Extreme Couponing Can Take Years
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Extreme Couponing Can Take Years

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2011 at 4:16 pm
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While the TLC show Extreme Couponing makes using grocery coupons to get free food look easy, the reality is that there is a lot that they don’t tell you about the process. One thing that is misleading is the amount of time it takes to practice extreme couponing.

Not only does this time commitment apply to the effort it takes on a daily basis but also in the amount of months or years it takes before you can get to the point where you are getting most of your groceries for free.

Most experts in extreme couponing have perfected their techniques over years. While it is true that with the Internet and coupon classes, new extreme couponers can get up and running more quickly in the past, learning the tricks of extreme couponing is just one aspect of getting the most value from your grocery dollar.

The way that extreme couponing works is by matching coupons to sales, promotions and rebates. The problem is that sales and promotions, as well as coupons, are cyclical. This means that they operate on a 12 month basis. You have to have at least a year of stockpiling to get to the point where you don’t have to shop for anything but the hottest sales plus fresh perishable items. Otherwise, you will be supplementing your shopping trips in order to feed and supply your family with enough groceries.

Adding just a few items to your list that aren’t part of your extreme shopping will up your grocery bill past the amazing totals that you see on the Extreme Couponing show.

For example canned pineapple and baking products will be at their lowest prices around Christmas and the winter holidays. Many coupons for these same products are released then as well. You’ll have to stock up on everything that you need for the entire year and have a place to store it all. If your stockpile doesn’t have a lot of variety and enough quantity of all of the products you use, then you just won’t get to the extreme savings.

Sometimes the best coupons don’t come out at the same time as the best sales. For example, there was an influx of Pillsbury refrigerated dough coupons during the holidays, but the best sales were happening in February. So, the extreme couponers who have been following the patterns for years knew enough to hold on to those coupons to use later.

While it seems very daunting, don’t despair. You can still get some of the benefits of extreme couponing as soon as you start shopping smart.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.