Extreme Couponing: Does it Really Work?

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Like many others, I’ve been fascinated by the show Extreme Couponing that recently started airing on TLC.  It’s insane to see people get $1000 worth of groceries for $100 or less.  I begin to think to myself: what makes them so special?  I then get it into my head that Iam going to become an extreme couponerI am going to beat the system.  I can do this.  But then I realized I can’t, and this is why… 

Time

Extreme couponing is just that: extreme.  The amount of time that is required to make couponing even worth it is way more than I can afford.  Most couponers on the show do this as a full time job, which is great if there is another source of income streaming into the household, but if there is not, this is just impractical.

Real Money Spent

You may be saving hundreds of dollars on your groceries, but you are spending money somewhere.  Sure, you can get coupons out of the paper or the weekly circular, but you have to pay for the paper at some point.  In addition to these coupons, extreme couponers need to find alternative sources for coupons, such as coupon sites such as couponbug which charge fees for their services.

The Goods

Think to yourself long and hard: do you really want that wheat raisin sugar free cereal?  Or are you just buying it because you have a coupon?  Do you really need 42 cans of spagettios which you will again stock up on next week because you will find even more coupons?  I don’t think so.  Most likely you will be buying things you wouldn’t normally just because you will be getting a great deal and you will have an excess of products that you don’t really need or want, no matter how much you think you do.  Plus, most items that have coupons are processed and unhealthy.  Rarely will you see a coupon for meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables.  You know, the stuff you really want your family to be eating. 

So my advice is this: coupons are great but you should use them on items you really want and you know you will use.  Don’t stock up on anything you don’t want just because it’s cheap… that dangerously close to hoarding territory.  And if after all this you still want to hold the title of extreme couponer, make sure you are familiar with stores’ coupon policies.  Don’t waste your time cutting 25 50 cent coupons for oreos if it says ‘one offer per household.’   

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