Friday, May 13, 2011

“Extreme Couponing” or “Centsible Couponing” – which one is right for you?

I am sure everyone has by now heard of, if not watched, the “Extreme Couponing” show on TLC.  While I find it interesting, there are many reasons why it is not possible (the stores break their own rules/policies for the show) and not necessary (50+ bottles of mustard??  I don’t think I will use that much mustard in my lifetime!)
While I am not about to debate the right or wrong of the show, I do want to share with you that you can be “extreme” in your couponing (by some people’s estimation) and feed your family on a $40-50 weekly budget without installing grocery store shelves in your garage to store your stockpile, clearing shelves at the nearby supermarket, or buying 100 newspapers each week.
I have shared many times before that I strive to stick to a $40 weekly grocery budget for our family (my husband and I).  We only eat out 1-2 times a month (usually with coupons!) and eat fast food just a few times per month.  95% of our meals will come from our $40 weekly grocery budget.  (I also giveaway/share/donate items to friends and family often, as well as fix meals for church/Sunday school a few times a month out of this budget.) 

Striving for a $40 weekly grocery budget with food to share inspires me to have a sensible approach to couponing and try to pay as few “cents'” as possible for my groceries!  I enjoy letting coupons pay for my groceries, instead of paying for them myself! :)

For example, here is what I bought at Publix today:


Total: $38.54
-$5.00 off a $30 purchase (Publix coupon)
-$32.45 in other coupons

I paid $0.12 (+$0.97 tax) for a grand total of $1.09!!

Some would say, “How did you do that?”  Others would say “That is extreme!”

I say, this is “Centsible Couponing!” 

(No, I do not always have trips like this; and no, I can’t base my menu just off the items purchased in this trips, but it is a start!  I still have $39 left this week to spend on other items! :)

Come back Monday as I start a series entitled “Centsible Couponing” where I will share:
  • How to coupon to an extreme!
  • Is it possible to reduce your grocery budget by 50% or more by using coupons?
  • Maximizing your savings by basing your menu on the items you buy on sale in previous weeks
  • What is the Buy-ahead principle and how does it save me money?
  • How to organize your coupons at home and in the store.
  • and much more!
As well as dispel the many myths out there, such as:
  • “I don’t have time to coupon.”
  • “Coupons are only for foods that I don’t eat.”
  • “My stores don’t have as good of sales as your stores do.”
  • “I don’t have access to the same coupons or the number of coupons that you do.”
  • “Using coupons makes me buy items I don’t need just because they are free or cheap, making me spend more money in the long run.”
This series will run every week for the next six – eight weeks.  Read the rest of this series:


    1. Love the points you made =) People have been asking me lately if I clear the shelves like they see on Extreme Couponing - I dodn't ;) I to often give things away / make baskets full everyday items for family and friends in need. Several months ago my husband was laid off and we depleted most of our stock pile. I am slowly building it back up, but I refuse to hoard =)

    2. The Mustard example you referenced was a nauseating moment for me when I watched that episode. It's nothing more than greed, control and hoarding. A dear friend of mine coupons and I laud her ability to manage her family budget as she does without jumping on the Crazy Train.

      I will pay attention to your column in the hopes of getting a regular view of what makes sense when using a coupon.

    3. Looking forward to it!

    4. can't wait!


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