Saturday, November 5, 2011

Is Extreme Couponing a Workable Deal?

Who hasn’t been amazed at those folks on the couponing shows who manage to get $200 of groceries for only $13? I know I have. I’ve envied them too. There are a few reasons why I won’t ever be the next Extreme Couponing Queen. I have a full time job, which prevents me from spending 20 hours a week combing newspapers, online coupons sites and sending off for coupons. Never mind the time needed to organize coupons, plus plan shopping trips to stores that maximize double, even triple coupons promotions, plus mailing in the rebates. Then there is the expense of buying the newspapers, and ordering coupons that I need to deduct from my amazing savings. I would be able to pay myself $7 an hour for every hour spent couponing. Most jobs pay more and offer some benefits.

My sister is an extreme couponer. She showed me off a garage full of metal shelving units filled with endless rolls of Rice Roni, canned tomatoes and cleaning supplies. My first thought was it looked like a supermarket. My second thought was she doesn’t cook much and she has a cleaning lady. How in the world can she use up all these items?

Would you buy something if you had a really good coupon? I would, at least once. This is what the manufacturer is hoping you’ll do. If I find out I don’t like the product for some reason then I would never buy it again. Makes sense. The extreme couponer often stocks up on items she’s unfamiliar with since it is such a good deal. Even items she would normally use go bad, especially cereals, crackers, chips and cookies. Cake and bread mixes attract weevils. Grain products attract rodents and moths. Grocery stores constantly battle insect and rodent issues. Do you want this for your garage or basement? If you live in a hot, humid climate there are few things you can store for long. It is never a good deal to have items that will simply be thrown away at a later date.

Instead of extreme couponing, I participate in Pretty Good Couponing. I sign up for all the promos, rebates, and loyalty cards I can. I usually get coupons in the mail from retail stores for 30-50% off. If I want to go to a particular store or place, I google a promo code for it. I usually find one.

Use your connections to get coupons or promos. I actually get several discounts from my AAA card and being active duty. Don’t be afraid to ask for the discount. I paw through the newspaper because coupons aren’t always in the middle. I listen to the radio for deals. I print off coupons I hear about. I tell my friends what I am interested in because they may have a coupon for it, or know a promo code.

Bring ads from competitors and ask if your favorite store will meet their price. Many will. Always talk to the manager often sales associates do not know. I do online surveys to keep myself in Penney’s coupons. Each coupon is good for $10 for any $25 worth of merchandise.

On the whole, I do not shop without a coupon, a promo code, or a loyalty card. I may not save $200 on groceries, but I do okay, especially considering the time I put into it, which isn’t much. I only buy products I like and will use. So for me it is a win-win situation.

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