October 21, 2014

Realistic Couponing

Dec 31, 2010

You do NOT have to spend hours clipping coupons. Learn how to set realistic expectations and save money without extreme couponing.

The new show “Extreme Couponing” on TLC has shocked everyone with the incredible potential of coupon savings. It has also exposed the dark side of couponing.

I think the people on that show are likely not as extreme as they were portrayed (it is television after all), however the show has given people unrealistic expectations for couponing and given couponers unfair representation.

If you want to learn to coupon and save 50% or more on your grocery bill, then I can certainly help – and you won’t need to spend 70+ hours a week on couponing!

Realistic Time

Realistically I spend 30-45 minutes a week clipping coupons and putting together a shopping list. This is typically for shopping at 2 stores – 1 grocery store and 1 drug store. How long you spend on this depends on how many stores you shop at and how long you have been couponing. My couponing grocery trips rarely take longer than a trip where I don’t use coupons (scanning coupons really only takes a few minutes in a normal shopping trip).

After you set up a coupon system like a coupon binder, there really isn’t that much to it! Coupon sites like mine even match up coupons for you which saves you a ton of time!  Just pull the coupons you need, print your list and go!

Realistic Spending

Sure the people on that show save a ton of money, but how much are they spending to get that savings? I also consider my time valuable. If I’m taking away time from my family then the cost is too high, regardless of the savings.

I think it is entirely possible to save 50% or more on your grocery bill. The savings will vary depending on your family size and eating habits. I do think that everyone can use coupons though. There is a myth that there are no coupons for healthy foods and it is simply not true. They are not quite as common, but nutritious deals are definitely available.

Realistic Stockpile

Okay, 1500 sticks of deodorant? 40 years worth of toilet paper? That is just not realistic to me. Sales come in cycles and you should definitely buy a few months worth of the items your family will use or eat, but there’s no need to buy more than that. A good rule of thumb is to buy one newspaper per family member. Then when your favorite pasta goes on sale, you buy more than one box because you have multiple coupons.

For our family of four I used to buy four newspapers per week. Now that I’ve been couponing for a while (and the cost of newspapers has gone up), I have cut back to just two newspapers per week. This really is plenty for our family! We have an extra shelf in the garage to store our stockpile (I could probably eliminate this too if I were more organized), but everything else is just stored regularly in the pantry or cabinets. I am also able to donate on a regular basis, even with my relatively small stockpile.

Realistic Expectations

Please don’t expect to save 98% on your very first coupon shopping trip. Yes, it can happen, but it takes some time and work. You have to collect coupons every week and build up your stockpile. Once you’ve done that, you have the freedom to “cherry pick”. That means you only go to the store to buy the freebies and cheapies.

I am not trying to discourage you at all, I just want to make sure you have realistic expectations. Couponing really is a blast, so I completely understand how some people can become addicted to it!

I suggest reading some of the posts in my getting started section before you begin. Be sure to subscribe to my free email updates to get couponing tips, deals, and freebies sent to your inbox!

Couponing can be a great way to save your family money, and it doesn’t have to be an obsessive hobby!

photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via photopin cc


Comments

  1. Thank you! I’m an avid coupon user and enjoy the savings but at some point it crosses from “frugality” into “mental illness.”

    I think 1500 rolls of toilet paper is a very good sign you have hit the mile-marker on the latter. You may, in fact, be deep into crazy territory.

    • @Kymberly, How about just donating the extra 900 TP rolls to a food bank, church or other organization for the needy – what a way to have the stores and manufactures pay into the community.

      • @michelle, Also you can donate to Domestic Violence Shelters. I have been there and they depend on the community. I remember there being days where we at out of date food and had NO toiletries. It is just an Idea if you need some to help others. :)

        • I totally agree!!! I haven’t been in a womens shelter but do donate to them. I gave them a washer and dryer when I bought my new set. But, there are babies and children that people forget! These women mostly leave with a sm. bag if anything! I also tell friends this time of yr. Bath and body works has it’s semi annual sale. Everything is atliest 1/2 off. So, I get 2 and donate 1! These families are desperate!!!The have a month for everything under the sun but I dont know of a domestic abuse month.

      • @michelle, there are people who do donate,alot that you see on “extreme couponing do just that.

        • Well , that’s the problem, I hear them saying they donate(not actually doing it) but if they do ,how come they still have their pantry,garage and basements full of stuff???? Most of them like to stare at the pile , what they like is to accumulate!@Debbie,

      • Part of my motivation for couponing is being able to donate to the food bank. I have had to use the food bank off and on. I would like to offer them whatever I can.

    • :( I want extreme coupons, not realistic ones.

      That’s like saying I’d rather just make a realistic amount of money, and not an extreme amount

    • Thuis site is so helpful! Thank you SO much… TLC’s show is exciting but certainly overwhelming I appreciate you breaking it down into realistic steps :)

    • @Kymberly,

      Thank you for writing this article.
      I too believe couponing should be realistic and not based on greed or obsessive hoarding. t works and I am proof. As a teacher, (after watching Extreme Couponing on TLC), I did my research. I subscribed to blogs, I bought the Krazy Coupon Lady’s book, and I read websites. The more I learned the more I realized that I could find coupons for items I needed, and I could find coupons for healthy items.

      What I am loving now is combining my ink rewards from staples with coupons to get offices supplies I use for my classroom. They are going to take away our $110 yearly classroom supply allowance “Teachers Choice” in September so I have to plan strategically. You’d be suprised how things have come in handy in a multi-subject classroom such as mine. I teach reading writing and art at a high school. Having things like paper towels, bandaids, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and even kotex, comes with the territory.

      CVS, Staples and Stop and Shop have been the best places to shop for me thus far. At the very basic level learning about couponing has made me bring my binder with me everywhere and my canvas eco friendly bags too. I have stopped impulse shopping, and I dont collect mountains of plastic bags.

      Realistic couponing strategies work.

    • @Kymberly, I believe that the amount of extra food and supplies is wasteful unless donated. Experation dates have to run out before these Extreme Couponers can use all the stuff. I also would think that mice, bugs excetra would be easily acquired, if a stockpile such as on the Show Extreme Couponing were to happen.

    • I am so greatful for your site. I became interested in couponing as a way to save huge amounts of money. I am the only person working in my family. My husband is disabled and we have a daughter who is autisitic. Any amount of money I can save and focus more time at home is a huge weight off my shoulders..

      Thank you.

    • i am 18, i am just starting to get in to this couponing thing, and i have NO idea what to do my fiance and i are trying to save as much money as possible on anything that we can and groceries are a big goal for us. how do you use them can you use more than one for the same product,if you print them off of something like cuponsuzie.com can you use them at any store i am so lost. i am realistic about it and dont want to be buying 1000 things of one item i just need a better outlook on how it all comes together someone help

      • It’s good that you are trying to save. My family needed to, and since early November, we’ve saved over $1500 and have years of bodywash, detergent, tooth paste and deoderant (even after donating a large majority) and months worth of food. Even if you save like $20 $30 of $40 every couple shopping trips, it really starts to add up. Keeping track of what you save really makes you motivated to save more than you’ve spent. Example: Find something on sale, then go online or grab a paper, and try to find a coupon. If you do, you double your savings. If a box of whatever costs $6.99, and it’s on sale for $3.49, and you find a coupon for a $1.00 off (if you live near a store that doubles on a regular basis, you’ve got a good starting point) then you spend a total of $2.49 for a savings of $4.50, which not only is more than what you paid, but that goes towards other items on your shopping trip, and trust me…everything rolls into a large savings snowball from there. As long as you save more than you spend, you’re actually making money. If you save $45 on a shopping trip, that’s that much more for whatever you need it for, and $45 on my average shopping trips would equal to about $500 extra a month!

    • Kathy Walz says:

      Yea, that is sooo true! They can pad your cell with all that TP.

    • Cynthia Harper says:

      lol I agree. If I have a good coupon on something I do not use, I still get it and give it to some one who can use it.

  2. AMEN! I teach school and still have plenty of time to clip my coupons, shop, and spend time with my family.

    • Samantha says:

      @JK, This is what I needed to see. I recently told friends I would get into couponing if I could spend just a few hours setting something up then only have to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour a week getting the coupons. They all went on to say they spend 30 minutes to 1 hour a NIGHT clipping coupons. That totally turned me off!! But, your comment gives me hope again! I picked up the Sunday paper today with pocket change and I plan on getting it next week too!

      • @Samantha, are your friends new to it? I know it takes me a little while to get my stuff together, but I’m also brand new to it and I’m hoping that once I get the hang of it, I’ll become MUCH faster. I also usually do a little each night because I only have so much time, so that could be something to consider!

  3. I watched that on TLC, actually that show is the reason I researched couponing. I loved the idea that coupons save money, but I agree 100% that some ppl take it waaayyy too far! I don’t understand how some people think it’s saving them money to buy things that they will never use, (even if it is at a huge savings).
    I am a 30-something, single mother who became disabled after a spinal cord injury. I have had a difficult few years physically, financially and emotionally. My life has just started coming together again. I thank you very much for sharing your tips and hope to gain the knowledge to be able to save enough money to take my boys on vacation for the first time since my injury. God bless :)

    • Mary Ann says:

      @Krysti,

      Thank you for your comments. I have a rule I live by.

      If it aint on sale or learance
      If I don’t have a coupon. I do not buy it.

      • how about milk or meats?

        • Lori- milk is on sale almost every week, so I just price match it at Walmart. For meat, I only buy it when it goes on sale, like when chicken from my favorite grocery store goes on sale for $1.69 per lb, I buy enough to get me through the next sale. Never pay full price :)

  4. I started couponing almost exactly one year ago. I decided to keep really strict track of my out of pocket expenses so that I could decide if this new habit was really worth my time. I too spend about 1 hour couponing and putting together my lists a week. My year is up, and my numbers are in: using your website, adding CVS to my shopping repertoire and one hour a week have saved me $1770 this year!! That is money, that at this time last year, I had already spent on groceries and items for my home!!

    I appreciate the savings sites like yours have given me, but as you said, time with my family is just as important. 70 hours a week!? That’s a little ridiculous!

  5. Kelli Hulon says:

    OMG! it is about time some one put things to a reality check. I have used coupons for 21 years, (i started when my 3rd son was born). I have always saved about 50% on my grocery bill. But in the last 3-5 years when this practice really started taking off I was feeling like I wasn’t doing something right. You see all theses sites posting these fabulous deals for free groceries and you have to wonder why you can’t do that. I only have time to shop at one or two stores and I do that only once every two weeks. That day is set aside for all grocery shopping. I have a 100.00 budget for a 6 member family. We eat very well on that! I do not buy many of the items on sale at the drug stores, such as soups and mac and cheese. (these items are cheaper when made from scratch) We eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. I garden and freeze for the off season. Couponing is fun and a necessary tool that helps me stay in my budget, I love it. But is can be a part time job!

    • Kelli, how?? I keep following all these sites, but I can get my bill just a bit cheaper. Do you spend $100/week or a month? We are a family of 4 and right now we have $35 for a week and I have no idea how we are going to do it..

      • Eve , just saw your post.$35 a week for a family of four is tough. One thing I would suggest is to choose a drug store such as CVS or Walgreens if you have one of these. Start by just focusing on the free or almost free after rewards items. You will begin to build a small stockpile of things you need like shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. You can then use your rewards to get more free things next week or use them to buy something you need this week. Example: If toothpaste were on sale for $2.99 with a $2 reward back and you had a $1 coupon. If the store limit was two, you could buy 2, use 2($1) coupons. This would make each toothpaste $1.99 but you get back $2 in rewards. You would spend $3.98 plus tax but end up with $4 in rewards (CVS). You could then use the $4 to buy say a gallon of milk( my CVS allows this) or some cereal. You would then have. 2 toothpastes and one or two grocery items for $3.98 plus tax. Also coupons are great, but on a really tight budget, check closely. If it is cheaper to buy a store brand than a name brand with a coupon on a particular item, go win the store brand. Also you probably have friends and family who throw away their coupon inserts. Ask around and you may be able to eliminate the cost of the Sunday paper. Remember, couponing is just one of the tools we use to build a better family buyer. Equally important is to know your local store prices and catch things at their lowest prices. For ex. I know it may be hard to story k You freezer right now but che k your ads. If Chicken were on a good sale this week you might wish to plan the meat portion of your meals around Chicken. You can get a lot of mileage out of one whole chicken ( don’t forget to make some soup stock). There is a great you tube series of videos on Clara’s Depression style cooking you might wish to watch. Ideas for inexpensive meals and she is so much fun to watch.HTH. Said a prayer for you and. Your family.

        • All GREAT tips!

          • I’m a 1 person household living on $100 foodstamps per month. I haven’t used very many coupons because they are always for unhealthy items so I wouldn’t be saving any money since they aren’t stuff I would use. I always shop the sales however. It seems like it would be really rough for 4 people on a $35/week budget. I would suggest skipping corn syrup as much as you can because it makes you more hungry and alters your brain state even though it’s in the “cheap foods”. Does anyone know how to get healthy foods coupons that aren’t already over-priced health foods?

  6. I couldn’t agree more. I regularly save 50-70% of my grocery bill with a family of 7 by using coupons. Once upon a time I had a coupon stockpile. Then I got lazy, we had a good amount of money coming in, and I just didn’t take the time. Now I am having to build it back up. Which sucks. But what they showed on “EC” was way over the top and will give people unrealistic expectations of what you can do couponing. The last guy though that donated the stuff he bought in excess I didn’t have a problem with. The girl who had her kids and her pregnant friend in the dumpster looking for coupons, I had a HUGE problem with. Seriously, dumpster diving for coupons. EWWW! And the black lady from Philly was rather realistic with her approach as well. She stated she didn’t stockpile and only bought what she needed. Which is great. I do the same thing in the grocery store she was doing, I have to admit. If I see someone buying something I have a coupon for but am not using, I had it over.

    BTW- I love your site and visit often for the Target deals and Walmart deals you post. Thanks for taking the time to do all the research for me!

    • @Brandi,
      Hi Brandi, I actually use that ladys website to do my couponing match ups. She actually is a very sweet honest lady that does not really dumpster dive. She told us on her site that yes she will look in the recycle for coupons but no she will not dumpster dive on a regular basis. She said it was requested of her to do for the show. She admits she still had no problem doing it just because she does go in the recycle but the actual diving for coupons was for the show to make it fun. Her web site is Krazy coupon Lady , everyone should actually give it a try I find it a pleasant fun very informative website to get info. :) She also donates to the food bank on a regular basis. Of course I don’t know her personally but she has been on a number of shows and she seems very sweet.

      • Michelle Carter says:

        @lisa,

        She wasn’t actually “dumpster diving” for coupons. She was in a recycle bin that is only for newspapers, magazines, and coupons. So, it wasn’t really “dirty”. And her pregnant friend was standing on the side. You make it sound as if she was standing in a pile of rotten food and dirty diapers! Also, I use her website as well and she seems like a very sweet and kind person and she’s extremely knowledgeable!

        • @Michelle Carter,
          I thought it was kind of funny to be honest. Its a recycling bin, paper only. When the winco coupons come out I go through the recyling bins at our post office. They are small garbage cans and not huge dumpsters but my kids think its hillarious. All but my oldest want to go with me to do it. Its like a treasure hunt. So far i found 8 this week and get 8lb of free hamburger, 8 free kraft bbq sauce, 8 shasta 2 liter soda, 8 Hunts Ketchup, & 8 Van Camps pork and beans. It was way worth it this time.

        • @Michelle Carter, I am just getting into the couponing process, and I have been interested and used some a little at a time but yes the show really got me to thinking how much i could save. I know I will never be able to do what they do but if I can save 50% on my grocery bill I will be very happy. Bandi I was looking at the things you named off that you were getting free example 8 lbs hamburger meat, what was the coupons for? I don’t ever seem to find any for free. Maybe its buy one get one free so you buy 8 lbs and get 8 free is that you had in your coupon? I am very interested in any ideas to help me get started from anyone.
          Kim

  7. Interesting show, I don’t recall the first two couponers talking about giving/donating any of their stockpile, that sorta makes me wonder if they have gotten so caught up in the process. I was impressed by all of the organization of their stockpile, at least they know what they’re going crazy for! (Saw an Ikea billboard, not on the show, “It’s not hoarding if it’s organized”). I’m not sure the stores I shop at would even let anyone use that many coupons, I catch grief sometimes trying to use 3 like coupons at Kroger, and forget WalMart or Target in my area, I’d probably be banned for life for even bringing that many q’s in the store.

    • @Stan, I was DESPERATELY waiting for someone on that show to donate something, and I was SO GLAD that the final person finally donated his cases and cases of Total.

      • Debbs Seattle says:

        The lady who was ‘dumpster diving, has a radio show that I listen to once a week on Fridays. She was relaying stories from other couponers from the show. Many were not ALLOWED to show themselves donating.

        There is a lot of shock value in the show on purpose… to simply make good tv that people will watch. And watch we do… 1.9 million viewers on avg. ea. week.

        I get “oh you are one of those Extreme Coupners” often – at least once a week. I always reply with “no a strategic shopper!” And I always ask them to look in my cart. The other day I was only buying 2 liquid soaps. I had to ask them what was extreme about TWO SOAPS?

        I really wish newcomers can separate the hype from the reality.

    • @Stan, Where you said that it is not hoarding if it is organized made me chuckle. The first time I saw this show all I could think was “This is just ‘Hoarders’ with OCD”. The ones that actually donate what don’t need or only get what they will use in a realistic time I totally understand, but the ones that are cramming their (& their kids) bedrooms full of “stockpiles” is just insanity. Alot of those people need some serious mental help. That said, I am just starting out with couponing & I am very excited to see what I can accomplish.

      P.S.- I was diagnosed with OCD 14 years ago & am also a shopaholic, so I am not trying to disrespect anyone or make light of a serious mental illness. I am just very aware of how this disorder can consume your entire life & be very dangerous.

  8. Nice post! I watched the show and thought I really should start collecting and using coupons. I don’t use them at all, which I know is just dumb. I spend an average of $180 per week on groceries for a family of three. I KNOW I can do better than that! I just rely on the in-store deals and have never clipped a coupon in my life. I’m going to start now, though! If I can save even 25% on my grocery bill, that would be amazing. I almost don’t know where to start, but I’ll take a good look at your site and get some ideas I’m sure.
    Thanks!

    • @Anne, Anne, I’ve always used SOME coupons, but thanks to this site, and then finding more coupon sites, my husband and I are regularly saving up to 50% at both grocery stores and drug stores. Yes, it’s a bit time consuming, but we are finding it a healthy challenge!

    • @Anne,

      Holy moly. $180 for three????

      I’ve spent as little as $35 for what was then a family of 3 without coupons. There wasn’t much variety or flexibility and ABSOLUTELY no convenience foods, but we were very broke. (And YES, we are in an expensive part of the country. That was my average for the year, and we didn’t eat out.)

      Since we aren’t broke anymore, I’ve been averaging $65/family of 4 with no coupons. So I wondered if coupons could really do much for me. I know the prices of the things I buy most often, and I was already saving 15-20% every shopping trip. How much better could coupons make it, especially since we don’t eat many convenience foods?

      Well, we do eat cereal, cheese, butter, eggs, cheese, and yogurt all the time–things I’ve found coupons for regularly. And my husband eats 1-3 cans of prepared soup per week just because he likes it. We also eat frozen and canned veggies and fruit, canned tomatoes and sometimes prepared pasta sauce, spices, flour, sugar, etc., etc. And we use toilet paper and paper towels. So I have definitely saved. I’ve gone from 15-20% off every bill to averaging healthily above 50%. I’m starting at RiteAid tomorrow.

      It definitely has cost me more time. It costs about an hour a week extra in going to additional stores. And it takes me several hours to cut and sort coupons–part of this is because I’m still clipping everything until I get a handle on what will we worth it in the long run and what won’t. But I do my clipping during our weekly movie and my sorting while homeschooling, so it minimally affects my week.

      I hope to get my grocery/health/household bill below $40/wk while increasing out luxuries. ($65/wk is food only.) After a few months, I’ll be clipping considerably less, too, as I figure out what’s never going to be worth it.

      • I am with Anne. A family of 3 usual grocery bill between $200 -$230!

        • @Diane, Wow! We live in Alaska, and I am at about $100-$125 for a family of 3. That usually includes toiletries and pharmaceuticals! I used to be a coupon queen, and had the weekly total down to $60-$80. With gas up here getting closer to $5/gal. We will be doing everything we can, including growing as much as we can in our 4 month growing season.
          Love your site! I follow via facebook and share the links a lot!

      • $65 a week for four people? That’s what goes in my household only for fruit ,vegetables and milk!

    • @Anne, Anne I am in the same boat as you are. But no more! I am going to start saving so as you learn if you want to share would be great and I will do the same. I am so proud of this site I feel like I actually have a chance in saving some money.

    • @Anne…I spend $130 a wk for a family of 5. I use my coupons and plan meals based on the sales ad, and what is available in my pantry. Since I started in January, I am saving about 37% based on my spreadsheet I use from this site. Since the sales are usually on a 12 week cycle, my meal plan is rotated accordingly. I only buy what I need. You can do it!!

      • @Melissa,

        Thanks everyone for the comments. I wrote that post January 1st and not only have I been couponing and stockpiling, I even started a blog at the end of January to show other people how to “Coupon”!
        Now I regularly save over 50% on my grocery bill and have saved over $3,200 so far this year!

    • Debbs Seattle says:

      Just start clipping! Keep your coupons in an orgaized fashion and keep them with you. Just spend 30 minutes scanning the grocery ads frontwards and backwards. Pick the best sale store that matches coupons you have.

      Think of it this way… If you could not pay for one item…say… salad dressing, for one year, how much would you save? And say toothpaste, same thing. And now toothbrushes. And pasta. And what if you only paid, say $1.37 a jug for laundry soap (32 loads). And what about premium razors for $0.50 or less a cartridge?

      These items were all free to me or super cheap in the last 30 days. Focus on finding 1 free or cheap bargain once a week. As your collecion of coupns grows, so will your skill and so will your weekly deals. Just go for one a week and learn one store at a time.

      And use rewards to get your tp and paper towels for free, because heaven knows, we all use it and it is not cheap.

      • how does a coupon, say 30 cents off, on pasta help if our stores do not double their coupon savings. will they take 2 or more coupons on the same item? Im not trying to be a smart alec, I really want to know. The experation dates dont last long either.

        • I also find that sales start the week after the coupon expires (in my town at least). it’s really frustrating. Plus a lot of time coupons are for example BUY 3 (of whatever), get 50 or 1.00 cents off. That doesn’t really help keep my budget down if I am forced to buy more. I know it’s technically cheaper per unit, but it’s the principal.

  9. this is what I like best about couponing… my husband asked me to quit my job (Registered Nurse) to raise our 3 young children. Reluctantly I submitted to his authority as the Man of the House. We went thru some financial rough ride the first year I quit work. I told myself I just have to trust God in this area of our lives. We started homeschooling the kids also which made me not being able to return to work. 9 yrs now I quit my job. I found this site a year or so ago. I started saving money. My husband comes home happy knowing that there is a manager of his home. Kids are loving, respectful to others and cared for. I go on saying if my husband is happy….everyone is happy. I do not regret quitting my job to raise our kids. God bless this site.

    • @Jo M, Thank you for sharing your story! It takes a leap of faith to quit your job to stay home with your family and I’m glad to hear it is working out for you!

      • Hi, I love it when I hear of women who are staying home (when They can make it work!) to raise children and home , and be the keepers of the home& school. that is a FULL TIME JOB in and of itself. I did not do that and I would have to say I think my children who have kids of their own now would have benefited more
        had I done so . the sad thing is I was in a position to do so but chose to work. As I have gotten older and observed how society is going, and how many parents are raising grandkids and helping their grown children. call me old fashion ( a little too late) but i can see how, it is very good for a wife and mother to be at home . of course now I take up couponing, canning, gardening, frugal ways of living. I don’t really have to but it seems to be a responsible way to help the family as a whole everyone has their role to play. I am sure there are many who would not agree, but when the mothers left the home to work, the home and family has suffered, generally speaking, we here in America are used to HAVING , and our kids always want the newest and best along with alot of us as parents.nothing wrong with the american dream. I guess its all about perpspective. anyway hooray to the women who stay home and have that full time job of home and family I see that it does work!!!!! May God bless you!

  10. Rhonda Hall says:

    Your comment where you said you cut back to 2 papers a week because of cost of papers….if you have a Dollar Tree store near you, their papers are $1.00 for Sunday paper but they sell out fast,I usually go and buy 4 and it’s smae price as 2 papers at the grocery or convientent stores….

    • @Rhonda Hall, I never knew that the Dollar Tree sold the paper. I will definately be checking into that as there is a Dollar Tree about a mile from my house, right on the way to to church!!! Thanks for the tip.

      • @Ranaye,
        I have an even better deal. I talked my local newspaper down to .99 per week for the Sunday paper and I have 4 subscriptions at that rate. Sunday mornings I just step on my front porch instead of getting dressed and driving down to the Dollar Tree to get the paper, sometimes which are sold out by the time I get there.
        I have couponed before, but not at this current magnitude. I have learned so much from this site and others like it. In the past 4 months, I have saved an approximate $600 in groceries and household items.

        Just last week I spent approximately $180 on my family of 4 and the pantry, freezers, and fridge and now stocked and should be for at least another 2 weeks. The only thing I may have to buy is milk and eggs.

  11. Our Dollar Tree does not sell papers around here :( I think the show is ridiculous too and the one couple with $35,000 worth of insurance on their stockpile??? That obviously means they normally have that stockpile and not just have it for the show then donate it. So tell me why you would #1 want more salad dressing than your family can ever eat (what is the point of getting even if free, if it is going to go to waste) and #2 PAY more in insurance to insure your stockpile that you gave up so much (time, relationships, etc) to get for so little. It is SOOOOO backwards to me! And I agree that it makes us couponers look insane.

    I generally pay about $35 for a family of 4 per week for all food, household, pet, and toiletries. I do spend more time than you mentioned doing my coupons in order to do this… about 3 hours per week. But I consider it necessary as part of our income. And I also know that I am blessed to have a doubling grocery store (Kroger… even though mine limits to 1 per coupon), a source for cheap dairy (our Kroger does great manager markdowns on dairy), and great prices on produce available (Sprouts or the hispanic groceries depending on the week). Whenever I see fantastic prices on produce items, I stock up and plan around those items and if it is an item that rarely gets down that low, I’ll freeze it for later. I know when we move back to Cali, our bill will go up a few dollars per week because we’ll be missing out on the doubling and losing the dairy markdowns (and their milk is way more expensive). Luckily they still have the great meat and produce deals though.

    In defense of the lady dumpster diving, it was a paper only recycling dumpster not a trash dumpter and apparently (from what I’ve heard online) she has never gotten IN before just gotten stuff from the sides but the production wanted it more extreme for tv so they had them get in.

  12. Just got back from CVS from my very first couponing trip. I saved $46 on items I will use and would have normally bought at full retail price. I’m glad I saw the show and I’m even more glad I read this website to get a better idea of the real value in couponing! I can’t believe how much money I’ve wasted in the past! Especially at CVS! I’m ashamed to say I’ve rarely looked at my receipt and have probably thrown away many ECBs in the past. Not any more! :)

  13. I haven’t seen this show, but I’ve been couponing for several months now, and find it completely worth the effort! I have managed to cut $100 off our grocry budget and could probably cut another $100, but I don’t have the courage to do so yet :) I’m learning to do my preparing in less time as I get better at it, and I’m finding myself more sensitive to which deals are worth it, and which are not. I loooove this site! I make great use of the coupon database, as well as the Kroger store deals. Thanks for all you do!!!

    BTW, I enjoy several shows on TLC, but they’ve got others that I find complete garbage.

  14. I think creating a tower of 100′s of boxes of cereal in your driveway is a bit over the top. It’s great to stock pile and even buy extra to donate to food banks but don’t be rediculious and clear the shelves. I love your site and you have helped me save money and I am very thankful to you! I hope others will learn how to save money as well but not get so addicted that they hoard items they will not possibly be able to use. People need to remember that greed is a sin. Thanks for all you do!

    • @June,

      We eat 5 small boxes of cereal a week here. :-) I happily clear the shelf, and it’s in our stomachs within a month.

    • @June, Yeah the Lord really convicted me when I was going to buy 7 jars of Apple Sauce the unsweeted kind. I put 2 jars back because I thought someone else might need some. 7 jars was all that was on the shelf. I think it would have been ok to buy 7 jars if there were more on the shelf. Maybe I should think before I take from the shelf next time. these were store brands with no coupons. I agree with using coupons but not hoarding items. I would like to save money but not @ the cost of some family that has children to feed. God Bless You All and may God Speak when someone tries to hoard, may they remember this post.

  15. Brittany H. says:

    I watched “EC” last night and was amazed at how much money these crazy people were saving. I thought it was insane that the lady bought 40 jars of spaghetti sauce when she already had a huge stock pile in her garage. I would think the stuff would go out of date before she could even use it all. I started researching online because I wanted in on these savings… at a realistic level. After typing “extreme couponing” into the search bar, I decided to type “realistic couponing” instead and came across your site. Thank you so much for your tips and for putting it realistically for all of us “normal” people.

  16. I have to say the TLC show both shocked and inspired me. It also took me to this website. Reading through the “Teach a (wo)man to fish” series over the weekend I told my DH how I really appreciated how you keep things in perspective with couponing and stockpiles. He serves as my ‘checks and balances’ (as we both know I can get a little overzealous at times with projects) – so I clip the coupons and look at the ads while he makes sure that we have room and money to buy what we need. Despite watching the ppl on the show, we realize that we probably won’t ever save 90% on a grocery trip, but even 10% is good enough.

  17. I’m curious after watching the show…HOW did they get 40 years worth of toilet paper for free??? I’ve never seen a coupon about $1, so if anyone has the secret, PLEASE fill me in!! I’d like just a months worth! LOL

    • I also wanted to add that I think its sad that these people are buying up all the products for themselves, and leaving nothing left on the shelves for US! I noticed the stack of tear pad type coupons the man was using and was wondering just how many he actually left for other couponers?!!

      • Betsey Seeker says:

        @Toni,

        That’s my biggest pet peeve. Having a great coupon and going to the store only to find out someone else has already completely wiped the shelf clear of that product. It has happened more times than I care to mention!

    • @Toni, The way to save on t.p and p.t. is to watch the store sales, and if you have a store in your area that “stacks” coupons (will allow you to use a store coupon and a manufactures coupon together) That is where you will find the huge savings on paper goods.

    • @Toni,
      hello
      have you found out how to get alot of toilet paper? give me any info u have.

    • @Toni, lol no doubt!

  18. Jeez Louise!!! I like couponing and stockpiling on items but realistically it doesn’t seem efficent to buy as much as the people on this show. Much of it is bound to go unused or expire.

  19. For me, savings is defined as “Is it lower on a price per unit basis than Costco?”

    Most of the time, their groceries (brand name and in-house) are cheaper on a cost per unit basis than the other three grocery stores in my area.

    However, deals in the weekly grocery store flyers pop up that are cheaper per unit than Costco. I know I’m getting a good deal then and that’s when I ‘go long’ on the item.

    Anybody else doing something like this?

    • @Dean, that’s a bit how I shop. Aldi’s and Costco are my ‘baseline’ prices, I know I can almost always get things at their ‘pretty good’ prices and when I find a sale that beats their prices I stock up a bit. When I find a good sale AND have coupons to go with it I stock up a LOT. Enough to last me to the expiration date if possible. Right now I probably have thirty boxes of pasta–to some that might be extreme, to me, that’s how much pasta I’ll use in the next year.
      I too have a problem with people who take ALL the coupons though–sure they are fair game, but I prefer to think of couponing as a co-conspiracy instead of a competitive winner-takes-all game :) I love surprising people with coupons in the check-out, I’m always perusing the cart of the person in front of me to see if I have coupons I can share (we don’t buy a ton of processed stuff, I usually have quite a collection I’ll never use).

    • I do feel that a lot of the time the store brand is cheaper then the name brand product with a coupon. My Husband and I watched EC for the first time this past weekend and we came away with one word “Wasteful”. I do understand the idea of coupons. I think its a great way to save money but the way some of these people are using coupons is so wasteful. Who in the world needs 66 bottles of mustard? How in the world can you possibly use that many? If anyone noticed, the total of one of the shoppers ticket was over $1800 and she ended up paying a little over $5.00. More then half the stuff in her basket she already had on her shelf at home. Plus there were so many doubles that she mostly got the same things. I think some of these people have a addiction. Plus its greed. The one mustard lady got the 66 bottles of mustard and her husband said he didnt like mustard. He was helping her shop and she kept telling him to put more mustard in the cart. He was saying enough and she said more. Thats greed. I think either way, greed, addiction, its all unhealthy.

      • Vicky Dewald says:

        @Dee, To be fair to Tiffany, the “mustard queen”, she did donate most of the mustard to the local food pantry, and kept some for herself. The stockpile of paper towels that were all free were single rolls so it would be fairly easy to catch these on sale and get them for free.
        It’s good to stock up on items that have a long shelf life or no expiration date (paper products) to save money later. Who isn’t going to use paper products?? And with inflation kicking in around the nation, grocery prices are going up…your stockpile will save money on items you don’t have to buy as prices rise. I wonder if there’s software to track that kind of savings?
        Thanks for the site…great info here!

      • @Dee,

        The store brand is cheaper than the name brand on sale…without coupons. With a GOOD sale and coupon doubling, the name brand is often cheaper. My first week of couponing, I got 16 boxes of cereal for $6.60. My second week, I got 12 for NOTHING and a further 8 for $3.20.

  20. You guys are all getting me so excited with your savings stories that I want to start saving too! I have a famiy of 8 and cant afford to keep us in food and neccessaties for a month, although I have a healthy budget for these things. It has never made sense to me. I have tried couponing in the past on a small scale and didnt feel like I was really accomplishing anything. I think because I usually buy generic and to use a coupon I had to buy name brand and the coupon just made it the same price as the generic. I just don’t know how to get started I guess. :-(

    • @Becky,

      Girl, you can sooooo do this! :-) And you picked the best blog/site to refer to. Stick with Stephanie…she has wonderful, easy to understand information. You’re gonna rock it. :-)

    • @Becky, Use the resources available to you…this website! I’m not a master couponer by any means but here’s my best advice for getting started:

      1. Buy sunday papers (as many as you choose), write the date on the outside and store (I use an accordian folder to keep my coupon inserts separate)

      2. Use the coupon database, to search for any coupons there may be for items on your shopping list

      3. Print coupons from the internet. There’s several sites, but coupons.com probably has the most…and all coupons can be printed twice by using the back button.

      4. Use the coupon-sale matchup blogs on here for whatever stores you shop at. The blog will tell you where to find the coupon whether it’s a printable or from a coupon insert.

      Happy couponing! I hope these tips help to get you started. I always have family and friends asking how I learned, and I always point them towards this site. It’s a lifesaver!

      • When the coupons are from a coupon insert, say SS 3/23 (for example) how can you go get that coupon? Do you have any advice for this?

        • @Haley, That’s why I say buy the sunday paper, and write the date on the outside of each insert. If you keep them separated (Smart Source in one folder, RedPlum in another, etc.) and in date order, it’s pretty easy to scan the insert for the coupon. Many people have different systems (ex: binders, boxes, etc.) but for me this is the easiest. I don’t have alot of time and this way I don’t waste time cutting coupons and organizing them. I write the date, store them away and the only cut the ones I’m going to use.

          Yes, because I only cut what I need, I do miss deals on stuff that’s an unadvertised sale, but hey…I dont’ have a lot of time to waste and I do the best I can :)

        • karen smith says:

          @Haley,
          If I do not have a coupon for an item, I go to coupondede.com on Sunday night and order the coupon. They ship fast and I usually have it by 3 days. I don’t buy the papers because there are 8 in my family. Buying 8 paper would be costly and most of the coupons I wouldn’t use. Coupon Dede has Sunday paper clipped by Sunday night. The cost of the muliple coupons are inexpensive compared to buying the papers. I average about 50 coupons for $3.00

          • @Karen,

            Thank you for posting this. I know there are other coupon sites where you can order your coupons, but this one seems much more convenient and inexpensive.

  21. I am so glad to see you posting on your blog about this…as I was watching tonight, I was thinking of you (I referred 3 friends at my new job to your blog this week alone!). At one point in the show I sort of suffered through a mental panic attack (not REALLY, but…). I mean…what if this show ruins it for all of us? LOL. I want to be able to save money and still act like a sane human being. I really hope the stores don’t start cutting back on deals.

    Stephanie, I am so thankful for your blog. It’s a wealth of easy to understand information. I appreciate all that you do. :-)

  22. THANK YOU for a realistic review of the show and of REAL people couponing! I couldn’t use 77 bottles of mustard before I DIE, so why would I buy!?!

    • Why? Usually because they are trying to get overage. Every bottle of mustard they bought probably got them twenty-five cents profit which they then used for meat and milk and stuff. Which is all fine and dandy I guess, but then what to do with the mustard? Very very very few stores even allow this anymore, and I’ll be surprised if there are any overage allowing stores left by the end of the year.

  23. I love the saving money and am trying to get into this because we spend way too much right now. The money we spend on is ridiculous! My problem w/the extreme “couponers” though is when it takes over their homes. I don’t mind that they have a designated room, but when they are storing it everywhere it’s just too much! For me it diminishes the quality of life to feel like a hoarder. The one woman I saw tonight had it everywhere!!!

    On another note, I’d like to know, like Toni, how you get the big packages of multiple paper towels and big packs of tp for free. Just this would save me some money!

    • @Sandi, Sandi – most of the time you can get cheap or free paper towels and TP from RR or ECB deals from Walgreens and/or CVS.. keep in mind that many people are correctly.reporting their OOP (out of pocket) and are counting it AFTER all coupons, gift cards and store rewards which are usually good on your next transaction. I hate that about a lot of sites because it is like they are counting the reward twice (once when the initial purchase is made and again when they actually spend it).

      Anyhow, using ECBs or RR in conjunction with a sale, $/$$ coupon, or stacking a MQ with a store Q will often get you those desired items. I recently bought about 26 items for $20, all name brand like Scott, Charmin, Gain, etc. I am always considerate with my coupons and if something doesn’t work out to my advantage I plug it into my plan elsewhere. Good luck and I hope that helped you out and wasn’t too confusing. :)

      • @Leslie,
        Thank you for pointing out the fact that a lot of sites count their savings twice when counting OOP & using RR & ECB’s, that drives me crazy! I am glad you have a realistic approach to couponing, as most of us can’t afford to buy an extra $100 worth of coupons and would never use 62 bottles of mustard! TLC Extreme Couponing is definitely too the extreme and I agree, is another form of hoarding and OCD!

  24. I want to know how one gets 25 coupons for one thing… I happen to have a dollar tree that sells the paper for $1.oo, but still, I only buy 6 papers. I have 3 computers so I can print 6 coupons… do these people have 20 computers and spend $100.00 on papers?

  25. Anastasia says:

    I love couponing, but have yet to get free toilet paper!!!! However I have gotten it for cheap, CVS is the best place to get it cheap! I usually always shop CVS and Kroger, Walgreens is getting better and more competitive. Although, I will now share the bad news, Kroger is stopping the days of doubling and trippling Qs. They have changed many other policies as well. So the days of super great deals are coming to an end. Note: so far thesse effects have only taken place in the Greater Houston area, but I think other markets will soon follow.

    I appreciate donating items to charity, but I urge couponers to be respectful of limits, so other couponeres can take advantage of good deals as well, i hate seeing shelves wiped out, due to greed.

    • Jennifer Case says:

      @Anastasia, Anastasia, I shop at Kroger every week and mine still doubles coupons up to 50 cents. I stocked up on kraft bbq sauce Tuesday night it was on sale 99 cents when u buy 10 u get 50 additional cents off and I had a 45 cent coupon that doubled so i actually got 2 for like 10 cents which is a great deal. I try to keep enough in my stock pile to last me for one year. You never know when something could happen so having groceries built up for 1 year is something that I think everyone should try and do. I also buy part of myself and part to donate as well.

    • As far as know there are No stores in central florida that double , that seems to have gone the way of the dino, oh except Kmart told me they do up to 99 cents. the bad thing about E C show is that it ruined it for the rest of us in that we cant use coupons on the trial sizes anymore, stores have stopped doubling, and restrictions are getting tighter everyday as the economy goes down. so in that way that show is not good, it does motivate one to want to coupon though which is how i came to do it. I like having a year pantry, I shop in my pantry which is an unused closet,outfitted with shelves and paper products go under the beds or in the garage, never food in the garage its too hot, even up north in the summer. So as I can only fit so much , it works out for a year, and I coupon to get baby items as my daughter is pregnant with number 3, so I want to help her family by getting what I can in baby items to ease their expenses when the baby comes.
      anyone know how to save the best on diapers, I told her sh will have to stop being brand loyal as I do this . she is on board i guess she realizes by now its eventually going to end up in the garbage anyway,lol thank you all for wonderful posts

  26. For whatever reason, TLC JUST premiered EC in Hawaii tonight. And as I watched this show all I kept asking myself was how are these people any different than the people on the hoarding show? And then I realized they’re not. Sure, you can sugar coat it and say that these extreme couponers are more organized but realistically these extreme couponers are just hoarders with OCD and a whole lot of time on their hands.

  27. Bethanni says:

    Ok so I just watched the “Extreme Couponing” like 3x tonight hahaha…I’ve been waiting for this series for since I heard about it b/c I’m truly trying to learn how to get this couponing down and am treating the show like a learning experience soooo with that said….there is one girl who gets her coupons from the extra inserts that the newspaper would normally send to be recycled….my question is how do you get the newspaper to give you the extras??…I live in Las Vegas so I’m not sure if that is possible given it is such a huge city but if it possible I want to know how to do it!!!….

    and it almost seems like there are no store that double coupons anymore or at least in Vegas…I have Albertson’s, Vons, Walmart, Smith’s, and Food for Less that I shop at…..do any of these stores double or triple coupons?

  28. Thanks! I love your site and really appreciate the work you put into it each week – you have saved me tons of time and money, and taught me a lot about couponing!

  29. I am brand new to couponing and was wondering how to find the store with the best coupon policy

    • @Keri, All stores will have advantages and disadvantages to their coupon policy. Just find the coupon policies for the stores near you and decide which one works best for you.

  30. I watched Extreme Makeover b/c I was curious about how others use coupons and manage to save as much money as they claimed. I have always been a couponer, but never have I experienced this much in savings. I want to learn how to use a coupon system like this. I was disappointed in how this show is categorized as an ‘extreme behavior’ show lumped in with Hoarders; however, after watching the show…I can see why this would be the case. How many bottles of mustard does one family need, after all? Some of the brands that they show the people buying are brands that I buy, but how do you save on meats and fresh produce…I have never seen coupons for these items. Also, I fear that once couponing is brought into the limelight by this show, grocery stores will start changing their policies to prevent the consumer from accomplishing their goals or manufacturers will do away with coupons. What I would like to see is information on how a normal shopper can use coupons to their advantage…I typically shop once a month (because I hate it) and my grocery bill is usually between $500-$800…to be able to whittle that done to near nothing might make me enjoy shopping again….but not at the expense of my closet space!

  31. Marianne L says:

    We use the Dave Ramsey monthly cash envelope system in our house, so going out and purchasing a boatload of a specific item (or a few items) just because we have coupons is not realistic in our budget. Our envelopes only contain enough money to purchase the items we need for that particular month. I do my best to use coupons where I can…in fact, earlier this week, I went to Target for my monthly stock-up and saved somewhere between $10-15 in coupons. I felt good about that! I just don’t know if I have enough time to devote to anymore couponing than what I already do – I have a house to keep up, bills to pay and a toddler to take care of during the day! I know I could save more, but I don’t want to waste a bunch of my time in doing so. Plus, I live in a town where there is only 1 grocery store (Kroger), who doesn’t always have the best prices…so I’d have to drive 20 min. to other stores (Meijer, Walmart)…and with gas at almost $4.00/gallon, is it worth it? I envy all the gals who can put so much time into this. Maybe I am being naive…maybe I need to read this blog some more! :)

    • @Marianne L, Marianne – I, too, am currently about a 30 min drive from the nearest ANYthing! I am also moving this weekend to another town that is 30 mins away from the nearest anything. I make ONE weekly shopping trip to each of my stores (Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, and Target… and Kroger is not always guaranteed.) for the specific reasoning behind climbing gas prices. Occasionally, I will have my mother’s car and will go more than once a week.

      I find that, in a way, living so far from stores is perhaps a better situation simply because it limits your ease of access (think of convenience and closeness becoming an “enabler” so to speak). I don’t always go once a week to all the stores, sometimes I only go to one or two or don’t go to any at all if I find the match ups are not worth my time. The best rule of thumb I have learned from Stephanie here at Couponing 101 is that if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. That and, “Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean you should get it.” I am all for donating, however, have not had that opportunity yet. I also have a 5 year old and a soon-to-be 3 year old so shopping for hours on end is not always feasible.

      Bottom line: You do what’s right for you and your family. If you need eye drops and they’re free, buy a couple bottles. I only purchase 2 papers and print 2 copies of each printable coupon. THAT’S IT! 2 is plenty. Good luck! :)

    • @Marianne L, I too am using the Dave Ramsey Envelope System since I put myselft on a budget last MAY I have paid off over $21,000.00 in credit/loans from a remodeling job!! YYYYAAAHHHOOO!! I only “pay” my enevelopes on payday and once that money is gone, it’s gone. I only budget $30.00 per p/d for all toiletries and $120.00 for food. I do better with the toiletries stuff because I’m trying not to purchase all of that processed stuff called food. Since joining a gym and my 12hr night shift I have a hard time cooking for my daughter so sometimes I don’t get to the store before the sales go off so I waste alot of coupons. I did manage to save over $1800.00 last year with coupons. I just wish I could find better coupons for more healthier foods!

    • @Marianne L, No you are being normal and realistic!!

  32. Shannon L. says:

    Trying to go to school, losing my job, and feeding a family of five is hard. Hopefully I will cut some of my bill. I have no crazy fantasies about saving crazy amounts but saving 20% would be a help. You have a great website.

  33. Watching “TLC-EXTREME COUPONING” mad me sick,but I watched all 4 half hour shows. I only buy what we need in a 2month period. I too was glad to see someone donating all of his Total Cereal to a charity.

  34. Thank you for showing the way couponing should be. They really need to rename the show Exteme Couponing to “Hoarders Using Coupons”. Bedides where I live they do not double or triple coupons nor do they offer any store bonus cards or loyality incentives so what can you do? One woman had 1500 newspaper coupon inserts, I’m sorry where I live the Sunday paper is the only day they have coupon inserts and at $2.00 a paper that would be $3,000 I don’t get it ,your idea of one paper per person in the family makes much more sense.

    • @ali, Icould not have said it better! While my husband and I were watching I said, “these people are going to be on HOARDING:BURIED ALIVE next week!” I didn’t expect to get so angry at those people but I did. They are totally taking advantage of a good thing and it’s people like that who make stores stop accepting double coupons. They are going to ruin it for everyone else. I would feel terrible doing that, the store managers must hate them. Spending 2 hours checking out with 2,300 is insane. I may not get my cereal free but the time I spend playing with my son vs. couponing for 90 hours a week is priceless!!!

  35. I can’t wait to get started. I just don’t know how,or how to organize my coupons to make it easier.

  36. I love this post! Shows like that…though I love them…give people unrealistic expectations and turn them of to couponing because they are willing to devote that kind of time. Not to mention, it gets overwhelming if that is your first lesson in couponing. YIKES! It’s a necessity for some, a game for others, and both for the rest. Love it!

  37. We are a military family about to go without a paycheck because of the goverment shutdown. Never having using coupons before, I started doing google searches. I am very thankful I found your sight. Hope to make some good savings.

  38. I was excited to watch the show and enjoyed the thrill/rush it gave me to see such savings! While I do enjoy shopping until my hearts content – I couldn’t imagine myself investing my life to couponing. While the show was being advertised for viewing pleasure I found your site and began to research how I too could start to save money (Glad I did because the show was entertaining but did not do a good job educating us). So I am proud to say that I am a new couponesta and proud of what I accomplished my 1st week out using your tips and tricks!!! I shopped at two stores (Kroger for groceries & Walgreen for toiletries/household goods) – I am proud to announce I purchased a total of $335.32 worth of product and saved a total of – $145.79 by using both manufacture coupon with Advertised Savings = for total out of pocket of $189.53! Wow, you should have seen my trunk at the end of my day! So some brief highlights of my trip I would like to report… I was able to get 24 rolls toilet paper – 12 rolls paper towels – 3 boxes of laundry detergent – 6 bottles of body wash – 6 deodorant s & 8 boxes of cereal! The list goes on and on and I was even able to afford some extras that I would normally sacrifice just because I had the coupons! The Walgreen P&G brands like Olay, Gillette, and Old Spice were on sale for buy one get one 1/2 off. Well the P&G Brand Saver offered many BOGO coupons — So can you say I got DOUBLE what I would normally be able to afford for my family of 5!? It felt soooo good to have extra on the shelf and not have to worry about getting things later! It took a few hours of my time for 2 weeks of collecting the coupons, researching stores to determine where I would shop. A few bout 4 hours total shopping but it was worth the payday! Thank God for you and this site — without it I could have never have done it or even known how!

  39. I just started couponing the beginning of March. My first shopping trip I saved 21% and I was thrilled. My second trip was better at 24%. By week three I was starting to get a stockpile of coupons, and I was a bit more organized, saving 31%. Week 4 saw 41% and my last week’s savings was 49%!!! I started this as a Lenten sacrifice (I gave up all fast food, take out, and delivery food – s0 I am cooking a lot at home). I never realized how much money I was wasting NOT COOKING!!! I usually spent about $150 when I went grocery shopping, and watched most of that food go in the garbage because I never cooked it! We are a family of 5 – so even drive through cost us about $35 a trip! Needless to say, with my savings, and preparing healthy home cooked meals, we are all feeling better, enjoying the meals I prepare, and saving – ready for this?? approximately $500 a week!!! Are you kidding me?? $500??? I have paid all my bills this month TWICE! People have asked me if I will go back to my old ways after Easter. My husband and I can not even imagine EVER spending money like that again!!! I love this site – it was the first I found and I check in daily! I have started a coupon club at work, and after watching EC, we think we might do an extreme shop for charity! I think that would be the ONLY way I could wrap my head around THAT kind of shopping!!!

    • @Carol, WOW!! I so know what you mean – our little family of 4 is usually $20 for a fast food place – that is just crazy when I can make a meal for all of us at home for $5 and it will be much healthier!

    • @Carol, WOW Carol, think what you can do with that extra money! I’ve been a stockpiling couponer for about 2 years (no, I don’t need to ADD ON to my house kind of stockpile) and as my family is enjoying dinner I’ll be looking at my plate and mentally adding up how much dinner cost. I tell them and while the teens don’t care, my hobby-chef husband is always like WOW. I usually know about how much my side dishes cost and I mark the vaccum bags of meat w/what I paid (usually deep sale or marked down for date). We eat a lot of fresh foods, but by being able to shop for those at Aldi, I can feed the 5 of us for about $10 for a meal no drive thru even offers!

  40. They are housewives with an addiction and fixation. The husbands are happy. It’s a little much. I was impressed with the menu planning that one lady was doing. She did menu planning for months in advance. It’s rough to get it together to do menu planning. I know because Im in the process. You can save ALOT of money by doing this alone.

  41. I’m new to couponing and my first trip, the cashier and other customers were shocked at how much I saved…..heck, even I was flabbergasted. My original bill was almost $150.00; after store saving, only bought sale items, and my coupons for the products, my bill was $97.00 and some change! Am I happy? Ooooh yeah. Okay. It took me an entire day but, I have learned a lot and my next expedition, half a day? Lol….maybe less time. But what I am looking for is to save at least 50% on my monthly bill. I am not going to spends hours every week to get 62 bottles of mustard…these things expire. I bought one last November and it expires in October. So what’s the point in wasting valuable home space? I just don’t get buying 10 boxes of cereal when you have 100 at home. Honestly, I think it’s selfish not to leave something for other consumers. Just my opinion, we all have one.

  42. lori martinez says:

    hey there i am a mother and grandmother of 10 and we r raising them all aznd we are both layed off right now i am really excited about couponing and really need it we r a very large family and i could even tell you how much we spend on groceries please help with any hints you have to get started,thanks so much lori
    if you know of any couponing groups in the antelope valley california please let me know

  43. Hi, I started couponing about 6 months ago. My very first trip was to Winn-Dixie & Publix both have strict rules but you can still make out well. Taking advantage of all the BOGO sales I managed to get $310.00 worth of groceries for only $160.00. I was so pleased with myself. And so was my husband. I got a whole months worth of groceries and cut are grocerie bill in half. I continue to cut coupons. I usually only spend max 2 hours a week. I set aside an hour on Wed, and Sun each week and to me it’s alot of fun. I would never go to the extreme as in the show cause then it wouldn’t be fun. I buy 4 newspapers each week, for a family of four. Thanks for this site.

  44. I think what we all need to keep in mind is that the show is called “Extreme Couponing” for a reason. According to some of the websites of the people who have been featured on the show thus far, TLC’s staff and crew asked them to go above and beyond for the craziest, most extreme couponing trip they could fathom. This includes making Joanie from thekrazycouponlady.com jump into the dumpster and the guy from the first show purchase all of that deodorant (which I have read that he actually did pre-order before the show taped so that it would look more extreme).

    Also, all of these couponers already have an existing stockpile that they are adding to. Most of us here are creating a stockpile – whether that be with a 2-month supply or a year supply of the staples our family will realistically use. They are not going on these extreme trips to shop for their actual weekly groceries, they are going on these extreme trips to create a larger stockpile – therefore only purchasing things they can get for free. This then adds to the “extreme” nature of taking their shopping total from $1600 down to $30.

    One last thing that I want to make sure is pointed out is this – while I’m not about all of the people portrayed as of now, some of them have mentioned on their websites that they have donated a majority, if not all, of their extreme hauls to their local food bank. I am not defending the fact that the mustard lady cleared the shelves but at least she gave it to people who could use it instead of stashing it away in her extra bedroom like the lady with all the noodles and toilet paper from episode one.

    There is a fine line between extreme couponing and hoarding, I agree. But I feel that the majority of us couponers out there are doing it the right way – only purchasing what we can use within a reasonable amount of time. I just went to Kroger this morning and bought 24 boxes of cereal because of the General Mills promo going on right now. My kids are growing boys and we will go through that cereal pretty quickly. My getting it for less than $ .68 per box saved me a lot of money! I love my little stockpile – I could feed my family for about 4 months if I couldn’t get to the grocery in that amount of time – and my kids love going down to the basement to “shop” for the next box of cereal they would like to bring up for breakfast!

    • @Jessie, Very good points. I know a lot of the show is for the “wow” factor and is not necessarily all truth. And you are very right about hoarding – I think what used to be considered stockpiling is now considered hoarding because of how it was portrayed on the show.

  45. I watched the TLS show tonight and it got me to looking on the Internet to find out how to do it. I realize that you’re not going to save 95% everytime you use coupons. I bet those people on TLC got ready for this show six months in advance to show how it can be done. I’ll bet they don’t always save that kind of money. But, I think if I look at the grocery store weeklies every Monday and look up the coupons for the items I plan to buy on the Internet specifically, I can find close to a 50% savings. That would come to about $8000.00 savings a year. Definately worth it.

  46. I love this website. It doen’t make me feel like a total idiot for not getting everything for free. I have to save as much money as possiable when I do any shopping. Right now I am buying for 10 people. I am married, four children, then there is my best friend who has been out of work since Feb. and she has a son, and my mom and her long time boyfriend. My mom works a lot but she isn’t making the money she needs and they are paying off major medical bills for him. But even though I am helping get them what they need I stll like a good deal. I do have thetime to check several stores weekly, but I will make a list and get my coupons together for that store. When I do go I will look around for deals that haven’t been announced but I won’t clear the shelves there ar othe people that exist in this world. Maybe they need it too? But On average I can save about 40 or 50% when I shop. But I will never cancel plans for a deal that is a serious shopping addiction.

    • @Csaxby, I feel the same way about this site as you. Also, as far as clearing shelves, I agree with you there too. The only time I have done anything near that that is when something me/my family will use was on clearance. In that case, I feel like it’s more or less “first come, first served”. But even there I didn’t grab all of the clearance item in one trip. Wait a day or two, check back, still there, figured no one wants these except me. lol

      But completely wiping out a shelf during a regular sale, no. Maybe the people on the show were able to alert the store ahead of time, and the store was able to restock any emptied shelves immediately after. NO idea if that’s the case, but sure hope it is.

      • @ShyVi,

        I would hope that they would have the thought to tell someone but in most cases I don’t think it even crosses their minds. They seem very wrapped up in their own world.
        Their has onlt been a couple of people who preorder an item so that they don’t take eveything.

  47. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this!! I have watched a couple of episodes of “Extreme Couponing” and at the end of every episode I find myself yearning for large stockpiles of crap I will never use in my lifetime but be able to justify it because “I just spent fifty cents on 700 dollars worth of groceries!” I keep telling my husband that I need to learn how to do that and have been letting myself fantasize about saving thousands of dollars every year that we could put toward something else. So, THANK YOU for bringing me back down to earth!!!

  48. So glad to finally see realistic couponing. The tv shows are beyond belief. They don’t relate to the everyday family. I have couponed for many years and have never saved that amount of money. The tv show with the very overweight couponers buying loads of candy bars and chips was too much!Publix ,Walmart doesn’t double coupons and there are very few Winn Dixie nearby.I noticed the couponers went to Krogers,Albertsons which are no longer here.The twins bought many bottles of Malox? Do they have stomach problems? Doesn’t make sense to me.It’s as though they are all trying to make a senseless point,”I can outbuy everyone for practically no money,even though I don’t really need it.” I really like this site. I am learning alot. Thanks.

  49. Thank you!!
    I am ready to start couponing, and was just asking someone the other day if it is really necessary to stockpile to such a degree as what I’ve seen on TV. I’m very glad to hear that’s extreme, and that my purchases can be done on a much smaller scale, but I will still save money. Excited to get started :)

  50. very interesting

  51. just started couponing ver interesting

  52. I had been looking into couponing for about 6 months but had not actually put in practice when I heard about the TLC show. While I would love to buy a ton of groceries for little money, I honestly see the behavior exhibited by the extreme couponers to be bordering on mental illness, perhaps OCD. It’s definitely horder’s mentality. But, to each their own. I just want to be able to cut my grocery bill down by 30% eventually, with the occasional high savings days:-)

  53. I watched that show for the first time last night..I cannot imagine going into a store and buying 150 candy bars or 100 boxes of pasta just because its free then pile in on the floor in on the beds…to me I see a “hoarding” tendancy going on. IF I could catch a deal like this I would keep enough for my family for a few month and the rest would be donated to a local food bank..
    I am just learning to coupon and only buy what I use right now but when I have room I want to learn to stock up on toilet paper but not 40yrs worth.. With coupons I can feed my family of 5 on $100 a week..

  54. Fidencia Martiarena says:

    Need copuns for pampers, huggies,johnson and johnson Plz :)

    • @Fidencia Martiarena, Go to coupons.com and smartsource.com. I also went to the website a few times and found a coupon there. I don’t have babies at home any more but my children are getting married and starting their families and I find this is a good way to help them out. We raised 8 children with no couponing going on so wound up eating a LOT of hot dogs and mac and cheese….. I am glad to be able to do this and help them out when ever possible. I will try to go as extreme as I can as I don’t have a job and our construction business is still struggling to get going. Any amount I save on groceries is money in our pockets. I will even donate as much as possible when I get my couponing going good. I am very excited at what could happen with our budget in the next few months.

  55. Thank you for not being crazy!!! It is just me and my Husband but i would like to save on grocery. Any advise for shoping for two?(and three dogs..lol)

  56. great show cant believe the money ive been throwing away…i still dont understasnd stuff like coupons that say 1 coupon per shopping

  57. I was wondering how you can use multiple coupons in one transaction. Say I buy 3 newspapers and get a coupon for 1$ off pasta. Most coupons say limit one coupon per transaction and limit 3 boxes. Can I get 3 coupons and 9 boxes and save a dollar a box? This is the part I am confused on. How can I use so many coupons for one item?

    • @Ally, Are you saying, like, the store shelf says “limit 3 to a customer” on that pasta? If that’s the case (and sorry if I’m misunderstanding), you’d probably have to make 3 separate visits to that store in order to get all nine boxes at the savings. Or if there’s more than one of that chain near you, get some boxes at one, some at another. Then go back to the first to get the rest I guess.

      Seems I’ve heard of people taking advantage of such deals by simply going through different register lanes for each transaction, all in one visit. Or maybe I dreamed that. lol

    • @Ally, PS I did get that you’re talking hypothetical pasta here. ;)

  58. I am a 68 yr old retired male with 3 kids at home. I started couponing in Feb. In March we saved 45% on geoceries. Not bad for 1st month? I
    have now learned how to save even more. Thanks and good luck to all couponers. Hoarding is ridiculous. Buy what you need for a few months. Or as others have said donate to food banks.

  59. I have been using coupons regularly since I was a teenager and shopping for my mother and myself. I think the TLC show points out that it is easy to convince yourself you are saving, but in reality – saving at what? Time is money and stock piling products that may easily become outdated and in fact be dangerous is not saving – it’s hoarding. In addition, buying products, especially in bulk, that are loaded with calories and hydrogenated fats are unhealthy are a recipe for health problems. I like a bargain as much as anyone, but our foods are based on fresh, or frozen vegetable and low fat proteins, meats, poultry, eggs, fish. As far as toiletries – you would need a family of 10 or 12 to use the volumes of products these people are stockpiling.
    I feel this show is really about how obsessive people can become, all the while believing this is a benefit to their families. There is a fine line between healthy behaviors and unhealth behaviors and these people have crossed to unhealthy. Any activity that is consuming all your time, energy, and focus does not support a health lifestyle.

  60. I am a mother of four and a coupon cutting queen. I love saving money for my family and it makes me feel good that of my children will be able to make it to college. This is what you really call a REAL HOUSEWIFE and I am not from Orange County or New York.

  61. I am a brand new couponer–will the stores accept coupons printed in grayscale and not in color? Adding color adds to printing expense.

    • @Gen, If you use the coupons at Wal-mart they must be in color. We have a very inexpensive printer. a kodak. I think Cannon, and lexmark are the most expensive printers for printer ink that are out there. Have you thought about taking your empties and having them refilled? It will cost you less than buying them new each time, and you will be helping the environment along the way. Also, if you stick with the Sunday paper and get a good coupon stock pile going, the savings from that will help offset your printer ink costs. I also use legal paper when I print out coupons from coupon.com. I can get three coupons per page, which saves paper.

      • You can buy printer ink and refill your own cartridges for many printers. Of course, the printer companies don’t advertise that – then they wouldn’t sell so many expensive print cartridges. Check online and see if you can find refill ink and instructions for your printer’s cartridges. I’ve used The Printer Ink Warehouse and was pleased with prices, instructions and results.

        I try to be a “green” consumer, so when I print coupons I use paper that has already been printed on one side and that I would have put in my recycle bin anyway. And if I have enough room to print another coupon or two on the page after I’ve cut my coupon out, I’ll feed it back through the printer when I have exactly that many coupons to print. You can’t do that will all websites, but Coupons.com prints exactly 3 to a page and you always know where they’re going to print on a page and how much space you’ll need.

      • @trish, I have a HP printer and buy my ink at Staples. I return my empties and get store credit. HP will give you the most bang for your buck where ink is concerned and the ink isn’t expensive. The Store credits you get from returning the empties is an added bonus

      • how do you set the printer to get 3 coupons on a page , i]I always have to turn the printed one over and get 1 on the bottom of otherside? please help, costing me in ink and paper,, ink I expect, I have a kodak printer, an way to save on the ink and still be able to use the coupon?

        • I’m not sure about that one. I think it may be printer specific. My printer always prints 3 per page, as long as I have 3 coupons selected. Good luck!

  62. J to the K says:

    Hey! You can print Gray Scale and they will go through just fine.

    Way back I heard comments regarding how much it costs to feed a family and was amazed at the spending spectrum. Personally, I buy very few prepared foods. I even make my own granola bars! However, before couponing, to feed a family of 4 it was costing me about $180 every week. This is only my second week of couponing and I’m spending about $150. However, I have created a small sock pile of detergent and body wash. My hope is that I’ll see the numbers coming down.

  63. After watching one episode of Extreme Couponing with my mother and daughters, I knew that couponing was something that we could do together. I am an over the road truck driver and am the only income for our family that consists of my mother, my husband and my three children, not to mention my sons/daughters friends, and other family members who congregate at our house for a few days. On average we spend about 2,000 per month for groceries and household/toiletry/laundry items. THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE! and it will change. We have turned our living room into “COUPON CENTRAL” and already we have saved over 150.00 by using coupons both for food and at CVS. And we don’t even have our system fully in place yet. We have chosen one grocery store that will be our mainstay, because not only do they double coupons .60 or less they also “stack coupons” Kroger is our next choice because they double coupons, and have awesome closeouts throughout the store. This coming Sunday my daughters will purchase $20.00 worth of news papers, and we are going on our “BIG SHOP” on May the 7th. I like the idea of purchasing one paper for each member of the household, and i figure by buying 3 or 4 more we will be able to cover the expense of the added family members and we will be able to stock up on the most expensive items that are located in the pharmacy section of the store. What we hope to accomplish from this is to bring our budget down to $300 or less for everything for one month, grow closer as a family (each family member has a “COUPONING POSITION”) and when we are able, use any excess that we may have to help the many hungry people who live in our community. We have set up boxes to separate our coupons and we even have a “GIVE AWAY” box. Each week we will take the coupons that we know we will never use and give them away.

    I have seen many comments about grocery stores and manufacturers stopping the coupons or making difficult to save money with them because of the Extreme Couponing show. I do not believe this will happen. Sure a lot of people will try couponing after watching the show, but when they do not realize the “savings” that those on t.v. do they will quit. Also when they see how much time it takes to clip the coupons, organize them, make out meals, test run the grocery store, load coupons on their Kroger plus card, search the news papers for the best deals, and finally placing themselves on a realistic budget, they will give it up. Some would say that my wanting to get our total bill down to $300.00 for a month is unrealistic, but I don’t think that it is. The lady that I saw on the show that I watched placed herself on a strict $160.00 month budget for everything for a family of six. Sure she juiced it up some for the show, but she has been doing this for 2 years. She plans out her meals for a month, and then uses her coupons to make it happen. Her bill used to be $1200.00 average per month. Her husband is the only one that is working and he is doing precious little of it sense the housing market took a nose dive. She is the person I want to emulate. She has her system down, and she puts it into action. She doesn’t raid the shelves, and while her system may-be a little on the OCD side of things, it works for her and saves her family bunches. That is what I want to do for my family, and I believe couponing will help me make it happen.

    • @trish, I just went on a trip to see my daughter graduate from college and purchased the Sunday papers there and found a lot more coupons in the papers than we get at home. I was able to use quite a few of them. I have also asked family members who don’t coupon to save their inserts for me. :D They think I am crazy but they are used to that :D

      • @Cindy, I noticed when I visited my son in Cincinnati that the paper there had about 4x the coupons in my local paper. So I contacted the paper in my home town and was told that the companies that produce the inserts – Red Plum, Smart Source etc.- put smaller inserts in the communities that the feel don’t get them the most bang for the buck so to speak. Doesn’t seem quite fair since we need to save as much as someone in a bigger city.

  64. Katherine says:

    I just started using coupons after losing my job 4 months ago. I love watching TLC Extreme Couponing, but I am happy by just cutting our bill in half. (realistic couponing) I have just upgraded to the big binder system and my husband laughs at me, but he is also loving the savings.

    I now have 3 family members that want me to go with them to the store with my coupons and help them save big. I do go shopping with one of my friends once or twice a month and we do share and trade coupons. I am still learning the whole stockpiling thing, but have no plans to go overboard with it.
    I love couponing now, and am sad to think about all the money that I wasted by not couponing. I have been able to give food to family to keep them from having to buy it. Cereal is the big one. I do keep about 12 boxes most of the time, so I am able to share it with others. Plus, neither of my kids eat cereal with milk so it makes for a great snack after school and in the car.
    My personal goal is to get up to a 70% savings before the end of summer. I am still learning and growing in this new “hobby”. I love this site and the krazy coupon lady site for tips and deal.

    Happy couponing to everyone!

  65. Your site is great… I just recently started couponing. My husband was out of work for a couple months so I was looking to stretch a buck. He’s working again now but I really enjoy couponing and the savings I get from it. Thank you for being realistic in your couponing. I’ve watched a few episodes “Extreme Couponing” and some of the lengths they go to are just not realistic for me. I’ve only been at this for a couple months but I’ve definitely been saving around 50% already and that’s satisfying to me :) I have a small stockpile (about 4 boxes of cereal, 6 tubes of toothpaste and 10 cans of veggies) but definitely don’t plan on having this take over my whole garage(or life for that matter!)

  66. I am a public librarian and am planning a program for our small community about couponing. Thank you for a far more realistic approach to saving money. I hope to include some of your advice int he rpograms.

  67. Sally Cooper says:

    I use a lot of coupons every time I go to the grocery store. I keep a log of what I have saved and put that money in to a savings account for a vacation at the end of the year. Also I do what they call is price match at the grocery store I go to and along with my coupons for that particular item which brings down the price I pay for that item. My groceries and meals are determined by whats on sale.

  68. I’m brand new to couponing. My husband and I have watched Extreme Couponing and he’s all in on trying to save that kind of money. I was quick to point out that it is, after all, EXTREME! We have a family of 3 and live in Florida. We don’t have the luxury of using our garage for storage as there is a definite heat factor! We need to utilize closet space. Now I’ll be very happy if I can save money on personal items, ie, deoderant, shampoo etc and cleaning products. I’d love to figure out how to save on toilet paper (especially when they tell of getting it free and it appeared that it wasn’t just a 4 roll pack!) I’m going to get a binder and set up a system. Hopefully, I’ll get a bit more organized in the process. I know it will help me to plan meals better. I just prefer to use fresh fruits and veggies (preferrably through farmers markets) than frozen. (I only used canned corn and tomatoes – nothing else canned). I figure if I can save $30 each week…I’m doing good. I’m going to give it my best shot and see how I do. I will definitely be following this site and will update on my progress. I’ll see if I can turn a ‘game’ into a good habit!

  69. Thank you so much for calling some attention to this! It’s too bad that those that learn about couponing from the show are getting a very over exaggerated portrayal of what most people actually do to cut down their grocery bill.

  70. Heather says:

    Hello, I’m trying to find out how a class can be taught in TX? Michelle R, from the savannah savvy shopper refered me to you, she just taught a class at our church to about 88 people. I was telling my father about this and he asked me to find out if there was a way or if someone could put us in contact with someone who could offer a class. Thank you for taking yourt ime to educate people on saving money!
    Heather Stacy

  71. TLC is tarnishing the coupon industry fot the average family that needs to coupon to sustain a budget. Extreme couponing is no more reality than the “other” so called reality show. Who would pay for a seperate insurance policy to conver there mini marts at home if you are tight on cash.

    They are ruining couponing for us. Since the show has aired, I have noticed that food coupons have dwindled to barely anything online and in the papers. I used to click a bounch online, in the past few weeks, maybe one here and one there. I wrote TLC and gave them my 2 cents. I have also noticed that most strore have changed their policies in some way or another. What a huge bummer for us who just want to shop smart and dont clear off empty the shelves.

    • @Kris,

      I totally agree with you!I have noticed that #1 the coupons are stating a limit to them on the coupons now #2 the stores are hanging signs to how many coupons you may use #3 WHERE in the world does a store double $1 coupons????????????#4 I can’t even find GATORADE/POWERADE or even VITAMIN WATER coupons at all.Where are they getting them,I buy 3 papers and YES I do look in the recycle box as well(You will believe how many you find)but I still can’t save like they do.I have made sure to always carry my coupons with me and check to see if they are worth doubling at KROGER rather than buying at WALMART but this show EC has really ruined it and made it just what it is A FAKE TV SHOW,and yes some of them are complete hoarders and out of control.Family first and remember greed is a sin especially at this extreme greediness that they have taken it to.It is one thing to prepare for your family,especially as the Woman of the household but donate or think of the families that you could just help out that week by dropping off some items to.
      Blessings~

  72. My wife and I saw Extreme Couponing and got a kick out of it just for the enterainment value. I thing they should run the show Hoarders right after it. That being said we decided to try couponing just to see how much we could save. We diligently clipped from the newspaper, went to product sites and coupon sites. I did not dumpster dive or go begging for coupons from my neighbors. After all was said and done we had to travel about a half and hour to get to a store with the best coupon policy and we ended up saving about 30% on our grocery bill. If we do that once per month that will amount to $1400 per year. So, my take is that couponing is definately worth it but keep your expectations real.

  73. Melyssa Cass says:

    I was watching that Extreme Couponing show on TLC and the first thing that came to mind is OCD and Horders. I really think this could be the next generation of hording, just happens to be organized. The first episode I saw where the items were put to good use was the bible student and his wife who donated to the ministry. Great use of resources to help save his family and to give to the less fortunate!

  74. I used to spend about$ 600-800 for a family of three. Now I’m at 400, which is huge for us. I tend to by organic and healthy foods so I’m limited to coupons, but still saving $300 a month helps!

  75. i just started collecting coupons about a month ago… had to make myself NOT use them immediately, but wait until i researched the circulars ( i usually go to Kroger & CVS which are right across from each other here, saves gas) and love that i can see the sales items online on Saturday instead of waiting until Sunday morning. I have a binder organizer which has been great, i don’t expect to get tons of free stuff, but love getting “better prices” at the register. Last week i got $70 in products at Kroger for $26… all items we use on a regular basis – same thing – same day at CVS $72 in product for $44… i really love the websites that offer the printable coupons ***without a lot of hassle. Thanks for all your hardwork putting this together.

  76. Publix – Lets us use 3 coupons per item. Manufactorer, Store, Sale of item, and competitors. Bill before coupons $43.63 and After coupons =$21.84

    I did not buy anything that I would not use. My bill consisted of nothing ridiculous where as I would stock pile anything. I have 2 kids, so I bought 2 Gogurt pks of 8 tubes, 6 Yoplait Yogurts, 2 Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, Quilted Northern TP, Sparkle Double Roll paper towels, Classico Spgh. Sauce, Dawn soap, Tot. Pizza Rolls 90ct, Dig. Pizza Stuffed Crust, Salad Mix.

  77. I think $43 worth of groceries for $21 is fantastic! And like you say, it’s all things your family will use.

  78. Not reading through all the comments, but major kudos to each and all who save any amount at the store. Every bit helps, doesn’t it?

  79. Gonna Try It…?

  80. I too am wanting to be a Realistic Couponer. I have been saving coupons for a month and finally got them somewhat organized. I became unemployed a month ago and my wife had to get a job to help keep a roof over our heads. So I guess I have become Mr. Mom with our 2 year old until a job comes along that doesn’t seem to disqualify me for being over qualified for the job! Sadly we have to get food assistance to make it but I am hoping with smart shopping and saving coupons for the right moment we can get off it and make a small stockpile of items we WILL use within our lifetime.
    Our first trip was to walgreens with the help of this site we got 40$ worth of items for about 13$ after RR. We went today and hit up Wal-Mart and Target for about 20$, but due to a bad checker at Target we have to go talk to customer service about missing coupons!

    Happy savings everyone!

  81. I understand where some of you are comming from, however we as consumer are being extreamly riped off! So if stockpiling and saving money is wrong I don’t want to be right. I however do agree with one women who said she would not purchase mac and cheese at the drug store becaue it’s just cheaper to make it from scratch with that I totally agree. Nonetheless, I favor stockpileing staples and dry goods cause you never know what is going to happen I would love to have a basement stockpiled with everday items like body wash and toothpaste and toliet paper, I’ve been on the unemployement line more than once these last few years and I wish I knew about this sooner because I would have saved myself a lot of head and heart ache by just having the things I needed saved up when money was exteremly non existent, and now that I have a new job best believe I will be an extream couponder to make sure my pantry and storage room are filled to the brim with the things I need and use on a daily basis. I hate to waste money on buying the same things over and over again it adds to my expenses and I feel that money could be used for other things like maxing out my 401k and addng to my emergency fund and when I want to treat myself to something nice I don’t have to feel guilty because I have everything I need for the home and my bills are paid and I conttributed to my retirerment and savings and emergency fund and I can truly enjoy my money for me. I am young single and have no children and the last thing I want to do is send my money to a company I want to send my money to my bank account so I can use it the way I want to so with that said im done

  82. thanks for your weekly match ups!

  83. I have been couponing for a year and a half now. A good freind of mine got me into it and we both consider it a hobby. I mostly do CVS but dabble in Target and the grocery stores when there are good deals. The best thing about couponing for me has been that I now get all name brand quality items, rather than the generic store brands I used to buy. I also love having a small stockpile when my husband says, “I am out of shampoo, razors, shaving cream etc.” I just go to the closet and hand him one. No more forgeting for a week that I need to buy more shampoo. My favorite thing to stock up on is Toilet Paper. For the last 2 years now I have spent about $12 for a year supply of Cottenelle TP. I love when people come over for a visit and they leave with a bag of toiletries and laundry detergent etc. It has been a fun journey to learn couponing and the savings we make each month allowed us to save for a fun vacation to Bali.

  84. I just started couponing about 3 weeks ago and am so far seeing a savings of approx. 50%. I do have to say that it seems that I had to spend a bit more the first 2 weeks until my pantry/health items stockpiled a little bit. Nothing extreme: 3 12-packs of TP, 8 bottles of men’s body wash, 4 tubes of toothpaste and other toiletries and 12 boxes of cereal. We are a family of 5 so this isn’t extreme. I have also been able to give away diaper coupons to family members as well as buy some extra toiletries for my elderly parents. My binder set up cost me 30 bucks total. I’m looking forward to seeing how these next two weeks go.

  85. I have a few questions, will appreciate if someone can answer them.

    1)Most coupons ive seen are only 50 cents of $1 off so-and-so product. That product usally (things i like, say beauty or whatever) is about $6 which i will never buy cuz 6 is too expensive. But even if i get the $1 off, it’s $5, which i will still not reach for that product. I dont think that’s a good deal? I dont understand how this coupining thing works.

    2)For the coupons/products mentioned above, expiry dates are with 2-3 months for coupons. So why should i stock up on something that is still expensive after a coupon?

    Yes ive come to this website after watching the show because i couldnt believe that one guy’s $800+ groceries came out to ZERO????! How is that possible??? Have been reading a lot about couponing but i just dont get how to start. What is step one? I know it’s to look in the sundays papers for coupons on things i like, but as i stated the coupon/product price ratio above, i wont feel like getting it because it’s still expensive??

    Will really appreciate some advice cuz husband and i aren’t in the best of financial situations right now. But then again, who is?

    • One thing that I do is wait for that expensive product to go on sale. Just about everything goes on sale within a 3 to 4 month cylcle. When the item is on sale…. then use a coupon. This is where I see mega savings. And unfortunately, couponing does not allow you to always be faithful to one brand. You may have to switch.

    • @AK, This site will help you better than I can since I just started, but a short answer is to use stores like Walgreens and CVS on some of the expensive toiletries. With register rewards and extra bucks and coupons sometimes you can get expensive items for really cheap. For example, in my area, expensive mens body wash is on sale 3 for 10 which is still expensive for me. However, I have coupons for each item (2 $2 and 1 $1) So I am getting 3 body washes and paying $5 bucks. Not bad, but even better is that the store gives $ 3 in store credit for buying those body washes so I am getting 3 body washes for $2 . So I am paying .67 cents for body wash that is normally 4-5 bucks. Keep reading this site and searching other couponing sites. You’ll get the hang of it.

    • @AK, you’re right, you’re NOT gonna stock up on the item if it is still expensive with a coupon. That’s where coupon matching comes in. Sites like this one (or thekrazycouponlady.com) will show you when you should stock up on an item based on the current sale price and a coupon that has not expired – even telling you what insert and date or website that coupon came from. I think a good general rule is to stock up if the savings is about 70%. (I don’t count register rewards in this number.) A sale on that item will probably come around before the coupon’s expiry date, and you can always scan the clearance aisle. Good luck!

  86. i love couponning and saving money it’s worth it…

  87. I have to believe that some of the scenes shown are staged. In one episode the lady admitted that her store would only double one coupon for each item and she broke up her order into 2 parts with her husband checking out the second load. But the camera showed all of her coupons being doubled. Also, most of the stores in my town of over 100,000 do not have 50-100 items of the shelf. Maybe the store is going along with this to get free advertising. As far as doubling goes, the only store that doubles in my city will only double up to $1 so a 75 cent coupon does not double to $1.50….only $1.
    Finally, if one has to pay for coupons from a clipping service, doesn’t that negate to some extent the savings?

  88. I am new to this site but I am enjoying all the posts from other people… and their tips

  89. Karen Clinard says:

    I am just getting started couponing. I went to Kroger yesterday. My bill was $119.70 before coupons and my Kroger card savings. My final bill was $69.84, a savings of $49.86. I was very pleased with my final bill considering this was my first time to really try to match coupons with sales. I wanted to say thanks for the tips on how to get coupons and having them matched up, it really helps those of us trying to figure this out.

  90. Ok, not sure if this is the appropriate place, but I’m kinda miffed. A lady in front of me cleared off the shelf of body wash that was the great deal I talked about earlier. There were people waiting to get some including myself! How rude. Note to self (and anybody interested), go early in the week to Walgreens and CVS.

  91. Ok, got that off my chest. On the positive side, between Walgreens and Dollar General, I saved approximately 65% ! I did miss out on the register rewards for the toothpaste that would have made it .25 each, but I’m going to try a Walgreens across town. I also made some new friends that I met at a local restaurant who saw my binder and guessed that I coupon even before I opened it. My kids got a kick out of that.

  92. Thanks for the great post. I love couponing, and the show got me back into it…but 75 boxes of cereal??? Get real…stuff does go rancid (yes oil, salad dressings, and even medication expire). Those who coupon for donations are wonderful, but stockpile just to have it? I agree it’s over the top. I’m happy with 3 or 4 duplicate coupons a week and I generally save about 50% on my shopping list. Great Blog post!!!!

    For those who find the shelf “empty” because of hoarders…go to customer service and get a rain check. They cleared out free “Tylenol Heat Patches” at my CVS and CVS still didn’t have them in on the day the coupon expired. 3 days later I went back with my raincheck and expired coupon and they honored the rain check AND took the expired coupon…so I got it for free :-).

  93. CouponDad says:

    Thanks for this article. I started couponing about a month ago (I have used them off and on starting in college). Our family tried to go to Disney once every 18 months, my kids are getting older and therefore more expensive, and I just bought the wife a GMC Yukon XL…so I am cutting everywhere I can. Also, the wife makes enough runs to the store for the immediately needed items – that I chose to take over the weekly large purchase trips to give her a break.
    All this being said, I saw the show and was blown away by the savings and thought, “I am a smart guy and I am good with numbers…I’m an accountant for goodness sake.”…on my first trip I saved 40% and though a bit dissappointed, I realized I saved over $40 (That is 20% of hotel cost for WDW…it’s 6% of my monthly note on Yukon…do this every week and things add up. Not to mention, the reduced trips to fast food joints bc there is nothing in the cupboard). I began to get pumped.
    The next trip I saved $11 and around %30. This last trip (a big trip), I saved 35% and $72. But my wife’s face when I came home with a ton of drinks, snacks, and easy meals for our 3 kids during the summer was one of pure RELIEF and that was priceless.
    I spend about an hour a week researching and about an hour in the store. So far, in less than a month I have saved almost $125. Now who wouldnt take $125 if someone offered it to them.
    Not EXTREME but definitely making life a little easier.

  94. Thank you for this article. I first found your site when I was threatened with job loss, started my own business, and got distracted from saving money. Saw the TLC show and it totally turned me off. My time too is valuable. This article help me to realize what is realistic and encouraging! Thank you.

  95. A suggestion, if you know some one that works at your local newspaper, ask them if they would mind getting some of the coupon inserts for you. I work for our local paper and when we do “tearsheets” we take out only the part we need and throw the rest away. I have asked the lady that does the tearsheets if she would start saving me three sets of each coupon. They are going to be recycled anyway. We are not allowed to set the coupons out for people to come in and get, but if you have an “insider” it is a great savings! Also, when I clip coupons I usually clip the one that I probably won’t use. But if I see some one looking at something that I have a coupon for I will give it to them. I have also been known to put the coupon on the shelf in front of the product if it is something I won’t use. We are a family of seven with limited income and couponing helps save an average of $30 a week!

  96. I have been wanting to get into couponing ever since I was a child. I am going to be 30 in Sept. My sister has just started, and I have saw the Show on TLC. I did not have any “UNrealistic”, prenotions. I know people can do what they do, but first off. I have Autism, and I tend to be unorganized. Never really could take notes, keep track of my notes. Or even be able to make since of them. o.o;; Well, the notes also tend to overwhelm me. I tend to get Anxiaty and Panic Attacks. — But anyways, I know I could never get as good as them. But, I also know that we are in hard times. We get foodstamps, but that is not enough and also my sister-in-law is moving in too. Which is another mouth to feed. She can not get foodstamps, because she is under the age of 24 and has to be on her mothers foodstamps. but her mother makes to much to get foodstamps. I also receive SSI. As does my daughter who is Autistic. An Autistic child already costs alot to raise, so with all of the added stress and an extra person, with the money we are living on. I have been stressing on food, and other necessity. I also, like to help people. I have always been a giving person. I can not stand the thought of a hungry person. Or, a person in need. It is heart-wrenching, the thought of not being able to help them. I have been trying to help people any time I can. But, if I start couponing. Then, It will give me the chance to help people and not be as stressed out over things. Not be as stressed out on not being able to help people. —- I plan on getting a printer. But, right now we are looking for another place to live. Because, there are three Adults and one Autistic child, already. And, starting the 4th. There will be four Adults and one child. So, we need a bigger place. :) I am going to start couponing, and help supporting my family. And, maby start being able to get things we need. :) Wish us Luck!!! :) We are really going to need it. :)

  97. I was watching Extreme Couponing and had to check my cable guide, ’cause I thought I was watching “Extreme Hoarding”! Those women have issues! And I, like others, was wondering why they wouldn’t give most of their stockpile to the needy? Then I watched it last night and a young couple was doing just that — good for them. I also noticed alot of the items/food they stockpile is junk! Thanx for your reality check!

  98. Joyce Hollinshead says:

    Can anyone tell me how I could find a few good websites where you can simply go to and print out good food coupons? I am starting to collect coupons to set up a large binder to keep my coupons in, and I have gone online to a hand full of websites that say they offer free grocery coupons,but once there, you are met with opening one window after another searching for coupons, I just gave up after visiting 6 -8 sites. All I want to do is just print some good food coupons to use, thanks.

    • @Joyce Hollinshead, I found couponmom.com. I am just subscribing myself and thought you might check it out too.
      j

    • @miriam….coupondad.com is a good site also. Open another free email account through gmail or yahoo, and sign up at manufacturers and grocerers websites. They will send you coupons via email. Jewel Osco sent me a $5 off coupon of my $25 purchase. Mom’s Best Naturals Cereal sent me $.75 off of 1 box.

  99. monkeysee1018 says:

    Went to walgreens today, got there at 9, after getting kids on the bus and shelves cleared already??? I was chatting with a cashier whom I have gotten to know over the last few months and she said that 2 women were there at open and cleared the shelves of the Infusium, Listerine, and little swimmers. Seriously, two women NEED that much. I just wanted enough for the summer for my little guy. I think there comes a point when the cashiers should be able to refuse anymore transactions to the same person. Make it inconvenient for them to clear the shelves like making them physically leave the store to put their purchases in their car after 2-3 transactions. At least that way it gives the rest of us some kind of chance. We can’t be all be there at open. Some of us have lives outside of couponing.

  100. I’ve always used coupons but now, thanks to so many sites like this on the web, I’m learning to use them WELL! I don’t think I need 1,000 of ANYTHING (except dollars!) but I do try to keep a stock of what we will use in a couple months (till the next sale comes around) and enough to give to friends/family in need.

    I’m sure I’ll never save 95% on my groceries but I do save a lot. I have decided to stay at home and raise my grandson, whom I have custody of. I do many things to cut our expenses and couponing is a big part of that. Seriously, if I can get something for .75 that I normally pay $2 for, I will get enough to last me a few months. I think this also keeps me from going to the store as often and we all know that saves money right there!

  101. Thank you for this post! I did watch the show and I love it! I am so fascinated but I figured it is Not realistic, although it would be awesome. As a matter of fact, I was discouraged (although, will keep watching..love it!). Discouraged because I do not have the time these people put into it and felt like…well I can’t get good savings due to soo much time invested. My hobby is jewelry-making and crafts and art. Also, have two kids and a job. So I am sooo glad you have this post to say…you don’t have to spend 40-60 hours a week to still get a decent savings. Thank goodness! Looking forward to frequenting this site!

    Sincerely,
    Melanie

  102. Hello! Thank you for this post! I live in Puerto Rico and would like to know where I can find coupons valid here. I’m a single mom and I need save money in every purchase. Oh! Also, I want to know if I can use multiple coupons on one item. Its important and urgent!

    Waiting for your prompt response…. Electra!

  103. The big question everyone has on their minds when they see this Extreme Couponing show is: Where do you find these sweet coupons? I consider myself lucky if I actually find a coupon for a product I buy, but then there’s always a catch. Best I find are typically buy one, get one free. Ok so the best you can save is 50% there…but then the fine print says ‘limit one coupon per transaction’ or something like that. So do I need ring up 75 different transactions to buy that pallet of Powerade? And don’t forget the “not to be combined with any other offer, discount, blah, blah”. Also coupons seem to be getting cheaper nowadays. I’ve seen plenty of : Save $0.05 when you buy 2 cans of soup at $1 a can. Do stores normally then let you be plunk down 40 of those coupons to get those two cans for free? Granted you may have just had to buy $80 worth of newspapers to get enough of those coupons. So what are the tricks to getting around all the conditions and restrictions? Do you need to find stores with a pretty loose coupon policy?

    • @Alice, Yes, there are some “lame” coupons like $0.40 off 5 cans of soup. But there are usually several good coupons in every newspaper that are high value. Printable coupons are also a great way to get good coupons, especially Facebook because many manufacturers are trying to get Facebook fans.

  104. Wilma White says:

    Thank you I don’t want nor neither can I afford to spend hours getting my coupons together. The people on extreme couponing have crossed the line of stocking up to hoarding. I just want to save money on things we buy to help save as much as I reasonably can.

  105. Thank you for posting about realistic couponing. I do real good spending little to nothing on personal products but I always feel like I don’t save enough on the groceries. I am saving about 50% on groceries so I guess I am doing pretty good. :) Thanks for confirming it.

  106. Just tried another coupon site, and it’s ok, but I like this one better. Just sayin’.

  107. I dont want to go extreme. I just want to save money. I wouldnt know what to do with all that stuff! Im watching the show and Im like, how much did it cost for all those shelves, freezers and the energy to keep it all running?? Reality is most of that food will go to waste. They cant eat that much before it expires! I dont want to be the crazy coupon lady! I live in Alabama and due to the April 27th tordandos there are people needing diapers, baby formula, food, etc. I couldnt sit there with a stockpile like that and not donate. That clearing the shelf stuff, just because you can, makes me mad too!

  108. Do you save coupons for things you know you would never buy?

  109. Do you save coupons for things you would never buy?

    • Avid Couponer, but not Extreme says:

      @jean, I haven’t in the past, but since I’ve found this website, my criteria is “would I want it if it were free?” If so, I clip the coupon. For example, I don’t normally use Nivea Body Wash, but saw on this site that Walmart had rolled back the price to $3.00 & there was a recent coupon for $3.00 off…making it free! For free, I certainly DO use Nivea Body Wash! (and am loving it)

  110. I just want to save some money while I’m shopping

  111. Tlvtaylor says:

    I just just begun to coupon and this website was very useful for me. How can I find out when items go on sale seasonally?

  112. My daughter and I have put together our coupon book with high hopes. However, our first few trips have not gone well. The time we spent walking around the store was not worth what we saved. I would have rather been spending more quality time with her.

  113. most coupons say 1 coupon per person per item. how do you use more than one coupon at a time?

    • @terri, Also, teri, they often say “cannot be combined with other coupons or offers”. I wonder how people use store coupons and manufacturer coupons BOTH on one product if the coupons say that.

  114. ok so I have read these posts and people keep saying how they dont have all this time to commit to couponing.. If you remember MOST if not ALL of the people on the show explain that they do not have jobs or their spouse doesn’t have a job and that is why they MUST do it. I agree some of the stockpiles are a little outrageous, but most of those people donate on a regular basis. Everything in life takes time, it just depends on which things each individual decides to spend time on. Just sayin’…

  115. I have been watching the hit show TLC couponing as i find it great that people really can save money. I am recently divorced and have 2 children so i need to find a way to save as much money as i can and still put food on my table.

  116. I have to say, my second reaction to many of those shows is, “That woman is a hoarder.” I love the people who donate. Having tried expired toothpaste from my own previous stockpile and spat it out in disgust, I can see that some of them just continue to take and store more than they can use. When I was couponing very, very heavily, we were also not as healthy as we are now because so much unhealthy food comes up very cheap or free. All those free drinks chips and candy just make me cringe. We eat some, but bringing dozens or hundreds of packages of candy into a house with kids just can’t be a good idea.

  117. Kim Seipp says:

    ok YES!!! finally a couponer to openly say they do not need 150 bottles of detergent!! I googled you and instantly got ya! I am looking forward to atrying to learn this trade! Yes I want to save for my family but I want to help my parents who are on a fixed income and NOT making it! If I can just help them and my siblings who unfortunately are having hard times. I just want a very basic coupon course. I more excited to surprise my parents with this!!!!

  118. Is anyone else getting frustrated with Internet Printable coupons?!?! GRRRR!

    Not to be a snot, I am truly thankful for coupons.com but are they REALLY the only ones out there?!? It seems like ANYONE else who claims to have IP are all just shells which lead you back to the original site, which as I said before I do appreciate.

    My only thing is that they never seem to change to anything new added in there and it doesn’t have any posted policy about how many of each I can print. I’m not hording but having more than one would be nice….

    Any suggestions or am I just being a jerk?
    No really, feel free to answer, not a trick question.

  119. FYI, if you are in the Houston area. The LA hairgel is on sale for .88 at Food Town. I believe one of the 05/22 coupon circulars had a coupon for $1 off so it is a .12 cent money maker for the first bottle. Each additional bottle is 1.44.

  120. I’ve been couponing for about 21 years now and I love it. I think the extreame couponing show is a little over the top. Why for a family of 2 do you need to go shopping every week when you have a stock pile of alot of stuff that will last 40 +/- yrs. I have my binder and I don’t like the baseball holder I have the larger ones and that way I don’t have to fold any of them. Have you ever heard some of the TV show host say how they place their order for coupons that are already cut and come to you in the mail – you can order as many as you want for a price well I wonder if they add that into their total payout at the end of the shopping spree? I would love to meet up with other couponer and trade advice and coupons. I usually go to Walmart for tolitries, cleaning supplies, and pet supplies, since they don’t double coupons I use my high $ coupons there. Then I go to Kroger for the doublo coupons (1 coupon per item) + my daughter works there and gets a 10% discount of products too. Hey every little penny helps. Lets get couponing!!!!

  121. I read a disturbing article in our paper yesterday about a woman who was caught and arrested for stealing the coupons out of all the newspapers in the paper stand. The article said that now that more people are couponing there are more complaints of people having their Sunday paper stolen from their driveway and the coupons missing from the papers they buy. So sad.

    • @Shirley, One of the “ladies” portrayed on the TLC show is shown taking newspapers from other people’s driveways. They claim it was from forclosed houses that were empty but don’t those people cancel the paper or change addresses when they move out?

      I still cannot figure out how the guy that got 1100 boxes of cereal free managed to get 1100 coupons. Plus cereal is usually over $3 a box so even $1.00 doubled does not equal free. Many coupons state that they cannot be combined with other offers.

      • I’m still trying to figure out how to get free cereal too.
        As for the lady who took papers from the driveways of forclosed homes I guess she figured the former owners weren’t going to come get the paper and they’ll be left there to pile up with all those coupons going to waste. I figure the people who moved out were in a hurry to move out and forgot to tie up a few loose ends.

  122. Avid Couponer, but not Extreme says:

    I just wanted to mention that I think it’s wonderful when people donate their extra to charity – I regularly donate in many ways to local charities, but there’s another side…I don’t like it when people CLEAR the shelf & think it’s okay bc they’re going to donate to charity…it’s a very nice thought & gesture, but it prevents the rest of us who coupon in part to avoid needing charity to be able to take advantage of that same great deal for ourselves. Nathan, the gentleman from TLC’s EC who donated the Total cereal among other things (also the rock star of ethical couponing) pre-ordered what he was going to buy in bulk…that’s really the way to go bc then you’re helping charity AND allowing the rest of us to save some too! =)

  123. Stinabina says:

    Ok… I get the small stockpile because if you extreme coupon exclusively…. Deodorant, papertowel, mustard and aspirin will not feed your family but buying it to supplement or add to what you already own… Okay, gotcha. I agree the 1500 items are insane. I would like to get a small pile going so I can coupon more effectively. I don’t see the point in paying full retail when you can coupon it, that being said I would like to not run out of items between cycles. That is my goal. One extreme couponer did have a valid point about his stockpile however, he said when you lose your job how so you provide for your family until you get a new job…. Fair point right there.

  124. It seems to me that most of the things purchaed by the people portrayed on EC are vitamin water, body wash, deodrant, hot sauce, laundry detergent and packaged noodles. There rarely is any fresh or canned vegetables or meat. Only one time was there meat being purchased and I think that was accomplished with the overages created by other coupons. In my paper I have NEVER seen a coupon for meat or fresh veges (other than bags of prepared lettuce). And laundry detergent is so expensive, I sincerely doubt that they get it free. Most coupons for detergent in my paper are about 50cents and the bottle of detergent is usually over $6-7. I’ve noticed that most of the items they get are usually not what I ever use.

    • @Kathy, just wanted to say I have 36 laundry detergents, which I only paid 36 dollars for. Couponing is a skill, not everyone can do it. I don’t feel acclimpished if I save less than 80 percent on my trips.

    • @Kathy…..I get catalina coupons from my grocery store for $$$ off of beef. The one I got yesterday, I have to buy Kraft singles. Not a big deal, because we go through that cheese quickly. Jewel Osco mailed me coupons also for $$ off. They are out there. I have also gotten great deals on laundry soap. Family Dollar puts store coupons in there fliers and on their website. I combine that with my manufacturers coupon, and I get cheap detergent and fabric softener.

    • @Kathy,
      I just started couponing last week, and my Safeway offered a coupon for a basket of raspberries for 99cents. Sweet! So I went to the store and they were having a BOGO deal. So I got two baskets of raspberries for 99cents.

      I ran to the store last night to grab some Horizon milk because we were all out, and I got it for $3.29 /half-gallon with the club deal and personalized prices you can load on the card. Not a huge deal, but still nice. When I checked out, the register printed off a coupon for $3 off my next purchase of produce!

  125. @kathy,
    I got coupons 2 weeks ago that was a dollar off of fresh beef with the purchase of Mrs. Dash seasoning. I buy 4-5 papers, so I was able to get a decent deal especially since Mrs. Dash was on sale at my local store. 2/5.
    I don’t know how often these will come up since I’ve only been couponing 2 months. Yes, there are a lot of coupons for junk, but personally I have been surprised by the number of good things that I am able to get for my family.

  126. I have a question. I just bought the Washington post today the early edition to get the coupons an have come to see the majority of the coupons are expired In may. Everything eles is the date it’s supposed to be except half the coupons any one eles run into this problem? Kinda frustrating since I only bought the paper for the coupons. What a waste of 2.10.

    • @Sarah, I have noticed that the coupons in the paper seem to have shorter and shorter expiration dates. Once upon a time, I got coupons with a 12 month expiration date and now it seems like they expire in 1-2 months.

  127. The extreme coupon show seems to always feature people going to stores with “double coupons”. We don’t have double coupons in CA!!!

  128. I just found your website today and so glad I did. I have only been couponing for 2 months so needless to say my excitement over saving money has been in turbo blast mode. My stockpile is going great only one problem..no way is my family going to be able to use 50 tubes of toothpaste by the expiration in March 2012, but luckily I have family I can share my good fortune with. Anywoo the point being saving money is a wonderful feeling as long as you can use what you buy. Thanks to your website and the people that post on here I can positively say I will not be appearing on Hoarders(Couponing Gone Wrong) LOL. Thanks for great advice and now that I’m back to my usaully level headed self. I think this couponing thing will be a great addition to my families life!

  129. There’s no such thing as realistic couponing. Why would you get a reasonable amount of free Gatorade when you can get an extreme amount? Most people don’t have the ability to extreme coupon. I’m only 20 years old and a college student but I have enough deodorant, shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, etc for 15 years. I NEVER will spend money on frozen dinners, pasta, or pizza. You CAN get EVERYTHING you NEED for FREE if you try har enough.

    • @Tyler, Great work, Tyler, but please don’t infer that people who don’t get things for free aren’t trying hard enough. As I’ve mentioned along with others on this forum, the coupon inserts in my paper feature far fewer than those in a big city newspaper. Plus, the only store in my town that doubles is the one that is the most expensive to begin with. So it is still usually cheaper to go to Walmart superstore than it is to double a coupon at the most expensive store. Additionally, the store that doubles, only does on coupons up to 50 cents so it never takes more than $1 off the price of anything. Obviously that’s a saving, but far from free.

  130. I have a ? hope you can help ..if wagreens is sell nivea for men 2 for $7 can I use two coupons for each of -$2.00?

    • @ssyl….I did it yesterday. I bought 2 bottles for $7 and used 2 $2 coupons (1 for each bottle). Then I got $2 in register rewards.

  131. This was extremely well written! I completely agree with you. Thank you.

  132. I’m obviously coming here a lot to try to learn. Still don’t understand how people featured on the tv show EC get 50-100 coupons doubled when during that same segment they state that the store only doubles the first 1-2 coupons for each item. Then during checkout, the store doubles everything. I still have to believe that the stores are in on this for the free advertising it gets for being on tv. It appears the store violates their own couponing policy. Am I the only one who noticed this?

  133. Extreme couponing is hoarding and not couponing per se. I don’t understand why people will stockpile products they cannot use in this lifetime. I agree with realistic couponing, buying things you only need and using them immediately.

  134. Glad I came across this website. Great information here!

  135. Thank you for providing some realism with this new buzz in the couponing world. It’s very refreshing!

  136. I just happened to run into this web site and am glad to see people are interested in ‘realistic couponing’ rather than the extreme couponing as shown on TV. I think one thing people are forgetting is when the extreme couponers do their thing and are getting ‘double’ coupon values, who is absorbing the extra amount being taken off of the items – the store or the manufacturers? Either way, the rest of us more reasonable shoppers will pay for this in either fewer coupons being published by the manufacturers or higher prices at the grocery store. Personally, I think extreme couponing is an addiction and if those doing it would look at the total amount spent in time, newspapers, and spoilage waste and what they are giving up in their quality of life, they might be surprised at exactly how much this habit is costing them. Please don’t get me wrong, I have always clipped coupons and absolutely hate to pay full price for anything so I am all for saving a buck. I just find the extremeness – well, extreme and frankly selfish.

    • @Dianne, Especially when they gleefully clear the shelves of the product so there is nothing left for anyone else. I do appreciate when they say they call ahead and pre-order something but to take everything on the shelf for themselves is very selfish and inconsiderate. Most of the stores in my town specify a limit of 2-4 on sale items.

      • @Kathy,
        That part drives me nuts, because it seems like I always go shopping after someone like that has been in the store and cleared the shelves. I don’t get rain checks because I usually forget them and don’t use them before they expire. Our stores limit the amounts too.

  137. Thank you for assuring me that i am right in the thinking that WHO needs 77 bottles of mustard? I appreciate the tips you have on here and am looking forward to increasing my beginning coupon shopping!

  138. I just joined this site today i think its wonderful….as far as “ec” goes it is like a rush getting all that stuff for free but reality kicks in when u get home and you have no where to put it…i have been couponing for many years and for a little while i had to stop because i became obcessed and now after 5 years im starting back up again but i will do it responsibly this time…..feeeding and taking care of your family is on thing….giving back to the community is good as well….but hoarding that is a very sad and lonely existence…so im back to realistically coupon…..wish me luck…lololol

  139. I have watched that show, and there are a few things I don’t understand. Our stores here will not double any coupon over 99 cents. If you have a $1.00 coupon, that’s all you get. Most of the coupons I find in the newspaper have very short expiration dates on them, so unless I get 100 newspapers a week, I can’t accumulate them. Many of the coupons say “do not double or triple.” And, many of them are “buy 2, get 1 free.” Therefore, saving like they do on that show is totally unrealistic. And since I only cup coupons for items that I know I will use, it’s tough because I can’t always find them. Watching that show is frustrating, like the one the other night. Buying 66 jars of mustard, when your husband says he doesn’t even like it, seems a bit odd. You can’t use that much mustard in 50 lifetimes! And to buy 110 boxes of couscous, just because you have coupons, makes no sense, especially since they said they had never even tried it. We are having a huge party in November and I’d like to find coupons for the food I’ll be serving, to help us save money. Since that doesn’t appear to be happening, I guess I’ll just look for sales. I really do wish I could learn to do this a little better tho.

  140. Joy and Sarah says:

    For starters, I appreciate you being realistic with expectations. I am a huge fan of Extreme Couping on TLC and always get emotional about the stock piles. Like many of other comments, donate to shelters or organizations. My daughter and I yell at the tv everytime – donate! Couponing is a must for any household and a great way to show our children the value of a dollar. I have much to learn and always appreciate the lil tidpits from my other fellow mothers trying to stretch a dollar – The Gurley Girls

  141. Question: Winn-Dixie is have a BOGO sale on ball Park Franks. I have a 2 coupons for 0.75 off Ball Park Franks. Will this apply?

    If Ball Park Franks are originaly $2.50 for 1 pack will I get the BOGO sale for two packs for $2.50 – 0.75 from the manufacturer’s coupon on the $2.50 making it $1.75 for 2 packs and then use another manufacture coupon for the “free” package making the grand total for 2 packages of Ball Park Franks $1.00?

    Does this senerio work?

  142. Is there an easy way to find specific coupons?
    Winn-Dixie is having a BOGO sale on Sara lee Honey Wheat bread. I’m having the hardest time googling Sara Lee Honey Wheat Bread coupons. I get a thousand different websites and they usually take me to coupon sites that don’t have the specific coupon I’m looking for even though thats what I was searching for in the first place.

  143. Koopahn Klippur says:

    Just watched Extreme Couponing on TLC … and I must say that the people who are on that show can easily slide on over to the Hoarders show – they’re interchangeable. 2000 tubes of toothpaste and no one thinks that guy should be locked up? The lady with a shower completely full of paper towel and toilet paper BELONGS on the Hoarding show, not the coupon show. Yikes!

  144. I have been couponing for years. I “average” a savings of about 30-40% per shop, when sales are included. I guess if we look at shows like “Extreme Couponing” like the fashion shows or even auto shows, we might use it to learn something. For the really fancy fashion shows or looking at the auto shows that show prototypes, not everything is very practical, but if we take what we can use and leave the rest, it is an actual benefit. Look at what is shown. Look for ideas or new ways to improve. Take what we want and ignore the rest.

    When I first started couponing, I watched an extreme couponing show. It was said to ask your store or gas station, etc. what they do with their left over newspapers. I did that and now I have one that I check with on Monday mornings to see if they have any left from Sunday that I can take the coupons from. Even they are given different policies based on the specific newspaper as to what to do.

    Some ideas I have learned lately from EC include using different computers to print more of the same coupon and using a binder system to put my coupons in. I also like the idea of giving to the food pantries, etc.

    Another nice aspect to the show was that my husband has become interested in helping with some of the couponing. He now knows what I have been doing for years. He has started to look at sites. This actually helps me because he may see one that I don’t.

  145. carmelinda savignon says:

    Do I need special printer, because whenI try to get the coupons they tellme please install coupon priter

  146. Well, I gave it my first try today – really watched what I bought – went to Winn Dixie and shopped only the Buy One/Get One and used some coupons. Using that and their loyalty card I saved $90.00 on a $210.00 bill. I didn’t think that was too bad for a first time, and I only got things we will actually use AND that do not expire quickly. We now have a small stockpile of some items, but we didn’t get more than a six month supply of anything. This is really a lifestyle change. By eating at home more we are going to save a TON of money.

  147. I need some clarification on something: I went to Wallmart today to get NIVEA bodywash which I happen to have a coupon for (from the All You Magazine June edition) it is B2G1 FREE, I picked up six bodywashes which entitles me to b2 and getting 1 for free, i also have a $1 /1 bodywash, by my understanding the BOGO coupons are the only ones where you can stack another coupon for $ off on to use in combinations (please feel free to correct me if i am wrong), the cashier refused to take my coupons stating that i can only use either or coupon not both…needless to say i was livid but i kept my composure as she called her lead cashier over to analyze the situation only for the lead to agree with her cashier and still tell me no i cannot stack my coupons.
    I recognize my mistake 1- I DIDNT HAVE MY COUPON BOOK WHR MY POLICIES ARE LOCATED WITH ME, SINCE I WAS ONLY STEPPING INTO THE STORE ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF BUYING THE BODYWASH.
    I have gone over the policy since coming home (bodywashless) and still i dont see anywhere in their policy where they dont allow you to stack another coupon on a BOGO coupon.
    Even the people in the line that was getting a little longer than expected was agreeing with the cashier (i really think they were clueless since none of them had any coupons for their purchases so i cant even get mad at them. i felt bad for them more than anything for paying full price for their items).
    Im not done yet. im calling their corporate off and the store manager to see what the real deal is.
    According to the cashier they go thru seminars or training every month regarding their coupon policy//?? really ??? the saga continues

    • @tanya, I’m sorry, but using a $/1 coupon along with a bogo coupon is fairly controversial. In my opinion it should not be done. It is always good to carry your coupon policy with you though! :)

  148. I use coupons regulary. but in a good sense. I usally save over 50% of my bill with coupons and instore deals. and usually only buy what is on sale. sometime even if i have coupons I don’t buy the item just because it is on sale. Family time is more valuable then coupon time. you can have both.

  149. Look for me on next season! :D Realistic couponing does not exist.

  150. If these extreme queens where donating so much, why are their stockpiles worth 10 – 15,000 dollars. Come on. Give us realistic couponers a break and leave a few items on the shelf.

  151. Great post, Stephanie. And, great suggestion from your readers. Donating to shelters and Abuse centres is huge: I’m sure they could use all they can get. The Extreme couponing show is a bit much for our taste. Having said that, donating the overage items instead of having a crazy stock pile can be huge for a community.

  152. I have just started looking for coupons. I have never used them much in the past, but by careful shopping, I feed my husband and I for less than $6 a day, $7. at the most. And we’re eating good. This is a meat and 2 or more vegetables and bread once a day, often twice (sometimes it works out where we eat a sandwich and tea for a second meal, but not that often). I expect it to be better when I start using some coupons. Here’s what I do:
    1. If I buy at Kroger, I only buy what’s on sale. No exceptions.
    2. I kept all my grocery reciepts for 2 months to see what I’m actually paying at each store. This means, if I’m paying $1. for a can of vegetables at Kroger on sale, can I actually get a different brand of the same kind of vegetables cheaper at Walmart or Save-A-Lot?
    3. I don’t have a freezer, but I try to find a large pkg of some kind of meat once a week that I can split up and ziplock into several pkgs and freeze. Last week I got a pkg of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.97 a lb that I split up into 4 pkgs. I buy hamburger that way too.
    4. I look for meats that are marked down. I’m going to freeze them anyway when I get home, they won’t spoil before I cook them. I invested in a thermal bag to put the refrigerated foods in to make sure they make it home o.k.
    5. I only cook enough for that meal. If leftovers get put in the fridge, they too often get thrown away, and why throw away food? The exception is vegetables, which get dumped all together in a plastic container to be used for “hobo stew” a mix of anything I have.

    By comparing prices, I’ve found the following- I use coffee singles, and I can get them cheaper at Walmart. Family Dollar is cheaper on my dishwasher product, and in fact, most cleaning supplies. Kroger store brand drinks are cheaper. Milk is almost always cheaper at Walgreens.

  153. thank you for the info, it looks very interesting.

  154. Well, I’m getting a little better at this. Figuring out CVS bit by bit. A couple of days ago I went in with the sale flyer and my coupon binder. Took advantage of the sales, stacked coupons, and used a couple of ECs from a previous shopping trip. Bought $43.65 at regular price – after subtracting all the freebies and coupons I only paid a little of $11.00! The woman behind me was really impressed – hahaahah. My stockpile is growing a little, but it makes you feel good to know there are items that won’t go bad that you don’t have to worry about buying anymore for at least six months – and all of it was free or low cost! Make me sick to think about the money I’ve been throwing away for the last 20 years!

  155. I have started trying to use more coupons lately. I do not understand how you save enough to get an item or items free or nearly free. The coupons I find are for .25 off or $1.00 or .50 off of 2 items. Then the fine print reads that you cannot combine coupons with other offers or you can use only one coupon per item per purchase. Once I tried to combine a coupon with a sale price; they gave me the discount off the regular price. How do you get around these issues to make this work so well? Help!

  156. Kymberly says:

    Annette I find that you get items for free most often if you shop at a store that doubles coupons up to .99. My grocery store chain does that so a .75 coupon is worth -$1.50. So when, say, shaving cream is on sale for .99 a .75 coupon doubles to -$1.50 and makes it not only free but a money maker. Ditto toothpaste. They sell it 10/$10 (Colgate) and the .75 coupons that were out a while back meant I MADE money buying toothpaste. Granted my stockpile is a puny 15-20 tubes (we’ll use it up easily), not 200.

    One coupon per item per purchase just means that you can only use one item PER ITEM not PER ORDER. Meaning if I buy 10 tubes of that toothpaste they’ll take ten coupons. I just can’t apply ten coupons to ONE tube. Make sense?

    As for them refusing to allow you to use a coupon on a sale item – that sounds like a store policy. I’d shop somewhere else.

    Hope that helps!

  157. Kymberly, thank you for your response. I do not think that the stores here double, maybe I’ll ask. I may just be out of luck, living in a small town with few store options. I will continue to try to find savings, however. Another question, though, can you use multiple differing coupons on the same ONE item?

  158. Thanks for this article! I have been couponing for a few months. However, Even if I have 8 coupons for an item, I may only get 4. Depending on the savings and the need in our household. My husband and I have watched the show, and he has an unrealistic idea that we can get $2,000 in groceries for $100. ;) So yesterday I took him with me. He loved it. And he understands the real world of couponing now. :) Thanks

  159. I loved this article… So how do you organize your binder?

    also do you have a coupon inventory list or is it a waste of time?

  160. I don’t believe the show is unrealistic. However, it is unrealistic for people who live in certain states/cities. I live in Illinois. Depending on what state you live in, the cost of food is higher. The stores on air (in the extreme couponer state) has double coupon day. I have not found a grocery store in Chicago/surrounding townships that offer double coupon day. Also, the extreme couponer has multi coupons of the same item, in upwards of 20 – 30 coupons of the same item. When they go to the grocery store, they are only purchasing a few items in large quanities.

  161. It makes me sick when I watch extreme couponing. I don’t watch it anymore. My husband is in the Army and I’m a SAHM to 3 children under 6. Pretty busy household. I limit myself to 2 Sunday papers mostly for the diaper coupons. 1 trip to CVS I bought a jumbo pack of pampers and a small thing of wipes for $1.24 OOP. I started out with 6 extra care bucks and used 4 coupons I believe. I don’t let it bother me when I have to pay more than 3 bucks for diapers. For instance, I bought a box of pampers normally $25 but they were on sale for $18.99 I used 5 extra care bucks and some more diaper coupons and I pretty much walked out CVS with a box of diapers normally $25 for $11.00 OOP tax included. That’s more than 50% savings on a product I’d use for 2 of my children. I have a lot of room we have a 2 story house with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Sure I can use our extra room for stuff I would use in 2 years but why would I? It’s called self control and realistic couponing. My husband and I agreed that I would only but stuff we NEED and WILL use. He limited me to 3 per item before I can go buy more of the product. Even if it’s a good sale and coupon. The rest of the coupons I have and don’t need I pass them to people who will use them in my husbands unit. Even if you save 10% it’s still saving money. Now, sure all those coupons but what about the cost of them? The printer ink is expensive!! Paper!! To me it isn’t worth the time or money. Family is too precious. Different strokes for different folks though..

  162. Is anyone else concerned about the companies changing their coupon policy because of this show? At most So CA stores you can only double up to $1 and at ralphs only 1 coupon per item can be doubled. Even with these changes I can save between 40%-60% on a regular basis

  163. My daughter is 12 and wants to buy stuff we don’t need and just stockpile it! Not sure what I’ve created!!! HA!

  164. Hi I”m brand new at this, I litterally just went out and bought my first sunday paper. Sorry if my question is simple , but ive always just shopped at Giant Food Stores, i really like it but can i just use the coupons i find there, or do I have to go to different stores? Im limited on my time, so this would not be worth it to me. Plus on the coupon sites ive visited, all the stores they offer, ive never even heard of. Where do I start? thanks

    • If Giant is the store you prefer, then just stick with it! You can still use coupons there. You might save a little more if you’re flexible with where you shop, but if you are limited on time then it’s probably best to just stick with what you are familiar with.

  165. The most recent Money Magazine did an article about how stores are changing their policies specifically in response to the Extreme couponing show. One item then mentioned is that stores are no longer allowing paper coupon and e-coupons downloaded to loyalty cards to be used on the same product. Best advice is to be aware of which has the higher value and use that.

    Too bad the Extreme Couponing show appears to have ruined it for the rest of use realistic couponers.

  166. I work as a team member at a Target store and I can’t tell you how crucial articles like these are. People come into my location with huge amounts of doubles, illegal reproductions, or forges of coupons and then curse at ME when I turn them down. Savings are nice, but there is no free lunch and you can’t expect to save bajillions on every trip; you have to think realistically. Not to mention I laugh everytime someone comes through a checklane with 20 or so items they don’t need/could donate/have expiration dates, spend upwards of $50 on them and then proclaim how much money they’ve saved, lol.

  167. I love your site, and totally agree! Very well put together, and very helpful. Kuddos to you Stephanie!

  168. Family loves it

  169. thank you. i am trying to get started.’ Wish me luck

  170. thank you just trying to get started.

  171. Thanks so much for your helpful info. I watched Extreme Couponing for the first time about 2 months ago and started researching how to coupon. The show really is so misleading about getting all that stuff for free. I live in Greensboro, NC and none of our stores around here allow “stacking”, which is how I discovered they get all the freebies. I felt really cheated when I realized that there was no way for me to “extreme coupon”. And I don’t want a huge stockpile either – just a few extras of the things we use regularly.
    I recently attended a coupon class at my local library, which validated a few things I had figured out on my own – to look at the weekly sales flyers and then do a coupon matchup to see which coupons were out there for what is on sale. Harris Teeter is a big chain around here and I usually don’t shop there regularly b/c they are more expensive than Food Lion, where I mostly shop. Harris Teeter does have double coupons every day, sometimes triple. A couple weeks before the class, they had a “super” double coupon week where I could double coupons with a value of up to $1.98 instead of the normal up to $.98. I did a matchup of the sales that week and was so thrilled when I managed to buy a bottle of salad dressing, a can of carpet foam, and some refrigerated brownie bites, all for $1.49. Then I went back and used super double coupons for items and got about $115 worth of stuff for about $40. That felt like a big success to me even though I still had to spend $40. I was still jealous of the EC’s when I look at my piddly amount of stuff in which I spent more than they do for 2 or 3 cartloads. Also, I fear that the EC’s are going to ruin everything for the rest of us who just want to save a few bucks b/c I think the companies will eventually put a stop to it because of their habits.
    I found out at the class that there is a Kroger store in Durham, NC about an hour or so away from me so I might get brave enough to make the trip and try out the coupon stacking and see how much I can get. Thanks again!

  172. A new episode aired last night (9/12) and a couple of discrepancies immediately caught my attention. First, a woman claimed to be shopping for a friend who needed help feeding her family. However, one of the purchases was for hundred of sticks of deodrant. I don’t think that counts as food and there was no indication that the coupons created an overage to be used toward other food. The next discrepancy was when the lady said she bought 200 papers every Sunday for the coupon inserts. In my town the Sunday paper costs $3 so she potentially spends $600 a week for papers. That amount has to be considered when figuring how much money is actually spend/saved, yet no one ever seems to mention that.

    Promo for upcoming show has a couponer bragging about clearing the shelves during her shopping trip and if people don’t like it “too bad, they can get to the store before me” to avoid empty shelves. This attitude is rude and greedy in my opinion and certainly gives couponers a bad reputation.

    I know we’ve duscussed this before but I just had to vent. Sorry.

    • Yes, the cost of newspapers is usually not factored in. Papers are $3 each here too, though I do know some areas can be cheaper. Even if they are only $0.50 each, 200 papers would cost $100!

  173. How can you build a stockpile on only 4 newspapers per week. That is my problem. I have 4 in my family and those 4 stockpiled items from my 4 coupons from my 4 papers are used up within a week. Do you buy 4 papers and then buy more coupons from a clipping service on the items you want to stockpile? I don’t get how you could ever build up any kind of real stockpile with 4 papers. Is there something I am missing?

    • Sales and coupons come so frequently that I find 4 papers more than enough. If you are unable to build your stockpile with this number, then go ahead and buy more papers. 1 per person is only a suggestion, you definitely want to figure out what works for you own family.

  174. Thank you for commenting on the HUGE amounts of odd items these people buy! Who needs 143 bottles of Bayer Aspirin? or 86 bottles of mustard????? I have really enjoyed your website. thank you.

  175. I am a foster parent and have quit my job to do this full time. I have occasionally used coupons in the past and now that I have many little ones coming and going, coupons are a must. I plan to stock up on as many items as I can to send with the families when the kids go back. Most CPS cases are for neglect which often results from single parents not having the things they need to provide for their children. When I see the people on TLC not donating it makes me crazy!!! I will keep track of my savings and report back! I’m excited to get started! This has been the best website I’ve been to.

  176. Hope you guys like my episode airing this Wednesday! :)

  177. Just wanted to share my biggest success to date. I got $135.70 in merchandise at Kohl’s for $17.87! I shopped clearance and used 10 $5.00 off coupons. I got the coupons on Ebay for $7.00. I also got 15% off for using my Kohl’s charge. Great day!

  178. I’m sure I’m. showing my age, but I got an object lesson long ago about hoarding: how many here remember the “shortages” of the 1970s? They were almost always followed by HUGE price increases of the short item… in my area their used to be a discount chain store (along the lines of Kmart, Target & Walmart) named Zayre’s. They had an unbelievable sale one time on a shortage item… my cousin went to stock up– and did he ever! The sale was toilet paper… my cousin stored it all in a small room in his house… can you see it coming? As Jimmy Buffett says, ” You just can’t reason with hurricane season”… every roll turned into paper mache! sigh!

  179. THANK YOU for posting this! I am a 24 year old medical student and I like couponing because I am good at it and it saves me a ton of money. But ever since the TLC show has become popular I have gotten angry at how crazy the show makes some couponers seem. Not every couponer has 150 bottles of hot sauce in their stock pile! Just last night I did have a purchase get down to .09 cents and I love that feeling, but not all of us take that feeling to the extreme by buying unnecessary items. So thank you for enlightening the world on realistic couponers because even if you are on an extreme budget there is no reason to be spending 8 hours at a store or more than a few hours a week clipping coupons.

  180. I found it ridiculous that people buy 200 bottles of hot sauce or mustard that they’ll probably never use up. A little bit of hot sauce goes a long way, why buy enough to fill up a couple bathtubs? I would rather have extreme savings on items my family will actually use, such as meat and vegetables. Does anyone know of any way to get coupons for large bags of frozen vegetables (not just those tiny little steamer bags with unneccessary sauce)?

  181. Also, math is EVERYTHING. My husband and I started couponing recently. There are some times when couponing is a great way to save money, and there are some times when couponing can COST you.

    For example, we were planning to make chocolate chip cookies. We had all the scratch ingredients at home, we needed chocolate chips and a few other grocery items- most of which were on sale or had coupons (sometimes both). I found a coupon for a brand name of chocolate chips, 50 cents off when you buy two bags. These were ridiculously overpriced, at 3.95 a bag. We only needed one bag, but I decided to do the math. Two bags would be 7.90, with 50 cents off would be 7.40. If the store did a double coupon, it would be 6.90. Compare that to the generic store brand, which was 1.99 a bag. We did not need to buy two bags, so that’s a savings of 4.91 just from buying what was on the shelf instead of buying what we had a coupon for.

    The trick is to check the math and look for the best deal. Most of the time coupons will help you get there, but sometimes buying a coupon item is not your best bet. If it’s not something you need or use often, or if the math shows the generic brand is cheaper, you may need to rethink your strategy sometimes.

  182. Thank you for posting realistic tips about couponing! I cut coupons but only cut the ones for items I actually use. Most of the grocery stores near me will not double a coupon over $1. I actually find Extreme Couponing disturbing. These people are hoarders, plain and simple. They show their stockpile and then the cameras follow them to the grocery store to get more stuff. Who needs 50 bottles of hot sauce and 200 boxes of cereal? Food is supposed to have expiration date and I doubt these people will use all that they have purchased.

  183. i just want to save some money,,400 tubes of toothpaste is crazy,,unless you donate it to a shelter!!!!just win something realistic
    thank you

  184. After reading several articles about how the events for EC are staged, rules are broken and coupon fraud is committed, I have discontinued watching the show and re-evaluated my use of coupons. I will continue to use coupons, obviously, but have stopped my quest to get things free like on the show. In my town, it simply is not possible. For example, the EC couponers always claim to get their toilet paper for free. Now we know how much even a 4 pack of TP costs. Most newspaper coupons I find are for 25-50 cent Charmin. Even doubled, this no way comes close to getting the product free. So it certainly appears that they are either lying or they have found a source for coupons that I’m unaware of.

    • I totally agree that a lot of the show is staged for excitement. I mean how many times now have we seen the register lock up and not take any more coupons? Please, if these people did that all the time they would know that and know how to handle that. The stores in my area with the exception of Walmart do not give overages on coupons. If a product is .99 and the coupon is $1, we get .99 taken off. Yep, you read it right, not even a penny over. Another thing that I wish everyone would consider and it was sort of mentioned in the initial blog is how much does this really cost people? Sure some of them admit to dumpster diving for coupons but others have to be purchasing at least 10-20 newspapers or buying their inserts online so how much more is that added to your “free” groceries. Our Sunday newspaper costs around $2 so that’s $20 a week or $80 a month, not so free anymore is it? I’ve been couponing for a long time but refuse to dumpster dive or buy papers/inserts and I have enough supply for my family without doing those things. I’m just waiting for this to trickle down the to manufacturers and for them to stop giving coupons or like P&G has done and put a limit of 4 like coupons right on the coupon. I mean if you are the excedrin company and you see that they bought 200 bottles and got a $1 overage on each one would you issue that coupon again? Well, that’s enought of my 2 cents worth. :)

  185. Can you believe the Duggers (TLC show “19 and Counting”) admitted to NOT using coupons on the episode I watched last night? Really???

    • I was surprised about that until the dad said they usually shopped at warehouse stores that do not accept coupons. So for them, it may not be realistic to do much couponing. What surprises me is that they do not appear to have a garden. They live in the country with what appears a very large piece of land which could support a sizeable garden.

    • Yeah I was really surprised by that too. It made me a little angry. I felt like I wasted all that time. :(

  186. I am a single parent of 2 tween girls and have been couponing since EC started — watched the first episode and was hooked! I am in the Houston area (thank you Tiffany Ivanosky)- so our Kroger does not double any more (dang u Kroger!)

    i do have a “stockpile” of laundry det., (which i was able to get each bottle/box under $2 with coupons and sales) shampoos, fem products, body wash and razors and some freezable items – some of the shampoos i didn’t have a coupon for – they were marked down to .49! We are set on the taxable items for about 6 mos (maybe more, maybe less) — they way i look at it– get it up front when I have “extra cash” – then i will have “extra cash” for other items when i shop at a later date– i have only been able to save about 38% using coupons and my card — i JUST WANT TO GET THE 50% mark LOL my goal is to budget $200 or less a month or so for groceries – and when i don’t “spend” the $$ — put it up for “whatever reason”

    this week my kroger has some pretty good deals going — so we will keep fingers crossed! I am at a week where i have “extra cash”- so i am getting things for Christmas dinner and to have a few extras for a later date. I do not plan to grocery shop for the remaining of the year. We freeze milk and bread, eggs are a great sale item this week as well for me I tried shopping at Walmart and doing the price match thing – but only saved $49 in coupons and less than $5 in price matching (my bill was still $250) so i am sticking with kroger (plus i get fuel points) i like to see my card savings matched with coupons and my percentage

    i have a binder and spend about 2 – 4 hrs a week printing, cutting and putting in binder. some weeks may be a little longer – some not at all — but i don’t shop each week nor do i put items in my binder every week so some times i need to scrub the binder – and donate all the expired coupons to the SERVICE FAMILIES!

    if you notice – they are not buying alcohol either – so i am not sure if that is what is causing my savings not to hit that mark!

    and i do agree– who needs 170 bottles of hot sauce or mustard! WOW i mean i think 75 is fine ( just kidding!) WELL GREAT COUPONING TO ALL!

  187. Donna Mollaun says:

    Well, I’m not into stocking 40 jars of pasta sauce when I will only use 12 of them a year, but if I could donate what I can’t use to a Food Pantry….You know what I mean. I want to save, but we eat mostly produce and fresh seafood. I’m saving all coupons in just in case of washes that I find for the food pantries. Discontinued coupons go to the military folks who can use them if they have been expired no more than 6 months.

  188. I have been a couponer for over 30 years. I totally agree, if you can get 50 to 60 percent savings your doing good. Frankly I feel the Extreme Couponing Show has done more harm than good. I live in Calif. and we used to get good coupons. But I haven’t seen the large amount coupons in a long time. And they usually expire in about 6 to 8 weeks. So it doesn’t pay to have alot.

  189. I stopped getting emails from couponing 101 so I signed up again. I think the T.V. show is actually making it worse for people really trying to save money. The stores where I live are changing there coupon policy and hardly excepting online coupons, and some of the newspaper stopped carring coupon inserts.

  190. I just got done looking at this week’s coupon inserts and it really seems to me that there are so many fewer coupons fhan before. Most of the inserts are simply advertisements or mail order offers. Red Plum seems particularly miserly with coupons but I’ve noticed that Smart Source is headed in the same direction. And very few true grocery coupons. Mostly health and beauty products. Am I the only one who has noticed this or is it simply my newspaper doesn’t carry all the coupons available in other locales? I’m having much better luck with the printable coupons online but only being able to print two of each doesn’t create much of a stockpile.

    • I’ve just now within the last week started back up my stock pile of coupons and noticed if you search the web, you can get the same good coupons from different sites and be able to print 2 or 3 from each site so you can get 10 or so of the same coupon. It does take time with all this searching but does pay off if you are trying to find that one good one.

  191. Yes Kathy I have noticed these. Problems.too. in. Our area. I live in the upper. Southeast.

  192. ChibiOkasan says:

    I just don’t get this at all. I buy VERY frugal. Toilet paper 12 rolls for $2. For 2 weeks.
    Charmin is on sale for $8 for 12 rolls. Enough for 2 weeks. But even with the manufactures coupon (about 2-3$) I’m still paying $5-6. I can’t use another coupon on it or my store card it’s still more expensive and I’m better off with the cheap stuff. Can someone please comment or email me about this? I don’t get how to save even realisticly when I already buy so cheap.

    • It’s not ALWAYS cheaper to buy the name brand with a coupon. If the store brand is cheaper – go for it! But sometimes the name brand + coupon comes out to a better deal and that’s when couponers stock up!

  193. Good information for all us beginning couponers! Couponing can be so much fun and I definitely save a lot of money.

    I, too, watched the TLC Extreme Coupon show when it first came out, but one thing I noticed (and even see at the grocery store) is the quality of the food in some folks’ carts. Honestly, it seems like many of the great deals these folks appear to be purchasing is processed food, soda, frozen meals, etc. etc. All I think is sodium, fat, sugar, and so forth. I’m not a health nut (crackers, chips and cookies do exist on my shelves!), but I do try to buy more fresh meats, vegis and fruits, and somewhat more healthful items for my family when I coupon…not to mention items I will actually USE. I think couponing works best when you combine it with realistic meal planning. Some of the biggest savings and stockpiling I’ve been able to achieve is for paper products and cleaning products, and yes, there are coupons out there for healthy items!

  194. Is it me or does good coupon/sale deals seem harder to come by since “Extreme Couponing” started airing?
    Mfg coupons are now less in value, shorter expirations and more for the purchase of “two” of their items. Also the store I frequent have become more stringent in their coupon policies and question every coupon…
    Just saying……

    • Schnucks is the only store in my town that doubles. It used to double anything under $1 but now only doubles coupons undr 50 cents. Since its prices are the highest of any store in town, the doubling doesn’t really help. I absolutely agree that coupons have changed since this show came out. See comment from January 8 above.

  195. Hello, I am very interested in not spending any more than I have to. I have a family of 5 and we live paychek to paycheck. I only spend about $120 – $140 per week on grocries. Which dosen’t seem that bad, but that is just buyi g dinners almost only, sometimes a few extras, and if i need household things i have to rely on leftovers to save money for things we need. I have extream adhd and I never leave the house with out a list broke down into departments, with the price of each item ( which I have memorized)next to each item, and totaled so that I do not get to the counter and have to put anything back k (embarrassing). The idea of using coupons has my full attention but being a hands on person, I am overwelemed by the process. Or many the binder. The more detail the better for me. Is this going to work for me or should I just forget it.

  196. Also, now they say u have to eat like 6 times a day to loose weight and stay healthy, I would like to be able to but my budget as it is won’t allow me to. I shop at Walmart, alides, an big lots, sometime if I get to harps early enough I can get meat for a few dollars off for almost store expired meats and freeze them. But it is still not enough, and it only feeds us for a week with empty cabinets at the end. Please help me!

  197. Crystal Soto says:

    Hi, I’m not sure this is the correct place to ask, but I’m going to try. Where do i get the P&G coupons at? Really new to this :-) thanks!

  198. I like to watch the couponing show when it has people couponing to donate to charities. And I also like to see how low they can get their bill to be, but I do not quite think it’s necessary to have hundreds of tic tac containers like that one lady had in a show. We coupon to save money-not to hoard.

  199. I got into couponing a little over a year ago when I read about the possibility of getting free items at CVS on a regular basis. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s become a weekly game for me: what can I get for free or make money on?

    It’s only my partner and me at home, and our stockpile has just enough for the two of us: five tubes of toothpaste at any given time, for example, that’s all we really need for the both of us…they don’t talk about this on Extreme Couponing but toothpaste DOES have an expiration date, so why hoard 1000 tubes just because you can? If I’m able to get more, I do, even though I really don’t need it, so I just take it in to the office and give it to coworkers.

  200. This is a very helpful site. I just read all the comments posted and only saw one mention of ebay for coupons. When I want a lot of one coupon, I go to ebay where people are selling mostly lots of 20. But the price is usually less than $2 mailed. So on items that I use a lot that have a long shelf life I buy them on ebay. There are also mixed lots of a variety of coupons. I have been doing this for over 2 years and have never gotten a bad deal, and even if I got a bad lot of coupons, the amount I paid would have been less than $2. I like the “buy it now” lots so I get them really fast and buy from poeple with good ratings, usually “power sellers”. If you are going to buy on ebay you need to open a pay pal account because this is the only payment accepted for coupons due to expiration dates and the need for fast mailing. This is easy to set up. Just go to the pay pal site and follow directions.

  201. I am new to the site and looking for a little advice. I started couponing about a year ago as well and it has been great. I can’t believe I didn’t start sooner. My question is this: About six months ago things started to change at the Kroger store in my town. Anytime anything is on sale in a way that makes is half price or less with coupons they are out of it. It doesn’t matter if you go the first day of the sale, the last day or any day in between. They don’t have it. Getting a rain check doesn’t help because they seem to be out of the item until after the time the coupon expires, then it magically reappears on the shelf. This is the only store within 20 miles of me that doubles coupons. I don’t know if they are just that busy or what. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this? I don’t need to buy 100 of an item or anything but this is making it very difficult to save money or use coupons at all.

    • That’s a really tough situation to be in. Have you talked to the manager? I recommend talking to the manager and telling them the problem. Obviously they are not ordering enough of the sale items, since they run out on the first day and are out of stock for a whole month.

      If that doesn’t work, I would call Corporate and file a complaint about it. That’s ridiculous.

      Good luck! :)

      • Megan,

        I have actually spoken with both the store manager and corporate. They both went into long speeches about how couponers are clearing the shelves (somehow this is happening despite the 5 coupon rule?) and they try their best to keep the shelves stocked but they just can’t because of the people who coupon. This doesn’t seem to be the case at other Kroger stores. The town where my daughter goes to college has a Kroger and I am always able to pick up the sale items when we go there to visit her. Also, we occasionally visit a city that’s about an hour from our home. There are several Kroger stores located there and again I am always able to get the items that are on sale when I am there. In fact, I have actually taken a rain check that I got from my local store and used it in these other stores to get sale items. I feel like I’m the crazy woman running from Kroger to Kroger ! I am trying to stay positive about this and figure out a way around it, but it sure seems like they are purposely not re-stocking. I wish I knew a good way to handle this situation.

  202. Thanks Meagan. If anyone has any advice or ideas, I would be very happy to hear them.

  203. I have been reading varous articles on your website and reading posts. What is your opinion on Dollar Stores. My friend spends about $40.00 a week at the Dollar Tree. I do purchase most of my cleaning and paper products from there but I have found better deals elsewhere. My friend and I argue about how she saves so much money at the dollar store. I don’t see it.

    What is your take on these stores

    Juleigh

  204. Thank you SO MUCH for this article!!! My Mom is quickly becoming an addict. Just yesterday she went shopping, spent 2 1/2 hours at the store, and bought $500 worth of groceries, most of which SHE DOESN’T NEED. For real, who needs 30 boxes of hamburger helper “just because it was a good deal?” I mean, once I move out at the end of the month, it’ll just be her… what is she going to do with all those boxes of hamburger helper???

    I mean, I’m certainly glad that she can save between 40 and 50 percent on her bill during the average shopping trip, but are the huge stockpiles — especially those of perishable goods, like yogurt — really necessary, if she’s going to go shopping every week anyways?

    I may have to share this with her :P

    • Elaine, just a guess, but being a mother of grown children myself, it may be she is planning to help with your move by starting you off with a stocked pantry. Just a thought. Good luck with your move and new place.

  205. Thank you so much for this site! I will admit, I do love watching “Extreme Couponing” on TLC but I udnerstand that it is not the norm. I love to coupon but I try to do it in a responsible manner. I only get what my husband and I will use and not so much that it will expire before we can use it and I don’t have an entire room dedicated to my stock pile. My husband and I were horrible spenders in our younger days and we are trying to pay some bills off before we start our family. I hope that people will stop thinking that all couponers are “extreme couponers”.

  206. i have a good question. so yes ive been watching the extreme couponing show and it has inspired me to look for more coupons and save more money but on every single coupon website i’ve been on including some of the ones u’ve posted on your site, they all seem to make u download stuff, and put cookies on your computer, or even stated that if i except the terms of joining their site that it could leak malicious viruses on to my computer.. others give out spam, or share your info so this has stopped me everytime from following through with joining a site therefore i cant print any coupons and save!!!! help!!! can you recommend any sites that dont do these thingsQ>M. Do all you people that coupon just run the risk of getting viruses or thier personal info sharedQ>M

    • I’ve been using printable coupons for years, and have never had a problem with malicious content or viruses. You simply have to download the coupon printer applications. Good luck.

  207. Hi guys, what do yall do for couponing. i want to get into this and start saving, but i dnt seem to get anywhere, i go from website to website. What is it that you guys do

  208. Sweet.

  209. I have found target to be a really good store to save at

  210. Thank you

  211. I have only recently started clipping coupons. I don’t have, and can’t afford a printer due to some serious health issues and an income of $386 in alimony a month income, so printing out coupons is not an option for me. Is there any way that I can get around this. The Red Plum just doesn’t have that many coupons in it to even make a dent in my grocery bill. Any suggestions? Desperately need guidance on where and how to get coupons without having to print them. Also, I have no transportation so that’s an issue as well. I rely on my ex-husband to take me grocery shopping every two weeks. Thank you for any suggestions you may have to help me save much needed money.

  212. This website is very informative. In a couponer in training. I’m able to watch for store sales but haven t really connected it with the coupons often enough to notice savings with couponing yet.

  213. IRIS Melecio-Lopez says:

    Id like to subscribe

  214. Thank you!Very helpful. :-)

  215. I have a question. How is it that people on the show end up with so much free stuff? I checked my local grocery store’s policy and you can only use one coupon per item per purchase. Even if these coupons double, my items will still not be free.

  216. stella ramirez says:

    EXCITED

  217. I Love it

  218. For those wondering how some people have so many of one type of coupon, I think besides buying multiple papers, they could have collected them from friends, family, and neighbours who don’t coupon. In my tract, my weekly free newspaper have the same coupons as the Sunday Newspaper. I mean, neighbours will save them for you if you ask. I am only guessing since we have a guy in our tract that collects bottles and those who don’t recycle theirs for money just tosses theirs into his pickup truck he parks outside. Or, another theory, though extreme is that they steal them. Some newspaper dispenser is an honor system.once paid and opened, you can take your paper and if greedy, grab them all with just one payment. Or, if you have connection to someone who delivers papers or you actually deliver papers, hoard the coupons and not deliver them. I came to this conclusion because I stopped receiving coupons in my free flyers for years but realized my mother in law who lives in the SAME tract, has still been receiving hers in the same flyers. So there you have it, some of these methods combined with printouts of same coupon online, I guess you could achieve like 350 coupons for one product. I think some of my theories are plausible :)

  219. Thank you so much for reality couponing! My mother couponed when I was a kid and I like it in theory, but I don’t need 1500 things of deodorant…so thank you for this!!!!

  220. U help me alot woth my couponing thanks

  221. My husband and mother-in-law are trying to get me to do couponing. While saving here and there is nice, I would like REAL savings ($100 grocery bill down to $50). For the items I buy on a frequent basis, they are cheaper without a coupon than buying an item I usually don’t buy with a coupon. For example, I buy Angel Soft toilet tissue. I can get a 6 pack double roll for like less than $5. Charmin 6 pack is around $7. If I see a coupon for $1 off of Charmin, that will put it at $6. So where is the savings in that? Same goes with toothpaste, toothbrushes and food items. If I can get it cheaper without a coupon, what is the point of couponing?

  222. carrie Dieter says:

    Very cool

  223. THANK YOU for posting this! I am a couponer – I am “extreme” to the point I base my meals around sales AND coupons because I am a college student that is paying off undergrad WHILE doing graduate school and working full time because I DON’T want to eat Ramen Noodles 7 nights per week. I do have a small stockpile (when I catch good deals like Hamburger Helper, etc. I stock up). I think my best shopping trip was a 60% savings but I ate REALLY good that week. I don’t buy a lot of junk food. I do break my meals down by what it costs me to fix. A few nights ago I fixed my boyfriend and I Shrimp and Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli and garlic toast. We had enough left over that both of us were able to take lunch the next day – total meal – 7.70 for 4 servings ($1.93 per serving).

  224. I just want to say “Thank You”. I have been couponing for over 15 years now…longer than Extreme Couponing. I have to say my biggest complaint about that show was it was not realistic and now that they have put it out there the manufacturers and stores are all catching on. It is so nice to see someone who understands how this system works and knows exactly how much you can actually save. Seriously anyone who thinks that they can do that all the time is nuts. I mean on this show when did you ever see anyone buy anything other than junk food or frozen meals. There was hardly anyone that would buy produce, meat, dairy stuff that you need. Again thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  225. I know this may sound silly but I am completely new to coupons so I am still learning the process. Why do people collect hundreds of the Sunday coupon inserts if you can only use one manufacturer coupon on an item?

  226. adriana lopez says:

    Great tips!!

  227. Mailing list please

  228. JenwithFlash says:

    I have a relative who used to do this. Her shopping was extreme. She had a huge stockpile in her basement plus 3 double closets stuffed full. You would go to her house and she would make these wonderful looking meals but then you’d take a bite and everything tasted stale. What a waste!! One of her freezers broke and there was meat in there that was over 10 years old. Who’s going to eat that? Not me!!

  229. Eyelin Huerta Guizar via Facebook says:

    I hate that show :(

  230. Jamie Robinson says:

    Any tips for a new couponer? I’m only 19, but I know my parents are low on money. I figured I would start doing this to save them money.

  231. chiquita jackson says:

    Excited

  232. I swagbucks and redeem CVS GC to pay for initial start up money to keep the couponing rolling. Never pay with cash anymore since swagbucking.

  233. Katherine Lee says:

    I’m really glad I read your post first and I’m so ready to get started

  234. would love tips to coupon successfully

  235. Very good article…

  236. Zerian Clark says:

    How do I start.

  237. Please subscribe

  238. I like coupons all kinds thanks

  239. Stephanie says:

    I completely understand this. I am just beginning couponing and it has now helped out. We got a coupon set in the mail from Smiths and there were 6 free items from that store. We spent $200 but we also saved $49 because of coupons I had cut. I realized that if I organize them and make a list when I go to the store, also checking ads to see sales … I may be able to save more. $200 in groceries last us at least a month because it’s just two of us. Thanks for the insights!

  240. Thanks for making this website, I am new to couponing and love your website! It is helping me so much!

  241. It’s good to see someone advocating moderation.

    People who get sucked up into extreme couponing tend to forget why coupons exist. They are a form of advertising; a promotional tool to get you to try a brand, or to get you into a specific store, with the goal of eventually making more profit.

    Extreme couponing, to the point of paying only a few dollars to wipe out a store’s stock of certain items, makes the coupon a liability to the store or to the brand rather than an asset. If that goes on long enough, the stores and brands will simply stop doing it, or crack down on it. This hurts the people who use coupons responsibly.

    It doesn’t matter if an extreme couponer donates some of her score to charity; she is still making the business of issuing coupons unprofitable to the businesses she is taking advantage of. And make no mistake – people who exploit loopholes in coupon rules to get a cartful of stuff for pennies ARE taking advantage of the store, and they won’t put up with that forever. Eventually they’ll restrict or end coupons. The people who use coupons normally, to feed their families on a budget, will have to make do with less, and they can blame the people who made a sport out of exploiting the loopholes to fill their garages with toilet paper and mouthwash.

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