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The second season of Extreme Couponing premiered last night on TLC and I must say it’s bittersweet for me. I love that more people are couponing and seeking out websites and coupon classes like mine because of the show.  I dislike that the show depicts unrealistic couponing for the average consumer.

I have three kids, ages 5 and under, and the thought of spending 15+ hours a week just on coupons is daunting to me. Most busy parents would agree that they just don’t have the time to devote that much to coupons, but I am proof that you can save a TON of money with just 3-4 hours every week. 

I’ll be honest. I don’t save 98% on my grocery bill, but I do consistently save 50-75% and NEVER pay for toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, body wash, shampoo or razors.  Those results are much more realistic for the average consumer. Even though I’m not extreme, I still save thousands of dollars just using coupons.

So, if you’ve watched the show and felt discouraged, don’t be. Coupons are worth it and you don’t have to be extreme to save a good chunk of money on your groceries.

Here are some tips for efficient and time saving couponing:
1. Be organized. Have your coupons in a binder or index file where they can easily be located
2. Meal Plan. You won’t end up buying things you won’t use if you have a plan for your groceries.
3 Price Match. Even if you don’t use coupons, you can save alot just by price matching.
4. Combine Sales with Coupons: To get the most of your coupons, wait for a sale to use them. This will maximize the savings.
5. Use Your Resources. There are many websites that do the coupon match-ups for you and make it super easy to find the deals.
6. Take a Coupon Class. If there are coupon classes in your area, take them! I hold classes regularly at Metropolitan Community College, Iowa Western Community College and also do in-home presentations for a small fee. My entire class schedule is available online.
7. Read my Book. ‘The Extraordinary Art of Couponing’ is a not-so-extreme guide to couponing that will save you 50-75% off your grocery bills.

Extreme Couponing is a great entertainment and I am impressed at the savings, but know it’s not for me. I hope the show does not discourage you from using coupons. Any savings, no matter how small, is money kept in your pocket. Just remember, you don’t have to get groceries free to be a successful couponer and save your family hundreds of dollars.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • keeley September 30, 2011, 2:40 am

    well said, nicole! 🙂


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