Monday, July 18, 2011

Couponing: Extreme or Lifestyle

So I am sure you have seen or heard about the show Extreme Couponing on TLC.  The first time I saw it I was in amazement as I am sure most people were.  I wanted to do this.  I wanted all my groceries for $10 and an amazing stock pile of toilet paper and cereal.   My husband was watching the show with me knowing that I would now need to coupon.  I love a good deal and have always felt that I was a pretty good shopper.  I always look for the sale and rarely buy full retail.   This type of savings would be great!  So I started with the Sunday paper. I needed those coupon inserts.  I looked through them and took out what we would use.   I also noticed that on Tuesday in the mail came more coupons.  Once again I took out what I thought we would use.
As you may know from the show this is serious business.  The people on the show have a serious collection of coupons and know their stores very well.  They must have some connection with the amount of coupons they are able to collect because that is ridiculous.    As you may have also noticed with the extreme couponing, it is a full time job:  the cutting of the coupons, knowing what coupons they have,  figuring the sales with each store, the preparation of the lists,  the strategy that comes into play with these big shops.  More power to them.  The time they put into this does pay off with the savings.  Some purchases though are really just silly, I mean one lady bought 80 something jars of mustard.  Really, would one family ever go through that much mustard in their lifetime.   They sure must like to BBQ with mustard.   My point is that I knew pretty quickly that I was not going to be an extreme couponer. 
I wanted to understand this coupon thing a little more.  I found a few sites that help with navigating though this world. One that I really like was Kitty Coupon Diva.  She offers videos to understand how she coupons, breaks down the sales for different stores that week and also links up to printable coupons.   And if you sign up she will send out notices when stores are having their weekly sales.   After reading though her site I knew I would be more of a life style coupner.  
My next step was to find a way to organize my coupons.  I found a coupon file index at Target.  This was the way to go for me.  I did not need a binder, just something small and compact that I could easily go through to understand what I had.

Smead Fashion Portable Case File Letter

I have been couponing for about two months.  I have found that you must be really prepared when you coupon.  Some days I don't even think about a coupon.  Especially if I am just running in to grab a few things.  Other days I go though my coupons, know what I need and organize myself so that I am using my coupons wisely.  This past Sunday I did my Target run and saved $25.96 in coupons.  I was really proud of myself.  I am happy with my choice to be a life styler in the coupon world.   

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