Extreme Couponing: Fact or Fiction?

   By aleciastanley  Jun 09, 2011

Have you been watching the show Extreme Couponing on TLC?  Each episode profiles self proclaimed "savings shopaholics" as they attempt to pair store sales with coupons to save the most money and walk away with hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of dollars worth of merchandise for only a few pennies out of pocket.  Have you wondered if their tactics are possible for the average Jane to accomomplish, or if they are uniquely using with an overly complicated system?  I’m excited to tell you that their methods, while time consuming, are actually quite simple!  I know the show has stirred up a bit of controversy in the couponing community because of its outlandish portrayal of would-be hoarders who seem to eat, drink, and think about nothing but "ripping off" stores and acquiring free products, but I think we can learn a lot from the basic concept to get the most bang for our buck!


In today’s economy, pairing store sales with available coupons only makes sense.  In fact, for our family it is a simple way of life.  To go to the extreme, though, as with any task, takes a lot of time, effort, and will enviably require some sacrifice somewhere.  While it is not realistic to expect to save 99% on your grocery bill each week, it is absolutely feasible to cut your current budget in half, maybe even save 75%, just by using coupons and paying attention to store and online promotions.


Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore this world of extreme couponing from the inside out.  I’m going to take you step-by-step through what it takes to make couponing work for your family.  I’ll break it down simply, but concisely so that we can maximize our savings in as little time as possible!  Whether you’re a couponing fanatic who has a garage full of stockpiled products, or a complete novice who currently pays full price for everything, I’m sure you’ll be able to take something helpful away from our conversations - and hopefully contribute quite a bit, too!!


To prepare yourself for the world of extreme (and even unextreme) couponing, the first step is to set up a family budget.  In order to know how much money you’re going to be able to save, we need to know how much money you have to spend first.  Let me encourage you to sit down with your spouse and financial records this week and organize yourself a bit.  My family uses a great planning method created by Dave Ramsey and we’ve laid out 3 Steps to Creating a Family Budget, if you need a little inspiration.  Don’t get overwhelmed in trying to account for every last penny.  At least come up with some general figures.  Maybe you want to establish a few spending goals to keep yourself motivated as we begin our couponing adventures.  Personally, our family is saving up for a new vehicle that we hope to purchase later this year.


Come back next week as we start exploring where to find coupons and how best to maximize them for our extreme couponing purposes.

Make a Comment

Jun 16, 2011

In NYC no store allows you to double paper coupons like they do on the show.And they started to get way more aware of what you give them.My store actually starts to check if i really bought the item the coupon indicates. I also realized my store for example doesnt mark the sales in the aisles ,or they dont give u the sale on the register and u need to argue over it with customer service. Always check ur reciept !!!! Almost every trip im about to get riped off.

annajuan by annajuan | Union, MO
Jun 10, 2011

in your search engine type in walmart coupon policy. several sites should come up. when you get to walmarts site print out their coupon poliy and always carry it with you to walmart.

BrandiLin by BrandiLin | JOPPA, MD
Jun 10, 2011

I am so glad I found this! I am one of those ppl who started "couponing" after the show and while I am NOWHERE near as good as they are I am pleased at what I have been able to save. I cannot wait to learn more!!

aleciastanley by aleciastanley | Kingston, PA
Jun 10, 2011

@basilandcatnip - I recommend making sure that you always print your coupons in good quality. If they're not scanning, that can be frustrating, but most Walmart stores will enter the codes manually. This might sound strange, but profiling for a nice cashier can be key -- look for a younger person (usually a college student) who looks friendly and willing to assist you when needed. If worse comes to worse, I recommend calling your store and speaking with a manager to find out why their being difficult with the coupons you're trying to use. As long as a coupon is legit and meets typical requirements (bar code, expiration date, description of product), they should accept them. You may also want to consider printing out a copy of Walmart's coupon policy and carrying it with you when you shop ... I have had to use mine before to inform a cashier of the policies they did not realize where in place. You can find their corporate policy here - http://walmartstores.com/7655.aspx

aleciastanley by aleciastanley | Kingston, PA
Jun 10, 2011

@foofie5 - I'm excited to hear that you're prepping for our couponing adventures! While our savings will not beat those portrayed on Extreme Couponing by TLC, I'm definitely confident that anyone can master the techniques behind them and accomplish significant savings with minimal effort!! Hope you'll stick around for the next few weeks and keep up the feedback!!

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Jun 10, 2011

Our Walmart is cutting way back on the coupons it will accept, it's near impossible to use them, especially the ones printed from the computer. Any tips would help.

Foofie5 by Foofie5 | N TONAWANDA, NY
Jun 09, 2011

Thank you so much. My husband just lost his job and like most of the rest of us I have to start watching pennies I have been watching the extreme couponing show. It amazing me and I wanted to do that so I started cutting coupons and trying to watch sales and I am getting so overwelmed. Thank you for making me feel better about not being a super couponer right away.

aleciastanley by aleciastanley | Kingston, PA
Jun 09, 2011

Thanks for the encouraging words! Glad you're looking forward to saving money with me!

sweetchic86 by sweetchic86 | Houston, TX
Jun 09, 2011

Great post! Thanks for helping us save money in this crazy economy!