REALISTIC “Extreme Couponing”: Part 1

Thank you for the feedback!  Sounds like some people are using the site so we will continue.  We are going to try to add some more in, like this series and some giveaways. So, now let’s get started with finding coupons!

First, let me explain the title and our position.  This is just totally our opinion, but we recommend NOT watching “Extreme Couponing” (especially if you are new to coupons).  We only watched the premiere last year so we can’t judge if it is still the same as it was then, but it seems like it is.  In our opinion, this show is NOT realistic at all because:
1) None of the stores in our area would ever accept that many coupons (if they even had that many of an item in stock – We wonder if the stores are allowing the people to use that many coupons just for the publicity of being on the show)
2) Those people spend a TON of money buying their coupons and we doubt they factor that cost into their savings
3) They are hoarders -We like having a stockpile of extra products that we will use on hand.  This is nice for the times after a busy week when we haven’t been able to get to the store and need to plan some meals, I usually have enough of my “staples” on hand that I can open my pantry and be able to whip a few dinners together with what we have on hand.  Our families sometimes “shop” from us because they don’t want to invest the time into coupons so they donate money to our daughter’s bank account and they are paying much less than store prices.  It also comes in handy when you hear of a family that is in need of items.  Instead of needing to buy them, you can go to your stockpile and grab what they need.  Our church works with Amen! ministries and they often need things like laundry detergent.  If we can get it really cheap or free, then we do buy a lot of it because we know they can use it.  However, we do not believe in buying 100 cartons of something or a product that we would never use and filling up a whole bedroom of stuff. lol
4) They buy mostly junk food – Yes, there are many coupons for junk food.  Our family personally believes everything in moderation, so we will buy the occasional bag of chips, pizza, or candy.  I will never be one that does not buy prepared foods.  I like having them on hand for the night where I lose track of time and need to have dinner on the table quickly and I’m just not good at baking and doing things completely from scratch.  However, we have also been able to get healthier about some things so the coupons are out there.  For example, all of our rice, bread, pasta, etc. is now only the whole grain kind and most of the milk we (Dave and I) drink is soy or almond milk (our little one still has to drink her cow milk of course).  Even if you have allergies, diabetes, etc. and you cannot eat a lot of the foods that have coupons, you can save a lot of money using coupons for all of your cleaning and personal items.

If you watch the show and expect to go to the store and get as much as they do for a little as they do, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  So, now I will step off of my soapbox.  If you enjoy the show, please keep enjoying it.  We just don’t want people to expect to go to the store and get the same results they do.

Now, where do we get the coupons?  You really need to have a printer so that you can get the good printable coupons.  We usually wait to print the coupon until we see we can pair it with a sale or we know we will use it.  When we first started, we were printing a lot of coupons and then we didn’t use them so it was a waste of ink and paper.  Staples will often have sales/rebates on their printer paper (we have never run out of paper and I don’t think we’ve paid more than $1.00 per pack after rebates).  We also buy our ink online from places that sell the refilled cartridges so it is much cheaper as well.

We also recommend buying a Sunday newspaper.  In our opinion, the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post have the better coupons (for those reading this in Delaware).  The Philadelphia Inquirer has decent coupons but they tend to not have all the inserts that the other papers have.  We also usually get the inserts from the News Journal from family members that do not use coupons.  Please note though that the Baltimore Sun has raised the price for those of us that are not in Baltimore to $3.00.  Needless to say, we’ve been buying the Post lately instead. 🙂

There are not any inserts in the newspapers on a holiday, so unless you read the paper, no need to buy one then.  Once a month there is a P&G brand insert and then weekly there are also Smart Source and Red Plum inserts.  Some people might get a Red Plum insert with your weekly ads in the mail so make sure you check those before just throwing them out!  Occasionally, like this past Sunday, there are also General Mills inserts and Pepsi inserts.

Some people may wonder about buying coupons.  We have done this in the past, but lately haven’t needed to.  I wouldn’t recommend buying whole inserts (if you ever miss a week of the paper and want the whole set, check with us first because we usually try to grab some extra papers for that reason!).  The only way we would consider it is if there is a product that you use a lot and would use the coupons whether or not the item will go on sale.  Even then, it may not be worth it.

Okay, so I am going to wrap up today just because I feel like I already wrote a book.  Next time we will go over how to organize all those coupons you are getting!  To end today I just want to show you our shopping trip last Thursday.  Don’t expect this outcome when you are first starting – you will just feel overwhelmed, but this will show you something to look forward to!  And remember, make sure you let us know of any questions you have.  At the end of the series I may do a Q & A post.

On Thursday, we had to run into Milford on some errands and decided we would stop at Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid, and the dreaded Wal-Mart (only to look at sunglasses, a new shredder, etc. lol).  Plus, we had a bunch of free product coupons that were going to expire soon.  Here’s how we did:

Walgreens:
2 Family size bags of Popcorn Indiana $1.99 each – (2) $1.00/1 coupons
Colgate Optic White toothpaste $.99 – $1.00/1 coupon
1 Pantene Shampoo and 1 Conditioner – (2) free product coupons for Pantene
= $.96 TOTAL plus got $2.00 back in register rewards (the Pantene was on sale B1G1 50% off and our cashier messed everything up…Dave tried to explain how it should be and they couldn’t figure it out and insisted on this, but we think it should have been more)

Walmart:
1 Aussie Damaged Hair Treatment $2.88 – free coupon
1 Herbal Essences Hair Spray $2.84 – free coupon
= free

Rite Aid (2 transactions): *also note that we have enough points to have a discount on regularly priced items so our prices may not be the same as yours*
1st Transaction:
G.U.M. PerioBalance $24.99 ($22.49 b/c of our Wellness+ discount) – $5.00 coupon
= $17.49 OOP (out of pocket) plus received $20.00 in +UP rewards

2nd Transaction:
John Freida Hair Color Foam $10.79 – free coupon
John Freida Shampoo and Conditioner (trial size) $1.34 each
4 Sobe Life Waters $1.00 each – (2) $1.00/2 Rite Aid video coupons
2 Irish Spring Bodywashes $2.99 each – (2) $1.00/1 coupons
2 Softsoap Bodywashes $2.99 each – (2) $1.00/1 coupons
2 Snapple Iced Teas $.99 each -(2)  $1.00/2 Rite Aid video coupons
2 Oral-B 3D White Vivid toothbrushes $2.69 each – (2) $1.00/1 coupons
= $24.08 – $20 +UP rewards from the previous purchase = $4.08 OOP (out of pocket) plus received $23.38 in +UP rewards for future purchases

So that means we got all of the above for only $22.53 OOP and we got back $45.38 in rewards!

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6 responses to “REALISTIC “Extreme Couponing”: Part 1

  1. Thanks for this post & all you do to help everyone save money. I started couponing in February 2011 & your website was the first site that was recommended to me. I have been faithful to your site ever since. While I do look at a few other sites for shopping ideas, I love your site because it is local information. Thanks again for all of your work.

  2. Pingback: Realistic “Extreme” Couponing: Session 2 | Life's a Beach…When Saving Money!

  3. Pingback: Realistic “Extreme” Couponing Session 3 | Life's a Beach…When Saving Money!

  4. Pingback: Realist “Extreme” Couponing Session 4 | Life's a Beach…When Saving Money!

  5. Pingback: Realistic “Extreme” Couponing Session 5 | Life's a Beach…When Saving Money!

  6. Pingback: Realistic “Extreme” Couponing Session 6 | Life's a Beach…When Saving Money!

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