Extreme Couponing Series: My Thoughts on Extreme Couponing

The TLC “Extreme Couponing” series is officially airing this week. I initially asked everyone what their thoughts were on extreme couponing and realized I didn't share mine. Honestly, everyone started posting about it and I participated in many conversations online that I didn't think there was more I could add, nor did I have a real desire too either.

But, after hearing about it for the umpteenth million time, I figure I should share my thoughts… ahem.

But first, I started writing a post on Extreme Couponing in fall of 2009 (October 18, 2009 to be exact ;). Yes, that was long before I ever knew anything about the show. Here's some of what I had written back then:

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Extreme Couponing is…Saving the most money possible using coupons, Catalinas, Gift Card Promotions to pay very little.

I made that definition up :)

One of the first newspaper articles I was featured in was about *extreme* couponing. I was an extreme couponer in my eyes. I would strategize over every sale, plan my trips using my grocery scenario spreadsheet, know to exact pennies how much I would spend as I left the store. The Kmart super doubles had me giddy – well, at least until I hit the store and everything was already gone!

Those days are gone.

By that, I mean I am still couponing, but I don't consider myself all that extreme anymore. I still try to mazimize sales with weekly Catalina deals. But, I haven't been drugstore shopping in months (even last week, I really wanted to get to Walgreens and I just didn't make it). My husband has even gone out to purchase a few things without a fist full of coupons.

I have been shopping every two weeks, maybe. I am cutting back on what I spend. Andon is still in diapers and on formula (milk allergy). Aside: we tried him on chocolate soy milk this week hoping we could eliminate formula, but he started reacting like he was allergic to that!! I hate allergies!

The point is, I'm not extreme anymore. Oh, I could revert back to it in a heartbeat because I know how to (check out my Beginner's Guide to Shopping with Coupons if you are interested in learning some FREE tips to save!). But, we are living better on less. We are able to save and give.

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Obviously this is still older since I referenced Andon still being on formula and he's not anymore. Here's my candid thoughts on the series, in general.

Extreme Couponing is not realistic!

This series is sensationalized. It actually makes those who coupon in a realistic way that everyone can do LOOK BAD. Yes, I finally said it. How many times have you gone to the store and are scrutinized over every single coupon? The cashiers have to do this now because it's their job on the line. People are using tons of coupons and wiping out shelves (as was portrayed in the show).

I sit back and think about WHY I started using coupons to begin with. Our son was facing surgery that we were going to have to go into debt to pay. If I saw the extreme couponing portrayed when I watched a show about couponing, there is NO way I would even attempt to do it. The time the people spent matching coupons, digging in trash cans, walking house to house to get old newspapers could be time I went out and worked and made money and used coupons in a realistic way that I do today.

The takeaway I hope people see in this is that type of couponing is NOT realistic for the average, focused couponer (that I consider myself). People are sacrificing time with their families and doing this, in my opinion, to feed their addiction and egos. That is NOT healthy. Granted, saving money is a great addiction to have over the harmful ones but it is STILL an addiction, right?

I do believe that with the Extreme Couponing Series, coupon redemption policies across the board will change for the worse. I also believe that manufacturer's will not offer generous coupons as frequently. We've already seen this one changing as I type this today.

So, what can you do to achieve realistic savings as I did my first year of couponing (over $6,500 in savings which was realistic and I didn't have to give up anything to do it!)? Check out the Beginner's Guide to Shopping with Coupons. I wrote this series nearly 2 years ago and continue to revise it with other gems of information.

Also realize that you are actually limiting yourself if you think coupons are the only way you can save. Nowadays there are some weeks I shop without coupons, visiting Aldi and using my stockpile (YES, it's supposed to be used not idolized). Check out other simple ways to save under the Strategies to Save link. And if you're interested in earning a few bucks, check out the Strategies to Earn link.

So, there I said it all! You don't have to agree with my thoughts on this, that's the beauty of differing opinions. But, this is all coming from someone who was looking for a way to save thousands and I did it. Then planning how to pay off debt – I did that too!

Oh, and I've been publishing this site for over 3 years now so I'm also not interested in fame and traffic that the show has brought many who were featured (and have subsequently started blogs since the show has aired – isn't that backwards??!!). I truly care about helping people save because a lot of you are where we were! That's a huge reason why I'm still doing this and teach workshops in the community! Now only to get the government leaders to respond to my tweets with the ideas I have on my coupon stimulus plan! :)

If you're at all interested in how far our family has come, check out our personal finance story where I share it all – the good, the bad and the coupons!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on April 04, 2011

65 Comments

  • Sami Cone - April 04, 2011 @ 10:20 am
    1

    Amen sister! I am so glad you DID say it!
    Once again, I”m reminded why I like you and how similar we are. When I was first told about the show, I thought, “I know so many of us that could be on there”, but after I watched it, I realized that is SO not what I’m about. If that’s how people choose to spend there time, so be it. But I realized a long time ago that my kids would much rather spend time with me than watch me on the computer searching for a coupon for another free pack of gum or pasta.
    Ok, enough with my rant ;) Thanks for making the point that there are those of us who USE coupons, but also save in a lot of other ways (including our time) so that we can make more memories with our family!
    Love ya!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 10:23 am
      1.1

      Sami, my twin in appearance and thoughts!! It’s all so crazy and this really makes me so irritated with the portrayal since people won’t even try. People can easily save enough money each week to fill up their tanks. But, when they see the lunacy (yeah, I said it), they will give up. That is something I really I hope I’m wrong about though!

    • Christine - May 06, 2011 @ 4:58 pm
      1.2

      Wow! Now I don’t know what to think about the show. It has inspired me to look into using coupons so I’m trying to start. I don’t know how to get the most out of my money. It kills me to go into the store and spend $100 bucks on nothing. I would like to learn and prove my husband wrong and save money on food. I have into groups in my area and there is none, so I’m on my own. Can someone help me learn how to use coupons to the fullest.
      Please email me!
      Sincerely,
      Christine

  • amy p - April 04, 2011 @ 10:22 am
    2

    Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate learning tips from great people like you that are not afraid to tell us what you think. I don’t have cable so I haven’t seen this show. I have just started couponing and have found that you can be completely extreme as long as you want to buy stuff your family usually doesn’t eat. My family isn’t picky, but I don’t like to have a lot of processed food in the house. It’s difficult to find a lot of coupons for fresh produce.

    God Bless

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 10:32 am
      2.1

      Amy, it can be challenging to find the coupons for fresh produce and meats. I’ve found that it’s not necessarily the coupons that allow me to save there, it’s shopping the loss leaders and only the loss leaders (since companies advertise loss leaders to get us in the door to buy everything else full price – we can’t be tricked :). And, sometimes there will be those meat/produce coupons and then I always get those items instead (just like this week at Kroger, clementines are on sale and there’s a coupon – we’ll be having clementimes for our fruit this week). Thanks for commenting!!

  • Kelly - April 04, 2011 @ 10:25 am
    3

    Andrea – well said! I completely agree! It’s okay to shop without coupons. It’s okay to occasionally pay full price for a product. Saving money is a strategy and couponing is a tactic. The people on those shows take it to the extreme and will likely ruin it for those of us who are genuinely using coupons to save money and pay off debt – not build a stockpile to “bring us joy”. Things will change for couponers and already has started. Look at the Houston area Kroger stores as an example.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 10:34 am
      3.1

      Kelly, perfect example of Houston area Kroger stores! No more double or triple coupons for them. I’m sure more went into the decision but that shows people that things can change and the extreme savings (thanks to doubling and tripling) soon become ordinary just like you and me. And a few weeks ago, I didn’t shop with one coupon, at Kroger of all places. I actually got mostly produce (mostly organic) and meats (that were on sale) and was within my budget for the month. Anything is possible with a little planning! ANd, love your quote: “Saving money is a strategy and couponing is a tactic.” Perfectly said!

    • Amy - April 04, 2011 @ 10:54 am
      3.2

      I’m also worried that the people on these shows will ruin it for everyone. I was trying to get big into couponing, but when I was dreaming it and obsessed with it, I figured that’s about enough. I’m still going to coupon but not be so insane. My time is more valuable!!

      • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

        Amy, great point – people don’t factor in the time a lot. The time they spend planning for trips like that is a LOT!

  • jenny - April 04, 2011 @ 10:56 am
    4

    I’ve not had time to coupon lately since I returned to school, I keep saving them though! I’ve never tried to extreme coupon though. I used to get 3 inserts and would stockpile some with that, but it got to be too much so I stopped. I’m also trying to eat low sodium, which requires cooking from scratch, so Aldis is often a better option. I definitely hope the stores don’t change their policies. I remember way back when, when I was in college, Kroger would put little coupons in their insert that you could use to double. So you were limited to 7 as I recall. I’d take my then boyfriend and give him some too so I could get more, but I’m thinking that this would be a better reaction than just eliminating doubles all the way.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 12:59 pm
      4.1

      Jenny, I have gotten off of making more simple homemade meals (from scratch). I found that doing that was when I lost all of my weight (double bonus) and it’s healthier. I’m getting back into it and won’t need a lot that is on sale. But, I still have my stockpile list of items that we try to get super low or free when possible so I’m always looking for those deals!

  • Jaime - April 04, 2011 @ 11:10 am
    5

    I amen your comments also! I consider myself to be a focused couponer, like yourself. I thank you for your blog and helping me learn how to save for my family.

  • Melissa - April 04, 2011 @ 11:22 am
    6

    I totally agree. I am not a fan of the show and they actually contacted me and I asked my readers what their thoughts were and most said, “They will make you look crazy.” Which now after watching the first show a few months back I agree. Plus a few as we know off that first show have had thier ego grow a little TOO big. They are taking advantage of their fame and letting it go to their head. NO WAY!! I will not support the practices shown on that show nor will I condone the extreme hoarding that the show is glorifying.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 12:58 pm
      6.1

      Melissa, I’ve heard a few people who were in contacts with them. They were told they weren’t “extreme” enough. That just goes to show you that the show isn’t looking for realistic ways to help people but extreme tactics that bring in ratings. Which is sad because people need help now more than ever! HELLO $3.60 gas prices again! It’s like it was nearly 4 years ago when I started doing all of this!

      • Melissa - April 04, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

        We are normal compared to these hoarders I tell you. Someone is taking a ride on the crazy train and it aint you and me. Like the lady who charges $25 for a class..That is nuts!!!

  • Marianne - April 04, 2011 @ 11:34 am
    7

    Here here – I am in full agreement with you. I haven’t had a chance to watch the show on TLC and honestly, I don’t know if I even DO want to see such an sensationalized example of greed gone amok. Yes, it’s FREE or CHEAP w/coupons but GREED is GREED – never a good thing to cultivate in one’s life.

    I do worry, too, about the downstream effects on coupon redemption policies (I know all of us are watching what happened to Houston Kroger stores and wondering if the ripple effect will hit our areas) as well as MFRs willingness to spend advertising dollars on coupons if the coupons are simply abused and don’t offer the MFRs a ROI on their advertising budget.

    I think the BEST thing about couponing that has happened to me (and likely you, too, from our talks) is that it simply changes your shopping pardigm from one of “I’m stuck paying retail,” with impulsive shopping ruling your trips to one of, “With proper planning and forecasting, I can average 50% off retail,” with strategic, deliberate shopping. It has had such a positve ripple effect on how I manage our family finances as a whole.

    Be well, friend!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 12:56 pm
      7.1

      Mare, you are always a gem of logic! I do think that it’s just a matter of time before Kroger eliminates the doubling in other cities. I know they have said it’s only in Houston now but I’m sure they have reporting and strategy behind the move. I guess we wait and see.

  • Esther L. - April 04, 2011 @ 11:50 am
    8

    Andrea,
    Thanks for your thoughts. Roughly 3 years ago I used coupons heavily–scouring ads, the internet, message boards etc. trying to save money. Eventually I realized I was buying things just because the deal was “too good to pass up.” It all came to a head when we moved and I started boxing up our stockpile. I felt like such a hoarder. Now, I use coupons simply for stuff we need. As a result, our spending has actually gone down. No longer do I go shopping to score deals (often spending more money than necessary to get catalinas/gift cards etc.), but simply to buy what we need and what we’ll use in a reasonable amount of time. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there for us to read!
    Esther

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 12:54 pm
      8.1

      Esther, you make a perfect point that your spending can go down because you’re not shopping as much. I’ve found this myself since we do a big shop 1-2 times a month now. It’s totally possible with proper planning no matter when you shop!

  • lori - April 04, 2011 @ 11:56 am
    9

    My little guy is allergic to milk. When we saw a nutritionist (because he is also autistic) she told us soy actually has to be chemically altered in order to be digestable. She is very against soy and recommended almond milk, hemp milk or rice milk. Almond and hemp are the best nutritionally and they do come in vanilla or chocolate flavor. So anyway just thought I’d share what we learned. Hope it helps, best of luck ;)

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 12:46 pm
      9.1

      Lori, thanks for the suggestions. He doesn’t drink anything at this point (lucky for us, none of our boys have been big milk drinkers). I was considering rice milk at one point but never got around to it.

  • Tara - April 04, 2011 @ 12:22 pm
    10

    I agree with what you are saying. I am definitely not “extreme” in my couponing and probably need to be a little more invested than I am with it to really maximize my savings. But it isn’t enjoyable to be to be obsessive about it. And if it’s not enjoyable (it’s a hobby-not a job) then why do it?

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 1:01 pm
      10.1

      Tara, the awesome thing about grocery shopping with coupons is that it can be what you want it to be. I enjoy being able to take a break and not shop with coupons. I also get excited when I go out with my pile of coupons in hand and have a great savings trip. But, it can definitely become like “work” since it does take some time to do. I don’t mind spending 1-3 hours a week to plan and cut – no way would I spend 40+ hours to do it!

  • Kandi - April 04, 2011 @ 1:24 pm
    11

    I 1000% agree with you Andrea and have honestly been waiting for your opinion on the show. I haven’t watched it and doubt I will. Extreme anything is extreme because it gives you a “rush”. I don’t need a rush like that unless it has something to do with cleaning my house (ha!).

    I know that by following your advice a couple years ago, we saved enough to put a down payment on our house! I have since slacked off on using coupons a lot. I do use them, but I’m more mindful about it.

    From what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem as though these “extreme couponers” are giving back a lot. The one thing I have always done is give away what our family won’t use. It makes sense to do so! There are too many people doing without for someone to have so much! I know it makes me feel like I’m helping someone if I can purchase something at the lowest price then turn around and donate it! Paying it forward is the one thing I’ve taken to heart with coupons. Greedy is not cool at all.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 2:09 pm
      11.1

      Kandi, I distinctly remember our first meeting too!! And your mindset is exactly where I am today too – I am more mindful about using coupons. I’m really also trying to use up what we have before I start bringing more in!

  • Melissa - April 04, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
    12

    Oh, I could NOT agree with you more! Since I’m known as a “coupon queen” among my friends and relatives, I can’t tell you HOW many of them have asked me if I’ve seen that show! My answer: not one episode, and I probably won’t ever watch it either. It is giving the “reasonable” couponers a bad name, and I’m afraid it will change coupon policies. The clips I’ve seen turn my stomach, and I can only hope that the series is short-lived. I’m couponing to help stretch our dollars so my husband doesn’t have to work so many hours, and they’re hoarding!

    Amen, and amen!

  • Cindy - April 04, 2011 @ 5:50 pm
    13

    Thank you so much for your comments. I agree so much with you. They do not show couponing in a good light. Nor do they show what the majority of couponers do. For my family, I do what I know is right. I spend the time on it that I know isn’t too much and taking me away from my family. I made sure the system worked for us and don’t worry about gobbling up all the items in the store. Although, you do have to be careful not to get caught up in the frenzy of it sometimes.

    Again, thank you for your hard work on your blog and helping others. You, by far, are my favorite and main source on couponing and many other things. God bless you and your family!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 04, 2011 @ 6:36 pm
      13.1

      Cindy, the biggest issue I have with the mentality of extreme couponing and the fact that they are airing it is that it’s NOT what the majority of us do. I’ve been termed as the “crazy coupon lady” before (without the “K”) and I wasn’t fond of it. I don’t want anyone calling me crazy period (unless they know me, of course). Thank you for reading and allowing us to provide you information for free. That’s why I started this and that’s why I continue to do this with the team who helps run the site!

  • Ken - April 04, 2011 @ 6:52 pm
    14

    Hi everyone. Maybe I’m missing something regarding Kroger’s doubling policy in the Houston area. Since finding this amazing resource (thank you!), I have been shopping at two different stores for 2 months now, and the coupons never doubled. Do I have to ask? I didn’t even think they did that here in Houston and was very shocked when I saw the news report. There’s only one week left before the policy changes. I’d like to take advantage of it.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 3:01 pm
      14.1

      Ken, YES, Kroger did double coupons in the Houston area!! You would have seen the doubling on your receipt. You can find details on the doubling policy on the Kroger Coupon Policy + FAQ Page. Unfortunately, like you said, it’s going away very soon. Do you have an Aldi nearby? That’s a great place to shop and save even more too without coupons.

  • Tiffani - April 04, 2011 @ 6:58 pm
    15

    I love your website and I reference it alot whenever I am trying to explain to people how to save.

    Having said that, I COMPLETELY agree with you. I feel like extreme couponing feeds the addiction on couponing which can immediately relate to hoarding. I have seen so many people who just “buy” stuff because it has a coupon (which is ridiculous when you aren’t necessarily getting a deal), people who clear the shelves (which is also not fair for those of us who just want 1 ITEM-single gal here), and people who use coupons for items they are never going to use. It is also ridiculous to me that people go to different stores 5-10 times a week with their coupons. Imagine all of the gas they are wasting! I generally do not go more than 2 times a week and that is pushing it for me.

    I try so hard to help people save. I want people to know that there are ways to get out of debt, cut their expenses, or even contribute a small amount of money (or groceries) to their household. It drives me nuts when people think that this idea of extreme couponing is going to drastically change their lives. It won’t. It isn’t realistic. And often times… these extreme couponers are not even using the items they buy. I am all for donation (I donate a lot of items each year) but how about letting someone who is not able to get the donations, but also needs to save money, have the item. Everytime I try to help someone now, all they talk about is that show and if they can’t save like that, then they won’t want to even try. It is discouraging for me to see, but at least I’m still saving money with coupons.

    I loved your post. <3<3

  • Geri - April 04, 2011 @ 8:06 pm
    16

    I loved your comment about couponing. Although I have watched Extreme Couponing and are excited about the show coming on, I’m also a realist and know that I will never be able to get the kind of deals that they do for the simple reason, the grocery stores where I live do not allow double coupons on all coupons. The grocery store that i go to does double coupons on Wednesday and Saturdays limited to 5 coupons doubled at $1.00 or less. They are running a promotion for the month of April that you can double up to 10 coupons on Saturdays.

    I try to find what the best deal is for me. I don’t have a stockpile and buy what we need. I lost my job and my husband is working two jobs to make ends meat so yes couponing is the only way we can have enough to purchase the groceries that we need.

    Realistically for me is saving anywhere from 35-50% on my groceries which is what I average. Doesn’t sound like much but if I can buy $100.00 of groceries for 50.00 thats money in my gas tank and right now where I live it’s $3.69 a gallon.

    Thanks for a great article and positive perspective :)

  • Kristina Cant - April 04, 2011 @ 8:31 pm
    17

    Thank you for writing this. I agree 100%. I love saving money and I don’t knock anyone who does it, but I have noticed in the last few years, there have been more limits put on couponers. I have been couponing my entire life. My grandma taught me when I was young and we did it to save money. Now, I still need to save money and find using coupons to be harder. Especially, when the shelves are empty. I think that a few people have ruined it for the rest of us and have made it hard to be able to save money and buy the products that we NEED for our families.

  • Stacie - April 04, 2011 @ 8:48 pm
    18

    Andrea,

    These are my thoughts exactly! I didn’t realize the show was airing on Wednesday!! I am doing a coupon class on Thursday, and they’ll probably want me to show them how to be “extreme” — which I am not!

    Like you, I love to save — so we can give more! I think it is sad to see hoarding and some of these other crazy things associated with couponing now because of the show…and I’m hoping it doesn’t make it harder to find deals!!

    Oh, also my oldest daughter is allergic to milk and eggs…and she is now six, so I definitely feel for you. It is challenging, for sure. She is currently drinking almond milk which has worked well. Anyways, I hope to add more milk-free recipes to my blog eventually!

    Thanks for sharing…I really love your blog, and it has been a great blessing to me!

  • Emily - April 04, 2011 @ 9:32 pm
    19

    I agree with your comments 100% and am happy to see others commenting exactly what I have been thinking. I have being couponing for 12 years now and got my start at Rite Aid and enjoyed it. I would only get the items that our family would use and a few to give to extended family. Since this show I am discouraged especially with Rite Aid. I used to could go mid-week and get everything on my list and now if you aren’t there when the doors open on Sunday you don’t get anything. I’ve been told by store employees that there are several people lined up fighting to get to the items first. That is NOT for me and I actually feel sorry for those people being overcome by greed. I have much better things to do on Sunday morning than fight over a few free items. Thanks for all the hard work you do for us “average” couponers!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 9:44 am
      19.1

      Emily, when I first started couponing, I had drugstore managers tell me they are out of all their rewards items on Sunday morning. I said, “But, I don’t get out of church until noon so I can’t make it here until after that.” He said that people were waiting to open the store to get the items. It’s crazy for sure! I guess I never needed something that bad to wait for it…that’s not to say I didn’t need it (or the savings) but I couldn’t justify waiting like that to get it. Soon after that, the managers told me the day they got the trucks in so I just shopped on those days, avoided the crowds and saved the same.

  • beth - April 05, 2011 @ 8:39 am
    20

    You can’t feed a family a nutritious diet on coupons alone. It’s all processed foods with lots of chemicals and additives. To really feed a family for a week you need fresh vegetable and meat (or soy) and those rarely have coupons, definitely not the kinds that gets the item free. So, yes, I haven’t paid for shampoo or deodorant for 2 years, but I DO pay for fresh nutritious vegetable and meat. Someone who gets $600 worth of groceries for $6 is feeding their family crap.

  • beth - April 05, 2011 @ 8:41 am
    21

    About good deals selling out on the first day of a sale: those folks are buying more than they need and SELLING THE REST ON EBAY.

  • Patty - April 05, 2011 @ 8:42 am
    22

    Wowsa! What a ton of comments you’ve gotten! It seems most of us are on the same page with our couponing–thankfully. Yes, I was asked also about the TV program, and I told them no, I wasn’t going to watch it. I try to keep my stockpile up, and yes it’s disappointing to get to the stores and everything is gone. I have kids and they go through a lot of stuff, so I need to be diligent. I shop once a week and if it’s not there then I obviously don’t get it that week! I hate messing with rainchecks usually, so just skip it altogether! I like to have a stockpile, but don’t too crazy with it! I like to stockpile a lot this time of year, as being a farmer I am too busy during the summer months to spend my time shopping. I grow veggies for sale at our local farmer’s market. Plus I spend a lot of time processing those veggies for wintertime use. At least those I know how they’re handled and won’t contain any chemicals! Best deal ever!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 9:35 am
      22.1

      Patty, I LOVE visiting the local farmer’s markets during the warmer months!! That’s a good point for people to remember as well. I save in so many areas so I can spend more on other items that are important to me. Sometimes the farmer’s markets are a little more expensive but I don’t care. I want to support our local growers AND, like you said, I know where it’s come from! Now if I could just get my stuff to grow and not die..that’s a separate issue all together!

      • Patty - April 06, 2011 @ 7:47 am

        Ah, Thank You for supporting local farmers! Honestly, it costs more to produce it alot of times, than what I make off it. But it’s important to me to keep that cycle going (producing crops). I also sell honey which is unadulterated as my family has had bees for generations. I urge everyone to get out there (out of the grocery stores) and help out your neighbors (farmers). Once you’ve had one of my fresh-picked heirloom tomatoes, you’ll never go back to store bought! Plus we’re always willing to talk about growing and try to help people if we can! Go Local! Thanks for your support, and love your site!

  • beth - April 05, 2011 @ 8:59 am
    23

    I’ll never forget once at a clearance sale at Kohls, a woman was taking huge piles off the racks, as much as she could grab and put in her cart. Not checking sizes or anything, just grabbing all she could get her hands on. There were Mom’s trying to get affordable clothes for their kids and she was pushing ahead of them. Ebay. (which I love, by the way, but it made me sad to see her intimidating moms just so she could sell the stuff)

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 9:34 am
      23.1

      Beth, you bring up a good point – it’s not always about groceries which is what the show is specifically portraying. I think people have seen that behavior too, especially during Target’s toy clearance. Holy Moly, it’s CRAZY!!

  • beth - April 05, 2011 @ 9:00 am
    24

    It’s not fair when someone takes all the good deals and doesn’t save any for others. Everyone should take their fair share only and leave a fair amout for everyone else.

  • beth - April 05, 2011 @ 9:10 am
    25

    Let me allay your soy concerns. Soy does not have to be chemically altered to be digestible. Tofu is naturally fermented soy, but that is not chemically altered. Vinegar is fermented naturally as well. Soy beans are eaten fresh off the field (Edamame) with no fermentation or ‘chemical alterations.’ I love them!! It is true that the protein in cooked soybeans is slightly less digestible than that found in most animal foods. However, when soybeans are made into soymilk, tofu, tempeh, and the other common forms of soyfoods, their protein digestibility is enhanced and becomes similar to animal foods. Any negative impact on protein digestibility due to the presence of the enzyme inhibitors found in soybeans is rendered nearly irrelevant in such foods. And even simple soybeans, with their reduced digestibility, are so high in protein and in all the essential amino acids that they could still easily serve as the sole source of protein in a person’s diet if that was necessary for some reason.

  • Amy - April 05, 2011 @ 10:36 am
    26

    This is such a good post and such a great reminder. I just spoke to a mom’s group and they were ready to find out how I shopped and saved money. I told them, “I buy what I need, I go to a store that doesn’t take coupons (Aldi), I menu plan, and I avoid the stores as much as I can.”

    I too used to take advantage of coupons and the deals, but I found that it wasn’t really simplifying my life and if I was at the store all of the time, I wasn’t really saving our family any money.

    To me, I was spending money to stockpile items that we would never get to or use. I did end up making a huge donation to our local shelter and I am glad I could do that, but it is nice to get to spend time now with my family instead of spending it in the stores and deal chasing.

    I do think that just comes with frugal maturity and learning what works best for your budget, your time, and your family. I am striving to simplify and life feels much simpler if I can just hit the stores and buy the things when I need them.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 3:08 pm
      26.1

      Amy, Mom Advice is also a great example of saving in every area of life too! As I’ve become more “frugally mature” and have other things that come up during my day, I’m also focusing more on the simplicity in it, like making homemade bread with my bread lady’s recipe :)

  • Debba / Girlfriendology - April 05, 2011 @ 10:40 am
    27

    Andrea – love the post on extreme couponing. As someone who always feels like I should do more, I’m glad that you (my coupon idol!) set realistic goals and practices that are respectful of others. Thanks for teaching me and so many other SO MUCH. (p.s. & I love your site & Facebook page – you rock girlfriend!)

    Debba / Girlfriendology.com

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 3:10 pm
      27.1

      Debba, thanks for stopping by!! Sometimes I feel guilty because maybe I’m not doing more and I should given I’m in this savings niche. But, I know that I’m doing what I can for this season of my life. And, for the record, you are blessed with a husband that cooks from scratch! That can save you a ton! LOL

  • Lorayne Gothard - April 05, 2011 @ 11:10 am
    28

    I totally agree. I use coupons the right way but so many people abuse the process that it hurts everyone. Here in Houston, as you know, they are stopping the double and triple coupons. I know one of the managers and he said people would just come in and wipe the shelf clean all by one person with numerous amounts of the same coupon. After watching that show I was sick to see these people with enormous amounts of food that they would NEVER be able to eat because they were being glutenous.Anyway thanks for the post.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 2:58 pm
      28.1

      Lorayne, it’s so disheartening to hear about shoppers cleaning the shelves. I just don’t get it. I love that people want to donate but I think there’s even a cycle to donating too (for me, anyway). So bummed you are affected in Houston with no more doubles :(

  • Alea Shinn - April 05, 2011 @ 12:38 pm
    29

    Completely agree with your entire blog! Especially the part about stockpiles are to be used and not idolized. I coupon a lot, but am by no means “extreme” – we stock up on items when we can get them for super low prices or free – and when the stockpile is enough to get us through the next several months – I’ll pass up anymore deals for that item. No one needs 300+ deodorants! That is just greed and getting carried away and it’s really sad that so many stores are revamping their policies now because of the extremists who would always clear their shelves. Couponing should help you save money in life, not take over your life.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 05, 2011 @ 2:56 pm
      29.1

      Alea – you said it perfectly, “Couponing should help you save money in life, not take over your life.” Thanks for sharing today!

  • Diane - April 06, 2011 @ 1:54 pm
    30

    I agree, the show is not realistic! While I enjoy seeing the deals people get, most people do not have the time to buy 300 boxes of cereal. I think stockpiling in moderation is key. The people on this show go overboard.

    Diane
    http://www.savingsmania.com/
    Savingsmania.com

  • Deal Finding Girl - April 08, 2011 @ 8:43 am
    31

    I completely agree with you Andrea. What I hated the most about the show was the fact that many of these couponers were buying and storing too much food that would be spoiled before they ate it. The one lady bought 150 full size candy bars. Does anybody ever need to store that many candy bars in their house?

  • Kathryn - April 08, 2011 @ 1:07 pm
    32

    Well said! I was told that the reason Houston Kroger stores no longer doubles is because the people in that market weren’t using enough coupons to begin with.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 08, 2011 @ 5:27 pm
      32.1

      Kathryn, I saw that reply on Facebook. That was interesting to hear too. I was wondering why kind of competitors they have there. I know a few Houston bloggers and they shopped at Kroger exclusively because of doubles. I think they have an Aldi they could hit now too.

  • Marvin - April 13, 2011 @ 10:19 pm
    33

    These people may have time to collect those coupons but I doubt they have time to check the expiration date on all the food they have hoarded. For stuff like household items this is fine but for food its just not practical.

  • Anita - April 14, 2011 @ 11:59 pm
    34

    I totally agree with your description of the show. I grew up with a frugal mom, and learned a few good things. I don’t really use coupons much simply because well I tend to forget them sitting at home on the counter. I know silly to spend the time cutting out the ones I will use and then walk off without them. I never thought to ask if I could take them in later with my receipt and get them applied but now that I think on it that does seem to be a question to explore. To my knowledge our local city market, which is part of kroger does not double coupons. In fact as far as I am aware there is no part in my local area (western colorado) that doubles coupons.
    I too had a child with severe milk allergies. He is now 28 and able to drink all kinds of dairy products. I couldn’t even give him the soy formulas so I improvised my own by giving him the instant non fat milk, and supplemented the nutrition part with the rice cereal for infants. It is very difficult to have savings in foods for people with allergies. I am having extreme difficult time finding coupons for glutten free items that I am supposed to be eating. I would appreciate any guidance in finding the savings for those types of foods.

  • Fantacy - April 17, 2011 @ 9:54 pm
    35

    Andrea, I have to agree all the way. The funny thing is that I am sitting here watching the show, came over here to get my matchups and saw this post. The twin sisters on this episode just said “we are wiping out the shelves and we don’t feel bad about it”…the one has hundreds of packages of diapers and doesn’t even have a family yet. As someone else said, that is greed NOT being frugal. I hate to see how things are going to go downhill thanks to shows like this (and yes I realize that I am probably adding to the problem by watching the show…I promise this is only the 2nd time I have watched lol) My husband lost his job a few years ago, and we have never completely regained our footing financially since. Then on Jan 31st he fell 2 1/2 stories off of a ladder at work (job he worked for about 1/2 the pay he got at his old job) and has been off work since then and without coupons, we have a hard time making ends meet. I hate going to the store prepared only to find out they are sold out of everything and “might get a truck in on Tuesday”….
    I think I am a good couponer and I always try to be considerate to my fellow couponers and shoppers so it absolutely irks me to see people gloat over taking the entire stock.
    Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts but even more for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and experience! Amber is a great asset to your team, she was the one who made all the match ups “click” for me :D She was the way I found my way back here!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - April 20, 2011 @ 11:12 am
      35.1

      Fantacy, that’s where I got to as well with the shelves being completely bare soon after opening on Sunday (for the drugstores). Eventually I built a relationship with the store managers and they shared the truck dates but for others who aren’t comfortable doing that, they will miss the deal.

      And, I know Amber is an asset to this site, trust me!! I’m lucky to work with the great team that we have here!!

  • Mary - April 25, 2011 @ 7:31 pm
    36

    I have been watching the Extreme couponing show. My daughter and I could not figure it out as to how they were able to get by with so many coupons. in my city most store do not allow that. You cannot wipe out the whole shelf. they will find a reason not lto let you back in. And most coupons do not allow doubling. or Tripling. It says so on the coupon. Most stores out here allow only 4 double offs per customer. And in watching to show for the last month and watching the ads I have yet to see any where with the sale and the coupon makes it a negative amount. It doesn’t happen like what they show. I fully believe that it is all done just for the show. They need the extreme to get the drama to get viewers.
    I did like the one who bought alot BUT, gave most to the local food bank. She also made and canned most of her own food. Now that was believeable!

  • Jenny - April 26, 2011 @ 6:50 pm
    37

    Very well said! I appreciate your realistic approach, and your insights on the site are helpful; my coupon skills are improving, as a result. Your post made me appreciate your site even more! Thanks!!

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