Extreme Couponing Question - or Just Couponing Question

Updated on December 06, 2012
M.M. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

I watched the show for the first time (it shows how much TV I watch, I guess) and I also do cut coupons from the inserts and other magazines that come my way. Anyway, my question is - on the show and in my own experience all the coupons are for the "household products" and very little for “groceries", mostly the stuff like hot dogs, salad dressing, some junk food, etc. So how do you save money on groceries if you are not into junk food? Are there discounts/coupons that you know of for the good stuff like fresh fruits and veggies, meat, fish? A lot of the coupons I find are essentially useless to me because I am not interested in buying soda, chips, kiddy snacks, salad dressings, sugar loaded snacks and other junk. So, apart from buying discounted household cleaning products and other household items I feel like couponing is not making a significant dent in my grocery budget. My question is – am I missing something???Anyone can shed some light on this issue? I buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, gluten free things and I mostly cook all meals at home, even the school lunches, because my kids have allergies and I cannot have them eat the school food. So –can I still save and where to look for those magic coupons? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Just wanted to add that I am not obsessed with coupons. I do clip them once a while when I see the one that I need. I just wanted to know if there are a better way.

Featured Answers


answers from Kalamazoo on

Nope - I'm with you. I use coupons for toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, cleaning products, dog/cat food and treats and that's about it. Sometimes I find coupons for mayo or ketchup or some cereals but mostly they seem to be for processed junk!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from New York on

The way to get "money" for your grocery items, is to take advantage of a bonus, or extra care bucks sort of thing. you see it happen every so often in those extreme couponing shows, where they have an "overage" and they get it in the form of a store credit that they then spend down buying canteloupe, or other non coupon items.

If you look at the manufacturers websites, sometimes they carry coupons for the gluten free stuff.

We've been trying our hand at the CVS couponing stuff. A few weeks back, colgate was on sale for $2.75. I coupled it with a $.75 off one coupon that I printed at home. I also got $2.00 in extra care bucks. There was a store limit of 2 per customer. so, for $2.00 out of pocket, I got two tubes of colgate, and $2.00 to spend on whatever I wanted. I used it to buy two CVS brand "goldfish" crackers, but I could have used it towards a gallon of milk instead.

Works out for me beause this is stuff we ordinarily use.

Not interested in stockpiling. Don't have the room, or the energy.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I do not coupon.

My regular grocery store does have a "reward" system and I get 1 point for each dollar spent. Then you can cash it points for things such as free milk, eggs, bread, diapers, cleaning supplies, water, gas (at the locations that have gas.. mine does not) and even cash off your total bill.

I'm always bringing home something that we do use for free with my points.

I believe you do not have to use coupons to save money. The key is to shop smart.

I will not drive from store to store to get their deals either... Look at the time (my time = $$) plus wear/tear on your car plus gas. Does not add up to savings in my book.

Coupons would not do me any good either because I don't buy junk food, etc. I have my regular store and I am there almost daily for fresh fruits, veggies, etc. I have my butcher shop where I purchase all meats, steaks, etc. He has the same quality steaks that you get at the 5 star restaurants and they are well worth the $$ of about $12-$25 per steak. The priciest one is a bone in filet that is to die for and that 1 steak is plenty big enough for our family of 3.

I don't think there is any "magic" to it. I was sickened when I saw the extreme coupon show... they are sick hoarders and just do this for the game. Who really needs 24 bottles of ketchup, mayo, dressing, etc. I wish that when they play this game, they would take their "winnings" to the local food pantry for those less fortunate who can really use some of the things they stock up on.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

how they often do it is they NEED to purchase those household cleaning products because their store will double or triple the coupon amount and then it is on sale or whatever. They stack the deal and earn say $1 per bottle of laundry detergent they get. so if they can "buy" 25 bottles they are really being paid $25 to take the detergent out of the store. They use their free $25 to buy the fruits, veggies, and meats that do not have coupons but they will only buy them on sale. Most of the items for coupons are junk my family wont eat so we do not do the coupon thing. Also because of these extremists stores are changing their policy. I have not seen a store in my area do a double (let alone triple) coupon in a decade.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Jaycee hit it on the head. By getting paid to take away cleaning items, this frees up money for groceries. Also, it use to be that you could use your Wag's dollars at certain grocery stores. This was big. I would go into Wags, walk out with tons of super cheap stuff, and then take my Wag's dollars to Jewel and buy meat and produce. I could take $20 bucks and get $80 in stuff. The Catalina deals at Jewel were amazing, though they've slowed down. Two xmas's ago, for instance, if you bought $100 in Gift cards, you got $20 towards groceries. I bought 1k in gas cards (hubby spends $300 a month on his commute). It was terrific! A 20% discount on gas is giant! There hasn't been a really great gift card deal in a while. Last year I did buy 1k in Lowes cards since we were planning on buying a snow blower. They do these deals at Thanksgiving, and then in May for Graduations/Mother's Day/Father's day, etc. Couponers are big fans of these, since they can buy GC to restaurants, and then get $20 towards groceries --this allows you to really extend your money.

Target is a good place to use MM (money makers) to buy produce. Frequently they have terrific stacks, where they are paying you to take things away. Sometimes these are real money makers, where you are earning money on the product. You then use the surplus money to buy produce.

I honestly stopped doing serious couponing. I just don't have the time, and it isn't really worth it. I am currently stocking up on free hand lotion. I will do these sorts of things from time to time, but I just don't have the time to run from store to store to store. It's a full time job, and the $200 in savings isn't worth it to me right now. I use to spend anywhere from 2-5 hours a week to save a few hundred a month. Just not worth it to me right now.

I throw out most of the coupons I get (i get 4 Tribunes on Sunday), but occasionally, there are some terrific coupons. For instance, in a few weeks there should be a $2 Finish coupon. This will allow you to get Finish for FREE at Wags and Target --they've done this deal the past few xmas's. Right now Target is all about lotion. Lots of freebies. Things run in cycles, so I know when to look for certain coupons. A good deal on Kellogg's cereal should be coming up too.

But I'm like you: I cook almost everything from scratch. But the savings is in the "other stuff" ---free cough drops, free razors, free toothpaste, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi there,

Our family also eats healthfully -- lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, homemade stuff, etc. We do a fair amount of shopping at Whole Foods. They always have coupons in their Whole Deal flyer, or you can print them from wholefoods.com.

For produce, we shop at produce markets. Stanley's (Elston and North Ave.) has a good selection of organic stuff. We also really like Fresh Farms 2600-something W. Devon Ave., and there's another good market on Oakton near Downtown Skokie.

I have found that things like menu planning make a much bigger difference than couponing in terms of keeping our grocery budget low. We also keep track of prices and try to stock up on things when they are on sale.

Buying your produce in season also saves money, and we often like to buy from farmer's markets (the Green City Market is year-round -- greencitymarket.org), a CSA (community supported agriculture -- you buy a share in a farm and pick up a box of veggies every week during the summer/fall), or Irv & Shelley's Fresh Picks (a local business that will deliver local/organic produce and prepared foods to your home).

Aldi is another good source for cheap produce. They don't have a huge selection, but last week I got avocados there for $0.39 each.

Unfortunately, natural foods are just more expensive, and produce is not cheap.

Good luck!



answers from Topeka on

No I wish there were coupons(except CUTIES)comes in Sunday insert for the fresh fruits & veggies to use,I just go through the weekly ads & ad mtach what I can't purchase at Aldis at Target or Walmart from ads like Dillons & Aldis since they do run out of items



answers from Chicago on

You are correct in that coupons are rarely, if ever, for fresh fruits & vegetables, meat, fish, etc. My strategy is to use coupons only for brands & products that I buy routinely, especially in conjunction with store sales & promotions (such as "check-out coupons"). I shop at Meijer mostly, but have "preferred card" at Jewel & Dominicks, and go to those stores for the occasional item that costs less or for specific sale items. When a specific grocery item goes on sale (especially if one that rarely is on sale) I stock up as much as possible (if a small item, even for up to a year). When I stock up on bread, I freeze loaves and take them out the night before use and put them in the refrigerator. On bread, and other items, I especially like buy one get one free promotions.
Hope this helps.



answers from Chicago on

First off, those shows are FAKE! Often the person uses faked coupon fraud. Using expired coupons, or coupons that are not for the product that they are buying and having the store "override" the error. The stores allow them to use more coupons than is allowed for the "sensationalism" of having their store featured. All of those things are illegal. Your average person can save a lot, but not like those shows.

Visit www.jillcataldo.com

She can explain the "magic" of couponing! Part of the "magic" is taking advantage of "catalinas" or basically those machines that spit out coupons at the register. If you buy a certain combination of products, you can get a catalina. It's either a deep discount on something, or it's "money" you can use toward another order.

For example, there may be a deal where you buy 3 paper towels and 2 tubes of toothpaste. The towels and toothpaste will be on sale, plus there may be a coupon. Then, because you bought the right combination of products, you get a coupon for $5 off your next purchase. You can then go back and use that $5 coupon to buy oranges. Essentially, you've gotten the oranges "free" when you bought the paper towels and the toothpaste. You can store the extra paper towels and toothpaste for later.

You'll need to save your coupon inserts.

The website explains it all, and there is an easy system Jill outlines. Also, Jill does free seminars and she has DVDs. I used to do a lot of Super Couponing, and I DID get a lot of free items! By saving on things like paper towels, toothpaste, etc. I was able to use the extra "bucks" toward things like organic fruits and veggies. However, it does take some time to do the coupons and now I don't do it as much. I just check the site now and then to get some of the free deals. There is usually something free to get every week! We have enough deodorant, toothpaste and razors to last us for a year :)



answers from Jacksonville on

You are so right, I am a couponer and I haven't evicted my kids from their rooms for my stock pile ;) lol But that show is so beyond reality that it isn't even funny and it is making it harder for people to use coupons. You have to learn the rules for your store/area. Every place is different, here in FL no one doubles coupons but a lot of stores allow you to stack coupons, IE a manufacture and a store coupon as long as you meet the requirements for both coupons. I shop at Publix which is the most expensive store in the south but I can use Target and Winn Dixie coupons there along with the ones from the sunday paper. Example-I got 4 packs of Angel soft toilet paper and 1 bottle of toilet bowl cleaner to met a $30 purchase for a $10 mail in rebate. I had 4 manufacture coupons and 4 Target coupons for the TP and one of each for the toilet bowl cleaner. My cost out of pocket was 15.86 but after the $10 rebate I paid 5.86. Now I can take that $10 and get meat, fruits or veggies with it. But every two weeks I spend about 80-160 and save 60-140 with sales and coupons. Don't get me wrong, I've got 6 bottles of ketchup (.25 cents a bottle) that will only last me 3-4 months. Laundry soap at $1 a bottle, etc. and I home cook my meals too but we don't have any allergies or what not to have to contend with.

http://bargainbriana.com/ is a lady that I think covers your area so you can see deals and match ups for Krogers and Mejers and other stores that are regional to the North.



answers from Chicago on

I have been couponing for about 2 years now and you can save money. I don't buy any of the junk, but if I can get free/cheap household stuff, then you have more money to buy the good stuff. I also cook all our meals at home and make lunches for kids.
I am actually making a transition to organic food, GMO free etc, and that can get expensive, but by saving money on my household items I can buy more of the organic items. Whole Foods has their own coupons, which can be combined with manufacturer coupons and that makes for a good deal. They also have weekly sales, so go around the sales, combine the coupons to maximize your savings. I use sites like mashupmom.com, or thekrazycouponlady.com to find the deals...
It's worth it...



answers from Rockford on

I used to stock pile coupons for things I would buy on a regular basis, like taco shells, and watch the store for them to put it on sale, then use the coupon on top of the sale price, but it didn't happen regularly enough for it to make it worth while for me.
I don't regularly buy the things they have coupons for. I don't know anyone who could eat that many individual frozen dinners or bags of chips or sports drinks. Yetch. I preferred the rewards card for Kroger, but alas, where I live now there isn't a Kroger store within 30 miles. They would record what you spent on what types of items then send you coupons for things like "$10 off a purchase of $20 of produce" or Free Milk or Free Cheese, even 50% off a meat purchase.
I am sure there are other groceries that do the same, but in my tiny town, there aren't any. :( Check with the stores that have reward cards, and see what kinds of rewards they will send you.

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