These days items across the board are expensive.
In these hard times, many of us do what we can to save a buck whenever possible. But for some families, saving has been brought to another level, in fact, to an extreme level.
Who knew there was a science behind finding the best deals on groceries, services, restaurants and even clothing to reach optimum savings?
A new television series called “Extreme Couponing” (on The Learning Channel), has brought the art of saving into the spotlight. Highlighted shoppers are determined to spend virtually nothing upon checkout. For days they strategize, plan and execute their cost cutting tactics stopping at almost nothing to land coveted deals only professionals boast about. These are not people you want to stand behind in line as cashiers are challenged to slash receipts to the minimum by entering redemptions, promo codes and scans in mapped out sequence if necessary.
But that is the extreme in extreme couponing. It’s not just about finding the best deals, but rather buying items when they are on sale or "Buy 1 Get 1 Free," while also using coupons to stack offers. Purchasing items when you don’t necessarily need them, but rather when discounts are available allows a stockpile inventory to develop on the items your family uses the most.
Not everyone who clips or prints coupons becomes addicted or spends hours executing this practice. Learning the tricks of the trade and establishing a system that meets your needs can help transition you into become a couponing guru.
Nancy Miller of Seminole started extreme couponing two months ago. Wanting to eliminate a student loan debt, her family made a commitment to cut down their costs so that they could reach this goal. Miller noted, “It takes organization and patience to get started. I have a ten page scrapbook, organized per aisle for my grocery store. It takes time to get into the groove and get your stockpile built up. Right now I spend about 15 hours a week finding deals and about four hours shopping. It’s worth it. We used to spend $200 a week on groceries and now we spend under $100; saving 65-70 percent per week!”
Just knowing key resources can save families money without a lot of effort. ForMichelle Reiche of New Port Richey, her goal is to decrease her family’s grocery costs by going through newspapers and websites where she can print offers. She organizes her coupons into a binder by category.
“Start with newspapers. I pick up two St. Petersburg Times and two Tampa Tribunes weekly. I spend less than two hours a week on couponing and save about $40-$60 a week on groceries. It’s not extreme, but I do save,” she said.
Extreme couponing is a practice that has been around for a long time. Veteran saver, Lori Goldenberg of Riverview, has been finding deals for eight years. Initially getting involved so that she could afford to stay home with her children and go down to a one income family, this mother has mastered her cost cutting methods.
For newcomers to this household sport, Goldenberg gives the following advice:
“Start out small. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your stockpile (this is the key to saving). Pick a handful of items that your family uses regularly such as cereal, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, body wash, etc. When those items go on sale for less than $1, pick up at least four to six extra. If an item is free, I grab a minimum of six to eight if it is something we use often.”
Goldenberg now spends only two to three hours per week couponing and shopping. In the beginning she was spending two to fours hours per day. There are many websites and blogs that post weekly deals paired with matched up coupons, saving her a lot of time. She finds discounts for everything including groceries, services, eating out and even clothing.
“The key to remember is that all stores rotate sales every three months, so if an item is on sale now, chances are it will be that same sale price again in just a couple of weeks! You'll find over time that your stockpile grows and your grocery bill decreases,” Goldenberg said.
When her husband lost his job for several months in 2007, it was their stockpile that got them through. Goldenberg says she will never have less than a year’s supply on hand of items her family uses daily.
Times are tough and companies are trying to help consumers save money by offering great deals. Knowing where to start and finding a method that meets your savings goals, can benefit a family’s wallet a little bit or to the extreme!
Find great deals here: