It's VERY time consuming.
I used to get so excited about getting the Sunday paper and would spend hours going through the coupons and clip all of them and find out how many overages I would get and how much the final bill would be. I would spend about hours a day looking at websites to match sales and trying to meal plan around those sales. It soon got to the point where I dreaded it when the Sunday paper came and would put off going through it. In the end, having receipt with a zero total of a very low total just was not worth it for me.
I would also go to multiple stores where the deals were spending a good portion on my days off just to get stuff. Instead of spending my time relaxing and spending time with people I care about, I would spend it raiding clearance bins and matching coupons to deals.
I would end up with a diet of more processed foods
Most of the coupons in the Sunday paper are for very processed unhealthy foods and snacks. There are no coupons for fresh meat, fruits and vegetables so slowly as I became obsessed with couponing, these healthy staples ending up getting eliminated from my diet.
I would buy things with coupons that I didn't need or want just to have overages.
I remember the day that I had coupons for Febreze plug ins for $3 off one plug in. In a clearance bin, I found a bunch marked down to $2, so I would end up with $1 in overages for each plug in that I would buy. I though that I was getting an awesome deal.
The truth was, I don't use plug ins at all, so I was buying things that I didn't need and wasn't going to use at all just to get free money which is wasteful. I ended up taking these to my local consignment shop.
I was getting free items with coupons that I didn't even want or need just because they were free.
I still have a ton of dental floss that I got for free with coupons, but the truth is, I don't even use that kind of floss because it is hard to get my back teeth with regular floss and I would still buy (full price) the regular floss that I would use.
Coupons make a suggestion that you buy something that you wouldn't normally.
It amazes me the amount of snacks that are available today and the kind that you buy just because you have a coupon doesn't save you any money at all and adds to your grocery budget.
So with all that being said, I have turned into an Opportunistic Couponer.
- If I am going to get an oil change, I will go online to try to find a coupon to save me some money.
- If I am buying something online, I will always search for a coupon code to see if I can save money.
- If I get a coupon in the mail, I will hang onto it and if I happen to go to the restaurant/clothing store/franchise I will keep the coupon in my wallet for when the opportunity presents itself, but I will not go just because I have a coupon.
I know Extreme Couponing works for some families, but it doesn't work for myself and my husband who make up a family of two people. I remember looking at huge chest freezers and shelves to store all of my couponing finds when my husband snapped me back to reality reminding me that it is just him and me. So after living through giving this a try, I have learned that there are better ways to save money without being so wasteful, like buying only what you need, buying generic, shopping the perimeter of the store and making sure that your meals include a protein a carb and a vegetable and doesn't revolve around what new dinner item coupon is available in the Sunday paper.