Just about everyone has seen the TLC show Extreme Couponing and has an opinion on it. Personally, I love the idea, but the show really isn't true to reality. The couponers on Extreme Couponing walk out of the grocery stores with gigantic hauls and pay literally nothing. The downside is they end up hoarding tons of things, clear the shelves, and give other couponers a bad name.
The reality is, we will never be able to coupon like they do on the show. The reason for that is they are able to use coupons in a way that is against most of America's store coupon policies. Each store has their own coupon policy that limits consumers to how many coupons that you can use that will double or triple and how many like coupons you can use.
For instance, at Farm Fresh, my local grocery store, I can double coupons up to $1.00 on Wednesdays but not to exceed twenty coupons that will double. Also, I can only have two like coupons. That right there puts a very big question mark on the validity of the Extreme Couponing Show. Many of their couponers will buy hundreds of the same product with a coupon for each one. Again, most stores have a policy of only two or three like coupons.
I have come to believe that although the Extreme Couponing show is interesting and it did get me into couponing, it really sets people up to fail. I have found so many people that started couponing and are saving 50% off their grocery bill each visit upset because they are not in the 90% range as shown on TV. In my opinion, if you are saving anything, it's a blessing! I generally save in between 30% to 70% each trip. Sure, I would rather see the higher percentage than a low one, but any savings is helpful! My biggest advice for anyone who is new to couponing or discouraged is to be proud of yourself no matter what the percentage is on your receipt. You're working hard to provide extra savings for your family and that's a win! You will get better the longer you coupon so let it be something you enjoy!
My most recent trip to Farm Fresh on June 8th, I was able to do pretty well. I had 19 doubling coupons and 1 $5 off coupon just for signing up for the Farm Fresh email newsletter. I also utilized the $5 off promotion if I purchased an assortment of any ten products they had on sale.
Here's the breakdown of what I got during my first Farm Fresh trip:
2 boxes of Cheerios
2 boxes of Reeces Puffs
2 boxes of Fruit Roll Ups
1 box of Fruit by the Foot
2 boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix
2 cans of Duncan Hines frosting
2 Duncan Hines brownie mixes (free)
2 tubes of Crest toothpaste
6 boxes of Hamburger Helper
4 bags of Quaker Rice Cakes
1 bottle of Garnier Fructis Shampoo
4 bottles of Kens Salad Dressing
2 bottles of Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 bottles of KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce (free)
2 boxes of Ronzoni Pasta (if my store allowed overage this would have been .31 credit per box)
My total before coupons was $67.36. After my coupons, I paid only $23.38 out of pocket. My savings were $43.98 which is a 66% savings. I ended up going back later that day since I had a surplus of coupons for items on sale so by the end of the day my total savings for everything I bought that day came out to be $201.99 before coupons and I finished the day spending only $97.85 which saved me $104.14.
It's not the 90% that you see on television, but for me it's a success! I'd love to hear how you guys are doing couponing and what your tricks of the trade are! Feel free to share your experiences!