Friday, April 15, 2011

My Adventure in Extreme Couponing

Have you heard about “extreme couponing”? I finally caught an episode of the show on TLC this past week. All I can say is “wow”! It really is a science. From what I’ve read, there seems to be such a negative reaction to these extreme couponers, but I think that it’s fan-tas-tic how they are able to research and match up the deals to get hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise for just dollars. I do think that instead of hoarding these goods for themselves, they should donate, donate, donate! Food banks and shelters are in dire need. I mean, really, what are you gonna do with 1000 tubes of toothpaste? These are the people we need to balance our governmental budgets, lol, but that’s a whole another topic and I’m not going there.
So, I did try my hand at extreme couponing yesterday. How do you think I did? Well, I went to my local Food Lion because they had some items on sale and I had coupons for them.

• First lesson learned: Food Lion does not double coupons, which really makes it hard when trying to get something for nothing.

• Second lesson learned: Stick to your list! I was tempted by Chocolate Chip Famous Amos Cookies for $3.99, OH’s cereal $2.49, and four Pepsi twelve packs for $11.00. I didn’t have coupons or store credits so I was already $17.48 out of pocket.

• Third lesson learned: Read the fine print. There was a promotion going on that offered a free carton of eggs when you buy 3 Pillsbury 8-count canned biscuits or cinnamon rolls for $5. I also had a coupon for .75 off of 3 cinnamon rolls, and a coupon for .55 off of 2 cartons of eggs. So, one of the cartons of eggs was supposed to be free, the other should have been $1.69-.55=$1.14. The cinnamon rolls should have been $4.25 ($5-.75=$4.25). Well, I picked up a 5-count of Grands cinnamon rolls, when I should’ve gotten an 8-count pack of regular cinnamon rolls so I missed out on the free eggs. I ended up paying $3.99 for the Grand cinnamon rolls and $1.69 for another carton of eggs. Again, read the fine print!

• Fourth lesson learned: Are "special promotions" really all they are cracked up to be? Sometimes what seems like a good deal may not necessarily be-especially if the “deal” is for items that your family doesn’t use. For example, Food Lion is running a special when you buy two Gorton’s Fish Fillet Family Size bags, you get for free: One Cool Whip, One Mrs. Smith Cobbler, one bag of Green Giant Veggies, and one Oreida (French fries) product. While I think this is an awesome deal, I haven’t eaten the Gorton’s fish products in quite a while just because they are fried and I try to stay away, but I’ll be sticking it out the next few months. The total for this deal was $11.98-.50 coupon for Gorton’s = $11.48. Oh yeah, and somehow I ended up with an extra cool whip in my buggy in addition to the free one so I paid $1.49 for an extra Cool Whip that I didn’t need.

• Fifth lesson learned: Make sure there is room to store your haul. I got 5 Lean Cuisines for $9.00 thanks to an in store promo. Lean Cuisines were already on sale 4 for $10, and if you bought 4 you got a 5th for free, making them $2/each. I then had a coupon for $1.00 off so that brought my haul on Lean Cuisines to $9. Awesome, but in addition to my frozen fish, steak fries, Lean Pockets ($1.67 x 2 =$3.34-$1.25 (coupon when I buy 2) = $2.09 for two), I had to find room in my freezer for all this frozen food. I did, barely!

• Sixth lesson learned: Have a system. I have a coupon organizer; however, my coupons were not organized. This made it really hard to find coupons and to match them up with sale items. I spent way too much time digging for coupons. Yes, I’m the girl that stands in the aisle right in the spot you need to get to sorting through 500 coupons for 20 minutes. Yes, that is me. Hopefully we don’t shop at the same store.

• Did I score anything?? Yes, I got what I think are good deals on the following:
All liquid detergent 32 loads-on sale for $2.99 - $1.00 coupon = $1.99
All liquid detergent OXI 32 loads-on sale for $2.99 - $1.50 coupon = $1.49
ARM & Hammer 32 loads liquid detergent-on sale for $2.99 - $1.00 coupon when you buy 2, so I got two for $5 or $2.50 each. Not bad. I am set for a few months in the laundry department. But still...I got nothing for free.

All these savings but my bill still managed to be $63.35! I FAILED miserably on my first extreme couponing adventure. Now that I've broken this down I'm still trying to figure out how I racked up $63 dollars! Most importantly you must be organized and have a plan. Secondly, don’t give into temptation! Famous Amos and Pepsi, darn you! Third, honestly, I’m not sure that extreme couponing is effective if you don’t shop somewhere that doubles or even triples coupons. But, I’m a newbie at this, so maybe…Next time I will shop at Lowes Foods, where they do double coupons. I’m not trying to leave the store with 50 deodorants for free, but, one would be nice.
Will keep ya posted!



  1. If you have a Harris Teeter, be on the lookout for their super double (coupons up to $1.98 face value doubled) and super triples (coupons up to 99 cents face value tripled). You can get some good deals that way!

  2. we don't have ANY stores that will double coupons where i live :( I JUST started to use coupons again. I'm very careful to use them on things we USE (mostly toothpaste, deod., deterg., non edible stuff) that are also on sale. I figure any $$ i save is good since I am new to this :) Good luck and yes, that show on A&E got me started - ha!