Super-Couponing: Making It Work For You

Super-Couponing: Making It Work For You

I recently came across an article online that went on and on about why extreme couponing (what we here at MomVesting call super-couponing) fails. It snagged a ton of comments, and it appeared the majority of people posted legitimate comments and concerns about the couponing game.

Now, as you know, I've been trying on the world of super-couponing for size for some months now, and I have been sharing some of these experiences. Today, I'll give you my reasons why I think super-couponing efforts do pay off (pun very much intended).

Time is Money

If you've caught an episode of the TLC show, you know those who routinely participate in extreme couponing can spend a lot of time clipping, organizing, printing and matching up those little squares of savings. Now the assumption out there seems to be if I want to save a ton of money, I need to devote X amount of hours per week solely to couponing.

My experience? While I do take some time each week to match up coupons to sales at my local grocery store, I can't say that I'm burning midnight oil and making my scissors smoke from cutting. My couponing efforts have required a bit more time and planning, usually on a Sunday or Monday. The effort, though, has not cut into any other activities, family time, work time, etc. Which brings me to my next point.

Savings Are to Be Had

The extra time I'm spending while upping my coupon game really has resulted in some signifcant savings for my family budget. On an average week, I can usually save anywhere around twenty-five to forty percent. A really good week, where my local supermarket has some nice sales on products that I have coupons for, might see a reduction of sixty percent or more in my grocery bill. The bottom line? While I may not be routinely grabbing $500 worth of groceries for $7, there are some decent savings to be had by matching up coupons and sales.

Stuff You Use

Another large criticism I've been hearing regarding super-couponing is this: couponers are only filling up their carts with artificial, chemical-laden junk food. You don't need me to tell you this nation's supermarkets house thousands upon thousands of products.

Companies that are responsible for all kinds of different foods and products routinely put out coupons to entice consumers. Are there coupons for cookies, chips, candies and other processed foods? Sure. Do you have to use coupons to help you buy a dozen bags of snack mix because you can grab them for ten cents per bag? No, you don't.

My thoughts? Just because there is a hot sale for a product and matching up a coupon with said product results in low cost doesn't mean you absolutely have to buy it. A rule of thumb I try to follow when shopping: if we don't or won't use it, I don't buy it. Period. Even if it's next to nothing.

The Stockpile

Another thing people talk about when talking super-couponing is a stockpile. This is the amassed amount of goods procured during one's shopping trips. On the show, couponers proudly show their shelves lined with products, and even show hiding spaces throughout houses (under kids' beds, for example) where their product overflow has landed. I'm here to say that my daughters' beds still have dust bunnies, the occasional stuffed animal and future clothes stored under them – no cases of paper towels or boxes of ramen noodles.

I do have a space of about five shelves in the basement that I had even before I started couponing that are not even half full. My shopping experiences have me nabbing enough of a good deal that I can see us realistically using before expiration, and not cleaning out the grocers' shelves. The point? Your personal stockpile is what you make of it; you needn't buy mountains of items for a family or four and dedicate rooms of your home to storing said mountains.

There you have it. After grabbing some great deals on things that I've normally paid just a sale price and occasionally full price for, I like my super-couponing efforts. I like that I can save my family money on things I was buying anyway. I don't know that I'll ever complete a haul like the stars of the TLC show, but I don't see giving up my couponing ways any time soon.

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femmefrugality's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Thu, 08/25/2011 - 15:36 Comment #: 1

Hm....maybe I'm a super couponer, too. I do all the same things as you, but have all the same anti-extreme couponing complaints. :)

Alex | Perfecting Dad's picture

Alex | Perfecting Dad wrote:

Fri, 08/26/2011 - 04:02 Comment #: 2

I've never been a big coupon shopper. I look at the deal websites sometimes to do some online shopping, but I hardly ever look for coupons. Honestly, I don't even know where to find them. I don't read the newspaper or magazine, which is where I assume they are. Now that I think about it, we have redeemed the odd coupon off the back of a cereal box. Are you seriously able to save up to 50% sometimes on groceries? Don't you have to buy more to be able to save that way? I may have to look into this.

MoneyCone's picture

MoneyCone wrote:

Fri, 08/26/2011 - 12:02 Comment #: 3

I do some amount of couponing, but super couponing is just not for me!

Melinda Gregory's picture

Melinda Gregory wrote:

Mon, 09/05/2011 - 13:22 Comment #: 4

Thanks everyone for your comments!
@ femmefrugality: Hmmm... maybe instead of "super-couponing" it should be called "reality-couponing" or "couponing in the real world." :)

@ Alex: I do routinely save us money; last week was definitely a 50 % off week. Some weeks are less, but overall I'm definitely seeing savings. It's really just matching up the current sales to coupons - something I never fully did before. It really has helped us stretch our dollar; my hubby likes to look at it as the equivalent of a part-time job. :)

@ MoneyCone: Keep in mind, I'm not going extreme (you won't find 50 bottles of mustard in my cart!), but really just upping my coupon game. For us, it's definitely worth it. I'm just hoping the influx of those couponing out there doesn't significantly change the benefits for us who are just trying to help our budgets!