There was a time when you could save a ridiculous amount of money couponing. If your were strategic, organized and had the time you could fill your shopping cart with a ton of name brand products for free or practically nothing. Then TLC’s Extreme Couponing hit and the retailers caught on to how much money they were letting walk out there sliding double doors. So things changed. Coupon wording changed. The deals we’re not as grand and the couponing became a bit tougher to manger.
I was once a Couponer. I stockpiled with the best of them. I had bottles of shampoo and body wash hidden in every nook and cranny of my small home. I had a tower of toothpaste tubes that cost a quarter or less.
There were trade offs however, my shopping trips would involved multiple stores. My trip to Target alone often lasted for 3-4 hours as I perused the aisles for deals and coupon matches. It was ok I had a day off during the week and the trip was like retail therapy. I really enjoyed it and even looked forward to it in a conquesting mother sort of way.
Then mine and my husband’s schedule changed. The couponing trips became impossible to do with children in tow. I reduced my multi store trips to CVS and Target till that lessened to only CVS. Then that only became once a month. It lasted like this for 3 years as I went through my stockpile. Yes… my stockpile lasted for three years.
Now, I have gone through the laundry detergent, shampoo and deodorant. There is ample room under my sink and I have had to run out for toilet paper (The horror!) I figured I should start couponing again, but each time I find less of the deals I once did. This makes me wonder. Is it still worth it to coupon?
For me it comes down to this question, time vs money? Do I save enough money now to make the time commitment of printing, organizing and shopping with coupons worth it? On these extreme couponing shows the mothers are usually stay at home moms. They have also brought there kids and other family members in on the couponing adventures. But is couponing practical for the working mom with limited time?
The answer in my opinion is yes and no. Ok, I know that’s not really an answer. I think Extreame Couponing is totally not doable for working mom’s. The time we would need to invest would be time away from our children and family. Having a job outside the home already takes so much time away from them that I am not willing to give up anymore.
However, small trips to say CVS or Walgreens can still be a good investment with coupons. You can still save a bundle on shampoos, body washes, air fresheners and the like. Also, a smaller trip like this can be squeezed into those margins of time like a lunch break and stop to buy milk after work.
If you have a Publix or supermarket that specializes in BOGO’s you can also make a quick trip here. But be warned this can easily get out of control. Locally Publix tends to be more expensive then other stores and can run you into a lot of money if you deviate from the BOGO plan. Also some coupons have specific wording that prevents them from being used to buy BOGO’s, so be sure to look at the fine print.
When I couponed I always saved big a Target. These days however, I just don’t have the time to invest in a long Target shop. For me this is something I can not longer invest the time in. If you have the time and ability to plan, check out the The Krazy Coupon Lady.com. They give great advice with clear and concise matchups for many stores including Target.
If I do use coupons for food items, I now use them at BJ’s Wholesale club. They have there own booklets of coupons that are free to members and they also accept manufacturers coupons. However since their items are bulk some coupons will only be useful if the items have individual SKU numbers. Refer to there coupon policy for me information. Keep in mind other bulk stores like Costco do not accept manufactureers coupons. For this reason I prefer shopping at BJ’s.
One final note on couponing. Most stores have changed their coupon policies to prevent extreme coupon deals. Likewise, coupon wording and acceptance has changed so be sure to read the fine print before attempting a deal. If the store gives you a hard time it is best to just move on.It is not a savings if you leave the store angry and annoyed over a bottle of shampoo.
Happy Couponing! If you have any suggestions or story’s of your couponing experiances please share them. Would love to hear your thoughts.