Before you know if it works, you’ll want to understand how extreme couponing works. Extreme couponing is a concept that combines coupon cutting with grocery shopping in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries.
Buying groceries at an incredible discount usually takes significant effort, but an important factor to consider is whether it will work for you and your lifestyle. After all, the goal with all this couponing is to save money, but if you spend all of your free time preparing to do so, the benefits might not be apparent—or attractive.
Here are some details to consider before you decide to explore extreme couponing.
Discounts at any cost
Extreme couponing is much more than just getting a two-for-one deal on potato chips at the store, and it certainly isn’t all about savings. Much of this activity is devoted to planning and strategizing—so much so that it is frequently referred to as a part-time job. While the websites dedicated to couponing make it somewhat easier to find specific deals, a tremendous time commitment is still needed to save the money that extreme couponing may offer.
To fully commit and get the maximum benefits that some people achieve from extreme couponing, you may have to visit several different grocery stores each week, stock up on goods you don’t necessarily need at the moment, and find room to store everything you buy. For example, if one store is having a sale on paper towels but another is having a great sale on canned vegetables, you’ll need to visit both and, for maximum savings, purchase plenty of cans and towels.
Maybe buying 100 rolls of paper towels sounds excessive, but if you’ll go through them eventually, then stocking up now could save you money in the long run. This is the idea behind extreme couponing: buying as much as you can with the least amount of money, whether it means doubling up on coupons or receiving store credit to use in the future. But while these techniques may actually get you items for free, unfortunately, they may also encourage habits you don’t need.
Your life as an extreme couponer
Shaving hundreds of dollars from your grocery bill might sound nice, but stuffing your pantry full of canned tomatoes or digging through dumpsters for coupons might be a big drawback.
Some former extreme couponers have since given up the lifestyle and claim it was hardly ever worth it at the time. The hours they spent finding and organizing coupons, forming a plan for how to most efficiently use them, and flooding their homes with items that take months to use up became a burden, especially when the couponers could have spent that same time working and earning more money.
You’ll have to consider whether you have the time to dedicate to extreme couponing and whether this is the best way to spend that time. For those people who have plenty of free time, the challenge of extreme couponing might be an appropriate life choice.
Consider the alternatives
The primary goal of extreme couponing is to cut your food bill, but there are other ways to achieve the same result. If you haven’t already, eliminating dining out can save you plenty, as can learning how to cook, knowing where to find recipes, and figuring out how to stretch a pantry full of essentials into an endless variety of meals.
After all, budgeting typically requires you to save in a variety of different ways. If dedicating your week to clipping and redeeming coupons from the newspaper doesn’t sound appealing, you may be better off trying some other strategies to save.
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