Monday, May 30, 2011

Extreme Couponing?

Over the weekend, I did not do as much as I had planned, because I have this ridiculous tendency to extremely overestimate what one person working on her own can do in a weekend. But I did get one major project done. I cleaned out the closet/pantry type thingie in my breakfast area. When we were painting the house (2 YEARS AGO), this area got cluttered up with accumulated painting stuff and other junk. There is only one shelf in this area, no door and not even a clothes rod. So, a while back (1 YEAR AGO), I bought a metal shelving unit that would fit perfectly in that area with the intentions of putting the unit together and converting this wasted space to a pantry since I have no cupboard space to spare for food. One day this weekend, while Jamie was out with his BB riding bikes and watching movies, I tackled the closet. I was too ashamed of what it looked like before, so I also took no after pics, because you would not have any basis for comparison. But to give you an idea of what a big job this was, it took me four hours of concentrated, work only on this one closet, effort.

For background noise, I had TLC on the TV. TLC just happened to be running a marathon of Extreme Couponing. Oh. My. Stars. These people are nuts! How on earth do they find time to spend 60 hours a week on collecting coupons, organizing coupons, checking online coupon databases, calling in their orders days ahead of their actual shopping trip, etc. etc. etc.? I mean, yes, they got some fabulous bargains on their groceries. But they also dumpster dive to get more coupons? And spend $2,000 a year just on Sunday newspapers? And buy things they DO NOT NEED just because they are cheap? There was a lady on there who has something like 60 bags of diapers - and she does not have a baby! And there's the people who have shelving units all through their houses holding enough food stuffs and personal items to last their families for 5 years and they are still out shopping every week for more? And the people who have 40 boxes of cereal - stuff that will expire long before they can ever eat it all?

I don't understand that type of shopping. HOWEVER, I will admit that some of their ideas are pretty good and I will start adopting some of them WITHIN REASON to feed the bottomless pit my son has become. I absolutely will not be installing extra shelves throughout the house to hold the crap I don't use (already have a lot of that, thank you). But I will use coupons to buy stuff Jamie will eat. Previously, I had avoided coupons and just bought things generic or when they are on sale. But I do think trying to match coupons with sales sounds like a good idea. Of course, there are many products Jamie just can't eat because of his food allergies, but I will do what I can to save money.

So what about you? Are you more in the extreme couponer camp or are you like me, pretty much figure couponing at all can be a time suck you really can't afford? Where do you fit in?


Tara said...

I saw that show when I was in Sioux Falls last week. They seem to be a new type of hoarder. Organized hoarder, I'll give you that, but a hoarder none the less. One guy had over a thousand tubes of toothpaste.

No stores here double/triple coupons. I can buy the generic cheaper than the name brand with a coupon anyway. Or I shop at Aldi's. Saving $.33 on a can of beans isn't worth my time.

wv: rebbell, I am a coupon rebbell. :)

Suze said...

I almost never bother with coupons. I think obsessing over prices can actually lead to buying more stuff than you need (like 60 bags of diapers!). I will buy generic, and if I come across a coupon for something we use/eat regularly, I'll use it. If something we use or eat regularly is on sale, I may buy an extra one. But I'm a proponent of buying just what you need and no more. I think that's a better use of money and time than searching for bargains when 90% of them are stuff you won't use.

I finally figured out this philosophy for clothes, too. I just don't buy many clothes. If I really need something (like when I needed dressier clothes last fall so I could teach some masterclasses), I go shopping and get what I need within a reasonable price, but I am careful not to buy something just because it's cheap or on sale. I've done that SO many times and ended up not wearing stuff that's uncomfortable or a weird color. Less is more.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

The funniest thing I saw was the single MAN - no wife, no sister living with him, no daughters - who had row upon row of feminine hygiene products. True, he could be getting ready to donate them to a homeless shelter or other charity, but still - it cracked me up!

wv: "subtl" - something I am not. :-)

Jessi said...

I agree that this is totally a form of hoarding.

I use coupons, but not all that much. I use the sales flier more. The best deals are usually the get $5 off of 10 items. Sometimes that leads me to stock up on things like canned tomatoes (that I know I'll use) but usually, I just meal plan around what's on sale.

Joe said...

I find a way to steal something really nice annually.
It's more fun, a better story, and a major time saver.

Julie Delpho said...

Being a hoarder (paper is my biggest issue) I used to clip coupons so that when they expired, I could actually get rid of something and feel good about it. I didn't say that was intelligent or healthy, it just was. Then I realized how much time I wasted searching, clipping and sorting. Since I am not organized, I usually can't find the coupon I need until it's already expired anyway. If coupons for something I need come in the mail, I will use them, but rarely. And most of them say "cannnot be used with any other coupon" anyway.