extreme couponing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13876/all en-US Couponing: Hobby or Lifestyle? http://www.wisebread.com/couponing-hobby-or-lifestyle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/couponing-hobby-or-lifestyle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coupon-3176214-small.jpg" alt="coupons" title="coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you watch TLC, then you&rsquo;ve probably heard of or watched &quot;<a href="http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/extreme-couponing" target="_blank">Extreme Couponing</a>.&quot; It&rsquo;s a TV show about people who spend countless hours per week going through coupon clippings, figuring out how to buy hundreds of dollars of goods for pennies on the dollar.</p> <p>The practice of extreme couponing has become increasingly popular over the past few years as families look for more ways to be more frugal with their purchasing habits. But is there a such thing as being too frugal? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass" target="_blank">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I&rsquo;ll Pass</a>)</p> <p>Saving money is obviously ideal, but if you&rsquo;re spending hours per week just to save a few dollars at the supermarket, is it truly worth your time? Before you step into the couponing arena, it&rsquo;s important to determine whether you want to be a hobbyist or an extreme couponer.</p> <h2>Getting Started</h2> <p>Anyone who has watched &quot;Extreme Couponing&quot; was probably dazzled by the potential savings the first time they saw the show, but in reality, saving tens or hundreds of dollars through couponing is a tricky task. It takes a lot of organization, not to mention a lot of math. You don&rsquo;t want to be that person who miscalculated and either pays full price or returns all those items to the shelves, much to the annoyance of the cashier and people waiting in line behind you.</p> <p>To avoid getting overwhelmed, take it slow. Even if you want couponing to be more than just a hobby, don&rsquo;t fret about the deals you could be missing and squander several hours in pursuit of the most savings or free stuff. Instead, print or clip whatever coupons come your way and hold off on the more &quot;extreme&quot; aspects of couponing until you have more experience.</p> <h2>Finding Coupons</h2> <p>Newspaper ads and coupon leaflets used to be the most common places to find good deals, but in the past few years, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites" target="_blank">couponing websites</a> have grown in popularity. You may have to pay for the cost of printing, but it&rsquo;s generally easier to find the types of coupons you&rsquo;re looking for, not to mention deals (such as manufacturers&rsquo; coupons) you might not have heard about, had you stuck solely to local ads.</p> <p>Couponing hobbyists tend to pick one or two sites they like and stick with those, while extreme couponers maximize their use of paper ads and surf through several couponing websites in search of hidden gems that could save them a lot of money at the store.</p> <p>A few good websites for finding coupons and promotional deals include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://thekrazycouponlady.com/" target="_blank">The Krazy Coupon Lady</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.couponnetwork.com/" target="_blank">Coupon Network</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/" target="_blank">RetailMeNot</a></li> <li><a href="http://moneysavingmom.com/" target="_blank">Money Saving Mom</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.passionforsavings.com/" target="_blank">Passion for Savings</a></li> </ul> <h2>Staying Organized</h2> <p>Regardless of whether this is just a hobby or a full-on lifestyle for you and your family, the key to succeeding at couponing is staying organized. You don&rsquo;t want to be that person who holds up the line at a grocery store as you&rsquo;re shuffling through a seemingly endless assortment of coupons. Instead, come up with a filing system <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/help-i-lost-my-coupon-organizer">to keep everything in order</a>. For some couponers, this could be categorized envelopes (one for dairy products, one for toiletries, one for drinks, etc.) or an expandable folder in which you order coupons by expiration dates and stores where you can use them. Whatever works for you, as long as you can collect and organize them efficiently. Nobody wants to waste time looking around for a coupon they thought they clipped!</p> <h2>Understanding Wants vs. Needs</h2> <p>The intensity of couponing habits separates the hobbyists from the extreme couponers.</p> <p>While hobbyists may spend an hour or so going through coupons, extreme couponers spend <em>hours</em> looking for coupons, clipping or printing coupons, and strategizing their next shopping excursion, so they can get the best deal possible. The problem here is that couponing, if not done in moderation, becomes less about saving money than it does about acquiring as much free stuff or the biggest savings possible.</p> <p>Buying sixty cups of yogurt in one shopping trip just because you can get them for five cents each isn&rsquo;t <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used" target="_blank">promoting a sustainable lifestyle</a> unless you plan on eating all of it before it expires. Some couponers accumulate dozens of bottles of condiments, hundreds of common toiletry items, and countless drinks, simply because they were &quot;such a good deal.&quot; While these are extreme examples, learn to differentiate between wants and needs early on in your couponing endeavors. You&rsquo;ll save a lot of time, money, and space in the end.</p> <h2>The Verdict</h2> <p>Couponing in moderation is ultimately the best way to go about getting deals at the grocery store. Although you may miss out on some &quot;amazing deals,&quot; you&rsquo;ll have more time for other hobbies but still be able to save some money on your grocery bills.</p> <p><em>Are you a hobbyist couponer or do you aspire to be a lifestyle couponer?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/couponing-hobby-or-lifestyle" class="sharethis-link" title="Couponing: Hobby or Lifestyle?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping coupon websites extreme couponing Frugal grocery shopping Mon, 13 May 2013 09:48:31 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 973892 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Places to Donate Extra Goods From Couponing http://www.wisebread.com/13-places-to-donate-extra-goods-from-couponing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-places-to-donate-extra-goods-from-couponing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7973475952_75981e2e01_z.jpg" alt="food bank" title="food bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re an extreme couponer, permit a word of advice &mdash; there is such a thing as too much. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I'll&nbsp;Pass.</a>)</p> <p>I mean, really &mdash; do you need 140 rolls of paper towels, 57 bottles of laundry detergent, and more Q-Tips that you could count in a lifetime? The answer is no, you don&rsquo;t, especially if you plan to continue to build up your stockpile well into the foreseeable future.</p> <p>I know it may be hard to part with all those free or nearly free items, but if people who need them can put them to good use, why not spread the love?</p> <p>To help you identify the right place you can send your couponing surplus, I&rsquo;ve compiled the following list.</p> <h2>1. Classrooms</h2> <p>While schools supply some of the basic necessities that teachers need, many teachers have to foot the bill for supplies &mdash; especially if they want something special. Good items to donate to individual teachers (perhaps your child&rsquo;s own) or a school in general include snacks, paper products like plates and cups (for parties), storage bags/containers (for projects), and cleaning supplies.</p> <h2>2. Food Banks</h2> <p>Your local food bank will never tell you it has too much food. If you have canned goods coming out of your ears, box up a small stash and send them to your local pantry.</p> <h2>3. Churches</h2> <p>Many churches have kitchens, so canned goods and other non-perishables will probably be put to good use along with paper products and cleaning supplies.</p> <h2>4. Orphanages</h2> <p>Since the kids who reside in orphanages stay there around the clock, they require full-time care. Likely anything you can donate to an orphanage will be appreciated, but hygiene products like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and deodorant are probably at the top of the list. This is a good place to send unwanted clothes, too.</p> <h2>5. Nursing Homes</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re an extreme couponer, not all of your wins will come from the grocery store. In that case, if you have an abundance of higher-end items for which you have no need &mdash; DVDs, board games, books, magazines, and arts and crafts supplies, drop them off at your local nursing home or senior center.</p> <h2>6. Military</h2> <p>If you have a mountain of trial-sized, travel-friendly toiletries, use them to make care packages for our brave men and women overseas. You can also include non-perishable snacks, DVDs, books, and magazines.</p> <h2>7. Animal Shelters</h2> <p>If you find yourself with more pet food and products that you know what to do with &mdash; especially if you don&rsquo;t have any pets &mdash; take them to your local animal shelter, which has many adorable mouths to feed several times a day.</p> <h2>8. Other Charitable Organizations</h2> <p>This could be any number of organizations with which you&rsquo;re affiliated or for which you have an affinity. The Goodwill and Salvation Army will take just about anything you have extras of, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">any non-profit</a> will likely accept whatever you&rsquo;ve got to give that will help it with its day-to-day operations.</p> <h2>9. Day Cares</h2> <p>Babies are messy. Donate cleaning supplies and diapers (nice pull, by the way, if you&rsquo;ve got a bunker full of Pampers) to day cares in your area. The owners of these establishments will more than appreciate your generosity.</p> <h2>10. Homeless Shelters</h2> <p>Like food banks, homeless shelters can never have enough food. Think of it this way &mdash; the more food they have, the more mouths they can feed on a daily basis. Send over your excess along with any other household or &ldquo;living&rdquo; items like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen">kitchen supplies</a> or hygiene products.</p> <h2>11. Women&rsquo;s Shelters</h2> <p>Women&rsquo;s shelters can use the same supplies that you&rsquo;re sending to the homeless shelters, so when you&rsquo;re packing a box for the latter make one for the former, too.</p> <h2>12. Disabled Veterans Associations</h2> <p>Some veterans require more assistance than others, and that&rsquo;s exactly what DAVs are for. Help these organizations help those who fought for our freedom by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity">donating anything that you think will assist</a> in the care of a disabled veteran.</p> <h2>13. Volunteer Fire Departments</h2> <p>Volunteer firefighters especially can use non-perishable food items like canned goods, because:</p> <ol> <li>They have to eat.</li> <li>The food they buy for the firehouse comes out of their own pocket.</li> <li>They spend a lot of time there waiting to save your life, possibly without getting paid for it.</li> </ol> <p>Cleaning and laundry supplies and paper products also will be welcome here, as will entertainment like DVDs and magazines.</p> <p><em>Do you have other suggestions on where to donate all that extra stuff from couponing? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-places-to-donate-extra-goods-from-couponing" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Places to Donate Extra Goods From Couponing" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Shopping charity extreme couponing food banks Thu, 22 Nov 2012 10:48:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 955566 at http://www.wisebread.com Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass. http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015191372Small.jpg" alt="coupons! coupons! coupons!" title="coupons! coupons! coupons!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s the latest, greatest (although that&rsquo;s debatable) topic around the water cooler. A show called &quot;Extreme Couponing&quot; highlights people who buy hundreds of dollars worth of produce from the grocery store and pay for 95% of it with free coupons. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</a>)</p> <p>I hear this all the time:</p> <p>&ldquo;It was amazing! The bill came to $894, and they paid like $12 after coupons!&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Really? No way!!!&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Yeah, I&rsquo;m so doing this now!&rdquo;</p> <p>Now, is that true? Yes, it is. I have seen people walk to the counter with shopping carts full of stuff, and they only have $50 in their purse. They come out with change.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s another truth. Your average shopper is not going to walk into a store with a bag full of coupons and walk out with their week's worth of groceries for a fraction of the price. Extreme couponing, like anything else that seems too good to be true, has a few catches involved. And they&rsquo;re not small catches either.</p> <h3>1. It&rsquo;s a Full-Time Commitment</h3> <p>You can&rsquo;t clip a few coupons on Sunday and expect your next shopping bill to be 90% less. If that were the case, everyone would do it and most manufacturers would go out of business very quickly.</p> <p>This takes a lot of time, patience, organization, research, and dedication. You have to stockpile hundreds of copies of the weekly coupon circulars. You need to know when things are going on sale and when the stores are doubling coupons. You need to know more about the products in the grocery stores than the managers of those stores. And even then, when you are that buttoned up, it&rsquo;s not what you&rsquo;d expect.</p> <h3>2. You&nbsp;Have to Stockpile a LOT of Stuff</h3> <p>All of these extreme couponing people, without exception, have filled their homes with mountains of products.</p> <p>I saw a lady buying 77 bottles of mustard because she had 77 coupons for them. My family uses maybe two bottles a year. Yours may use four per year. They may use one every month. It will still takes years to get through them all. But every time they are featured in a coupon, the bottles come home. Does anyone need hundreds of bottles of mustard? I know I don&rsquo;t.</p> <p>One woman has a grocery store in her basement, stocked with hundreds of bottles of laundry detergent, ketchup, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and all sorts of other stuff. The rest of her family comes to shop in the basement for free. Great for them. But are you prepared to devote all of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesome-storage-solutions-for-under-10">storage space</a> to products you never have a hope of using, just to save money?</p> <h3>3. You Become a Slave to Coupons</h3> <p>Imagine waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. You realize, to your horror, that you didn&rsquo;t use a coupon. It&rsquo;s double coupon day too! That means the store is actually paying you to take a bottle of Aspirin. So you drive to the store in your PJs and pick it up. Yes! A free bottle of Aspirin and 12 cents in change.</p> <p>I, for one, am not prepared to give up my life to coupons. But this is what happens. It&rsquo;s sad to say that extreme couponers are addicts. You just have to look at what they put into it and what they get out of it, plus the stress they go through if they don&rsquo;t get a coupon or spend it.</p> <p>Like any other addiction, that, to me, is not healthy. People who spend most of their time at the gym may look healthy, but they&rsquo;re addicted to the rush of the workout. And that&rsquo;s unhealthy, too. So just because they&rsquo;re saving money, it doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s a good addiction to have. The rush they feel when they see the register start chalking up the discounts is the same rush you see on the faces of people at slot machines. They&rsquo;re hooked on savings, regardless of what it is they&rsquo;re actually saving money on.</p> <h3>4. You Spend Hours at the Grocery Store</h3> <p>Hours and hours. Way more than an average shopper. And when the time comes to check out, you&rsquo;re about to become very unpopular, because everything has to be checked out in the right order to get the maximum discounts. You may even have to split your order into separate loads to make it work. Life is short. Don&rsquo;t spend it all in the grocery buying 58 bottles of shampoo.</p> <h3>5. You Are Taking Much More Than You Need</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s something that really got to me. On a recent episode, a woman discovered that she was basically being paid to take product out of the store. The double coupon meant that she&rsquo;d get credit back to spend on other things. That part is smart.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s the selfish part. She cleared the store of ibuprofen. Boxes and boxes of it went into her cart. Thanks to her, no one else was getting it that day, or that week depending on when the shelves are restocked. And that happens a lot with these extreme couponers. They clear out the shelves to take advantage of coupons.</p> <p>What happens to all the stuff they take? Does it get used? Does it expire and get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">thrown away</a>? Does it get given away? It&rsquo;s just consumerism gone awry. By all means, get the stuff you need for cheap or free. But 77 bottles of mustard? 100 bottles of medicine? All the canned dog food in the aisle? It&rsquo;s greed. Pure greed.</p> <p>Yes, I know I will get naysayers on this one, but this is sickening in so many ways. Watching these people devote their lives to coupons, buying more than they need, and losing sleep over a few bucks, it&rsquo;s madness.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m all for saving money and using coupons, but you can take things too far. This is just depressing.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass" class="sharethis-link" title="Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass. " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/shopping">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Entertainment Shopping bulk shopping coupons extreme couponing Mon, 16 May 2011 10:36:27 +0000 Paul Michael 541642 at http://www.wisebread.com