That is right – I think it is too expensive (in many ways) to ‘Extreme Coupon’. I DO COUPON, but being extreme just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me for a lot of reasons………..
1 – the best Extreme Couponers seem to brag (a lot) about how they spend 40 hours a week (or more) on their couponing obsession, and that because of it they get a bunch of stuff for ‘free’……..
I hate to burst anybody’s bubble – but you actually work a full time job. You just get paid in stuff instead of money.
2 – When buying a boat load of something for 95% off, you are probably spending more than if you just bought what you needed, even at full price. I get that sometimes stuff is free. But often times extreme couponers will buy dozens of something that is deeply discounted (IE – BBQ sauce for 15 cents), when they already have dozens of it in their
pantry spare room. Um, I buy like three Trader Joe’s BBQ sauces a year, they are about $2 a piece. I’ll stick with that.
3 – I personally don’t have a spare room in my house. I am thinking if you have an extra room to
hold hoard your stockpile, you could probably save a lot of money by buying significantly less groceries and consider downsizing your home (or, I don’t know, make it available to guests or for your family to live in). I don’t have a second fridge. We had a second fridge for a couple months when we bought a condo that came with a fridge (and we brought our old one). When we got rid of the fridge our electric bill dropped quite a bit. What a waste of energy! Think of how hard you would have to ‘work’ just to BREAK EVEN with the energy costs! No thanks!
4 – We drink the following – water, wine (only the grown ups 😉 ), milk (cow, soy, and almond). And coffee, so much coffee. We RARELY buy soda, juice, or bottled water and we never buy energy drinks. I think we save quite a bit not buying a bunch of high sugar (or high chemical) drinks – and I am pretty confident it helps us keep our weight in check.
5 – I don’t cut coupons for cleaning products because I can make green cleaning products that work out to $1 or $2 a month. I buy store brand vinegar and baking soda and it lasts for months. And I use it for almost everything!
6 – There is a lot of stuff that I would never buy without a coupon, so I am not going to put the energy into cutting it out of the paper. I have cute little babies to play with, I just don’t have time to strategize for free ramen, fabric softener, and air freshener.
7 – This slipped my mind, but reader Caryn reminded me. Printing coupons is not free. There is ink, paper, and energy costs involved. Also, many extreme couponers have more than one printer for the sole purpose of printing out more coupons….. so you bought a $100+ printer JUST for couponing? That is gonna take a LOOOOONG time to pay off – especially when you factor in the energy, paper, and ink first. I will print out the occasional coupon for a kid’s DVD – but those are $5+ coupons and we only have one (old) printer. I probably print 3 or 4 coupons a month – if that.
So if you are at all interested – we have a family of five, one is an infant (translation – formula and diapers are in the budget) – our monthly budget for groceries and toiletries is $450. I shop with cash. I’m writing this on the 26th of the month, I still have about $25 in my grocery envelope.
That’s right – I buy groceries and toiletries for FIVE for about $20 a week per person, I spend an hour or two a week on coupons (if that). *bows*
I am sure you wonder how I do that since I just got all self righteous about processed food.
Here’s a couple things I do….
* I know when my grocery stores mark down meat. I REGULARLY buy chicken, turkey, and beef (sometimes organic!) for $1 – $2 a pound. I freeze what I don’t use that night.
* I buy bread the same way. I usually buy bread for $1 a loaf. Only whole wheat, often organic, never with high fructose corn syrup. I freeze the bread too. Sometimes I do get coupons for quality bread – it is AWESOME when I have a $1 off coupon for a $4+ loaf of bread that is marked down to $1 – (I do get that couponer high when that happens).
* I only buy produce that is on sale. We eat LOTS of fruits and veggies, but I stock up on what is cheap. We grow some of our produce when we can, and aren’t too proud to accept from friend’s gardens when offered.
* When I do find an awesome coupon for something we will use, and can combine it with a hot deal – I do. Protein bars, formula and baby food, spaghetti sauce, milk, bread, dish detergent, razors, body wash, yogurt, cheese, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tuna, toilet paper – – if it is junk, I am likely not gonna buy it. Many of the things I buy with coupons are organic. I do know what stores double coupons, I coupon stack at Target, etc.
* We cloth diaper. Some are hand me downs, and bought the rest on Ebay. We spent about $100 total. We use them most of the time. We use maybe 15 disposable diapers and about half a pack of wipes a week. It costs a few dollars in water and energy. I WISH we had cloth diapered the first two!
* Baby C is on a combination of breast milk and formula. (Wait, didn’t you adopt?) Yep, I have a REALLY nice friend that needs to pump and her kid refuses a bottle. Baby C gets a much more nutritious meal AND we save! We use coupons on her formula AND (lucky for me) they recently changed the packaging and clearanced it out so I bought several containers for $5 each. (Obviously this is not for everyone, but I thought I should fess up – this is how we kept our budget down so low when we have an infant.)
* I plan on making the baby’s food when she is eating solids, I did buy a few organics with coupons and a great sale for when we are out and about.
* I love my crock pot. For reals, so easy and so cheap!
* We use reusable packaging for the kids and daddy’s lunches.
* We make our own frozen pancakes. About once a month we make a HUGE batch of organic pancakes with pumpkin, applesauce, blueberries, or raisins in it for pennies a piece. We freeze them and make VERY easy and cheap breakfast every morning.
* We buy the following in bulk at a health food store – brown rice, raisins, nuts, quick oats (seriously – if you buy the little packets of oatmeal – do yourself a financial favor & buy the quick oats in bulk!), beans, flax seed, and more!
* We only buy high quality bread – so we eat a lot of sandwiches – often times PB&J (with natural and often organic PB & J) or eggs (eggs are SO much cheaper & often healthier than lunch meats).
* We use cheese sparingly. We stretch many meat dishes with lots of veggies and beans.
Seriously – we do have fun sometimes – we eat out a few times a week (usually with a daily deal certificate!) and it isn’t like we never buy a bag of chips. But overall this is how we live and I think it is healthier, more time efficient, and more cost efficient than shopping with Extreme Couponing techniques. I am sure there are a few that will disagree with me. Coupons are only a small part of my food and toiletry budget strategy.
I just don’t really get it.