Not So Extreme Couponing Can Still Equal Huge Savings

By: Jen Runge of Coupon Sense

The coupon trend lately leans toward extreme! From TLC’s Extreme Couponing show, to the woman in Arkansas being arrested for stealing coupons, it’s all about going big to get those big savings. Coupon use has increased dramatically the past few years, and with a spotlight on the huge savings, it is not surprising to find more and more people going to extreme measures in order to save even more money on their groceries. But can you get great savings and not have to dedicate garages to stockpiling food and toiletries? Of course. Do you have to spend 20 hours a week cutting coupons and tracking sales to be able to save your family money? No! Dumpster diving for coupons? Absolutely not.

Extreme couponing can sound enticing! Who wouldn’t want to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their groceries? We’ve all got to eat, right? And it’s easy to become a little addicted to the savings when you learn that you can be getting some things for free! But it is time to dial it down a bit and take a closer look. When TLC’s Extreme Couponing shows massive savings, you have to wonder what on earth they are going to do with all that food! Sure, they saved a ton of money, but was it true savings? The pictures of their pantries and garages filled to the brim with groceries does make one think twice. How can one family consume all that food? The answer? They don’t. Unless they are donating the majority of it, it is going to waste. And waste does not lead to savings. There will always be another sale and another coupon, and the trick is in knowing how to find a balance between savings, time and effort. “Not so extreme couponing” can still lead to huge savings for your family.

There are certainly some tricks to the trade when it comes to couponing. Multiple coupons and stockpiling can help you save the most! No gigantic pantry or garage devoted to the stockpile is required. Use a few copies of the same coupon, meaning 2 or 3, not 50 or 60. Buy enough for your family when the price is right. All items run on sales cycles, so the item your family enjoys will go on sale again. Stock enough to get your family through the high price time frame, and then restock when the sale comes back around. The goal is not to make your pantry look like Armageddon is on the immediate horizon! A balanced, realistic stockpile is best.

While getting items for free is fun, there is no need to go and steal coupons in order to accomplish your savings goals! Once you tell your friends and family that you are couponing, coupons will come from every direction. Also, coupons now come in many different forms, leading to easy savings. Internet coupons, downloadable coupons, even scannable coupons on your phone can help you save more than ever, without having to resort to unreasonable means.

Another big waste in extreme couponing is time. A balanced stockpile comes from an hour or so a week, especially if you use Coupon Sense (a program that matches your ads to sales and has an easy filing system). A “not so extreme couponer” will not get every single deal and chase savings around town going from store to store. A good average is one grocery store and one drug store a week. Time is money, and if you spend your time chasing free mustard around town in order to have a lifetime supply that will expire in a few months, you’ve just lost the time to money ratio. Balance, balance, balance is the key.

Another essential aspect to “not so extreme couponing” is making sure you only buy the items your family wants and needs. A sugar cereal (that you would normally never purchase) may be on sale with a coupon for $.50 a box. That’s a great deal, right? Wrong. That cereal is $.50 too much for your family. Unless you would normally purchase that item, it doesn’t matter how much it costs. It is not a good deal unless it is an item you will use and enjoy for a great price as well. Purchasing items you will never use, even at a smash, bang up price is still a waste of your time and effort, and does not equal true savings. True savings come from getting items you will use at the best price possible.

Couponing can be rewarding financially and even fun! Set realistic goals and do not expect to receive your entire grocery list for free. A realistic savings percentage can vary from family to family, but it can easily average 50% in savings. Think about it! Cutting your grocery bill in half is huge! Ignore these claims of 90% and higher savings percentages. They are not true savings. Can one family exist on free toilet paper and mustard? Of course not! A balanced grocery list includes items that can be had for free, a great deal, a good deal and at full price. Equaled out, it leads to fabulous savings and well worth the effort and time it takes to coupon.

If you would like a helping-hand with couponing, try CouponSense. It is tried and true for over 12 years and is a sane way to coupon like an expert! CouponSense takes the hard work out of coupon clipping by aggregating all of the local store coupons for you. It helps shoppers save 50-70% off their grocery bills, which amounts to thousands of dollars over the course of a year. It is $14.99 per month. Members can comparison shop because it helps them find the very best deals, and organize their coupons. It re-shapes the grocery experience and help you shop like a pro. Just think of what you could accomplish with all that extra money in your pocket! You can see more at

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