Extreme Couponing – devoting extensive amounts of time and energy into finding amazing coupons and scoring deals – sounds like a pretty good idea. Who doesn’t want to get an entire basket of food for $1.00?
But does extreme couponing really save you money? Shows like TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” would suggest it does. The Ivanoskys family reportedly saves $40,000. That’s hardly a drop in the bucket.
When you can save like that why have some dedicated bargain shoppers who have clipped religiously given it up?
Former extreme couponer, Christy Rakoczy, kicked the habit cold turkey in 2010. She has since gone on to be an advocate of responsible couponing. Why? Christy says that while it’s wonderful to use spreadsheets to detail savings and freebies an extreme couponer can earn, there’s a failure to admit how much time was spent.
Is extreme couponing right for you? Maybe, but have you considered these potential costs?
Taking home freebies you don’t want.
For many extreme couponers, the goal isn’t just saving. It is using enough coupons to get products for free. Often these freebies are items such as diabetes monitors, toothpaste and cold medicine. While brushing your teeth 17 times a day might make for a pearly white smile, a relatively healthy individual can only use so much cold medicine. And, if you’re not a diabetic, testing your bold sugar can be fun, but it’s certainly not something you need (or probably want) to do regularly.
Those unnecessary items can turn into a stockpile.
To get the coveted discount prices, extreme couponers often have to purchase large quantities of items. While you might use one or two jars of pasta sauce in a week, 10 jars of pasta sauce might be a little hard to stomach. Often what happens is stockpiling and hoarding as surplus items pile up.
Bargain purchases aren’t always healthy purchases.
Rarely does organic, free-range chicken go on sale. And fat chance finding big coupon deals at your local farmers markets. The best coupons and the biggest savings are almost always found at big name chains. The majority of available coupons they offer are for items such as:
Chips and Candy
Processed Lunch Meat
Cutting (and using) coupons takes a significant amount of time.
Successful extreme couponing requires looking at the coupon inserts every week and not just one, but many. Those who are in the know have binders full of coupons that have been organized by store. They make shopping lists like you might make a list for a road trip, detailing stop after stop and item after item where they can save big. Unfortunately, all that organization takes a lot of time on a weekly basis.
What do you think about extreme couponing? Have you done it? Have you saved? Has it cost you in any of these ways without you knowing it?
For many, the best coupon practice is using them for products you would buy anyways. Using an app or website that compiles deals in your area is a quick and easy way to discover discounts before you buy.