I use coupons when I can, but only on items I need or regularly purchase. Great article and comments section!!!! I learned many years ago that couponing did not work for me. Items I did not use, travel between stores that had the sales, time out of my life I did not have to spare.
Extreme Couponing: Do You Really Save or is it a Waste of Time?
ALWAYS found that store brands at that time at least were cheaper than coupon deals even on those items I would consider buying! Learned to do all my cooking from scratch. Kids never minded. Somehow it always turned out pretty good. But there are many things one can do to assure sufficient protein. As Americans, we tend to overdo on both counts. I also am still trying to learn to garden. Liked the comment about bucket gardening. Son introduced me to that concept and I love it. Did nothing this year, but gearing up for next… I so love this site!!! Hi Diana, glad you like the site.
I would love to have a garden, but we live in a townhome in the city… I am considering trying some container gardening this summer. It would be good for the kids to see where food comes from. And there a few coupons for truely healthful foods, milk, grains, real rice,flour eggs etc. Susie, it sounds like you have a very well balanced approach to it!
You should be able to grow cole crops though like cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and of course lots of greens will do really well in shady areas. I just wanted to add my two cents here about couponing and so on. This would be a great topic on a forum. My family has recently started couponing, not because of the t. Anyway, I started because a friend at work was saving a lot. My mother saves the inserts from her paper for me and I grab them when I visit.
I sift through them and cut what I will use and keep them in a small envelope in my purse. I have been able to save a bit of money on a few things. For example I was excited to see coupons for Morton salt the other day because salt was on my grocery list. When I got to the store the house brand was cheaper even with the coupon. Regarding the conversation going there: I work too. I am glad that my husband and I both have jobs and that between us we can make a decent living for us and our little daughter.
I figure each little thing we do is one step closer to health and financial freedom. I do buy local produce when I can, we live in a city that makes this somewhat difficult, but we try. I do have my milk delivered by a local dairy that does not use antibiotics or growth hormones on their cows. However, I buy conventional cheese, due to cost. I am excited and starting to feel really self reliant. I need to learn to garden, even though my backyard is very small we live in a town house. We have huge trees so I need to research what will grow in shady conditions I learned last year the hard way that tomatoes are not in that catagory.
A pop-tart for breakfast once in a blue moon is not the end of the world. The important part is that we are trying to find the best solutions that work for us. Country Heart — you are already doing really well, so pat yourself on the back! I know a lot of people who have miles to go to get where you are now. I also eat Cheerios and Kashi, and they are pretty good choices. But if you really want to save money, try making cooked oatmeal a few times a week. I like to add a tablespoon of peanut butter or soy butter to it to ramp up the protein and good fats, both of which will keep me feeling full longer.
Look for the one without the hydrogenated oil. I agree that raw milk is best, but it is not available at all in my state. The yolks are rich and luscious, and the eggs are so fresh they stand up and salute. Again from my reading, I understand that eggs raised this way have a healthier fat profile than factory farm eggs.
More of the good fats and less of the bad. I count eggs as a healthy go-to food. They all tell me they use organic growing methods, and I choose to believe them. Hey, if you are going to eat meat, you should get used to the fact that a real animal made that possible, and honor them by not pretending otherwise. And these pigs are raised so much more humanely than any factory farmed pig.
I know that their lives are much, much better on this farm. And, again, the lipid fat profile for the pork, beef, lamb, and chicken that we get from our local farmers is much healthier than the meats we get at the supermarket. So when we do eat red meat at least it is a better choice. To save money on this, and to save calories, we have cut our portions back. No more do we buy an entire strip steak for each of us. One steak, and we share. Portions are about 3 oz for me and around for my husband. Thomas Jefferson said that meat should be a condiment.
There are some pastas that have extra protein or fiber — try some and see if there are any that you like the texture in some is really different. Couscous is also a type of pasta, and made with white flour. Whole wheat couscous is available in some places. Or do the shopping! How is he with salad-making? How about laundry and dusting? Grocery list — this is where you can make a big impact on your budget and your time.
Either eat them for lunches, freeze them for later, or incorporate them into another dinner. Once you have your menu planned you can start on your grocery list, beginning with the items you will need for the planned meals. Then put down the other things you always need — milk, bread, butter, eggs, lunch items, fruit for snacks, etc. Check on your pantry staples like oils, vinegars, flour, spices, etc. Fish — wild caught is best. Farmed fish has many of the same problems as feedlot land animals. They are generally raised in overcrowded conditions in water that is less than clean.
Fish oils are great for us so any oily fish is good. No need to buy a whole fish or to feel you need to run out with a net. But I do have some. My dog ate all our plants as well, including the daffodils and tulips. Let me know if you have more questions, and good luck! I knew I should have picked that breadmaker up last year when I saw it! We rotate our breakfast of eating cheerios, Kashi cereal, a banana and almost an egg everyday which I buy the cheapest as more studies showed that the eggs in the supermarket are just selling you a scam 9 times out of The one egg I have heard of is Milo eggs.
I figure that has to be better then buying fast food and eating redmeat. Meat is so expensive and my husband is stubborn about lightning up on the meat consumption. I get my bread for 1. We eat Stonyfield Organic yogurt or Chobani with Kashi bars almost every day during workdays. Our veggies are lacking but we do eat Organic Broccoli and Green beans i get from Costco frozen.
Dinners: I notice too many carbs in them lately and I bought Spaghetti sauce in bulk when it was on sale. They both carry a brand with ingredients I can prounounce. We eat alot of whole chickens in soups or baked with my homemade bbq sauce of Organic kethup tastes better and Molasses with honeymustard.
I use Couscous with meat and veggies and Brown rice in soups and as a side dish. On my husband: I love him ever so much but the man.. I told him I wanted to incorporate fresher healthier eating back into our diet and as before he just kind of laughed it off. We were eating very healthy for awhile. He constantly uses high heat and he does not exactly take the time to follow recipes or directions very well.
I have written down every price of every item we buy regularly and the ounces in hopes of reducing our food bill over time. I also found that when I was more into using coupons, I would be stressed out keeping track of the coupons. We had an accordion file that we used to keep track of coupons. As useful as the coupons were at times it was also a pain to track, especially with the kids in tow. Saving money via extreme couponing is exhaustive , time consuming and can be very stressful.
Having a part time job two or three hours a week will put more money in your pocket and more free time to spend with the family, friends or having fun with hobbies. It seems common sense to choose the easier way to put cash in your pocket than to take an extreme route that holds no guarantees. Take a look at the Money Mastermind Show episode about couponing. Glen Craig is married and the father to four children that he spends the day chasing as a stay-at-home-dad.
He took an interest in personal finance when he realized most of his paycheck was going toward credit card bills.
Extreme Couponing & Healthy Eating: Incompatable?
Since then he's eliminated his credit card debt and started on a journey towards financial freedom. We ended up giving up the folder completely. If we happen to have coupons handy we use them like if we leave them in the car and remember. Otherwise it is a lot of work for us to keep up on. Extreme couponing is simply a natural extension of our economic environment with the cable channels following the latest fad to get viewers much like all the real estate and property flipping shows that aired during the real estate bubble.
The more fantastic the show is the better it is to get viewers and people talking about it. But it can also get more people interested in a subject, trying to replicate something like extreme couponing. To me, personally, it is nothing short of hoarding under the disguise of saving money. My gosh! Buying 25 tubes of lipstick! And not to mention that most all of what they buy is so unhealthy! Frozen foods and frozen processed meats, quick foods, like pot pies, KoolAid, soda pop, candy! The canned foods with all of that heart stopping sodium!
Where are they fresh fruits and vegetables?? You can tell by the body sizes of some of the particpants that they need to eat alot more healthier. I find that having too much food around encourages over eating and in this age of skyrocketing obesity rates, these couponers need to take into account how unhealthy their purchases are.
Perhaps they will need the savings to pay for their medical bills. My gosh, that is so silly and insane! Time IS money and that is something that you can not put a dollar amount on. Hoarding food because it was a great deal to me, is a waste. Takes up space and it still costs something, even if it was a great deal. Great article and great comments so far.
The amount of time they spend cutting their grocery bills is potentially wasted; especially if their budget is poorly allocated. I go to the store and buy what I need when I need it; if the store has a deal of the day that is on my grocery list then I will partake. Any additional time allocated to finding coupons is a waste of time in my honest opinion.
I get big eyes when I go to Costco, salivating over the great deals.
When I see a good deal I pause to ask myself if I really need it. Sometimes having snacks in the house means eating them. If you can grab them you consume them. Better for me to not have 19 pints of ice cream in the house because they were on sale 3 or 4 maybe. Funny that you mention Costco, that is the only store that I have coupons physically handed to me as I walk in. Therefore, I am likely to look at what is on special, but there are never any good deals that line up with my shopping list. Not worth it. When it controls your lifestyle, and makes you consume more than necessary, you have lost the point.
Save a few bucks here and there, sure, But a draw the line at dumpster diving with my kids and neighbors for coupons. My last trip to the city self-service recycling center basically a bunch of dumpsters lined up almost gave me a heart attack when I slid open the newspaper bin door to find 3 women inside with their children. I very nearly dumped a heavy bin of papers on a 3-year-old. I was about to call the police when an off-duty officer kicked her out of the dumpster and lectured her about the dangers of leaving children in a hot car.
Most coupons or other savings tools in Canada say very expressly that they cannot be combined with any other offer. Better than clipping coupons and creating a whole filing system for them if to keep track of what the major specials are in the grocery flyers. Yes, organize and plan your meals and if you can find some great savings then take advantage of it. There definitely are ways you can save on your groceries. But the stress of looking to reduce your grocery bill to near zero and keep up with organizing coupons? Not worth it in my book. I love that you included opportunity cost Economics major in college.
I like your idea about growing a side business instead. Great article! Humbly Yours, The Mayor. Building a business, on the other hand, can potentially have no bounds. Well you might have considered about making a business on the side, It could almost as devastating as couponing. Take a Loan for a business then have it flop can surely cause more damage in my opinion that just couponing and often sometimes these people that do the couponing are a stay at home mother. I assume that there is nothing else to do to fill their time.
I would prefer to Free up money for other necessities. But not all small businesses require a loan. I have how just because they are a stay at home mom that they have nothing else to do to fill their time…really get a life. One woman took a full day off of work, spent 6 hours browsing through the store, came home having not bought anything , and then spent hours researching coupons.
If you can turn the coupon thing around and make something of it then go ahead maybe a frugal consultant , but otherwise time is precious and we have to do out best not to waste it. I tend to agree with your point of view on this. There seem to be much better ways to generate more money for oneself or family — such as putting time into a career or even extra job.
People who have bought enough toothpaste to last 5 years seem to be directing their energies in a suboptimal way…. Taking some time to organize your shopping is fine. That is interesting. I can see someone buying them but what kind of volume has to be sold to make it worth while for the seller? Saves me a lot of hassle trying to go around looking for coupons if I can just click and pay via paypal to have them mailed to me in about days. We shop almost exclusively for food items at Whole Foods.
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They do have specials every week and we take advantage of those. There are also coupons available for the things we buy at WFM. The point about the cost of printing internet coupons is valid. Paper and ink is costly so buying them at discount is important. There are some ways to save at Whole Foods, like making sure you check their flyer when you enter though one time a cashier was awesome and found the coupons for us! In many cases you get what you pay for. My husband got into this couponing after watching a show and sometimes he gets annoying but it really can save you money and we get free samples all the time as well.
Sounds like you are saving money but your husband is close to crossing a line? Do you think the savings so far have been worth the time and effort? Just curious. Maybe moderation is the key here. Question is, are they really benefits if it has cost you so much to get there?
Happy couponing! You might actually get it. And there is also the cost of time and space — you have to pull the coupons and clip them and research where to use them. Then you have to store all this extra stuff you accumulate. Many have been busted for coupon fraud. You can find great deals and use coupons for healthy foods, whole grains, salads, chicken, beef, smart balance milk, butter, low fat and low sodium foods.
I shop at Publix here in Georgia. This is an upscale market. I would never shop there without coupons. Publix offers store coupons and you can combine them with manufacture coupons. She says the key to saving is to buy items that are on sale, NOT items that you need. It saves me from having to pay full price and I have the item when I DO need it. If an item is on sale and I can get it for free with coupons I still buy it. Then I donate it to local food banks and I am able to take a deduction on my taxes for the donation.
Like I said in a previous response Glen, there are a lot of factors your article did not take into account and you only give an extremely limited and one sided view on the entire subject of couponing. I agree with Tracy.
A lot of them are parents who need to put food on the table for their kids. Like someone said earlier, couponing is not just for junk food, it can also be used towards healthier food. Took some time, but only maybe a morning all told. I sat down once and figured out my savings. I never bought anything I wouldn't ordinarily buy, unless it was something new that I wanted to try and I never stockpiled more than maybe a couple of extras of anything. Once I started working for a paying job, both my time for couponing and my need to do so dwindled.
Do I still love a bargain? You betcha, but one of the reasons I work is so I don't have to work so hard at stuff like couponing. Those extreme couponers are exhibiting obsessive-conpulsive behavior, at the very least. See this is why we could be friends.
Extreme Couponing: 5 Reasons to Steer Clear - CBS News
I've never watched the show, but I'm wondering how often there's a camera shot of background shoppers not in Middleborough MA. It's enough of an inconvenience that our household income is limited due to husband's unemployment; bummed that now, shopping for things as needed, and upon availability of funds, has become hit and miss finding preferred products. Wanted to rant about it in my blog when it occurred to me while shopping one day, the reason empty shelves was becoming common is probably due to extreme couponers. I even considered writing a comedy piece, but feared wrath I might incur.
Anyway, I blame grocery store chains for not placing limits. Not to mention the poor people who actually need to feed the dog or diaper the baby are SOL because they cleared off the shelves with their compulsion to hoard. These shows give normal people a bad name. The only coupons I use are the ones my Kroger sends me based on what I buy after scanning my loyalty card.
Since I buy mostly fresh and not packaged food it's worth it. But if I go with half a dozen coupons for a cart load of groceries someone usually has the nerve to call me an "extreme couponer" and I want to smack them. I have never gotten anything for free unless the coupon said "free" and I will NOT buy more than one of something I need just to use the coupon. Extreme, hardly. I've watched this show. In fact, sometimes TLC will show marathons of the show, and when I tune in, sometimes I have a hard time turning it off.
It's like a train wreck! I think this mentality of "extreme couponing" is a little insane, though. I mean these people will use any coupon just for the sake of using the coupon - it doesn't matter what the product is. I mean why does a person need to buy the entire stock of a grocery store's Snicker Bars??? I love a good Snicker Bar once in a while, but I certainly don't need of them for "free" to feel fulfilled. I'm certainly not going to use these many multiple coupons for Snicker Bars just because they're there.
Then, even if a person is saving money, is this really how people want to spend their lives? Dedicating every free waking hour to clipping coupons? Most of these people have some sort of family Wouldn't some of that time be better spent with their families? Personally, I'd rather spend my time enjoying a good meal at home or at a restaurant with my husband.
I'd rather spend my time going to the movies, or just crashing on the couch with a Netflix rental. I'd rather spend my time sitting on the back patio reading a good book. There are a million things I'd prefer to be doing than cutting ridiculous numbers of coupons. I guess I'd prefer to have a life than be a slave to a coupon addiction. Then, there's the idea that even non-perishable items have expiration dates.
Chocolate will dry out if it's sitting on the shelf for too long. Canned soup or Spaghettios will start to separate after a certain amount of time. I'm just saying, stale food is not appealing to the average person I cut the occasional coupon, and I use the store coupons. But I only cut coupons from the free weekly newspaper that everyone in our neighborhood gets. Occasionally, I glance through a website like Coupon Suzy to see if there are any good deals. Sometimes I use the store coupons that are printed out at the cash register.
And any coupons that I clip are for items and brands that we would be buying anyway. Mostly though, I just use our grocery storm membership card to benefit from the sale prices, especially on produce. I usually only buy whatever seasonal produce is on sale because everything else is just too darn expensive! I applaud people who are good at using coupons to their advantage on the things that they would be buying anyway, and sometimes I try to take advantage of some of those savings. But I'm not willing to give up my whole life for saving money on crap I don't need I have, but never to the extent that you see on the show.
Sometimes on the show, you'll see people with I have seen people come up to the cash register at the store that I shop at with 3 or 4 full carts of groceries There have usually been at least 3 members of the family in the cash register coupon party If were a cashier, I would never want one of these people coming through my line I've watched the show a couple of times and the thing that stood out to me was the extreme crap these moms were buying for their families. In both episodes the moms we're overweight and looked very unhealthy and seemed to have some serious anger and control issues.
I didn't see any fresh produce being purchased. Maybe if they spent a little bit of their time cooking healthier food, getting some fresh air and maybe if their only exercise didnt involve a grocery cart they would realize there was more to life than filling up their guest bathroom with cake mixes and cases of Gatorade. I think the rule of thumb should be, if you ever have so many groceries that you will actually have to dust them before you consume them, you have problem, step away from the binder. I would have to rotate stock in the basement just unload the groceries.
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But my dad was born during the Depression and grew up with rationing during WWII so I think he just has this compulsion because he doesn't ever want to worry about growing hungry. I coupon off and on. I made it a rule that if I don't get to the coupons in Sunday paper by Tuesday, I throw in the recycling bin. A few cents off a box of a cereal isn't worth living with the clutter we are constantly battling in our house. Besides, most of the coupons I find are for processed foods which I generally try to avoid.
Confession, I've always clipped coupons and just get a Sunday only subscription. But I refuse to make it my life's work! And truly - manufacturers should lower their prices and stop with the coupons and that would satisfy everyone! Hubs is insane too - you should be nominated into Sainthood for putting up with him I'm just sayin'.
I am the same way. I also have not paid anything for soap, deodorant, toothpaste, tampons, shampoo, etc in over a year. It saved us a ton of money that was put towards bills so we could survive. I want to know how much these people spend on the shelves for their stockpile!
If the shelves were bought with coupons, I want to know where I can find coupons for that. No way am I using coupons for cat food I hate catspunch away cat lovers, I'll take it , but shelves to organize my garage I'd be all over that. Publix has a 5 deal limit on the really good deal items.
Its up to the grocery store to make sure they have plenty of stock too This makes me feel better. I've never seen the show I'm a nerd and save my limited tv-watching time for science geek shows but I've heard of it. A while back, I tried to get good about couponing and the stress it caused me was SO not worth it. Wait - this one is for the 8 oz size, not the 5. Oh - and I also made an effort to buy more whole foods fruit, milk, etc and guess what? No coupons for stuff like that. Like someone else mentioned, the show is like a train wreck I use coupons and I love coupons, but I'm nowhere near extreme.
The show is unrealistic and gives ethical coupon users a bad name. For instance, I had a great coupon day yesterday: two boxes of cereal, popsicles, teriyaki sauce, chicken seasoning, and two Lunchables. All of it was name brand, all of it was on sale, I had a coupon for each item 8 items total , and my family will use it all within a week. I got it for free. It was my best savings to date, but I hardly call it extreme. I work full time and have two kids and a husband. I don't have hours in the week to devote to this.
But if I can purchase a few great deals, it makes me very happy. I'm with you! The few times I've tried to use coupons, I alwasy search my purse and realize they aren't there or they and they're expired. Or after I walk out of a store, I'm like shit! I had a coupon for that store and I didn't even use it I gave up after a while See, here in the UK we have a limit to how many items one person can purchase under a special offer.
Plus you can't double up coupons here either apart from sometimes with Tesco clubcard points. You're right, it's OCD. Seriously, leave some food for the rest of us. Also - diapers don't stay in good shape forever. I worked at a daycare where we had to keep emergency supplies for every child first aid stuff, flashlights, water, diapers, etc The diapers were kaput after about 5 years or so, all dried out and yellowed they lose their absorbancy too. So I guess she could theoretically use them all when she has children if she doesn't mind her kid wearing two or three nappies at a time.
I have a friend who was turned into the police for expired coupons. Really, the local Giant called the cops on her and detained her in the store. She just happened to have expired coupons. I guess stores are seeing this happen-counterfeit, insane couponing? Something we should worry about? I mean, really, how about a coupon for produce or food that can't be used for building a fort for armageddon-oh, THAT's what they are for I have an extreme couponing friend and 2 things I've noticed, one she's huge and 2 she buys all processed CRAP food! I have watched that show once and the woman they were following was very proud of her feminine product stash.
She actually said "I have enough products to last me well past menopause. If you already have more than you need, why are you buying more?! Those people can't be real! These people are NUTS! I also have a super cheap husband who thought this idea was brilliant. So he brought me home 10 newspapers one night and we got to clippin. Want to know what I ended up with? TEN boxes of Hamburger Helper. Hamburger Helper makes me want to vomit on my husband and then punch him in the throat.
I ended up giving it to my grandmother.