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  • Thoughts on Extreme Couponing

    The monthly Nabisco Cookies Facebook printable hit its print limit so quickly this month that I couldn’t help but wonder if the new TLC show, Extreme Couponing, has resulted in more people using coupons.

    That in itself would be a great thing – while it might eventually cause prices to rise because stores can’t afford to lose too much money on loss leaders, I think everyone should have a price book and pay rock bottom prices whenever possible. It would do wonders for our collective financial consciousness if everyone paid more attention to how much money they spend. Maybe it would even get people thinking about living within their means!

    I’ve only watched one segment of Extreme Couponing, and I have to admit that it made me uncomfortable to see carts full of the same item. If the store is okay with a customer buying 100 of the same item for free after coupon, I guess it’s fine. I personally would be uncomfortable and reluctant to do that, especially in one transaction.

    I’ve read some things that indicate some of the couponers portrayed are actually committing coupon fraud by using coupons for items other than those stated on the coupon. That is obviously detrimental to all coupon users, especially those of us who follow the rules stringently. I hope that rather than glorify coupon fraud, the show will actually condemn it and maybe even help to stop it.

    I’m also hoping that the show will result in less animosity toward coupon users. There are so many stories in the coupon forums about cashiers and other shoppers getting annoyed or even rude when the coupons come out. I’ve experienced this a couple of times myself, always at Target, and I now shop there a lot less than I used to. Maybe Extreme Couponing can make cashiers and other customers supportive or at least curious when someone uses a bunch of coupons. I’ve gotten “wow”s on occasion and that’s always fun.

    One thing about couponing that I’m not sure is accurately portrayed on the show is how much time and effort “extreme” couponing takes. I don’t consider myself “extreme” and yet I’m maxed out on time and effort. It takes time to plan my shopping trips and transactions, clip my coupons, go to the different stores, make adjustments depending on the store’s stock, and pay for my purchases. It’s a part-time job in and of itself – which is fine for me, because I consider it fun. But I certainly couldn’t do more.

    What do you think about Extreme Couponing?

    Morning Coffee: Pasta Salad Recall at Trader Joe’s

    Select packages of Spicy Thai Style Pasta Salad sold by Trader Joe’s have been recalled for possible salmonella poisoning.

    Target stores have supposedly been told to have cashiers watch the amount deducted by a coupon to ensure the proper amount was deducted. I believe it, because I used a $1/3 coupon at Target yesterday, and the cashier caught that it didn’t deduct the full amount before I did.

    Get a printable coupon for $1/1 any Progresso Broth. (Via Money Saving Madness.)

    Get a printable coupon for $1/2 Lucky Leaf Pie Filling. (Via Printable Coupons and Deals.)

    Get a printable coupon for $1/1 Pepperidge Farm Tim Tam Cookies via Facebook. (Via Totally Target.)

    Bargain Briana has details on a hot board game deal at Toys R Us this week.

    For locals: Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution has moved to LA, and so ABC is looking for families with children who could use Jamie’s help in the kitchen to overcome the obstacles to healthy eating.

    Banner via Escalate Media Network

    Using Coupons To Get What I Need, Splurge & Help Others

    I went to Ralphs this morning, and I have to say, the current Mega Sale, where you buy 10 participating items and get $5 off, combined with the doubling of multiple like coupons, is the best Mega Sale ever. I bought 20 items to get a total of $10 off, bought a splurge item, and bought some items to donate – all for less than $10.

    Here are the “needs” I bought, which I define as things I bought because we will definitely use them:

    I picked up some Challenge Butter, which is my preferred brand because it does not contain growth hormones. The Mega Sale price is $3.49, and I used 50 cents/1 coupons that I found in previously purchased boxes to make them $2.49. It’s not the best price I’ve seen for Challenge, but I was down to my last box and $2.49 is still about a dollar cheaper than Trader Joe’s (their store brand is also RBST-free).

    Thanks to a tip from Valerie, I also got Green Giant Valley Steamers. The Mega Sale price is 99 cents, and I used 60 cents/2 coupons from the 9/12 GM insert (there are also coupons in the 10/10 GM). E-coupons are hit and miss for me at Ralphs, so I never count on them, but I was pleasantly surprised to have two 50-cent e-coupons come off too, so I paid a total of 96 cents for the four bags.

    We’re running a little low on cereal, as 50-cents per box deals have been harder to come by in the last few months. My kids are also somewhat picky, which doesn’t make it easier to get cereal at my target price. But Quaker cereals are included in the Mega Sale at $1.49, and I had one 50 cents/1 Cap’n Crunch coupon (8/29 RP) left, so I was able to get a box for 49 cents.

    I decided to “splurge” on some Athenos hummus (clarification: not included in the Mega Sale!) – they are $1.50 per tub, and there were $1/1 coupons in the 10/10 SS insert, making them 50 cents each. I had four coupons, which all beeped for some reason. Normally, I wouldn’t pay $2 for hummus, which my kids don’t eat, but it’ll make it easier for me to snack on veggie sticks when I’m in a snacking mood.

    I also bought some Honest Tea, which I wouldn’t pay for but was free except for 5 cents CRV after this printable coupon (thanks, Brian!).

    The rest of the items I bought in the Mega Sale will be donated:

    An anonymous commenter reported that La Victoria Salsa has a Mega Sale price of $1.49 and there’s a $4/2 printable coupon (the coupon beeps, so whether you get overage will depend on your cashier).

    I also bought some Carnation evaporated milk using the $1/2 coupon in the 9/26 SS, making them 19 cents each, Stove Top Stuffing using this $1/2 printable coupon making them 25 cents each (via My Good Cents), and Campbell’s Chunky Soup using this 50 cents/1 printable coupon which made them free.

    What I love about using coupons is that I was able to get so much for so little. It saves my family money while we still eat well, and we can give even more than we normally would. Yes, couponing can take a lot of time – but it’s well worth it!

    Sorry there’s no picture – I had put everything away before I decided to write this post!

    Morning Coffee: Massive Computer Trouble (Again)

    We seem to be cursed, as we’re now down to one computer with an internet connection at the moment. Hopefully we’ll be able to set up a new network with a wireless router this weekend, but in the meantime, things may be a bit slow around here. I apologize if I’m not responding to comments or emails!

    Get a free 8×10 collage print from Walgreens Photo with code 8x10TREAT.

    Common Sense with Money explains the latest coupon issues at Target, having to do with gift card deals.

    A Thrifty Mom says that you can find the date of a coupon insert right on the outside cover, at or near the center fold. That’s handy to know if you only clip coupons when you need them, and leave the inserts mostly intact (like I do) and forget to write down the date on the front (as I have).

    Get a free spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara when you buy any small or large entree at Buca di Beppo on Monday (10/25).

    Get a printable coupon for $1/1 Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners.

    Get a printable coupon for 75 cents/1 Clorox toilet product via Facebook.

    Try Pinkberry’s new flavor, pumpkin, for free today from 4 to 7 p.m. (Via For the Mommas.)

    Growing Up Gabel has a recipe for slow cooker marinara sauce and homemade meatballs.

    Banner via Escalate Media Network

    Coupons Allow Me To Be Generous

    I mentioned earlier today that my friend K. broke her ankle a couple of weeks ago, and of course, this being a time of transition – especially financial transition – for us means that I’m feeling a little anxious about making sure our money situation is working out the way we expect it will. So I’m especially grateful for coupons and The Drugstore Game, which have allowed me to be generous without much of a financial toll.

    I’ve bought a couple of lunches and made a couple of dinners for K. and her family, and that’s probably cost about $50 total. Everything else that I’ve taken over has been free or very cheap thanks to coupons and The Drugstore Game, including cans of soup (25 cents a piece after sale and coupon at Vons this past week), paper goods, and toiletries. I plan to drop off more similar items just so that her husband doesn’t have to stress about running out of the basics and making a mad dash to a drugstore or supermarket in the middle of the night.

    I think I’ve also mentioned before that my friend B.’s husband lost his job a few months back, and here, too, coupons have allowed me to be generous without taxing our friendship. B. knows I actively coupon and that I didn’t spend a lot on the bags of food, household items and toiletries that I’ve given to her, which I think makes it easier for her to accept the items. It’s not charity, it’s just a friend passing on extras. And that’s a wonderful thing to be able to do 🙂