Frugal Hack #9: Be a Couponer Without Being Extreme

Updated June 30, 2020 by Kyle

I have written before about why I think TLC’s show Extreme Couponing is Extremely Lame and I still stand behind my opinion. I am all about finding balance in life and I think this also applies to saving money with coupons. If you are spending 20-30 hours a week getting ready to save money, perhaps your time can be better served in other more profitable ways. Here is the couponing strategy that I prescribe to.

My Balanced Couponing Strategy:

~ Needs Vs. Waste – Use grocery store coupons to buy items that you actually need. Otherwise you are buying things only to get them for cheap. This is fine if you plan on donating the items to food banks or non-profits in your area, otherwise do you really need 75 Snicker bars or 30 bottles of hot sauce?

~ Grocery Store Rewards Card – At the two grocery markets that my wife and I shop at regularly they offer a store specific rewards card that we take advantage of. The card saves us a ton of money and if you’re not a brand conscious shopper you can save by buying generic brands on sale if you present your reward card at checkout. Time required: None.

~ Always Look for an Online Coupon – Popular stores like Lands’ End, Home Depot, Eddie Bauer, All Posters, and Old Navy always offer coupons for online purchases.

~ In-Store Printable Coupons – Are you aware that many retail stores offer in-store printable coupons that can save you up to 30% off.

If you did, did you also know that you can download free mobile coupon apps for your smartphone that allow you to present the coupon directly from your phone?

The cashier just scans your phone and you walk out of the store with a little extra cash in your pocket. Time required: 1 Minute.

What couponing strategy do you use?


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The show actually got Mrs. Frugal Path and I into couponing smarter. At first we did go a bit overboard. But ended up donating anything we didn’t need.
Now we coupon smart and still save a ton of cash. The show is lame and presents unrealistic situations. However, I am a fan of couponing. We still save more money for the time spent than we would working.

Carla E.

I like your coupon strategy better. I would rather spend 20-30 hours a week making money instead of saving money on 100 packs of cheese which will eventually go bad.

DC @ Young Adult Money

I take a similar approach. We clip quite a few coupons, but we won’t use a majority of them. We only look for good deals on stuff that we will actually use. We do have a small stockpile, mainly of stuff like toiletries, coffee, etc. stuff that we will for sure use. I think couponing is definitely worth the time we put into it.

John S @ Frugal Rules

We take a very similar approach. Couponing is fine…to a point. We only use it on stuff we’d already be buying anyway just to save a little extra money. I love hot sauce and all, but we don’t need 83 bottles of it. 😉