The other day I caught myself enthralled by the TLC reality show Extreme Couponers. If you have never heard of the show, you are in for a shocker. These people can go to a grocery store, purchase bulk quantities of goods and come out paying nothing, sometimes even getting cash back! How cool is that?!
Of course there is a down side to the whole scheme, and that is having the storage, time, and patience to accomplish a zero balance at the check out line. These couponers spend days clipping savings coupons and collecting them in binders. The organization involved at the grocery store in picking out the right products and quantities takes hours, literally, one woman spent 6 hours in the store. When their 4 to 5 shopping carts are filled, it’s off to their home, or rather giant pantry. I will say, some have become very creative in where they store their purchases. One woman kept spare toilet paper rolls on shoe racks and made a tower of paper towels on the fireplace mantle.
I have never been a couponer. Growing up, I don’t’ recall my family ever sorting through clippings at the register. So it was never really a practice I developed. But I do like to save money and recently a booklet of factory coupons arrives at our place every month and I can’t wait to sit down and sort through each page, clipping the ones I want. I can see how addicting it is. But I couldn’t ever go to those extremes. It’s enough working sorting through the booklet each month, let alone going through one each day.
And how much are you really saving when you clip here and there? Sometimes I find I will purchase something solely because I have a coupon. Without one, I can’t say the item would normally be on my list. Or it will be a different brand from what I normally purchase and decide to try out just because I have 50 cents off. And sometimes I use them a splurges! This month we have coupons for Toblerone, Cadbury, and Dole Banana Dippers. These are not necessities, but I have coupons for them and LOVE chocolate! I’ll treat myself and save a little more than purchasing them any other time.
There is the rewards system too. Signing up for a rewards card at a store often does just that, rewards you for shopping with them. Hallmark got me, and I have visited that store multiple times to stock up of cards. Normally I would wait for a holiday or birthday to come up, but now I have rewards that encourage me to stop in and use…ultimately buying a little bit more in the end.
But either way, I still feel like a smart shopper, I’ve saved money of a product. And that it what keeps couponers going. The since of saving a buck or two during a shopping trip you would not have normally.
Do we have any extreme couponers out there? Or sporadic couponers like me? What are your thoughts on these little penny savers? Any tips you’ve come across through personal experience? Share in the comments!