One of the hottest money-saving trends going right now is extreme couponing. In fact, there's even a popular TV show by that name. When you watch that show, you see happy shoppers strolling their local store aisles confidently selecting items from the shelf that they know they can save money on because of their careful planning.
You may be curious about how to begin extreme couponing and get the kind of results you see these savvy shoppers experiencing. First thing you should understand about this activity is that this is a way of life. You need to be completely committed to couponing in order to be successful on this level. They make it look so easy on TV, but as you'll see, anything that takes you to the extreme can also be filled with hidden pitfalls.
Not All Coupons Are Free
Many extreme couponers use coupon clipping services to increase their chances of saving more money. The clipping services are a third party between you and the manufacturer that created the coupon. While you can get these coupons for free, the clipping services charge a fee for the convenience of making coupons available to you. The average fee per coupon is $ 0.2 to $ 0.50.
If you choose to use clipping services, you'll need to deduct these costs from the amount of your savings. A lack of planning can have you spending too much money to buy coupons that you'll never use.
If you plan to print coupons from online sites like other extreme couponers, keep in mind that you'll need to spring for extra printer ink for this as well. Some people even have more than one printer to handle all of their printed coupons.
Buying on Impulse
Stores arrange the items on each aisle in a certain way in order to make it tempting for you to buy items that you may or may not need. Stores and manufacturers make more money when they put up a "special sale" tag on an item. They cleverly know how to lure you into making an impulse buy.
It's common to see products advertised as being a fantastic bargain if you buy 2, 4 or 10 at a time. Extreme couponers especially love these types of deals. They often fill their carts with these multiple deal items and are totally stoked at the steal they are getting.
Except that the actual products may not be the healthiest choices for you or your family. They may also be something you just do not really need. It's easy to get swept up by the extreme savings so much that you end up spending money on stuff you ordinarily would not buy.
Spending Too Much Time on Coupons
Ask yourself how much time do you have on any given day to devote yourself to finding, collecting and organizing coupons. Extreme couponers spend huge amounts of time scouring the Internet and other sources for coupons on specific items. It's not always easy to find a coupon for something you really want to buy, therefore, you may have to spend hours securing enough coupons that are relevant to your lifestyle.
Some people enjoy this as much as they would any hobby, while others find it takes away time from other things that they'd rather be doing. If you have a dire need to save as much money as possible off of your current shopping budget, extreme couponing can be well worth the time you spend. On the other hand, if you have a busy work and personal life, it may be a bit too much to handle.
Hidden Cost of Stockpiling
If you have watched extreme couponers featured on TV, you've gotten a look at their stockpile of products they've bought on their shopping adventures. You'll normally see numerous quantities of the same item stocked neatly on shelves or in cabinets. These savvy shoppers are proud of their stockpile and seem to have up to a year's supply of many things.
Seems good on the surface, right?
I bet you're anxious to get started on your own. Except, before you do, consider exactly where you're going to store all of these items. Check out the space you have in your own home and decide whether or not you even have enough room to store a year's worth of stuff.
Even if you do, you'll need to spend money on shelving and possibly need an extra refrigerator or freezer too. Then there's the cost of electricity needed to keep food extras fresh. Make sure you have somewhere to put stuff before you buy it.
May Become Addictive
Let's face it. Some people can get carried away with an activity to the point where it becomes an all-consuming addiction. If you ever find yourself stealing weekly sales flyer inserts from Sunday papers in your neighborhood, dumpster diving to find coupons, or obsessing over coupons … it's time to step away and give yourself a reality check.
Discovering how to start extreme couponing can be a fun adventure for you, and you'll find that you can really save a lot of money this way. However, be mindful of the pitfalls and be sure to use coupons in a healthy and responsible manner.