Two Letters Re: Extreme Coupon Prepping

I just wanted to add a few comments to Y.M.’s extreme couponing prepping article.

Shoppers fall into three categories: 1 ) the busy, unplanned shopper, 2 )  the rookie shopper and 3 ) the Olympian. The busy shopper just runs in the store and buys whatever is there. The rookie saves 10-20% and the Olympian saves about 80-90 %.

I am definitely in the rookie category. I can save 20-40 % by just shopping the front and back page of the store’s weekly circular. Also if  you cook and do not eat out of boxes, you have additional savings. My family always saved by buying sale items in quantity to last us until well past the next time that item goes on sale again. Also eating what is on sale and in season and having a freezer will decrease your food bill.  Good management of your refrigerator and leftovers can save any family 25 %, because that is how much food the average family tosses out from waste. You know those unidentified containers in the back of the refrigerator that turn into another life form from neglect ?

 Deciding to extreme coupon, I searched “matchups”  for the date the Sunday coupons come out. You will find multiple web sites with listings of the various stores  with their sales and the coupons that match from the Sunday inserts and the date of those inserts. It does take time to match these up, and then not get tripped up in the stores ‘s rules. Some stores do not take online printed coupons, others do. Some will not take multiple coupons on an item. Some allow you to load up coupon savings on your store card, but will not allow you to add a manufacturer coupon with it. There maybe a limit on the number of items with coupons that you can ring up on a single transaction.  Rules, rules, rules.

There are savings to be had, but you have to do your homework. The sales and coupons cycle and repeat at varying intervals. It would seem that some items like detergent, diapers and body wash have many opportunities for saving and others are more seasonal.

I found out how much of a rookie I was, when I walked my grocery aisle for soaps and shampoos and ran into a real Olympian. She was so gracious and helpful. Trying to stay undercover, I try to not buy great piles of things and usually only use a few coupons. These people have notebooks with them and buy everything in quantities of 10 or 20. They even go above the matchup information on the web. For instance, they will cruise the aisles and find items with a Close Out sticker. Then marry that with a coupon that they remember that they had six weeks ago. They found bar soap and deodorant on close out and with the coupons the items ended up costing a few cents. Amazing.

Sources for coupons are bidding online and grocery stores sell papers in double packets. There is even a web site that will tell you which Sunday papers have coupons in them . Just search Redplum and smart source insert schedule.

It would be a great way to stock up you church’s food pantry and some of your own. This is a wonderful skill if  you  don’t let it get the best of you. Be sure to have clear goals formulated.  Some of the people on the extreme couponing program seem to accumulate items that they could not possibly use before it expired. The psychology of coupons is complex. Companies distribute coupons to introduce a new product, increase sales, encourage purchase of other items on the shopping trip and find new markets. Be careful that the gratification of using coupons is not causing you to purchase something that you really do not need or never would have purchased in the first place. Coupons can make you feel like you have “saved money”.
Also count the cost of the amount of time it takes to find, collect, clip, sort, and file coupons, also to evaluate the deal and carry out the purchase.

The take home lesson is : Couponing is good for saving money on short term items, so you can invest in the foods with 20-30 year shelf life. Continue prepping and keep the faith. – C.S.


This is feedback for the article on “Extreme Coupon Prepping” by Y.M.

I have been hearing a lot lately about people saving hundreds or thousands of dollars by clipping coupons.  After reading the article I took some time and perused the sites mentioned: Krazy Coupon Lady, Redplum, Smartsource and  All of these sites are fine for people who 1. Buy whatever is being marketed (including lots of pre-packaged food) and 2. Require lots of maintenance items (various shampoos of the month, specialty vitamins, dog treats, air fresheners, contact lens solution, etc.). A possible third category would be people who just enjoy trying new things because a coupon implies they are saving money. 

As the head shopper for a healthy family of five, I spend an average of $700/month on groceries.  I cook every meal mostly from scratch and tend to buy the same inexpensive household items all the time (e.g. generic laundry detergent, store-brand dishwasher soap, inexpensive Dial soap and inexpensive V05 shampoo/conditioner).  After looking through the sites and seeing the thousands of items they are trying to ply us with coupons for, I came to the conclusion that I would not and could not take advantage of 99.9% of the coupons out there. 

I would feel a lot like our government trying to “spend myself to savings” using most of these coupons.  There are almost never any coupons for staple items (meat, vegetables, fruits, grains) except in over-salted over-processed “convenient” packages.  Saving $1.50 on scented candles or $5.00 off a Justin Bieber DVD does absolutely nothing for my bottom line.  Frankly, I would rather see articles about how to save money on staple items, for those of us who refuse to be “junk food junkies”.

Thanks and keep up the great work.  SurvivalBlog is a great and informative site! – Peter W.