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August 02, 2011

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Definitely 80/20 here. I'll occasionally use a coupon if it's convenient and saves a fair amount, but most of the time I'll just buy generic instead. Often buying generic is cheaper and it is definitely way easier.

I think they are over the top. The amount of work doesn't justify the return- they must really enjoy the process... personally I don't.

I think they would likely spend less by identifying what they need then putting in a bit of time to saving on just that.

>40 bottles of men's body wash

What is men's body wash? Even if you get it at a great price isn't soap sufficient and likely cheaper?

I think it is a waste to hoard an insane amount of items that you can't possibly use before they go bad (i.e. 80 jars of tomato sauce). At least Lauren was donating some of her excess, if you didn't how much clutter would it add to your home?

-Rick Francis

We probably each have our little obsession but mine isn't couponing.
Mine happens to be "Making Money" in the financial markets but spending none of it.

My advice is to just do whatever makes you feel happy, relaxed, and free of stress even if it doesn't appear logical to others.

I watch this show while at the gym sometimes, and while I'm impressed at how much money these people can save, I am really grossed out by the quality of food they buy. One woman I saw bought hundreds of packaged ramen noodle meals. Another had over 80 boxes of sugary breakfast cereal. And they were so proud of themselves, saying now they wouldn't need to go grocery shopping for 2-3 months. What about fresh produce, dairy products, quality meat and poultry? I wonder how much of their "savings" they will be spending on future medical expenses.

I do think it's great when they donate to shelters and food banks though.

I think that it's the most insane thing that I have ever seen and that's coming from someone that self describes as cheap. They border on OCD but their focus is on food and "saving". It takes lots of time, effort and yes, money, to save like these extremes. My time is much more valuable to me than that.

I've been trying to spend more time couponing recently, but certainly not to this extent - probably averaging 2-3 hours a month. A lot of the coupons don't apply to me however as I really don't eat processed foods. I won't buy something we won't use just because it's cheap (what I do need to be better at doing though, is buying if it's free, and then donating the food item). I was pretty proud of saving 66% on my bill last week...and I think once in the past I managed 75%. That was pretty sweet!

In the first example, she buys the formula even though she doesn't need it because it gives her a PROFIT of $1.22 each, which she can then use to buy other items not on sale. I absolutely think you should get anything you can if it's free. Donate it and it will be put to good use.

I couponed for a while and grew my stockpile enough that I have taken about a year off from doing any deals. Some people donate money, but I think it's just as noble to donate your time spent clipping coupons and finding deals and freebies for things you plan on donating. I know for a fact that I can give $100 worth of merchandise for the equivalent of a $10 cash donation... To me, that's a win for the charity...

There are very few coupons offered for food that I purchase or eat. The only coupons I use are for toiletries and cleaning supplies.

I watched the show and its not realistic since most stores limit quantities. I am an extreme couponer and I actually make thousands of dollars each year on my shops. All food and household supplies are free from couponing, even hundreds of dollars in gasoline cards are free after coupons. I sell my stockpile of stuff that was a moneymaker or free each quarter and make another thousand that way each quarter. So the couponing really pays for much more than food and household items. But it does take time, the better you get the less time invested though, there is definitely a learning curve.

I am saddened to see people ripping off the system to save a few bucks and then thinking it's ok. How is this different from outright theft ? How can anyone really believe this is acceptable ? Do you really think it's okay to wipe out a product at a store or buy 100 of something just because their are no checks in the system ?

Companies provide coupons in good faith with the expectation people will respectfully use them as they were intended. If this extreme approach by some continues I think you will see a change in how coupons are made available.

Coupons are great and we're glad to have them offset our cost, but we use them as they were intended.

I am not very good with coupons. Most aren't for things I buy and I forget I have the coupons I might want to use and when they expire. Or I forget to bring them to the store or even get them out at the cash register. It takes time and organization which I don't have right now (maybe when I retire). I shop at Costco to save on some things, buy generic and make a lot of stuff from scratch.

I have seen on Craig's list ads for selling a lot of the stuff people probably got with couponing that they did not need and wondered where they got it.

If it works for these people then thats fine. They seem to enjoy it and if it saves them money too then good for them.

I've tried some couponing but haven't figured out how to get anywhere near that kind of savings. But I'm not sure that everyone can. They often talk about coupon deals like double or triple coupons. Whenever I see those around here they are limited to a maximum of 50¢ or $1. Maybe theres some tricks I don't know but I don't think all the tricks work everywhere either.

"Extreme Couponing" doesn't work for us, but regular couponing does. (Of course my husband might claim I'm extreme :-> ) We usually save around 20-30% on our grocery bill with coupons, and spend about an hour a week. Few coupons exist for produce, meat, dairy, or generics so that eliminates a lot of items we buy that can use coupons. In some cases Sam's Club has a better price than getting the item from the store on sale with a coupon.

Our regular grocery stores double coupons up to $1, and we do take advantage of trying to double up with store sales or additional coupons. When another store has triple coupons or doubles up to $2 I'll usually shop there to take advantage of it on specific items.

A few years ago I realized I was starting to "stockpile" because items were on a good sale with the coupon, and decided that made no sense if it was something I would see on sale again. It was the "joy of the hunt" as much as the idea of saving money. Now if I have several months supply of an item I'll throw out or pass on the coupons instead of spending money on something I don't need.

Just as a general question - when people talk about how much they spend on their grocery bill, is that food only? Or anything you might buy in a grocery store (including detergent, soap, diapers, etc.)? I've wondered what is normally included when I see claims that people spend "x" on groceries during a month.

You also have to live in an area where you can get back money for purchases, etc. - I read a lot about stores that give gas cards or $X in store credit - but not around here. Despite at least six grocery stores (some with multiple locations) we only have one store that doubles coupons, only Walgreens gives $ back and no gas cards. The Walgreens here has a big sign limiting you to one of the special since extreme couponing took off, so others get the chance to buy it. And like many others, I think it's a bit over the top when you give up a bathroom shower to store stuff!

Like Walden and others have mentioned, the quality of the food these people generally take home is not so great--processed, sugary, and filled with chemicals for sitting on shelves a long while. Occasionally I've seen some couponers get some deals on meats or other foods that can be frozen, but living off soda, cereal, energy bars, etc. is not my idea of a balanced, nutritious diet. Basically, there's not much "food" in their food.

That being said, having plenty of toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, etc., for (nearly) free would suit me fine!

I think it's rude that some couponers will take all of a product and leave none for anyone else. They need to have restrictions on how much people can take. And really, why in the world would you need 100 bottles of ketchup?! It's kind of disgusting.

I'm an beginner "extreme" couponer with a small stockpile. It takes works, but I don't spend too much time (I got a six month old...so I don't have the time) on it each week. On average I save 50% each week. I look for what is on sale and where the best deals are, use coupons, we buy meat in bulk and freezer wrap it into portions, and fruit in season.

I did see a man and a women buy 2 or 3 cases of cereal last week for less than a few dollars!! (I didn't see there whole transaction but I know on the second transaction it was less than a dollar.)

If you can actually use the items and/or donate them, more power to you.

I have to agree with KMI...extreme couponing doesn't work for us but regular couponing does. My wife's been doing it for years and saves 30% or more on groceries, consistently. We don't stock up, maybe buy an extra 1 or 2 items. We don't buy what we don't use. She spends about 8 hours a month and saves $150-$200. Well worth her time. She focuses on the big savings. Just this weekend she had $10 off a $30 or more purchase at JC Penny's. She bought $200 worth of back to school clothes and only paid $97 (some were on clearance too). She had to wait in 3 lines and probably wasted an extra hour but for $30 it was well worth it!

I learned a long time ago (when I was a poor college student) that if I shop for deals and have the "how much am I saving?" mentality, then I end up buying lots of things that I don't want or need, and never use. These seem like extreme examples of this. The grocery stores have learned to capitalize on this mentality by showing you "suggested retail prices" that are very high, letting you "save" with a store card (with some products that are on "sale" 365 days a year), and telling you how much you "save" when you check out. Don't be fooled; it's not how much you SAVE, it's how much you SPEND that matters.

Not to be critcal but extreme couponing is almost like extreme credit card rewards.(something FMF is always chasing)

As long as you are getting some sort of reward that is reasonable then you are doing OK in my opinion.

Sort of a cost/benifit/time/reward equation. It is a matter of your own opinion.

I don't do extreme couponing. I look for sales when I'm at the store, and buy whatever's cheapest per unit. I have the same basic purchases every time I go (milk, fruit, veggies, bread, meat, cereal, granola bars/lunch-time snacks), with the occasional extra fun item if it's on sale (like brownie mix!) or if I need something specific for a recipe. I look for the lowest price, and will take advantage of a good sale and "stock up" a little bit...like a good sale on pasta sauce meant I bought 10 jars. And if there's a sale on detergent or other household products, I sometimes will buy it even if we don't need it ASAP.
If I actually got a Sunday paper, I would probably go through the coupons just to see if there's anything good. But I'd rather spend my time doing things I actually enjoy. I still keep my grocery bills down by smart shopping.

Sure purchasing extra things is a blessing for those that she donates it to, but it's a pain in the rear to the people who went to the store after that person only to find empty shelves instead of items they needed.

I agree with SteveD who said that it's about the amount you spend, not what you save. I hate the printout at the end of the receipt that says I saved XX%. It's not accurate to me, because if all those products would not have been on sale, I wouldn't have purchased them in bulk quantities! It's only when I use a coupon, on a product I genuinely needed, that I that I saved something on my grocery bill.

To each their hangup, though i do get nervous about backlash- I've seen several articles popping up over the last few months about retailers becoming more stringent in their coupon rules, or threatening to eliminate them entirely due to "extremers"

I'm a Money Magazine subscriber and I saw this in the latest issue. I too noticed the quality of the food and how overweight to morbidly obese all the extreme coupon-ers looked in the photos. We have a family of three that drops close to $650/month on groceries, but we buy most of our foods in a local co-op and they are all organic/natural/high quality. Is it more expensive? Could we cut back? Definitely. But the savings don't come for free. What are these people putting in their bodies to save a few bucks? I'll find other ways to increase my net worth than abuse my body with high fructose corn syrup, waaay too much sodium, and trans fats.

Matt --

You haven't seen extreme when it comes to credit cards!!!!

I use the 80/20 principle there too. That's why I only have a handful of cards. If I was extreme, I'd have 15 to 20...

We spend about an hour a week cutting and organizing coupons for our weekly shopping trip. We only use coupons from the mail and Sunday paper.

We buy whatever's cheapest per unit (usually) and stick fairly strictly to a list. Sometimes our list is influenced by the grocer's weekly ad.

I keep forgetting to even look for coupons. But I live alone and do stockpile things I could use, but I keep them stored by "use by date." Of course, I don't throw it out after the "use by" date, as it may still be good for weeks or years. "Use by" simply means it is at it's peak at that time. I have used milk up to a month past it's "use by" date. Luckily milk is one of those items that you can tell immediately, by smell or taste, if it is going off. In reading the info on the "dates" used, the only one you must absolutely pay attention to is the one that says "expiration date." I have only seen that, so far, on my medication. And I do obey that one.

What I do is check sales at our store and at Walmart's or Aldi's when I am near. At our local grocer, they have 1-2 baskets each week of "specials" in the meat department. I have gotten bacon for $.99 a # and deli meat that sells for $4.35 regulary for $.99 in these baskets. If I can use my store card for something I will, but it will need to be something I can actually use.

If I have a lot of stuff, I have 2-3 people who are grateful for the extra. I also work the Food Bank once a month and any volunteer that works over 3 hours can get some of the stuff. I keep what I want and give the rest away. It keeps my grocery bill fairly low and my giving a little high.

I do some couponing, but not to the extreme. We already get a Sunday paper, so I clip those, plus the inserts that we get in the mail, and I also print some out from a few websites. However, most of our savings at the register comes from buying items on sale; the coupons are more of a bonus. If something isn't on sale and we need it that week, we buy generic. We don't shop at more than two stores, so I only spend my time looking through those ads for deals, and not 4-6 more. I won't stockpile more than an extra 2-3 of an item if it's a great deal and not often on sale; we have a small house and not much extra space to keep everything.

I'm sure if I was to lose my job or become a stay-at-home mom at some point, I would definitely take a stab at putting in extra time to match up sales and save more, but I just don't care to spend more time than the hour or so per week that I do now.

I use about 6 or so inserts per week and save about 80%, mostly on "household chemicals". We find that the bulk of our grocery budget doesn't go so much to fresh foods as to other items. I stock up a little on meat and vegetables based on store sales.

I have the leave the house at 6:30 on Sunday mornings in order to get the really good deals. Now, that annoys me because if everyone would have a better sense of sharing, I could get my beauty rest! However, the upside of that is by the time I get to church on Sunday I am basically done shopping for the week.

My personal hangup is the ones who are getting large quantities of product and reselling them. One of my frequent stops finally put a halt on a woman that was doing precisely that. It hurts everyone, including the store, when you do that. When you know you will never get sale items at a particular store, you just stop going there.

We do save enough money on couponing that I've cut back my work hours dramatically, and in this economy, that's saying a lot!

Extreme couponing is pretty awesome and for those who are against it, you might as well be those cashier who are so envy and jealous that they refuse to let us buy that many products,stating all kinds of excuses knowing that its just envy on their part. Now why would they feature this kinds of show just for the stores to be strict on their coupon rules, i would never understand. We get our coupons thru different people and yes i do used them but i dont buy the uneccesary things. I do donate most of them but i still dont see the reason why I should be descriminated for using them. I was once at a grocery store bying fifty of an item ( baby prod.) and the cashier said " oh no! im not letting you take those..are you kidding? theyre practically free." I almost dropped on my knees and said to her.." the lady before me was using a WIC check ( gov. vouchers ) arent those also free?? and i did contribute to that by paying my taxes. It all boils down to..who's ever in the cash register. Its just a matter of one flick of a managers key to override those items and yes i was once a cashier.

The cashiers are not envious of your couponing. Extreme couponers make cashier's job much more difficult. The major problem is you hold up the line. So by the time the cashier is done taking 20 minutes to ring you up, the line has snaked through the whole store and every last person after you is annoyed.If you take all of one sale item in the store the cashier has to explain to every person after you wanting that item why it is not in stock. Also you are obviously too self centered to realize that if u buy all the baby formula the person coming in after with a hungry baby is pretty much screwed.

I live in NY so extreme couponing does not work for me, there are too many rules, restrictions and regulations. I also agree, they are purchasing the lowest quality of goods. (roman noodles, soda, cheap body wash and candy bars...) I do not beleive any store would give you a gift card for a negetive balance and allow 1 customer to take up 3 check out lines at one time!!!

Sirs: I think it is B.S. I watched an episode last nite the person bought 115 boxes of asprin, so they could save some money. I dont agree with this approach. If they need to save on asprin, then just buy a few. Someone else could have needed this item to prevent an illness, such as a heart attack. And nothing left????? Thanks Brad

I am an extreme couponer, I am also a single mom of 2 young ones. Those that say they spend hours on end couponing are crazy. It takes me all of 20 minutes to drive to the Dollar Store on Sunday where I purchase 9 papers for $9.00 Takes me no more then 20 minutes to cut out the coupons I need. And the grocery store time is no different since I need to shop every week. I have bought items that I don't need simple b/c they were free or gave me an overage for items that I didn't have a coupon for. By no means am I a hoarder though. Last month I was able to stock my local church food bank as well as supply them with hygeine products and it cost me nothing but my time.

I am recently unemployed and not eligible for unemployment (forced resignation), so I am trying to reduce the cost of supermarket shopping as much as possible. We also tend to eat healthfully, by eating fish, fresh veggies and fruits. The only savings there is to buy on sale and 3 lb packages of fish/poultry. Also, I cannot afford to stockpile, because I need to be able to keep cost down on a weekly basis. I have cut approximately 200 dollars a month. I use Sunday paper, supermarket fliers and sales, online coupons from couponing websites, along with using the weekly printout to assist in finding the coupons needed. I also look at Drug Store fliers and use their cooupons and manufacturers coupons. I also use dollar stores for cleaning supplies, some toiletries,stationary and packing supplies, and greeting cards.Time is 1 hr for online coupo9ns, print out on Sunday for listing of supermarket and 2 drugstores (15 min), and writing a list and collecting coupons for shopping (1 hr while watching TV)The drug stores are accross the street from each other, so I do that in approx 15 min-30 min), and the usual supermarket shopping.

As a former grocery store manager...all I see coming from this T V show is a bunch of hype...just to sell a TV show. I just watched a segment (Oct. 19, 2011) where a lady bought, among other things, 443 bottles of Vitamin Water. The biggest store on this planet does not carry this much stock. It had to be ordered especially for this TV show. She not only got 443 bottles of Vitramin Water free, they gave her back 60.00. There is no store going to do this. If they did they would all have to close down. Grocery stores are only reimbursed for the face value of the coupon and then they have to pay someone to restock their shelves. I think these extreme coupons are the greediest of the greedy. To me TLC is nothing but trash TV. I refuse to watch it anymore.

list . NEVER go grocery shpiopng without a prepared list. It's just stupid. The night before I go shpiopng, I have in front of me at the kitchen table: Store circular, all of my coupons, my list in progress , and, of course, a cold beverage. Plan your meals, snacks, beverages around sale items. It's so easy. If something is not on sale this week, it, or something similar, will likely be on sale next week, so buy it then. Again .every store has sale patterns. Leftovers from meals automatically become packed lunches for work or school. No waste, and my family loves leftovers (beats the heck out of a cold sandwich).Here are 2 of my more recent shpiopng trips and the numbers:Original total: $ 265.88Savings: Sale savings: $ 57.06MFG coupons: $ 10.85Store coupons: $ 29.26Total savings: $ 97.17 (36.5%)New total: $ 168.71Original total: $ 208.99Savings: Sale savings: $ 46.03MFG coupons: $ 5.00Store coupons: $ 24.20Total savings: $ 75.23 (36%)New total: $ 133.76It works if you prepare (do your homework). I've been doing this for years and I save thousands annually. It only takes me about an hour of my time to prepare, and, like I said, it's a game and a challenge. All fun.

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