Is Extreme Couponing Worth the Time and Effort

You have probably seen the TLC series, Extreme Couponing.  By seeing the participants getting many carts of items for pennies you are probably wondering how they do it and if it is worth the time and effort.

Using coupons is a great way to save money on items that you and your family will use. Many times on the show people have hundreds of coupons for certain items and they may get that many for free or very little money.  In some cases they are going to donate a lot of it to charities, but some stockpile many items that will last them for many years.

To get the many coupons they use, takes a lot of time and effort.  Some people may have that amount of free time so it may be worth it.  Some people end up taking time off from work and other obligations to either clip coupons or shop.  If you do take time off, the amount you could have earned should be figured into the amount of money that is saved.

Other expenses that should be figured into the savings are the cost of extra newspapers, coupon clipping services, paper and ink from printing coupons and other expenses.

On some episodes, participants say they need to save a certain amount for upcoming expenses.  They may save that amount but end up purchasing items that they don’t necessarily need just to say they have saved money.

There is a lot of stress involved in extreme couponing, from making sure you have purchased the right amount of items and if the cash register takes off the right amount for the coupon.  Sometimes the coupons should double or triple in value and doesn’t always ring up right.  In some cases, when a shopper is doing a large transaction, the cash register freezes up and they either need to start over or start over with the remaining balance and subtract the remaining coupons.

Some of the restrictions may be waived for the purposes of the show.  You need to make sure you know what the coupon policies are at your local stores.  Some limit the number of coupons that can be used on like items or per transaction.  On the show, some participants need to break their purchases into a number of separate transactions to be able to use the number of coupons they are trying to redeem.

Using coupons can be a great way to save money on items even if you do not do extreme couponing.  You need to take your personal obligations into account to determine if extreme couponing is worth the time and effort for you to save money.