Thursday, May 19, 2011

Extreme couponing does not make you feel hot

But it does make you feel sweaty, nervous, excited, and a bit anxious. Not necessarily in that order. And yet, in spite of that range of emotions. I. just. can't. stop.
After watching way too many episodes of "Extreme Couponing", then cutting, organizing and reorganizing my own little coupon stash, I entered the store ready to roll. I'd made a detailed list and eaten lunch (you know the adage 'never grocery shop hungry').

Despite my careful planning I found myself 2 hours in, frantically calling Autumn for a recharge. "Must stop shopping!" I gasped into phone. It'd been two hours and it was now rapidly approaching rush hour (the time I was trying to not be in the store). Since this was the first time I'd tried using more than 2 coupons, I should have left myself more time to match products and scan the aisles.

"It's okay to walk away from a deal." Wise words Autumn, wise words.
A deal I did not walk away from was corn, 10 ears for $2. I'll admit right here that I had never cooked fresh corn before. I'd used corn in the can, and even grilled corn on the cob once or twice; but never cooked an ear of corn with the intention to cut kernels and use them in another dish. It felt like the real official cooking I'm still a rookie at.

After navigating the aisles and filling my basket to the brim, I made my way to the check out. I picked an empty check stand, but since the store was filling up, people were coming behind me to check out. I didn't want to hold up the line so I kept telling them that I had a lot of coupons. That worked for a while but then one couple decided to wait behind me and then others followed suit. I wasn't trying to monopolize the check stand, I just didn't want people to have to wait while the coupon rookie checked out her groceries. But alas, that's what happened. And that's also when the sweating started because I was getting nervous.

As the clerk checked out the groceries, I saw the total rise higher and higher. It reached $294 and that's about when I panicked. But I knew that coupons awaited.
I used my store rewards card to knock off almost a hundred dollars. And then she scanned my pile of coupons. But the total was still almost $200. Oh dear. I knew I wouldn't get it down to $0.50 like they do on the show, but I did think it would get close to $100.00 total. Especially since I was buying groceries for multiple weeks. My budget couldn't handle almost $200.

After double checking a few items, we found a $3 discrepancy which the clerk handed me in cash. She said if I found any others I should check with customer service.

I thanked her, took my receipt, and decided to look it over before I left the store. I found about a dozen more items that were priced wrong. Oh man. I went over to customer service, and long story even longer.... I realized I just needed to do the order all over. Oh man oh man. So we went over to the check stand, and I waited in line. Then they closed the line and we went through the whole order over again.

Turns out there was a $45 discrepancy!! Worth it right? And even though I was nervous I stayed calm, collected, (and relatively cool despite the sweating).
Here's a pic of some of my haul. My favorite cereal for $1.44 a box. Frozen veggies for $0.99. Free toothbrushes. Yummy yogurt for $0.36 each. Free pasta. Nice!

Definitely enough eats to encourage my goal of preparing and eating food at home! A must to help me move towards my goal of slimmin and trimmin my budget as well as my waistline.I also admit that I had fun. (Not the sweating and navigating wrong receipts part) but the saving and matching part. Kind of like a detective. But like anything, I need to keep it in moderation. I'm going back tomorrow (no more cereal or pasta) but bagged salad is on sale, plus I have a coupon. Worth a trip.

Have any of you tried extreme couponing? Does the show seem a little scary to anyone else? I keep hearing people calling it organized hoarding. I'll admit I bought 8 boxes of cereal, but at $1.44 it was worth it. Is that how it all starts....?

For those of you who want to start, there's a great site here and here.

And here's a clip of one of my most favorite and reasonable couponers from the TLC show.


  1. When my boys were little I used to use coupons, not with huge results. But saving $20 or so at a time. I haven't used coupons in years though. Looks like you made quite a haul, good for you!
    I haven't seen the show, sounds interesting.

  2. The show is fun to watch, but they start to blur after a while. I definitely just started couponing and I'm trying to be careful not to go overboard!

  3. I love the pic of you with that mile long receipt! You are too funny! You got some good deals I must say.

    I too have gotten that sweating feeling like I was little kid in elementary school trying to cheat. But in the wise words of the Krazy Coupon Ladies "Pick another checkout line, honey!"

  4. Thanks Autumn! And glad I could call you for a good talk-down regarding my coupon anxiety mid shopping trip! :)