Tonight, at 9pm, TLC will air a brand new episode of Extreme Couponing! In case you’ve been off in some foreign land and haven’t heard about it, Extreme Couponing is a hit show that follows couponers around as they save insane amounts. It’s fun to watch and it’s awesome that so many people are learning about coupons – but there’s a big downside we wanted to address:
After the last episode, we received emails from readers who were discouraged that their savings were nowhere near that of the folks on Extreme Couponing. We felt it was important to explain why this reality show is a far cry from reality!
I want to start by assuring you that you truly CAN save big using coupons – just this week we’ve shown you how to get FREE laundry detergent, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dog food, and salad dressing – amongst other things. But unless you are a tooth-brushing dog with a hankering for ranch dressing and clean clothes – you have to shop like a real person. That’s why we strive to teach you how to coupon for Real Life, not just a trip on reality tv.
Shoppers on Extreme Couponing are saving an average of 98%, but this isn’t “normal”. Let me show you what I mean…
Lets start with Nathan, from the last episode. We know Nathan personally – he’s a Christian with a generous heart, a family, a new baby and two jobs, as well as running the coupon forum WeUseCoupons. (Bless his heart!) While on Extreme Couponing, Nathan bought 1,100 boxes of cereal, 300 toothbrushes, and 60 bottles of handsoap – among other things. His total went from $5,743 down to a staggering $241. Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, let’s get some perspective:
- First of all – is this a grocery list that would feed your family for a week? No way!
- Secondly, not even Nate shops this way normally. He bought these items and these items only SPECIFICALLY to achieve the lowest total possible, and with the goal to donate most of it to his church’s food bank.
- In order to even buy this quantity, he had to meet with the store manager, acquire tons of coupons, and devote lots of time to planning it out perfectly.
- Besides all that, stores typically have policies which limit the number of sale items you can get and how many of your coupons you can double.
So this is an example of an EXTREME trip with extreme savings. It’s not a realistic shopping trip, and trying to save that much consistently is not a realistic goal.
We want you to succeed in real life. Our heart is to help you save money by shopping wisely, and through that, to be able to give to others. We want to teach you how to coupon effectively, and in a way that you are able to maintain. Sure – it’s possible to have an amazing trip, and we’ll show you how to do that too – but it’s important to set real goals and find a good balance.
Couponing has to fit into your life, not become your life!
I usually go to the store with a plan to buy a few amazingly cheap items, a few pretty cheap items, and a few things I simply can’t do without. Counting just my cheap/free items in the buggy, sure – I might have 95% savings. However, once I throw in a gallon of milk, a bag of apples and carrots, a couple pounds of meat, and the “Good” turkey my husband requested – my average savings goes down. That’s life – and couponing has to work within YOUR life, or you won’t stick with it.
We have to find balance, because our most important roles lie beyond our grocery cart! We are mothers, wives, and friends. We are called to be good stewards with our finances and bless others with our surplus, not merely bring home that trophy-receipt. For us, it’s not just about getting a deal, it’s about making a difference.
If anything – we strive to be Extreme Givers. Every week we list all the items at the grocery and drugstores that are very cheap or free. We encourage one another to shop purposefully with a heart for giving. If you can get soup for $.20 – doesn’t it makes sense to get a few extra for your church’s food pantry, or the local food bank, or a struggling neighbor?
What you will find here (Also see our schedule of Live Coupon Workshops):
- Coupon Resources: Where to find Coupons for the things your family needs
- Simple Deals for Beginners: “Starting Simple” weekly scenarios take you step-by-step through an easy first trip
- Practical Coupon Tips: Like “How to use a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale to get both FREE!“ or “How to work a “Catalina”
- Weekly Grocery & Drugstore Ads: We list the good deals from each ad, and match them with coupons. We even tell you where to print or clip each coupon, and what your total will be! The work is already done for you!
- …and Tons of “Fun” Deals, Too!
-Mall/Retail Store Coupons
- and much more!
Our mission at Time2$ave is to help you save money each week, give inspiration for giving to others, and encourage you along the way. If you are looking for a community to support and encourage you – we hope you join our Facebook Page, where friendly people are always there to answer questions and share tips!