The Hidden Dollar Costs of Extreme Couponing
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The Hidden Dollar Costs of Extreme Couponing

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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One of the things that they don’t tell you on the Extreme Couponing shows is that very rarely are the free groceries actually free. There are hidden costs that you can incur when you practice extreme couponing, and I am not talking just in time or effort or gas from running around to different stores.

If you aren’t careful, you can spend a lot of money getting your groceries for free.

Paying for Coupons

While many extreme couponers get a lot of coupons for free, the reality is that in order to get the awesome deals, you just have to pay something for coupons. Why? Because Sunday insert coupons can vary by region. Usually the coupons with the highest values are often available to regions where the sales aren’t as good, stores don’t double, or new products are being marketed heavily. This is in order to drum up sales for particular items.

What this means is that in order to match up a super coupon with a super sale and get items for free or money back on your purchases you may have to find coupons that aren’t available in your area.

Coupon clipping services charge anywhere from 2 cents to 50 cents per coupon, depending on how valuable and in demand that coupon happens to be. So, when you see someone giving a cashier a hundred coupons, they may have paid up to $50 for those coupons.

Spending only $50 in order to get $300 or $400 worth of groceries is still worth it of course, but it isn’t as free as the extreme couponing show makes it out to be.

Printing Coupons

Printing coupons can cost money in a number of ways. The cost of paper and ink can get expense, especially if you are printing multiple coupons. Most printable coupons print one at a time on a single page. You can sometimes reuse the paper, but often you will have some paper waste associated with printing coupons.

Most printable coupons also have limits on them. it is just impossible for the average person to print 50 manufacturers coupons from the Internet.

You can often only print one or two coupons of the same kind per computer. To get around this, many extreme couponers buy extra computer equipment in order to print extra coupons. This is an added expense that could be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Some people opt to once again buy printable coupons from others. Usually the cost of printable coupons is higher than insert coupons because of the expenses involved with printing them.

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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.