I Gave Extreme Couponing A Try – You Should Too
The average monthly grocery bill for a family is about $800 a month. That’s about $10,000 annually on groceries alone. It’s a significant part of my budget, as I am sure it is for yours too. However, I am always looking for new ways to save money on groceries. I used to routinely laugh off extreme couponing. Until I realized it might be a good method to chip away at my grocery bill.
What Exactly is Extreme Couponing?
Extreme couponing is the practice of strategically collecting as many coupons as possible to maximize savings. A coupon is a prearranged discount and marketing initiative between a food production business and retailers. How many coupons you can redeem at any a time depends on the coupon issuer and/or store policy.
That seems like a lot, going by what I have seen on various extreme couponing reality TV shows. I decided to give it a try and found that I could save about $20 a week. It is time intensive, but I am focusing on how to save more based on what I buy. You should too.
There Is No Shame in Couponing
Couponing isn’t just for penny pinchers. About half of all people who redeem coupons make over $150,000 a year. Additionally, those people coupon over 50 times a year. The coupons printed in 2017 were worth over $500 billion in redemption value. Less than $5 billion worth of coupons were redeemed.
There is no reason to be embarrassed to publicly redeem coupons. There is too much redemption value not being taken advantage of as it is. Full public disclosure – I do not make $150,000 a year. If someone who makes that kind of money isn’t embarrassed, you shouldn’t be either.
The Savings Are Real
You can save about $30 a week with strategic couponing. Or about $1,500 a year, on the average. On the higher end, with more effort, you can save about $50 a week with strategic couponing. Or about $2,600 a year. Most people who earn a pay raise at work gain about $1,200 extra a year. Making the effort to coupon regularly, or in extreme manners, could result in savings the equivalent of a pay raise. Or using a pay raise to pay for a one-tenth of an annual grocery bill.
Easy To Obtain
People used to get coupons through advertising circulars, newspapers, and magazine ads. Now, you can print coupons from online sites. There are innumerable blogs and websites dedicated to showcasing aggregated coupon directories listed by product category. You can also use digital coupons from your smart device in certain supermarkets. Coupon-centric social media sites may be the easiest way to score the coupons that you need.
Strategic Extreme Couponing
Make a strategic, detailed list of all the things that you usually buy at the supermarket. Collect coupons for items on your list of regularly purchased items. Calculate your savings potential. Extreme couponing is worthwhile if only used in this manner. Use it as a method to save money on the items that you buy. Otherwise, you will end up couponing for its own sake, which is an unforgivable waste of time. Or worse, stockpiling food and items that you don’t need and will end up throwing away.
Have you tried extreme couponing? Let us know in the comments below.
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Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business
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