Why I’ll Never Be an Extreme Couponer
Growing up as a fourth-generation frugal-living mom, it’s been interesting over the last decade to watch the trend of couponing turn extreme. I say this because I’ve seen it used for good and I’ve seen it used in very wasteful ways. Some good ways I have seen it used are to donate to social causes (ie: battered women shelters, feeding the homeless, etc). That is an amazing thing. But just to store it up and save it for “later” while leaving the shelves at your local grocer empty for those who need to eat TODAY. Um, no.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to act like I am the Couponing Police, but I will say this: During the short time I tried the “extreme couponing” approach, I figured out I will never be an extreme couponer. Here’s why…
It’s too stressful
I’m not going to lie, I am a type-A personality who is competitive by nature. As a child I was a 4.0 honor roll student in high school and graduated my undergraduate with a 3.89. I was a competitive athlete and always gave my all when doing anything. However, I’ve learned in life that not everything is worth giving my all to. I found this out quickly with extreme couponing. I love to save money and time by being prepared for grocery shopping, but I figured out pretty quickly that extreme couponing could become a very large source of stress in my life. Sure it’s nice to go to the register and not owe anything – but that small and short-lived victory doesn’t compare to the stress I felt while spending hours and hours per week scouring and comparing deals as well as taking the time to clip coupons.
You can’t always get the best deal
Seriously. So deal with it (talking to myself here…haha). I broke my neck always trying to get things for free. It was nearly an obsession. So rather than stressing myself out over becoming an extreme couponer, I decided to modify my approach. In changing how I save on groceries, I have learned tricks to save lots of money on groceries and spend hardly anytime doing so.
I refuse to dedicate storage to things I can buy at the store when I need them
I cannot even fathom having a space dedicated to my own “store” in my house. That is just crazy to me. I’d rather use our space for intentional living – not storing things packed with preservatives or other items I can purchase at the store when I need them. This is just mind boggling to me. And this is one of the ways I’ve seen many people turn into “hoarders”. I don’t see any value for my family in this.
As a family that is debt-free, we have managed to save a ton of money on groceries without the tactics of extreme couponing. Below you will find some of the ways we are able to do so. And no stress included (bonus!).
How we save a lot on groceries without extreme couponing
1. Print online coupons for the items we will shop for each week.
2. We use apps that do all the leg work for us – comparing the sales in our area at each store AND telling us what coupons to use.
3. We’ve used various frugal meal plans with shopping lists to help us save money as no food goes to waste! This is a smart way to cut food costs for your family. MyFreezEasy is our favorite. This amazing app allows you to create a variety of specialty meal plans and also be able to switch out recipes we don’t like. Another great feature are the meal prep videos and printable lists and recipes.
While I have nothing against those who coupon with extreme measure – I have found that I can save a ton of money without the stress and extra storage needed. It not only saves me from buying and storing unnecessary items, it also allows for us to eat healthier and fresher food as we don’t buy boxed or foods that are loaded with preservatives. After living in Europe for 3-years I realized why they are so much healthier than Americans – they get fresh foods and don’t store anything up. It’s really smart. Instead of storing up store bought foods, we can things when they are going out of season. I will be sharing more about this in an upcoming article.
Are you an extreme couponer? Why or why not?