Extreme couponing did not work for me. I put in a lot of effort. I cut out coupons until my fingers grew calloused. I tried (and failed) keeping the coupons in binders. I joined coupon groups and obsessed over sales ads…for hours. HOURS! I went shopping almost everyday.
The truth is, I spent more money than I ever saved. I bought more food and deodorant and shampoo than I could possibly consume before the expiration date. I’ve recently started cleaning out my pantry and the cabinets under my sink. I have really become aware and shocked about how much “stuff” I have wasted due to my adventures in extreme couponing. I have several brands of deodorant and toothpaste stockpiled that nobody even likes. It is expired. All of it! When stores have big sales it’s probably because they need to get rid of the excess merchandise, which means it’s likely close to expiring, at least closer than some other products are. At least that is my theory. I mean, toothpaste is usually good for more than a year or so, isn’t it? Mine wasn’t it. After closer inspection, some of it expired only a few months after I purchased it. I never should have even put it in my stockpile, or bought it to begin with.
I’m feeding expired cereal to my chickens. They love it. I have box upon box upon box of expired cereal. I wish I had just donated it before it expired. I think to be good at extreme couponing you really need to be highly organized. I mean, TYPE A to the max. You need an inventory list just to keep track of the food. You need a coupon system that helps you keep everything in place too. You have a lot of coupons to keep track of and to organize every week. You also need self-control. Just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean you need it or even want it. Buying stuff just because it’s cheap is still a waste of money.
I never got anything for free. I never walked out of a store with a cart filled with things I didn’t have to pay for. I was never handed money back without paying a dime first. I think these coupon deals are the stuff of TV legends. Most stores have a lot of rules regarding coupons. They have limits and policies that vary from cashier to cashier and store to store. Not to mention, there were times I was treated badly for using a handful of coupons in one transaction. I was often asked, “How much cereal can you really eat?” I think they just stamped my forehead with the word “gluttony” as they moved my excessive shopping haul across the conveyor belt. It was sometimes pretty uncomfortable. They also questioned my coupons a lot. They assumed they were fraudulent. I don’t think I ever used more than 14 coupons at a time, so I can imagine people who use even more get the stink-eye pretty often. I actually wrote a letter to the CEO of one of our super market chains because the cashier was so rude to me. Which leads me to how much time is spent on extreme couponing.
Time is the biggest expenditure. You spend time collecting coupons, cutting them out, organizing them, and organizing each shopping excursion with a flyer, a calculator, and a list. You spend a ridiculous amount of time going from one store to another. You spend time arguing with cashiers and looking up store policies, writing letters, searching for online deals, making a stockpile, arranging your mountain of merchandise…keeping track of when it expires. It’s like a full-time job. Except, a full-time job probably pays better.
I still use coupons. I look through flyers. I spend a little time each week organizing what I need to buy and buying it, but I no longer do extreme couponing. It’s just a waste of time and expensive for me. I don’t have the ability or the patience to keep my shopping missions that organized. Plus, I really don’t like shopping that much.
Over the holidays I will put a little more effort into getting a good deal. The thing is, if the effort out ways the joy, use, or value of an item, I’d rather just go without it. There are other things I’d rather put my time into. Plus, to be a good extreme couponer you have to truly love shopping because you are doing it all the time. It’s a lifestyle.
I’d rather be blogging.
I guess that’s why extreme couponing did not work out for me.
Have you ever tried extreme couponing? How did it work out for you?