It's back! The second season of Extreme Couponing starts tonight (9/28 at 10:00 pm on TLC) and I want to welcome any new readers who are joining us after watching the show! If you are new to couponing, here are some thoughts on the show and some resources to get you started on your exciting couponing adventure!
Most important thing to know: Extreme Couponing is exactly what the name suggests - EXTREME. In the Raleigh, NC area (and in most parts of the country), we are not able to buy $1000 worth of product for $5 and still stay within the store policies. None of the stores in our area will let you buy those types of quantities and use that many coupons for them. In fact, most of the stores that extreme couponers film at amend their coupon policies for the taping of the show. They will not let their regular customers do what they let the extreme couponers do for the show. So while the show has some sensational register totals, it is not a realistic portrayal of everyday shopping for the vast majority of couponers.
In addition, be wary of some of the techniques you will see on the show. During season one, there were multiple times when questionable, unethical and flat out illegal activities took place on the show. FYI - it is stealing when you take people's Sunday papers from their driveaway (as they showed one couponer doing on the show last season). We have discussed the ethics of the show on here many times and I simply encourage you to use good judgment when couponing. If you find yourself worried about getting caught - you shouldn't be doing whatever it is you are thinking of doing. People have actually been arrested for stealing coupons out of the newspaper machines!
New to couponing?: If you are new to the art of couponing or just want some additional tips on finding good coupons and organizing them, click the link in the box above for Back to Basics: Coupons = Cash. For detailed information on the store coupon policies in our area in NC, click the link in the box above for Grocery Store Coupon Policies.
New to couponing lingo?: You will also want to read the Crack the Smart Shopper's Code couponing abbreviation list found in the box above so you can decode the abbreviations used every day by couponers here on the blog.
New to the WRAL Smart Shopper blog?: If you are new to this blog, here is the usual daily schedule of posts. In addition, I post deals, coupons and frugal living information every day, throughout the day. We also have a daily Share the Deals post where you and any other readers can share good buys and links to printable coupons and samples you have found. If you have questions, this is also a good place to ask them.
Monday: Monday Meal Plan including recipes and sale information on many ingredients I use for the meals
Tuesday: Upcoming Coupon Swaps, any other deals I can find!
Wednesday: Grocery Store sale and coupon match-ups for Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods and Food Lion. If Walmart has some good grocery deals in the flyer that week, I post them as well.
Thursday: Thursday Thoughts article on something frugal
Friday: Friday Freebies post with links to free samples, free events, coupons and more
Saturday: Whatever deals I can find
Sunday: Drug Store sale and coupon match-ups for CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, Kroger sale and coupon match-ups
Looking for a Coupon Binder or Coupon Organizer like the ones many of the folks on the show use? Check out my Smart Spending Coupon Organizer insert set found HERE . The set includes 24 pre-printed tabbed dividers and 25 nine-pocket coupon insert pages. I use the higher quality Ultra Pro pages that will not tear easily like those found at many big box stores. The tabs and pages fit in any 3-ring binder. You can also order additional 4-pocket or 9-pocket coupon insert pages if you want some extra pages. The 4-pocket pages are great for the bigger coupons. For more information on the Coupon Organizer and extra insert pages, click HERE .
Interested in taking a Couponing Class?: I teach couponing workshops throughout the greater Raleigh, NC area and surrounding counties. The classes cover all the basics of couponing as well as advanced techniques such as drug store rebates, e-coupons and more. The upcoming workshop schedule can be found HERE .
Finally, be realistic in your expectations. You can save 50% or more off your grocery bill every single week through couponing, rebates and meal planning. BUT, it probably won't happen the first week, or even the second week. Give yourself some time to get your coupon inventory up and running, get familiarized with store coupon policies and get your coupons organized. If you read the store sales and coupon match-ups on Sunday and Wednesdays here on the blog, we will show the the best deals each week including the free products and great buys on produce and meat.
If you are brand new to all of this, the next steps you need to take include:
Learn the coupon polices for the area stores
Find coupons for the products you use
Organize your coupons
Stock up on the best deals each week (but only enough for about a 4 to 6 week period, not 4 to 6 years like some of the extreme couponers)
Plan your meals around what you already have in stock from the best deals you have been buying and what is on sale that week (like the fresh produce and meat deals)
Enjoy your savings (and of course, use it to pay off any debt you may have!)
Again, welcome to the blog and we look forward to reading your posts and helping you to save more money on groceries than you have ever saved in your whole life! As I always say, it's your money - spend it wisely!