear. When you get $500 worth of product for free, there’s a cost born by manufacturers. That cost is very likely to be spread out in higher prices for everyone else…and some less wealthy consumers are really going to feel that pinch.

    So I guess I’d say, do it if you have to: do it if it’s hard to make ends meet. But if you’re already kicking ass with money…

    1. J. Money January 29, 2018 at 11:25 AM

      Interesting take!

      Kinda similar to when stores and manufacturers had to change up their practices once the Extreme Couponing shows went viral and everyone got mad that they “ruined it for them…” Pretty much making a lot of the good couponing hacks obsolete when everyone caught on!

  27. JoeHx January 29, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    I’ll use coupons if it’s for something I’m already going to get, but I don’t go out of my way to get coupons. I never got into extreme couponing, and if I did I probably would donate all the stuff I got. It was also my understanding a lot of stores put policies in place to deter extreme couponing, or make it impossible to begin with.

  28. Dave @ Married with Money January 29, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    I agree with 99to1. Extreme couponing will come back. It’s like the 17-year cicada who is just waiting underground for its time.

    The big thing for me is I never want coupons to take over my buying decisions. I make a decision to purchase something, then figure out how to make it as inexpensive as I can.

    It’s like Paula P says in regards to taxes. First figure out what you want, then optimize it.

      1. Dave @ Married with Money January 30, 2018 at 10:35 AM

        Dude I started listening to that late last year from Episode 1. I was super bummed when you left, but understood why. I think I’d be in the same mindset as you.

        I was happy that she still had you in the blooper reel for a few more episodes, hahaha. You two always cracked me up.

        I’m almost caught up on her podcast now, about 20 episodes to go.

        1. J. Money February 9, 2018 at 6:55 PM

          oh yeah!! Forgot she kept all the bloopers! Haha… they were somehow only from ME too, she rarely messed up :)

  29. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom January 29, 2018 at 12:35 PM

    I’m in the camp that it has mellowed out right now since we have a great economy. As soon as we hit another recession, extreme couponing will again rear it’s ugly head is some way, shape or form.

    I still use ibotta. It’s a habit now, even if it is slow growing! And I always shop with sales ads in hand or, er, device. :) Doing this helps us stick to a lower grocery budget so we can free up more money for FUN!

  30. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life January 29, 2018 at 1:14 PM

    I only ever almost-extreme couponed but I still have an abundant supply of razors from back then. PiC and I were clearing out my old stash from the old house and he couldn’t believe it. I really enjoy not paying for razors now and am a little sad my toothbrush/toothpaste stash has run out, but the coupons just aren’t as good as they used to be. :D

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 6:48 AM

      Haha, nice… Def. no shame in stocking up stuff you actually use!!

  31. Kat January 29, 2018 at 1:25 PM

    So…I work for a couponing app company (one that was not mentioned here, so please don’t ask me about Ibotta) and I have to say that it is definitely underground. It seems to have gotten more intense even as it’s gotten less popular. We often have people trying to stack various apps on top of store discounts and paper coupons to get “money makers” and they get very contentious when something doesn’t work as planned (one app blocks another from using the offer, the product sizes are different from the offer, etc). I would be very shocked if it didn’t pick up again when there is a down turn in the economy, as most of our customers would tell you that they are only getting by because of the offers provided.

    However, given that I work for one of those companies, I can’t be assed to do it myself. I’ll test some offers for the company and have taken advantage of some offers if I’m buying something already, but I am too damned tired at the end of the day to do the extreme thing. I live in a tiny city apartment – there’s no storage space for a stockpile and I’m not getting rid of things I care about to store laundry detergent.

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 7:03 AM

      Fascinating that you work for a coupon app!!! Maybe one day you’ll have to do a “Confessions of a Coupon worker” post or something, haha… Anonymously of course, so we can get all the juicy dirt ;)

    2. Sarah January 30, 2018 at 4:06 PM

      I recently ran across a couponing facebook group that had been recommended to me. It was full of dishonest people scamming stores and so much coupon fraud I left it the same day. I was shocked at the number of people who didn’t seem to think it was wrong to flat out steal from companies. Not to mention the resellers. Really sad, and then good coupons and sales are less and less.

  32. Frankie January 29, 2018 at 2:42 PM

    Unfortunately (fortunately?) we don’t have such extreme couponing in Australia, and are pretty much dominated by two supermarkets. But I DO get very excited when the weekly specials come out, and definitely stock up on things we actually use!

    We also receive weekly emails which highlight your ‘favourite items’ that are on sale – from tracking what you’ve bought in the past. Used to really freak me out, but now I’m happy to be presented with bargains on things I actually buy :) (as opposed to stocking up on ‘new’ things I’ve never tried like Debbie’s disgusting soup – although have learnt the hard way from that mistake before…)

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 7:04 AM

      Haha… marketing is definitely getting sneakier and sneakier as time goes on, but at least some of it *does* help us!

  33. Divnomics January 29, 2018 at 3:58 PM

    I always saw extreme couponing as something, well, rather extreme. And something very American. Never did any of those, although we have coupons here, they won’t give you as much discount as overseas. I did remember watching the tv-shows though, amazing what people can store in their houses sometimes!

    Currently I shop all my groceries online as much as possible, no distractions, no shopping when hungry, only buying what I need.

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 7:07 AM

      Do you ever get tempted at alllll the other stuff you can find online though? Like mainly through Amazon or Ebay? Haha… those have been my money snatchers lately, always seems to have *something* I didn’t know I wanted until getting there ;)

  34. Mrs. Picky Pincher January 29, 2018 at 4:34 PM

    I used to be an extreme couponer! It’s really hard to get out of the habit, especially when you feel like you’re saving so much money and “gaming” the system.

    In hindsight, it’s the “spavings” phenomenon at its worst.

    I still coupon, but only for items that I’m already buying. It’s too easy to add items to your cart if they’re $1 off, but it ain’t worth it!

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 7:08 AM

      YES TO SPAVINGS!!!! A multiplier of spavings even, the worst!

  35. Dash2Retire January 29, 2018 at 4:39 PM

    I watched an episode of “Extreme Couponing” once and when the camera panned to the stockpile in the basement, it looked like the people were literally preparing for a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

  36. michelle January 29, 2018 at 4:53 PM


    So FUNNY! So, I was/am an extreme couponer. Here is what I did, I went silly for 12months knowing that there would be a career change and needed to pre-emptively “stock up” on essentials for the next three years. Budget: $300 for the month =$1200 in product.

    It was successful, and has eased the career change so as not to put the whole household into utter shock.

    NOW is very simple to have a food store trip where you ACTUALLY come home with food, because the rest of everything is covered. The budget now is less, and actually get groceries delivered so I don’t have to go in there!

    I’ll start up again this spring and super coupon for about five months, spend no more than three hours a week total, and wait for that big one that pays me to take it out of the store! (last year was stellar!)

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 7:11 AM

      So like *bursts* of extreme couponing then? I can get down with that… especially since it serves a larger – and more distinct – purpose :) (And also if it only does really take 3 hours a week!) I hope the new career change is treating you just as well too!

  37. Catseye January 30, 2018 at 1:08 AM

    Yeah, I’d say extreme couponing was a fad and most coupon users wouldn’t have the time/energy to keep up with it indefinitely. I’ve never known anyone who did it, or who would admit to it, anyway!
    I used to clip coupons on a regular basis, put them in a coupon holder, then leave them at home when I went to the grocery store. ;o) I don’t bother with them these days except for the coupons that Kroger sends me through their loyalty program. I prefer to save money through sales and clearance items.

  38. The Frugaler January 30, 2018 at 11:29 AM

    I’m actually thinking about going the opposite direction. NO COUPONS! Blasphemy you may say.
    However,I’ve found that it leads to the following negative behaviors:
    hoarding coupons- you get a coupon in the mail for something you may or may not even need but save it “just in case” which leads to a pile of mostly expired coupons that take up space and add ti the clutter in your house
    Hoarding products- I’m pretty sure I won’t have to buy soap/shampoo for at least 3 years. Yes we saved a few bucks but now we have a large stash of “stuff” that we need to organize, store, and remember we have
    Wastes time- how much time did we spend finding coupons clipping, organizing, and planning the use of all of the coupons? In some cases we realized we would spend hours of time just to save maybe $20.

    There is definitely an opportunity cost. I don’t know that the financial benefit it weighs the negatives listed above.

    If I need to but something I don’t have to check for a coupon, search for a coupon if I don’t have one, time it with another sale, etc. I’ll probably still use the honey chrome add on but only because it it’s automatic.

    Craziness? Maybe. But I sure do get a lot of time back and right now that’s more important to me.

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 2:45 PM

      I USE HONEY TOO!!! SOOOO easy and automatic and just plain AWESOME. I swear 9 times out of 10 it saves me at least a dollar or two :)

  39. Kris January 30, 2018 at 2:45 PM

    I remember those extreme couponing shows, it was crazy to see people have a binder full of coupons and their strategy when they get to the supermarket. It’s like watching a football team preparing to play their opponent and have some plays specifically designed for the upcoming game. The best part was at the checkout counter where the person has two shopping carts full of items and as the clerk rings up the item, you see the register display as the prices keeps going down. And when everything is scanned, the customer usually gets some money back for buying so many items. Then when they come home and store all those items, it sort of looks like they own a convenient store because of the hundreds of items they have.

    1. J. Money January 30, 2018 at 2:48 PM

      Haha yup… Great for TV, not so much if you’re waiting behind them in line :)

  40. Tonya January 30, 2018 at 5:53 PM

    I am cheap. I hate paying full price for anything. I HATE coupons. I carry them around in my wallet and forget to use them.

  41. jen13 January 30, 2018 at 7:39 PM

    I stopped using coupons when I once read something that made sense to me…Someone once wrote that it amazed him how people spend so much time clipping coupons and driving from store to store to save .25 on an item but will overpay thousands of dollars on cars, homes, appliances etc. That’s when i decided to stop with the cent coupons and pay attention to my big purchases.

    1. J. Money January 31, 2018 at 6:34 AM

      The big ones definitely change the game if you can master ’em!

  42. lisa January 31, 2018 at 3:10 AM

    When the craze hit, our local markets did several things: 1) stopped doubling coupons 2) stopped allowing more than one coupon per item, even if it was a manufacturer and store coupon for an item. It’s either one or the other. 3) put quantity limits on items 4) added transaction limits.

    That pretty much put the brakes on it all.

    As for me, I rarely use coupons. I buy a lot of produce, dairy and meats and there aren’t many coupons for those. I only buy what I need. And I pretty much ignore the sales flyers so I’m not tempted.

    1. Mandy March 14, 2018 at 10:09 AM

      This. I was never a super crazy couponer, but I liked to stock up on things we actually used. The stores have definitely put limits on extreme couponing where I live.

  43. ZJ Thorne February 9, 2018 at 12:20 PM

    The only friend I know that does this uses her finds to stock domestic violence shelters. She never frenzied. Just loved shopping and spending nothing.

    1. J. Money February 9, 2018 at 6:56 PM

      Love that idea :) You’ve got a beautiful friend.

  44. JW August 12, 2018 at 8:57 PM

    LOL… Glad to have less competition on this…
    -It’s not about having 100+ bottles of Shampoo/Conditioner in a stock-pile, it’s about overages. We give away all the extras. The genius in this is like this… Sale = buy 5 bottles of Shampoo @ $1.99 and get $5.00 off instantly (Making them $0.99 each)
    Use 5x coupons @ $2 off per 1 bottle of (x) Shampoo coupons and you get a free $5.00 overage for other purchases ($5.05 actually) #ThanksShampooYouJustPaidForMilk

    1. J. Money August 13, 2018 at 6:10 AM

      Hahaha…. Love it.

  45. Chris March 28, 2022 at 5:38 PM

    Great post J Money!

    I’m finding this article in 2022. I can say extreme couponing is officially dead. Plus everything is digital now so no more clipping newspaper coupons.

    I still find the new apps like Ibotta addictive so maybe that is the new trend. It has the same effect by making me stress out over a 25c savings lol.

    – Chris