You know how something can be so good and so bad at the same time (a minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips)?
That’s how I feel about Extreme Couponing on TLC. Hate the show, but love that it shows people that they don’t need to pay full price for things.
Here are some of the behind the scenes things they don’t show you:
– These couponers spend hundreds of dollars buying coupons online
– They generally spend atleast the time of a full time job preparing and shopping
– They generally are eating alot of unhealthy food with their extreme saving
So much for “reality.”
Some parts of the show are true- you can save hundreds of dollars using coupons. You can stockpile items so that when times get tough you have a cushion. You can donate items and make a profound difference in people’s lives.
But those things shouldn’t require 30 hours a week. You shouldn’t need to buy hundreds of copies of coupons. On average I save 50% off of my groceries and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Would 50% be enough of a difference for you? I want to help!
Here are some steps I would encourage you to take if you are just beginning couponing:
1. Get something to organize your coupons. It does NOT need to be expensive. At most Targets there are little accordion size folders in the $1 bins. That will work just fine for your first few weeks.
2. Get used to printing coupons. Coupons.com, TheCouponNetwork.com and RedPlum.com are all sites that have lots of printable coupons. You can go through and see if there are items your family already uses.
3. Get the Sunday paper. Whether you have it delivered, get the coupons from a friend who doesn’t use them or pick up a copy at your local store (check the dollar stores) the newspaper is a great source for coupons.
4. Pick a store to start. Do not get overwhelmed running from store to store trying to get deals. Take a moment, go online and find the coupon policy for your favorite grocery store. Take some time to understand their limits and how you can save big.
5. Find a blogger who has your local stores deals. I would love for you to come check my site every day (or you can sign up and have the deals e-mailed to you). An easy way to keep up is to follow me on facebook– I promise I will not update a ridiculous amount of times every day.
6. If you can, take a coupon class. While some couponers are self-taught it is SO much easier to attend a class and have someone explain it to you. I do teach them in Hampton Roads but if you aren’t in VA or NC take a look around, you might find someone in your area who loves to teach as much as I do!
Just remember everything is baby steps. You are not going to save 90% on each and every trip- especially if you buy meat, fresh fruit or fresh veggies.
Please enjoy Extreme Couponing for it’s entertainment value but realize that real life is not nearly interesting enough for a TV show!