Extreme Couponing


#1

Over the weekend I caught TLC's show "Extreme Couponing." It features people who get hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of groceries but only pay very small amounts (or nothing!) for them because of extreme couponing.

Does anyone do this? If you do, will you share tips with me? :D


#2

I do some couponing, I could help you if you like, and I can tell you a little about what they do, which to me doesn't seem that realistic.
They match coupons with sales. Now, the stores the go to usually allow "overage", double and triple coupons, matching sales. competitors coupons, etc... I don't have any supermarkets around here that allow all of those, and a lot of people I have come in contact with don't either, so that kind of raises a flag for me, but anyways... A lot of them order a bunch of coupons online and match it with a sale, often with the coupon being worth more than the price of the item. I am going to give you a made up example of one shopping trip. They order 100 coupons online from a "clipper service" for $.50 off mustard (which they had to pay money for if they got their coupons that way), and then go to the store that has double coupons going on and has them on sale for 69 cents a bottle and if the store allows overage (and allows them to buy 100), its like getting paid $31 for the mustard and they use that money towards other items (and in some stores tax). There are a lot of ifs involved. Then they buy 80 bottles of gatorade with a coupon that was buy one get one (often purchased online too), and since the store had the same sale, the coupon gives you the one you had to buy free, so two free bottle for every coupon. Say the gatorade was originally $1 and, then you saved $80 and the mustard was originally $1 before the sale, you saved another $100. Then you buy 50 boxes of mac and cheese for 10 cents a box with double coupons and sales, and 16 boxes of cereal for $1 each after coupons and sales, and that gives you another $45 savings for the mac and cheese and $32 savings for the cereal, and so now you have saved $237 and although the mac and cheese cost $5 and the cereal $16, you had $31 left over from the mustard, making your groceries free. So now you can have a meal of mustard, cereal, mac and cheese, and gatorade :).


#3

Thanks LIB. I use coupons every now and then, but I think it's time I kick it into high gear! :p

Yeah, I get that you have to match coupons with sales. Just wondering if anyone here actually does this on a large scale and wants to share specific tips on organizing, etc. :D


#4

[quote="Belle10, post:3, topic:248870"]
Thanks LIB. I use coupons every now and then, but I think it's time I kick it into high gear! :p

Yeah, I get that you have to match coupons with sales. Just wondering if anyone here actually does this on a large scale and wants to share specific tips on organizing, etc. :D

[/quote]

Lol, ok, I was going to explain afterwards what I do. There are web sites out there that match stores/ supermakets with the sales that are out there and the coupons you can use (either printable or from the newspaper, sometimes from other places). If there is a supermarket you frequent you can google around for sales match ups etc. When I go on a coupon trip to the supermarket I usually like to save around 2/3 (eg pay 33 for 100 of groceries). A lot of the coupons and deals out there are for junk food, so I don't really go after every "deal", but, for example, I usually pay very little for my whole wheat pasta, sometimes free. I watch for sales on meats and when I see a low price for something I use often, I stock up in my freezer in my garage. There are a ton of blogs out there with CVS and Walgreens coupon match ups. We aren't picky with toothpaste, and watching for deals I can get it for free usually, along with toothbrushes. Basically with couponing, the store isn't out any money for the manufacturer's coupons because they get reimbursed the coupon plus a handling fee. I do try to be loyal to these stores that I get deals from, for example if I am out and about and need something and I know they have it reasonably priced I will buy it from them just because they are generous with their sales. It can take time, and sometimes I would rather spend my time on other things, but when I do have the time, its kind of fun. Amazon is another place that some times has good deals on diapers etc with "subscribe and save" and an Amazon mom account (one can it get for free for a couple of months up to one year). I usually buy diapers that way, although some times it can be cheaper with "deals" at Walgreens/CVS. Also, Walmart matches prices with competitor stores and allows "overage". The stores and companies are starting to limit the amount of coupons of one type that people can use to weed out the extremers, which is good for us regular people that like to coupon too :). Feel free to PM me if you need help with anything, I'd love to help if I can :).

Organizing wise, I have a small leather zipper organizer with all my good coupons and have a drawer with all the rest. I plan the trip and put all the coupons I am going to use in an envelop and move them to the front of the envelop as I add the items to the cart. For me, the biggest help is the web sites out there that tell you the matches.


#5

[quote="Belle10, post:1, topic:248870"]
Over the weekend I caught TLC's show "Extreme Couponing." It features people who get hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of groceries but only pay very small amounts (or nothing!) for them because of extreme couponing.

Does anyone do this? If you do, will you share tips with me? :D

[/quote]

My mom does, but not as well as those people.


#6

Look at "CouponMom.com"....it is a great way to set up a Church program to supply food to the poor......


#7

I used to do it more often when my local stores offered double coupons, it was more worth my time. (There are only two of us now). What you should do is get the sales paper and plan your weekly menu around the items that are on sale for that week. Then check your coupons and see if you can match any of them with the sales. Brand loyalty is not important, unless there is a special product that you simply cannot do without. My local library used to have a box where people could take coupons that they could use and leave the ones they did not want, it helps to have more than one especially if it is a really good buy. I got in the habit, years ago, to bring a calculator with me when I shop, it makes it easier to manage the money during the trip.


#8

I use coupons but I don't do great. The most I've saved is 40% off the total bill.

Actually that's pretty good, I think, but not compared to the extreme couponers.

I don't like the ones who "clear the shelves". Leave some for the rest of us, please. :mad:

I think there is probably a balance between "stocking up" and the principle of "take what you need and no more"

Didn't Jesus tell us not to worry about tomorrow?

Just some random thoughts.:shrug:


#9

[quote="Little_Mary, post:8, topic:248870"]
I use coupons but I don't do great. The most I've saved is 40% off the total bill.

Actually that's pretty good, I think, but not compared to the extreme couponers.

[/quote]

See, I have only seen about 2 episodes, but what I saw is on their shopping trip for the show they buy a bunch of the same, which makes their savings look bigger, but is not necessarily what they need, and often not that healthy, and even some try to bend rules etc... I think 40% is great. I mean a bunch of bottles of mustard or some sort of antacid isn't a real grocery trip. Plus, like you said, unless they have it special ordered, it leaves the rest of the people that only wanted a few of bottles of mustard out of luck.


#10

Hmm sounds delish… But more importantly, how can I hire you as a personal accountant?


#11

I think most coupons I come across for food items are for things we don't eat. I do find good deals for toiletries and cleaning supplies though.


#12

First the show is reality TV and one thing about reality TV it’s not “true” reality. For the show they are instructed to do the “biggest savings ever”. So they shop for the mustard, antacid, and all the other stuff because it gives the biggest WOW factor. Also MOST stores have policy that state up to 3 of the same coupon per transaction. However as you know from the show they often do way more then just 3 of the same coupon, which means the store bends their own coupon policies for the sake of the show. Also I’ve heard the behind the sense comment from the people featured and they are told they are instructed to “clear of the shelves” in REALITY all the items are PRE-ORDER. The store put some/all of it on the shelves for the sake of filming, and the shelves look clean, but what you don’t see is that the store is restocking the shelves when the camera is turned off, because the items were pre-ordered and they never really had to come of the shelves to begin with… They say it take 3 days of filming to see what you see on the TV. It’s really not as simple as them going into the store. 2 days at the house and one day at the store.

So in reality-without the cameras-these people would have to make several trips over the course of several days to do what they do in the one shopping trip for the TV show. Some of them really truly do that without the cameras. They still are getting the savings, still are stocking up, but they aren’t doing it all in one monster trip as the show would like you to believe. Also they have a stock pile they keep at home, but often what they keep isn’t as large as what you see on the show. This is because again for the sake of the show they are asked not to give away their stuff for several months so the pile can look as big as possible. They give a good portion of what they buy way to local shelters, food banks, etc. I’m not defending the show, but I think people need to know it’s not true reality.

Now I do coupon, I do match sales up with coupons, I can save up to 60% that is the best I can do! One thing I do is I have a price ruler. I have the aldi price on can goods and other things listed on my price ruler. I make sure that my bottom dollar I’m going to spend on the name-brand item is going to at least match if not do better then my aldi price. If I can’t match or do better then my aldi price then I won’t buy because it’s not a true savings for me. I suggest to anyone you get your own price rule with the average price that item cost at the place you normally buy for the price you normally spend. That way when you are going through the sales and matching coupons you’ll know if it’s a really good deal or not and if it really would save you money.


#13

[quote="Little_Mary, post:8, topic:248870"]
I use coupons but I don't do great. The most I've saved is 40% off the total bill.

Actually that's pretty good, I think, but not compared to the extreme couponers.

I don't like the ones who "clear the shelves". Leave some for the rest of us, please. :mad:

I think there is probably a balance between "stocking up" and the principle of "take what you need and no more"

Didn't Jesus tell us not to worry about tomorrow?

Just some random thoughts.:shrug:

[/quote]

I agree... there's a difference between finding a good deal here and there and being selfish and hoarding goods beyond your needs.


#14

I just use coupon mom! The extreme couponing is kind of gross to me... they stock up on loads of processed foods and really unhealthy things. They clear shelves worth of products that they will never use. No one can go through 500 sticks of deodorant in a lifetime, you know? Seems kind of glutinous and wasteful to go to the extremes that they do on that show, but I understand wanting to save big on the groceries! Save the ad specials from the stores you frequent, and ALWAYS get the loyalty card if they have one! The savings can be enough to really notice, although you won't walk away with 200 toothbrushes or anything like that.


#15

[quote="lifeisbeautiful, post:4, topic:248870"]
For me, the biggest help is the web sites out there that tell you the matches.

[/quote]

I think that's what I need, I'm sure it would help.

[quote="rainbow1, post:6, topic:248870"]
Look at "CouponMom.com"....it is a great way to set up a Church program to supply food to the poor......

[/quote]

Thanks!

[quote="Catholic1954, post:7, topic:248870"]
My local library used to have a box where people could take coupons that they could use and leave the ones they did not want, it helps to have more than one especially if it is a really good buy. I got in the habit, years ago, to bring a calculator with me when I shop, it makes it easier to manage the money during the trip.

[/quote]

I always have my calculator on my cell phone set and ready too, it definitely helps. I'll have to check at the library and see if they have something like you mentioned.

[quote="Little_Mary, post:8, topic:248870"]
I use coupons but I don't do great. The most I've saved is 40% off the total bill.

Actually that's pretty good, I think, but not compared to the extreme couponers.

I don't like the ones who "clear the shelves". Leave some for the rest of us, please. :mad:

I think there is probably a balance between "stocking up" and the principle of "take what you need and no more"

Didn't Jesus tell us not to worry about tomorrow?

Just some random thoughts.:shrug:

[/quote]

I think 40% is great!

I don't think I'll ever have a huge stock like people on the show, but having some kind of pantry would be nice. Not to be an alarmist, but this world is headed in a bad direction so having some things saved up would be good.

My main reason is because we NEED to save money. I know Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, but there's a balance there too. Obviously we all worry about tomorrow to some extent, otherwise we wouldn't care if we had jobs or homes or whatever.

If I ever did amass as much as the people on that show, I'd definitely be sharing it with family and probably donating a lot to food pantries. Right now I can't do any charitable giving AT ALL (well, unless you count some change weekly in the collection basket) so saving so much money while providing necessities for my family would open up our finances to be able to help others.

[quote="Robertanthony, post:10, topic:248870"]
Hmm sounds delish.. But more importantly, how can I hire you as a personal accountant?

[/quote]

Ditto!! :D

[quote="petitfleur, post:11, topic:248870"]
I think most coupons I come across for food items are for things we don't eat. I do find good deals for toiletries and cleaning supplies though.

[/quote]

That's usually me too. We try not to buy too much prepackaged/processed items, and I usually don't care about name brand.

[quote="Mommyof02green, post:12, topic:248870"]
First the show is reality TV and one thing about reality TV it's not "true" reality.

Now I do coupon, I do match sales up with coupons, I can save up to 60% that is the best I can do! One thing I do is I have a price ruler. I have the aldi price on can goods and other things listed on my price ruler. I make sure that my bottom dollar I'm going to spend on the name-brand item is going to at least match if not do better then my aldi price. If I can't match or do better then my aldi price then I won't buy because it's not a true savings for me. I suggest to anyone you get your own price rule with the average price that item cost at the place you normally buy for the price you normally spend. That way when you are going through the sales and matching coupons you'll know if it's a really good deal or not and if it really would save you money.

[/quote]

Sure, obviously I know TV isn't real life, but on a smaller scale I do think it's possible to get great savings if you spend the time figuring it all out. I like your idea about the price ruler.

[quote="themeginthemoon, post:14, topic:248870"]
I just use coupon mom!

[/quote]

I'll check it out.

Thanks everyone. :)


#16

My fiancée and I saw this show and we were wondering how they got such great savings.

It turns out that the stores waved their normal coupon policies for the show. For example, Fry's supermarket will only double the first 3 coupons for an identical item, but in the show they double it for all the items.

Even more seriously, in the first episode, the customer engages in coupon fraud. She used some of her coupons for the wrong item. This is possible due to product families sharing similar bar-codes. Explained further at jillcataldo.com/alleged-tlc-extreme-couponing-fraud


#17

I watched the show a few times and thought there was something going on that wasn't being shown. It just didn't add up... they'd show you a cart bottom full of mustard that added up to roughly 20 dollars, and then the featured shopper checked out four cartloads in the end that totalled 40 dollars...

I also do not like to see one person emptying the shelves of a sale (which may not have happened in real life but it will now....) or see people stealing coupons (in one episode a shopper obtained all the coupons out of unsold papers, another stalked neighborhood empty houses for them).

We live in a very small town with one store so we don't have the competition that would be necessary for stores to offer these deals... plus any store around here is locally owned and operated... not looking to take advantage of the owners. They run those specials to get people in the door... to stay in business.


#18

Stores are wising up. Even though this is legal, I somehow feel this has an immoral quality of greed.

My main reason is because we NEED to save money. I know Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, but there's a balance there too. Obviously we all worry about tomorrow to some extent, otherwise we wouldn't care if we had jobs or homes or whatever.

If I ever did amass as much as the people on that show, I'd definitely be sharing it with family and probably donating a lot to food pantries. Right now I can't do any charitable giving AT ALL (well, unless you count some change weekly in the collection basket) so saving so much money while providing necessities for my family would open up our finances to be able to help others.

I almost feel as if this is greed and an ends don't justify the means going on.

The food has to be paid for by SOMEONE. People have come to view business as these great big machienes of doom who are impersonal and careless. What people don't realize is things like this cost people jobs, bonus' and raises. We complain about minimum wages, about prices driven up and this is WHY. We are starting to just look out for us and our own.

Let's say on it's own mustard is $1.00. The extreme cuponers clean the store out and the store didn't make any money. The store will raise the price to $1.39 to cover the cost of it's loss, knowing people need mustard.

I'm not saying cuponing is a bad idea. Using cupons to get discounted product as a promotion is good. They are trying to build a psycological brand loyality, so they're doign their part.

I find cupons unnecessary...I use very few chemicals. (I love this spanish lavender scented product to clean). Vinegar works well and it lasts forever. Shampoo is basically all the same. As far as food. I have learned to eat culturally....i find that eating ANYTHING other than traditional American can save alot of $$$. Rice & lentis with many good spices and cheese can cost as little as 25 cents for a large portion, but "traditional" american meat and potatoes cost a fortune.


#19

I've watched the show off & on. I just don't understand why you would want to have hundreds of tubes of toothpaste, for example, or hundreds of bottles of shampoo taking up your garage space. I'm always happy to be able to save some money, but really!

I sometimes wonder if we'll later see some of these folks on another show -- Hoarders.


#20

I’m not into extreme couponing (my Dad used to do the clear the shelves thing before they stopped it over here and it was really embarassing going with him to the check out with a trolley full of bananas and him getting paid £10 and leaving a confused cashier behind, especially since I’m alergic to bananas) but here are a few tips I find useful:

You have to be willing to shop around for the best deals in each shop, i.e. it might take you five or six supermarkets to complete a weekly shop rather than getting everything in one place.

Go at the end of the day and get the reduced price stuff that is going out of date BUT ONLY IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU’LL ACTUALLY EAT! And it has to be in a large enough quantity, e.g if you’ve got a family of six and there’s one pack of pork chops on offer, it’s not worth it. You can freeze most of these things so you don’t have to eat them on the actual day.

Use leftovers. There are so many websites and cookery books with tips for these but you really can make 3-4 meals out of the main meat/fish that most families would throw away after one.

Buy seasonal fruit and veg. They sell nearly everything all year round now, but if you’re price concious, actually look at what they’re charging to import strawberries from Nigeria it’s criminal!

Look in the shops. Sometimes you’ll have a coupon for something but the shop’s own brand version is still cheaper than the branded one with money off. Some things I think it’s worth being brand loyal to - life’s too short for non-Kellogg’s Cornflakes, but most things you can’t tell the difference.

For non perishables, you can keep a small amount of a good quality version for certain recipes where it shows and use a cheap one everyday, this saves having to buy a large amount of the quality one on the grounds that x just doesn’t taste right without it.


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