Extreme Couponing. How do They do it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 04-07-2011, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Did anyone watch the new TLC show named "Extreme Couponing" or something like that? I am in awe and wonder. i knew that this was possible, but have never seen it done that extreme.

 

I know it is a FULL time job and I want IN!!! I do not want to go back to work outside my home. If I can get most of our food for less than $100 a week then I would be golden.

 

Here are some questions to ponder.

1. None of the stores near me double $1 coupons. Do these people have great stores with awesome deals I do not have?

2. Most coupons are for $1 off 2-3 name brand items. Am I missing something? This is NOT a deal. I could buy the store brand for less.

3. Where do they get so many coupons? Are they buying 100s of news papers every week? Are they printing out coupons?

4. If they are printing off coupons, can you copy a printed coupon?

5. What system are they using to keep track of all those coupons?

 

So does anyone else want to try this out? I mean really, there has to be a way to save on food.

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#2 of 57 Old 04-07-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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I use coupons more extremely than a lot of people, but I would not put myself in the same category as what was portrayed on that show. In fact, I refuse to watch the show because from what I've read they are bending rules and doing things that are not what I consider to be ethical. But the way normal couponers operate would not make for exciting, controversial television. To answer your questions:

 

1. None of the stores near me double $1 coupons. Do these people have great stores with awesome deals I do not have?

I live in an area with great stores, 2 of them will double up to $.99. One chain often runs "Super Double" promotions where they'll double coupons up to $1.98 in value. There are strict rules though. 20 doubled coupons per day, only 3 of the same coupon allowed in a transaction, and only 2 of the same coupon if they are printed online. Another store doubles up to $.50, no limits.

 

2. Most coupons are for $1 off 2-3 name brand items. Am I missing something? This is NOT a deal. I could buy the store brand for less.

Coupon values vary by region so there are different coupons out there. You can find those other coupons online through clipping services or ebay.

 

3. Where do they get so many coupons? Are they buying 100s of news papers every week? Are they printing out coupons?

Printing online is great but most of the time you are only allowed to print 2 copies of a coupon. A way around that is to use another computer to print, so for example I print from our family computer and from DH's work computer. Another way to get additional copies is through a clipping service or ebay. Some people buy multiple copies of the paper, take them from coffee shops on Sundays, or even dive through recycling dumpsters for discarded inserts.

 

4. If they are printing off coupons, can you copy a printed coupon?

NO. Illegal, totally against the rules. Copying printed coupons is a big time no-no.

 

5. What system are they using to keep track of all those coupons?

I have a binder full of baseball card holder inserts. I clip the coupons I know I'll use and file them by product type. I also save the rest of the insert and file them by date so that I can go back and clip something if there is a deal I want but didn't clip the coupon.

 

There is definitely a somewhat unwritten code of ethics among the coupon community, and one of those "rules" is to leave some for the next person. No shelf clearing. Also, there is a cycle of what goes on sale and when. There is no need to stockpile items in quantities that your family can't consume in 3-6 months. There will always be another deal so there is no reason to be greedy.

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#3 of 57 Old 04-07-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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I subscribe to a couple of coupon/deal blogs and they do have a lot to say about this show. It comes down to this, the producers talk the store into bending a bunch of the rules to make for better television. You can not do something that extreme. Nor do you want to, no one needs that much mustard.

Quote:

1. None of the stores near me double $1 coupons. Do these people have great stores with awesome deals I do not have?

2. Most coupons are for $1 off 2-3 name brand items. Am I missing something? This is NOT a deal. I could buy the store brand for less.

3. Where do they get so many coupons? Are they buying 100s of news papers every week? Are they printing out coupons?

4. If they are printing off coupons, can you copy a printed coupon?

5. What system are they using to keep track of all those coupons?

1. No one near me doubles. Drug stores have the best deals even without the doubling and you can never pay for toothpaste again easily.

2. Get the newspaper and really look. Check out coupons.com. There are lots of other coupons and they add up.

3. I just get one newspaper. If I had a bigger family, it would be worth buying two. In Chicagoland, dollar Tree sells the Sunday paper for super cheap and I know serious couponers here stock up.

4. You can almost always hit the back button and print a coupon twice. Copying is always fraud and most coupons are designed not to copy well.

5. I go through the inserts and clip the coupons I think I will use and keep them in a check file, organized by category (dry, jared, toiletries, baby) and weed the expired ones out about once a month. I keep the rest of the inserts in sleeves in a binder so I can go back and clip something for a specific deal I find on a blog and want.

 

Money Saving Mom, Deal Seaking Mom and Coupon Geek are good sites to get started with. Find some local ones too. They do the work of figuring out what is on sale at stores and what coupons are out there, where they are and how to combine them for the best deals. Lots of the deal bloggers have also written books about how to do this and you can find them at the library.


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#4 of 57 Old 04-07-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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First of all, know that the TLC show is sensationalized and, in the case of at least one of the people featured last night, highly unethical and possibly illegal.  Even those people don't shop like that 100% of the time.

 

That said, it is possible to learn how to coupon very effectively.  I get stuff for free every. week.  And I don't have 97 bottles of mustard in my garage.  

 

I would look for a couponing blog local to you and just follow along for a while.  I'm in Chicago (hi LeighPF!)  and I follow www.jillcataldo.com.  You could check the Frugal Map for coupon blogs that are local to you.  It's not a comprehensive list, but it might get you started.  http://thefrugalmap.bargainbriana.com/the-frugal-map/

 

If you want to start with just drugstore deals, which tend to be nationwide, I would read www.hip2save.com every Saturday night. She posts deals for CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid that are very easy to read and follow along with (once you learn the acronyms).  

 

I cannot speak highly enough of Jill Cataldo and her Super Couponing.  I went to a couponing workshop she put on in a local library and that's where I learned almost everything I know.  She has produced a DVD of that workshop, and that would be a great place to get started.  She gears her information just to beginners, and that DVD would be well worth the $20 (or whatever) if you're serious about wanting to give this a try.  (And no, I'm not Jill, and I'm not associated with her in any way.  She's just very good, very well-respected, very ethical, and very involved.)  http://www.supercouponing.com/

 

Beware, though... this couponing stuff can get addictive!!!


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#5 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 05:26 AM
 
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I saw the ad for the show, but haven't seen it, so take this for what it's worth.  OK - I have to ask this because this is always the question that pops into my mind when I hear about these things...  I get a newspaper (free, local) every weekend and they have coupons.  I diligently search through them and usually find one or two things we will eat (organic yogurt, bread, a local restaurant coupon), but for the most part, the coupons are for extremely processed, high-fat, high-sodium foods that we simply don't eat.  If these people are saving so much money in food, do they not realize that they are going to be paying for it down the line with health care costs? 

 

I can't imagine eating that kind of food every day and it not affecting one's health.  Not to mention the resources it takes to produce these low-cost processed items and package them, as well as the newspapers and paper (and ink) used to just get access to the coupons.  Ugh... it kind of makes my stomach turn to think of the waste that comes of something like this not to mention the kinds of food they must be consuming to make the savings.  I hope at least they are recycling the hundreds of packages they are using every month and the newspapers they are buying to get the coupons.  I wonder though if these are not factors that "couponers" think about. 

 

It seems so ironic to me that in the spirit of "saving" it's awfully wasteful.  Wouldn't it be a better use of time... instead of spending hours a day working on organizing coupons in order to buy processed food, to, instead, buy in bulk and spend that "couponing" time cooking healthy food from scratch?  That would be healthier, use less packaging, be more environmentally friendly and probably be nearly as inexpensive.  Just my thoughts... and I could be totally off, but I wanted to put it out there to see if someone can help me understand it better.

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#6 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 06:27 AM
 
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Totally agree w/ the pp.....the only coupons I've seen in the paper are for seriously "mainstream" chock-full-o-high fructose corn syrup foods. No thanks.

 

My grocery stores do not double nor do they accept online coupons. :shrug

 

We deal with lots of food allergies here, so our grocery list is pretty well set. And we're trying to move toward buying from local farms and/or growing our own.

 

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#7 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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Totally agree w/ the pp.....the only coupons I've seen in the paper are for seriously "mainstream" chock-full-o-high fructose corn syrup foods. No thanks.


Another 'agree'... we just don't eat any of the things I see coupons for. We don't even use toothpaste, deodorant, etc. (we make our own) and I have never seen a coupon for fresh produce or any of our other 'staples'... Not to mention that the stores we shop at don't accept ANY coupons, but especially not printed ones!

I also don't know how I feel about 'working the system' to get things for free or dirt cheap. I mean, I want to pay for the things we buy, because how else will the workers get paid? (I guess I have some ethical issues with being frugal in general, even though I do occasionally shop at Walmart or take advantage of super deals! I'm at odds with my own frugality eyesroll.gif)

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#8 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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First, as others have mentioned it's important to remember that the show is called EXTREME couponing for a reason.  It's EXTREME.  Even for the people on the show.  Most of them don't have trips like that every time they go to the store.  For the purposes of the show, they were asked to put together the biggest trip they could and get it for the lowest amount they could.  On average, most couponers save about 50%, as an average over the course of the year.  This means some trips are only a 20% savings, some are an 80% savings, etc.

 

Ok, having gotten that disclaimer out of the way:

 

1. None of the stores near me double $1 coupons. Do these people have great stores with awesome deals I do not have?  None of my stores double $1 coupons either.  Actually, I think that's more rare now, though there are still stores that double up to $1.  The stores around me double up to $0.50.  And, they only double 2 of the exact same coupon.  The way around this is to do more than one transaction.  If I have 4 coupons for $0.50, I will do 2 seperate transactions, using 2 coupons for each transaction, that way all 4 of them are doubled. 

 

2. Most coupons are for $1 off 2-3 name brand items. Am I missing something? This is NOT a deal. I could buy the store brand for less.  What you are missing is the sales.  It's when you combine the coupon with the sale that the deals start rolling in.  For example, at my favorite store here, Barilla pasta averages $1.60 a box, store brand $1.10.  So, if I have a $1 off 2 for Barilla, that's barely going to bring it down to the store brand price, why bother cutting the Barilla coupon at all.  BUT, Barialla is on sale this week with the store's 10 for $10, get the 11th free.  This means that the price of the Barilla is now effectively $0.91 each box.  And, if I buy two boxes and use that $1 off 2, (assuming I have counted all my 10 for $10 get the 11th free items correctly) I am basically paying $0.41 a box.  Now that's a good deal, and I will never get generic that low.  Another example:  There's a coupon floating around now for $1 off 3 Birdseye Steamfresh.  These normally run $1.50 each, generic usually runs $1.25 each.  So, taking just $0.33 off that $1.50, that only makes it $1.18, basically the same as the generic.  But when you use that coupon when the Steamfresh goes on sale for $1 each, now you are paying $0.88 each, which is now cheaper than the $1.25 for the generic.  And then, there are store coupons a lot of places that you can stack with your manufacturer coupon.  To use that Barilla example, my same store that has it on sale with that 10 for $10 get the 11th free, also has a store coupon that you can print off their website for $1 off 4.  So, if I have 2 of those $1 off 2 and 1 of the $1 off 4, I buy 4 boxes as part of this sale, and now I have effectively paid $0.16 each box.  Now THAT's a stock up price.  That's when you gather as many of those $1 off 2 coupons as you can.

 

3. Where do they get so many coupons? Are they buying 100s of news papers every week? Are they printing out coupons?  A little bit of everything.  Some weeks I buy 4 or 5 papers, some weeks just 1 or 2.  Depends on the coupons in them.  You can also get plenty of coupons online.  printablecouponsanddeeals.com has a database of IPs (internet printables.)  The main newspaper inserts are RedPlum and Smart Source, and you can also print from their websites as well.  Also, you can find coupons on ebay-selling of coupons is illegal so what you are "actually" paying for when you get them there is the "time and effort to gather, organize and cut" those coupons. But it's a cheap way to get a lot of the ones you are specifically looking for, especially if you don't need most of what else is in the actual insert.  Also, digging through recycle bins (I have done, but not to the extream they are talking about, I just sift though whatever I can reach at the top layer,) asking friends and family, taking the inserts from the papers that Starbucks and other coffee shops leave out for people who are actually reading the paper, (ask and most coffee shops don't care at all) and trading with other couponers.  And, even if you do buy papers, check with your dollar tree or other dollar stores, many will sell your Sunday paper, for just $1 instead of it's regular price (which for me is $1.75.)

 

4. If they are printing off coupons, can you copy a printed coupon? Copying is fraudulent, but as another poster mentioned, if you hit the back button, you can usually print twice.  And if you have more than one computer, you can usually do the same at each computer.  If you have friends and family printing too, you can end up with a lot of the same printable.

 

5. What system are they using to keep track of all those coupons? I have a binder, like other posters have mentioned and like at least one of the people on the show had, though I don't think they showed it.  I have baseball card holders to hold the coupons, and I have it sorted into catagories that match up with my favorite store's aisles.

 

 

 

Ok, so, I have to address the "copuons are just for processed crap" issue.  That's simply not true.  What is true is that it is a lot easier to get processed crap with coupons.  Yes, you will find more coupons for hot dogs than you will for fresh berries.  But, if you are interested in fresh berries, here's a link for one of those

http://printablecouponsanddeals.com/2010/11/50-off-any-package-of-driscolls.html  You just click the "Get Coupon" link there and you will have to sign up to get their emails (and most likely, they will periodically email you more coupons.)  Lots of couponers create a special coupon email, so their regular inbox doesn't fill up.  And in case you think you can't get coupons for your organic stuff, here you can find plenty of organic deals, coupons and match ups.  There was also a coupon in this past Sunday's inserts for Cuties manderine oranges.  Aunt Millies breads, no HFCS, often has coupons out.  Sometimes with a good sale, those coupons make it cheaper to buy the bread than to make it myself even.  There are coupons for cheese, butter, yogurt, milk, eggs, and no, they aren't just for the Kraft sliced "processed cheese food" or Yoplait HFCS fill yogurt cups either.  And that doesn't even touch the non food items-razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo etc etc.

 

There are lots of coupon blogs and sites that you can use to do coupon match ups, so you aren't spending hours pouring over your binder/coupon box/file and sale papers.  Many even have little tools that you can mark particular deals and it will put together a shopping list for you, so all you do is pull up the deals on line, click the ones you like, print, gather your coupons and go.  Money Saving Mom was mentioned, I LOVE that one.  She has what basically amounts to a database of links to coupon matchups for just about every store out there, including Aldi, Whole Foods, and hard to find local stores.  She's also got a video series tutorial on how to do it.  She also regularly posts "Natural and Organic Coupons and Deals" on the blog as well. 

 

Some other things to remember:  Not all "extreme couponing" uses coupons.  Sometimes just the straight store sale is a top notch deal, like when turkey goes on sale in Novemeber. 

 

Storage, as you have seen on the show is important.  Storing 500 rolls of toilet paper in your shower is beyond dumb, IMO, but a small stockpile of say 3 momths of tp should easily fit in most folks under the sink cabinets and/or the floor of even a small linen closet.  If you don't have a freezer, look into getting one, like on CL or FC.  I got one free that way, so that when those November turkey sales happened, I was able to get 6 turkeys.  They sit in my freezer, I take one out every other month and we either roast or smoke it.  Then, I have enough leftovers to have turkey like once a week (freeze those cooked leftovers, in one meal size portions, so that they last) until the next time I pull out a turkey. 

 

Sale cycles vary, depending on the item.  It doesn't make any sense to stockpile more than you will need to make it to the next sale cycle.  On the show there was one point where the lady pointed to boxes of Finish dishwasher tabs asking if the 40 they had was enough.  Now, each of those boxes holds 20 tabs, each tab representing 1 dishwasher load.  She had 7 kids, so I am guessing they are averaging about 3 loads of dishes a day.  That means 40 boxes is nearly a year's worth of dishwasher detergent.  You don't need that many, they are going to go on sale again, for a great stock up price (free!) in way less time than that.  For us, we only average 1 load a day, there's no reason for me to have more than 9 boxes, or 6 months worth, because they will go on sale again in about 6 months.

 

 

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#9 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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Quote:
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Totally agree w/ the pp.....the only coupons I've seen in the paper are for seriously "mainstream" chock-full-o-high fructose corn syrup foods. No thanks.




Another 'agree'... we just don't eat any of the things I see coupons for. We don't even use toothpaste, deodorant, etc. (we make our own) and I have never seen a coupon for fresh produce or any of our other 'staples'... Not to mention that the stores we shop at don't accept ANY coupons, but especially not printed ones!

I also don't know how I feel about 'working the system' to get things for free or dirt cheap. I mean, I want to pay for the things we buy, because how else will the workers get paid? (I guess I have some ethical issues with being frugal in general, even though I do occasionally shop at Walmart or take advantage of super deals! I'm at odds with my own frugality eyesroll.gif)



When you use a manuf. coupon, the manufacturer reimburses the store the cost of the coupon plus a particular amount for shipping.  So Meijer doesn't lose that $1 when I use my $1 off coupon.  They send that to the manuf. and they get that $1 back, plus the cost of sending it to the manuf.  Now, I can't speak to how the store coupons work in regards to what they may cost individual stores.

 

But remember, businesses aren't going to do something if it isn't going to benefit them.  If they aren't making money from a particular promotion, they stop using that promotion.  That includes coupons.

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#10 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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I want to give an example of my deals from ealier in the week.  In the end, I paid about $6.

 

I bought:

 

a box of pampers size 4 diapers on sale for $18.97

2 shampoo on sale for 2 for $5.97

6 dawn dishwashing liquid on sale for $0.99 each

1 24 oz Coke (which I shouldn't have bought but I was at work and required caffination and forgot to bring my stuff from home) not on sale $1.59, did get employee disc

 

I used:

$3 off Pampers Box

$1 off 2 shampoo

six $1 off Dawn (got those out of the coupon booklets that were in other boxes of diapers I had purchased previously)

and about $15  in Extra Care Bucks-those are CVS store coupons.

 

The sale also included "Buy $30 of selected products, get $10 ECBs back"  This is $30 before coupons, but after sale prices and if you add up the diapers, the shampoo and the dawn, you come up with $30.88 before taxes so I got $10 ECBs back.  I paid about $6 after taxes total for the whole thing.  IOW, basically, I paid for the coke, the shampoo and the taxes.  And I got $10 back.  Plus, I actually got another $1 back for using my green bag tag

 

 

 

 

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#11 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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I saw the ad for the show, but haven't seen it, so take this for what it's worth.  OK - I have to ask this because this is always the question that pops into my mind when I hear about these things...  I get a newspaper (free, local) every weekend and they have coupons.  I diligently search through them and usually find one or two things we will eat (organic yogurt, bread, a local restaurant coupon), but for the most part, the coupons are for extremely processed, high-fat, high-sodium foods that we simply don't eat.  If these people are saving so much money in food, do they not realize that they are going to be paying for it down the line with health care costs? 

 

I can't imagine eating that kind of food every day and it not affecting one's health.  Not to mention the resources it takes to produce these low-cost processed items and package them, as well as the newspapers and paper (and ink) used to just get access to the coupons.  Ugh... it kind of makes my stomach turn to think of the waste that comes of something like this not to mention the kinds of food they must be consuming to make the savings.  I hope at least they are recycling the hundreds of packages they are using every month and the newspapers they are buying to get the coupons.  I wonder though if these are not factors that "couponers" think about. 

 

It seems so ironic to me that in the spirit of "saving" it's awfully wasteful.  Wouldn't it be a better use of time... instead of spending hours a day working on organizing coupons in order to buy processed food, to, instead, buy in bulk and spend that "couponing" time cooking healthy food from scratch?  That would be healthier, use less packaging, be more environmentally friendly and probably be nearly as inexpensive.  Just my thoughts... and I could be totally off, but I wanted to put it out there to see if someone can help me understand it better.


I agree with you velo. Most the food coupons out there are for mainstream processed brands.  You can dig around and find "better" coupons but in my case I find that by going to the manufacturer themselves and signing up for their email blasts I can get good coupons from companies like Arrowhead Mills and Ogden Mills.  Some "better" brands I like when I can't make my own or when life takes over- Fage, Wholly Guacamole, Tribe Hummus, Annie's.  I must get 2-3 coupons from these guys a week. But it is not altruistic on their part.  They know the average US consumer has less dollars to spend so they want to get you to spend your dollars on them.

 

 

The Today Show did a segment on these people and I have to completely agree with your point that they could save money, eat better, reduce waste by expelling that same energy cooking from scratch.  One woman said she spends over 30 hours week researching, clipping and organizing their coupons. That's BEFORE actually shoppingdizzy.gif  Then I think of the money spent on gas going to 4-5 different stores!

 

 

I think the big difference is that the initial investment in buying in bulk and cooking 100% scratch can be more expensive for the average American. For an unprepared household cooking a roasted chicken dinner complete with a healthy starch and fresh vegetables can be more expensive than buying Tyson's frozen chicken strips, frozen french fries and canned veggies, especially if you have coupons.  Because I have a well stocked pantry I can bake 4 large loaves of multi grain bread for less than the cost of one store bought organic brand. However if I had to buy all the ingredients up front the cost would be way more. Which again supports the argument-take the 30 hours you are spending each week and the money you have tied up in bottles of mustard and jars of pasta sauce and invest it in getting a well stocked healthy pantry and freezer! 

 

However all that said many of these extreme couponers are saving a much smaller % on food.  The bulk of their saving are on household goods. I do save a lot of money using coupons and stocking up on goods I buy regularly. It is also one area where the store brand doesn't always hold up as well. While I have recently cut way back on things like plastic wrap, tinfoil, plastic bags I do take full advantage of coupons for those things. I am also not at the point where I am using cloth so coupons save me a ton on toilet paper, paper towels and feminine hygiene products. When my grocery bill is heavy in household products I can save up 70% of the total bill.

 

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#12 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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They call it Extreme Couponing because it is a sensationalized, unrealistic show.  The grocery stores they were at knew they were coming.  All the people agreed to have them there.  That is why the cashiers were smiling at 18 separate transactions and people were allowed to have friends come so they could get the $10 off of $50 specials.  You can bet those friends were standing just off camera to be summoned by TLC's producer to come help. Coupon amounts and product amounts are limited.  None of that would be allowed in reality.  Stores were going along with this so that they could be on television.  That is why the one couple had to shop at a store that wasn't their regular store. Those people prepared those shopping trips for days and weeks in advance for that show.  Not normal.

 

When they talk that they have "saved" X amount of dollars that is really not true.  Some of those people were buying large quantities of items that they would not buy if it wasn't cheap with the coupons.  Do you really need 60 bottles of mustard or 35 bottles of Maalox?  Do you really need to spend 30 hours a week preparing to shop and shop at all hours to make sure you get get 50 bags of whatever?  Some of these people are just compulsive shoppers.  What about fresh produce and meat?

 

The only one who I think was even a little realistic was the sahm with the long blonde hair.  She had a lot of kids and was shopping to fill a meal plan for a month.

 

I think like with anything else this can become an addiction.

 

Besides any good couponer knows that you get mustard for free.  orngbiggrin.gif I would NEVER pay .39 for mustard.  That is outrageous! 


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Besides any good couponer knows that you get mustard for free.  orngbiggrin.gif I would NEVER pay .39 for mustard.  That is outrageous!

ROTFLMAO.gifHe He, that is so true!

 

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“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”
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Sure, a lot of the "deals" are for processed food, but as others have said there are deals for good stuff as well. Things I frequently buy with coupons include organic canned tomatoes, brown rice, frozen veggies, soy/almond/coconut milk (we are dairy free), eggs, pasta, organic chicken stock, Newman's Own salsa, oats, spices, olive oil, brown sugar, toilet paper, 7th generation dish soap & detergent. Those are off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more. Oh, and mustard of course. LOL! I buy shampoo and other personal care items through Frontier so I really don't do the drug store deals.

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#16 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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I never said that there were NO coupons for whole foods.  I said they are rare.  I clip the coupons every single week for the gals I work with (at the library), so I KNOW what is available.  No, there aren't many coupons for real food.  Not compared to what is available for processed junk.  That *is* the reality.  I do my research too.  I get coupons directly from the manufacturer sometimes.  I just don't make it a full-time job to save by buying junk instead of spending my time making food from whole ingredients.  Shopping smartly without taking 8 hours a day and then cooking real food from real, whole ingredients is more frugal in the long run.  Eating processed junk is going to cause all sorts of health problems in the long run.  It's just how it is. 

 

I stockpile food, too.  I do it frugally.  I cook from scratch.  I buy by the animal (or side) and freeze, I grow a garden and can, I buy local (even though it may mean that I pay $2.75/dozen for farm-fresh, free-range eggs) I shop sales for the items we can't make ourselves. However, I save money in the long run.   I just don't think this buying a lot of processed food because you can get it for next to nothing (and spending 40 hours a week to do so) is a smart way of feeding your family and spending your time.  I'm sorry, but I *am* still on the natural family living forum, aren't I?

 

And nobody who does all of this couponing has even begun to address the waste and environmental damage from just the packaging of this stuff.

 

Sorry, I'll get off of my soapbox.gif now, but I just can't see the justification with using coupons.  Well, at least not if your goal is to live as naturally and healthfully as you possibly can.  Cooking from scratch with whole ingredients is the *original* (and still valid and natural) frugal way of feeding a family.

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#17 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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The thing is...you can still cook from scratch and use whole ingredients with coupons.  My dinner tonight, is bbq ribs, cinnamon honey wheat bread and corn.

 

The ribs were not purchased with a coupon, but they were purchased at Costco, the membership to which was paid for with a rebate check-ie a coupon. 

 

The sauce is homemade, and the ketchup and mustard in the sauce were free with coupons, the vinegar and the pepper in it were not free with coupons but purchased cheaply with a coupon.

 

The bread is also homemade...I don't know if you count a breadmaker as "from scratch" or not, but yeah, that's in my breadmaker (my ribs are in my crockpot now too) The wheat flour was purchased using a coupon, the 1 cup of white flour was purchased at costco.  And, like the pepper in the bbq sauce, the cinnamon and honey in the bread were purchased with coupons-the cinnamon was free.

 

The corn...well that comes from a nearly free with coupon frozen bag of unseasoned corn.  No, not quite as healthy as walking out my door to my garden (the seeds for which btw were half off due to coupons) but since it's not quite corn growing season, I get the next best thing.  And that's the stuff that is frozen within hours of picking, instead of sitting on the shelf at the farmers market for a few days or sitting in a warehouse for a week or so before it hits the produce section at walmart. 

 

If you don't want to use coupons that's fine.  If you are going to make your own ketchup and use family cloth instead of tp or grind your own flour or whatever to try to live as naturally as possible, then that's fine.  But don't look down on those who do coupon using the assumption that everything purchased is processed crap.

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The thing is...you can still cook from scratch and use whole ingredients with coupons.  My dinner tonight, is bbq ribs, cinnamon honey wheat bread and corn.

 

The ribs were not purchased with a coupon, but they were purchased at Costco, the membership to which was paid for with a rebate check-ie a coupon. 

 

The sauce is homemade, and the ketchup and mustard in the sauce were free with coupons, the vinegar and the pepper in it were not free with coupons but purchased cheaply with a coupon.

 

The bread is also homemade...I don't know if you count a breadmaker as "from scratch" or not, but yeah, that's in my breadmaker (my ribs are in my crockpot now too) The wheat flour was purchased using a coupon, the 1 cup of white flour was purchased at costco.  And, like the pepper in the bbq sauce, the cinnamon and honey in the bread were purchased with coupons-the cinnamon was free.

 

The corn...well that comes from a nearly free with coupon frozen bag of unseasoned corn.  No, not quite as healthy as walking out my door to my garden (the seeds for which btw were half off due to coupons) but since it's not quite corn growing season, I get the next best thing.  And that's the stuff that is frozen within hours of picking, instead of sitting on the shelf at the farmers market for a few days or sitting in a warehouse for a week or so before it hits the produce section at walmart. 

 

If you don't want to use coupons that's fine.  If you are going to make your own ketchup and use family cloth instead of tp or grind your own flour or whatever to try to live as naturally as possible, then that's fine.  But don't look down on those who do coupon using the assumption that everything purchased is processed crap.


But what you are talking about is vastly different than the extreme couponing.  The ketchup - yeah, it probably has HFCS, so I wouldn't buy it.  (And I don't make my bbq sauce with ketchup anyway, so moot point for me).  Of those other ingredients, I would buy some from Costco, too, and do OK with the price by buying in bulk.  The only thing I can't find a coupon for is the ww flour, but then I buy wheatberries in bulk anyway.  I don't buy white flour in bulk.  I buy frozen corn and other veggies, as well. 

 

But what I see in the coupons is something like 50 cents off of 2 bags of Birdseye corn that is already $1 more per bag than the store brand.  That's not savings at all.  And at Costco you can get an even better deal.  An even better way is to can your own corn, which I do, as well (and is fresh when canned, but I can't grow enough to last all winter and summer).  The fact is that if you are buying "whole" foods or as close as you can, you *cannot* be using a lot of coupons.  Shop sales, loss leaders, bulk, mail order, etc.  But if you really go to the store and get $100 worth of groceries for $2, you are *not* buying healthy food for your family.

 

I'm not saying use *no* coupons.  But to use them wisely and not take it to the extreme.  I use coupons when they align with the way I feed my family.  Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm "looking down".  I have a right to give my perspective of this.

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I really do think there is a middle ground, and I think happysmileylady has found it.  orngbiggrin.gif

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#20 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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But what you are talking about is vastly different than the extreme couponing.  The ketchup - yeah, it probably has HFCS, so I wouldn't buy it.  (And I don't make my bbq sauce with ketchup anyway, so moot point for me).  Of those other ingredients, I would buy some from Costco, too, and do OK with the price by buying in bulk.  The only thing I can't find a coupon for is the ww flour, but then I buy wheatberries in bulk anyway.  I don't buy white flour in bulk.  I buy frozen corn and other veggies, as well. 

 

But what I see in the coupons is something like 50 cents off of 2 bags of Birdseye corn that is already $1 more per bag than the store brand.  That's not savings at all.  And at Costco you can get an even better deal.  An even better way is to can your own corn, which I do, as well (and is fresh when canned, but I can't grow enough to last all winter and summer).  The fact is that if you are buying "whole" foods or as close as you can, you *cannot* be using a lot of coupons.  Shop sales, loss leaders, bulk, mail order, etc.  But if you really go to the store and get $100 worth of groceries for $2, you are *not* buying healthy food for your family.

 

I'm not saying use *no* coupons.  But to use them wisely and not take it to the extreme.  I use coupons when they align with the way I feed my family.  Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm "looking down".  I have a right to give my perspective of this.


Acutally, no the ketchup doesn't have hfcs in it, Hunts doesn't.  Heinz does, and I have bought Heinz, but I don't think kechup needs HFCS in it, so if I can get that kind free, I do.  But that's what I mean by assuming.

 

And yes, it's different from the extreme couponing.  That would be why the disclaimer at the front of my first post.  The stuff on the show is, by the title, extreme.  Even those people on the show don't do that stuff every trip.  They aren't buying $100 wotht of groceries for $2 every single trip.  As I said before, for most couponers, they are getting a savings of about 50% on average. 

 

I also already addressed the $1 off 2 birdseye stuff.  At my Costco the corn works out to be about $1 for the amount equivlilant to a bag(can't remember if the bags are 12 or 16oz.  ).  The generic at Meijer is about $1.25 a bag (1.  The Birdseye Steamfresh is about $1.50.  So yes, on any given day, the generic at Meijer or the Costco is going to be cheaper.  However, when Birdseye goes on sale for $1 a bag, suddenly, it's the cheapest one at $0.50 a bag.  That's when you make sure you have like 10 of those $1 off 2 because $0.50 a bag is a good deal.  My Meijer doubles up to $0.50 and I happen to have 2 coupons sitting in my binder for $0.50 off one.  That means...Birdseye will be free. 

 

Canning my own.  I don't can, I freeze, I find that to be easier and cheaper.  And yes, freezing my own is better and I certainly plan to do that.  I didn't get to last year because I had a baby 9/12.  I was nice and big and pg with my 3rd and weeding was so tough in the 90* weather, so my garden didn't produce much.  But this year, my mom and I have big plans, sharing our garden, freezing what we can of the tomatos, corn, making salsa with the peppers and tomatos and freezing that etc.  But, even if I had been able to get much out of the garden last year....it is the end of winter, beginning of spring, I imagine even the most diligent gardener and canner/freezer is getting a little thin on that stuff.

 

If you are up on a soapbox, where else is there to look, but down?


 

 

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Re: Coupon Printing

So many of the stores by me say they won't take printed coupons anymore due to fraud. I never bothered with them anyway because I figured the printer ink cost me more than the $0.50 I would save on that name brand I don't normally buy.

I don't have TV so I haven't seen the show, but someone did send me a clip of it where the mom was in the recycle bin with her toddler digging for coupons. Not for me.



Take the stores coupon policy with you.  More than not, WILL accept IP coupons.  Walmart, CVS, Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods etc. take IP coupons.  In fact you can get coupons right off their websites.


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#22 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 04:04 PM
 
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There are plenty of websites that offer organic/healthy deals. Let me know if you want them. As far coupons Mambo Sprouts, Whole Foods (they have their own set of coupons you can stack with MFG coupons) have them. You can also go directly to the MFG website and print coupons. http://www.mambosprouts.com/ http://www.organicvalley.coop/ http://silksoymilk.com/ Don't forget to look on mfg accounts on Facebook.


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#23 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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I think what a lot of us are saying is not that coupons for healthier foods don't exist, just that they are more rare/hard to come by (probably not worth buying a $3 newspaper for MAYBE 1 or 2 useable coupons) and that even the organic/healthier options just don't fit our diets/lifestyles. For ex, I do not buy eggs, dairy, milk, condiments, wheat, prepared foods, dairy-free 'milks', toothpaste, toilet paper, laundry soap, etc. We just don't buy any of it -- the majority of our grocery cart is fresh produce. Sure there may be 1 or 2 produce coupons floating around out there but to use them I would need to buy a printer and shop at a different, more expensive store (since the ones I shop at do not accept coupons). I buy my staples (spices etc.) at another store that is so heavily discounted I just can't imagine finding them any cheaper around here, even if I managed to find a coupon and it's expiration date coincided with a great sale.

I'm not saying that people who use coupons aren't eating healthily or anything... Just that WE aren't able to use them, for the most part. It probably varies a lot depending on where you live and what your diet is like and all.

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#24 of 57 Old 04-08-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Oh, my, if a newspaper was $3, I might have a hard time buying it too! 

 

But, there are posters saying that if you are using coupons to get stuff that cheap, you must not be eating healthy. 

 

What I am saying is that if coupons aren't going to work for the foods you eat, then they aren't going to work for the foods you eat.  That's fine.  Just don't assume that because I might pay just a couple of bucks that retails for two or three or more times that, that doesn't mean that my cart is full of hamburger helper or fake potatos or any of that either. 

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Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

Oh, my, if a newspaper was $3, I might have a hard time buying it too! 

 

But, there are posters saying that if you are using coupons to get stuff that cheap, you must not be eating healthy. 

 

What I am saying is that if coupons aren't going to work for the foods you eat, then they aren't going to work for the foods you eat.  That's fine.  Just don't assume that because I might pay just a couple of bucks that retails for two or three or more times that, that doesn't mean that my cart is full of hamburger helper or fake potatos or any of that either. 

Maybe I missed it but I don't remember seeing that posted anywhere. I know that I was speaking about the "extreme" couponers who choose the majority purchase based on coupon availability not on the quality of the food.  The woman I saw showed shelves of processed foods. Those were also the examples they used when showing their savings-bottled juiced, soda, cereals, etc.  One woman even said "if its free I am going to buy it and then figure out how to use it". 

 

 

 




Edited to add:
I think what I am really trying to say is that yes coupons save money if it is products your family uses any way. However I find it hard to believe that anyone eating a whole food diet will likely save 90% on their weekly food bill which is what many extreme couponers claim.
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I never said that there were NO coupons for whole foods.  I said they are rare.  I clip the coupons every single week for the gals I work with (at the library), so I KNOW what is available.  No, there aren't many coupons for real food.  Not compared to what is available for processed junk.  That *is* the reality.  I do my research too.  I get coupons directly from the manufacturer sometimes.  I just don't make it a full-time job to save by buying junk instead of spending my time making food from whole ingredients.  Shopping smartly without taking 8 hours a day and then cooking real food from real, whole ingredients is more frugal in the long run.  Eating processed junk is going to cause all sorts of health problems in the long run.  It's just how it is. 

 

I stockpile food, too.  I do it frugally.  I cook from scratch.  I buy by the animal (or side) and freeze, I grow a garden and can, I buy local (even though it may mean that I pay $2.75/dozen for farm-fresh, free-range eggs) I shop sales for the items we can't make ourselves. However, I save money in the long run.   I just don't think this buying a lot of processed food because you can get it for next to nothing (and spending 40 hours a week to do so) is a smart way of feeding your family and spending your time.  I'm sorry, but I *am* still on the natural family living forum, aren't I?

 

And nobody who does all of this couponing has even begun to address the waste and environmental damage from just the packaging of this stuff.

 

Sorry, I'll get off of my soapbox.gif now, but I just can't see the justification with using coupons.  Well, at least not if your goal is to live as naturally and healthfully as you possibly can.  Cooking from scratch with whole ingredients is the *original* (and still valid and natural) frugal way of feeding a family.


 

 

I completely agree.

 

I do think that it depends on your location and the way your family eats. 

 

For us and our location (where no one doubles coupons that I know of) I do better shopping sales and buying bulk.  Like, serious bulk.  I buy chicken in 40 pound boxes.  I'm the one buying the huge bag of brown rice.  I've tried the coupon thing a couple of times but for me the time it takes it not worth the savings because we simply don't use much of what is being offered.  I don't buy most of my health and beauty stuff at the grocery or drug store.  I don't buy a lot of boxed or processed foods.  It just doesn't work for me.  Plus, for us we have access to a restaurant wholesale place - that makes a huge difference when it comes to bulk items.  Luckily we have the storage space.  Though I am thinking about at least one more freezer, possibly two, because I'm currently limited on how many different meat items I can buy at one time due to freezer space.  I'd like to get down to a wholesale trip once every 3 months instead of once a month but I just don't have the space yet.

 

I am wondering what one does with 70 jars of yellow mustard?  I usually buy one a year - for our 4th of July party.  How do you use that much mustard?!?!
 

 

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#27 of 57 Old 04-09-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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Oh, my, if a newspaper was $3, I might have a hard time buying it too! 


Yeah the Sunday paper (the one with the coupons) is $3 and the weekday papers (sans coupons) are $1. I know I live in a HCOL area but I had no clue some people can buy a Sunday paper for $1!!!!

And maybe the people talking about couponers not eating healthy were talking about the TV show??? (I've never seen it but it doesn't sound like they are buying the healthiest things from what others have posted).

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#28 of 57 Old 04-09-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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But, there are posters saying that if you are using coupons to get stuff that cheap, you must not be eating healthy. 

 

What I am saying is that if coupons aren't going to work for the foods you eat, then they aren't going to work for the foods you eat.  That's fine.  Just don't assume that because I might pay just a couple of bucks that retails for two or three or more times that, that doesn't mean that my cart is full of hamburger helper or fake potatos or any of that either. 


Nobody said this.  The thread is about *extreme* couponing.  You shouldn't make statements such as "there are posters saying" because you're not even paying attention to what other posters are saying and are misrepresenting them (me included).  Nobody said anything negative about using coupons wisely.  Use them where you can.  However for NATURAL family living and eating, there are few coupons available and most certainly nothing that will net you $600 worth of good, healthy, whole foods for $6.  No matter how you cut it.

 

The question arises when people are buying nothing but processed foods for next to nothing just to get the thrill of the deal... they ARE feeding their families nothing but frankenfoods and IMO cooking things that are detrimental to their health.  My point is that time is better spent making reasonable purchases and then using the remaining time to feed your family with healthy foods from scratch.  If you are OK with the way you feed your family, you have no need to defend it.

 

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However I find it hard to believe that anyone eating a whole food diet will likely save 90% on their weekly food bill which is what many extreme couponers claim.

What I am saying is that it IS possible to save that much on a shopping trip and still be eating healthy.  AND that most couponers will tell you that they don't save that much every single trip.  What I am saying is that on average, couponers usually save about 50% overall, and yes, many do still eat healthy doing so. 

 

It is possible to get fresh produce for free.  How and how much is just going to depend on your particular stores.  A few months ago, Meijer had a sale going on for cheese (real cheese, not the individually wrapped slices of processed cheese food).  In addition to being priced at $1.67 for an 8oz package, there were coupons out for $1 off two.  Yes, it was Kraft, which I know isn't the organic, family farm, grass fed stuff, but it's still real cheese.  Anyway, Meijer also offered a catalina, which is a store coupon.  You buy X number of packages, you get a coupon for $Y off your next order.  I purchased enough cheese to earn $7 in coupons.  I turned around and used that to buy fresh produce.  You could argue that it's not "free" because you have to buy the cheese, but I would have been buying the cheese anyway.  It's a good deal, it's healthy (which is a subjective term and since it's not organic etc, maybe some here wouldn't touch that particular cheese with a ten foot pole, but I don't think you could classify it as junk food either.)  And, there's no reason not to buy lots, since it was a good deal and it freezes.  But really, the point isn't the cheese, there are LOTS of things that these types of catalinas are offered for, at many stores.  Meijer, and Kroger are the only two here that I have personal experience with, but I have heard that Publix does, and Safeway.  It could be buy 2 laundry detergents, get $1 off.  It could be buy 20 yogurts get $2 off.  It could be buy 2 boxes of diapers, get a $10 gift card.  I currently have waiting in my coupon binder a $5 gift card, and a $3.50 off your next order, both of which can be applied towards produce.  They will go towards my whole order today...which yes, will include some junk cause I have a cherry coke addiction that is just out of control.  But since I am also getting fresh peppers for a great deal, and bags of frozen veggies for a great deal, well that will have to balance out my vice.  And I have already explained how to get frozen veggies/fruit for free and cheap with coupons, and IMO, that's probably better, nutritionally speaking, anyway.

 

 

And, I will reiterate again.  This show is called EXTREME couponing.  These shopping trips showed are EXTREME.  That means even for the people on the show who made the trips.  These specific trips are NOT typical, for anyone.  In the original special, one guy special ordered over 1000 boxes of cereal.  That type of thing is NOT typical for him or anyone else who coupons, they don't do that every week.   It's not possible for anyone to get $1900 worth of groceries, of ANY kind, junk or not, for just $100 each and every week. 

 

If it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work for you.  But that doesn't mean someone who has saved 90% on an order of groceries is has a cart full of junk in that particular order.

 

 

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I do couponing. There are NO stores near me that double, which is a huge bummer as that is how many of the people on that show are getting things for free. I will not pick up things that I have no use for either. I still save quite a bit of money! Also, I won't have huge trips like they showed, I might only be picking up a deal on 1 or 2 items for the week and stocking up. Or, this week I really didn't see much of anything that I wanted or that we would use. A few weeks ago I ended up with over 30 boxes of cereal though as there was a great sale and with coupons I only paid $0.17/box and got 10 gallons of free milk.I don't need a HUGE stockpile of food, so I didn't feel the need to get 100s of boxes, just what we would reasonably consume before they expire. I highly recommend finding a local couponing blog that matches up the deals for you. I don't want to spend 60 hours a week matching deals, I let someone else do the work :)


 

 

 


Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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