Adventures in Extreme Couponing

3 Aug

20110803-072351.jpgIf you’ve never seen the TLC series, “Extreme Couponing,” trust me when I tell you that you are missing the most incredible display of patience, frugality and the ultimate ability to stretch a dollar (I would HIGHLY recommend that these women pursue a political career and an appointment to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction…just saying).

The premise is simple; reality show cameras follow everyday savvy shoppers as they plan and strategize ways to save hundreds of dollars in trips to the store, all with the help of discount coupons. And boy, do they strategize!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever felt as inefficient as a supposed bargain shopper until I saw a woman with two shopping carts filled to capacity leave the store with a $28.37 grocery bill! Now the benefit of Couponing is definitely the huge savings that one can incur by utilizing those little squares of discounting gold, signing up for savings club programs and price matching, but Do. Not. Be. Fooled. Clipping coupons is a FULL-TIME job!

When my honey and I visited his brother last week, we stumbled his fiancé in full couponing mode. I’m talking sweat bands, scissors, three different newspapers, band-aids (paper cut prevention), and a utility Trapper Keeper with pockets, dividers and labels! When I teased her about her layout and all the effort she was exerting for a few cents savings here and there, she gave me that “oh ye of little faith” look. Escorting me to her pantry, she opened the door to reveal a plethora of soaps, lotions, deodorants, shampoos, toiletries, soups, veggies, and mountains of other non-perishable goods. Then she said two words that blew my mind: “35 bucks!”

Convinced that I too was disciplined enough to shop for my honey and 50-11 kids, I got home and immediately began sifting through periodicals and sale papers for coupons and bonus buys. Twenty minutes later when all I had to show for my efforts was $1 off a canister of Metamucil and a BOGO for Phillip’s Milk of Magnesia, I decided that clipping might not be my cup of tea. Trying my luck on the world wide web, I was pretty surprised to find several coupons that I could actually use.

Two hours and a full fridge, deep freezer and pantry later, I went back to review my shopping receipt and found that I had saved a whopping $10.98 off my grocery bill! Sure, sure. Clearly I am still a novice at this whole couponing endeavor, but let’s be real for a second. I drive an 8-cylinder vehicle, have Pack Kids in an array of athletic and extra curricular activities and a honey who has yet to find a coaches clinic that he doesn’t like. Every little bit of savings helps!!!

So tell me, how many of you coupon? Is it a religious practice for you or something you engage in every now and again. Is the effort worth the savings? What’s the most you’ve ever saved?

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