WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Extreme Couponing is back - welcome new readers!

Posted September 28, 2011

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!




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  • torsammom6 Oct 1, 2011

    Unfortunately I just witnessed a shopper abusing the coupon system at a chain store where they "honor other stores sale prices". But this woman did NOT provide proof of sale prices only had a small book where she wrote down 'prices'. She told the cashier what the prices were-then used too many coupons. The manager was called and she did an over-ride. This woman had TWENTY FIVE tooth paste among other things. The total before her prices and coupons was $77.00. After coupons and her prices she paid $7.00. The cashier was amazed but I informed her that what had just taken place was stealing and explained why. She said the store she works for was tired of arguing with couponers so they just let it go. Why bother checking out-she should have just walked out of the store without paying. Just another example of someone abusing the system. I was angry because I actually spend TIME saving money!

  • hillbillyspitfire Sep 30, 2011

    wow Nancy looks like we got a responce letter that will go out to anyone......LOL

  • Nancy Sep 30, 2011

    hillbillyspitfire, that is the canned letter I got too. Word for word. In fact, it's the same response quoted in the Raleigh N&O article and the Charlotte Observer article about the show as well.

    Here is a photo of my letter:

  • hillbillyspitfire Sep 29, 2011

    Lowes Foods did not have access to the taping in the woman’s home. Lowes Foods was recently asked to make our stores available for a new show from the production company that films Extreme Couponing. We have declined and have no intention of participating in future tapings.

    We do not share this to deflect blame. We share it simply to let you know that things aren’t as they always appear. We definitely made a poor decision by participating in the show. What is most disturbing to Lowes Foods is that we disappointed you, our valued customer. We sincerely hope you can look beyond our mistake.

    Dianna Naglieri
    Lowes Foods Customer Care Center
    Lowes Foods
    A family owned North Carolina based Company

  • hillbillyspitfire Sep 29, 2011

    I wrote to Lowes and here is the reply I got, i was really surprised to hear from them, it was nice of them to take the time to write back to me

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Lowes Foods regarding the Extreme Couponing show. We appreciate your candid feedback.

    While we can not undo our participation in the taping of Extreme Couponing, what we can do is share with you our reason for doing so and some truths that will not be aired with the show. Lowes Foods agreed to allow the taping in our store to show viewers we are a coupon friendly grocer with outstanding products and customer service.

    Some of what appears in the clip and/or TV Show was staged by the production company. In fact, the young man who approaches the empty shelf in dismay is actually a crew member. What is not conveyed well is the time spent by the customer to clip and sort her coupons, not to mention the 8 – 10 hours in the store shopping and at the register. Another unfortunate aspect of the taping is L

  • ccbloomrn2 Sep 29, 2011

    This show makes the responsible couponers look like we are trying to scam the system...I have told so many people in the grocery store, that this is just a show and that in real life, there are certain rules we have to follow....Hope everyone keeps couponing and enjoy the savings....Cece

  • nceducator79 Sep 29, 2011

    I watched about a half hour. There is no way that either lady followed any policy.

    Shelf clearing annoys me...who in the world needs that much Malox? I've never even used it.'s like the Biggest Loser. It's unhealthy to lose 100 pounds in 2 months...most people take a year or more to lose that. Reality TV is always extreme.

    I'm just thankful that I know I can reduce my grocery bill enough so that I'm not charging on credit cards or going into savings to pay the huge increases in groceries, while I have had no raise in the past 4 years.

    Thanks to Faye and all you others who post on here all the helpful's really making my life a lot less stressful.

  • boyces Sep 29, 2011

    Considering the staged activities of the shelf clearing scene, I suspect a lot of the newspaper stealing, dumpster diving, etc on the show is also staged. I'm sure people do those things, but I am very skeptical of anything portrayed on "reality" TV based programming. The 2nd lesson to be learned here is to NEVER offer to be on TV for anything because they are going to twist whatever innocent thing you do or say to get maximum ratings. Remember that when your turn for your 15 minutes of fame comes round...

  • stephlw Sep 28, 2011

    Every time I watch that show I get frustrated -- I wish they portrayed real situations with real store policies.

  • kcampbell113 Sep 28, 2011

    I bought the Sunday N&O from boxes for quite a while before getting a subscription. Finally, in the paper there was an offer to get a Sunday only Subscription for $1/week. When it was time to renew I was able to do so at the same price.