Lets start off with me saying that I hate the term “extreme couponer”… well, not so much hate, rather I dislike when it’s used on anyone other than the people on the show “Extreme Couponing.” I am an above average couponer sure, but nowhere near the “it’s like a part time job” extreme couponers on the show. Another thing: please, for the love of all that is holy people, STOP STOP STOP calling “extreme couponing” the new big trend. The “new big trend” is just plain ol’ couponing, that’s it. You don’t start off extreme couponing, it takes months (and sometimes years) of practice (not to mention a shit load of time), to become an extreme couponer. That’s right, it’s something you have to grow into, there are no short cuts. Yes, you might get a lot more help now-a-days but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to go out tomorrow and save 99% on your grocery bill. For the average couponer 40-60% is tops, except on rare occasions.
Now that my rant on the annoyance of the extreme misuse of the term extreme couponing is out of the way 😛 I can talk a bit more about my situation which started on 4/14/11 (the day I really started to use coupons). Well, sort of. I have always been a saver, I grew up with a mother who taught me to shop the clearance racks and only buy things that were on sale. She taught me to buy backups when there were good sales and other great savings tips like that. We used coupons occasionally, but just as your average family did: get some in the paper and use the ones you need that week and toss the rest. So there has always been that saving air around me but I really didn’t think about coupons all that much because as I was growing into my own I never really came in contact with them. I never had a newspaper subscription and such… those little slips of paper just weren’t in my head. However, unlike some couponers I know, I openly admit that the show Extreme Couponing inspired me to give couponing a new try.
It’s only been a little over a month but, because I had the saver instinct already inside me (not to mention I am very detail oriented, organized, and a quick learner), I have already amassed a stock pile that will last me weeks food wise and months non-food wise. I average about 40-60% on everything that I buy when it comes to household/food items. To be clear that does not include clothing and stuff like that (things the Extreme Couponers on the show also DON’T include!). I only keep track of my purchases at Meijer, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Yes, I could track other stores, but I don’t use coupons at places like Trader Joes or the Salvation Army so it’s kind of pointless; rather, those are the places I spend what I saved 😉
I got lucky, to be sure, and was able to spend extra and get some really great deals because I don’t have to worry about things like a house payment, utilities, a car payment, etc. My boyfriend takes care of all the bills like that, but I will get more into that in Part 2. The one thing I want to tell everyone who may be starting out is to start SLOW. Accept that this is something you will have to work at and that you will have to spend a bit more to start before you see the savings. Also, get yourself a friend who has a little more experience or watch all the tutorials on places like YouTube that explain how to do things. Couponing is not hard at all, but getting into it more deeply can be so don’t just think it’s going to be a cake walk. Like I said, don’t expect to walk out the door tomorrow and save 99% on your groceries because for a beginner that is NOT going to happen even with luck.
Lastly, I am always open for questions, comments, anything a fellow couponer has to say 🙂