Why Extreme Couponing is For Suckers: 6 Better Money Saving Ideas


The art of shopping has become quite a complicated affair. It has become an art form because on one side you have the business owner who has to keep selling or he or she doesn’t make a living, and the consumers on the other side who really only want to buy what they need but are tempted on all fronts to buy more. It is more than an art form.

This is a very real battle.  Instead of going through this constant battle, I’d rather get everyday savings with Walgreens coupons.

Much research goes on behind the scenes to find the most effective way to get you to buy more than you need. Business owners want you to part with your money and they are willing to give you a so called ‘bargain’ in order to win the battle of the wills. But you must stand your ground if you are to keep that last dollar in your purse for what you really want, not what you are told you want.

Extreme Couponing is For Suckers

Extreme couponing is a good example of you having good intentions when you go shopping but only finish up with cupboards full of products you don’t really need because you were told you had a bargain. You might not realize it at the time but the current clipping frenzy is sucking you in to buy things you don’t want and the business owner’s are laughing all the way to the bank.

The whole plan behind extreme couponing is to get you into the shop so you will purchase something at full price. The business owner feels it is worth sacrificing something of smaller value to him as long as you buy something of more value while there.

For instance, they hoped you will leave the store with a new outfit that you just couldn’t resist when you initially entered the shop to get a free bottle of perfume with a coupon on a pair of $20 earrings.  Sound familiar?

This is not to imply that you can’t play them at the same game, you can beat the system if you use self discipline:

  • Make up a shopping list of what you want before you go shopping, go
    through your coupons to see which ones you can use to your advantage.
  • Check newspaper ads to see where the bargains are and off you go. It is a fact that you can save a lot of money by
    being careful how and when you cash in your clipped coupons but the secret is only using a small
    amount at a time and don’t allow yourself to be sucked in.
  • Make use of the frequent shopper program (sales emails) whenever you can as this is a way you will get told in advance of any bargains that are planned in the future.
  • When shopping always be aware of the various marketing ploys employed by the different shops and their products. When rummaging through the dump bins keep an eye out for the price, you will often find a higher priced article thrown in among the bargains.
  • Island displays are another to be wary of. The middle shelf is often where the higher priced brands are placed, very low and very high shelves usually contain the lower priced.
  • Also, items that attract the impulse buyer are usually made more prominent than others, especially around the checkout counter.

By, keeping all this in mind while you shop you could save yourself hundreds of dollars a year.

Kristy Ramirez is a frugal freelance personal finance writer for Life Insurance Finder where she helps people sort through a range of different insurance types and find the best solution to meet their needs whilst saving money.

  • Allison Martin

    Couponing can be very beneficial if you don’t let it consume your life!  I encourage individuals to only buy what is absolutely needed and refrain from impulse purchases just because the items are on sale.  There is nothing wrong with saving money but just make sure that you aren’t wasting too much time doing it!

  • niksmit

    Extreme couponing may be for suckers, but strategic couponing for the products one is going to buy regardless is a great way to save money.

  • http://www.irebuildcredit.com/ IRebuildCredit

    I couldn’t agree more with your tips!  I’ve never understood people hoarding stuff they will never use simply because they have a coupon.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ahmad-Davis/100001753041442 Ahmad Davis

    This article makes some interesting points. I coach people to use coupons as a means of lowering their grocery bill, but just like any part of personal finance you have to learn how to do it right and to maximize your time.

     There are some very good websites that teach you how to minimize your time and maximize real savings, but the best one I have come across is http://www.couponmom.com. This site is free and they can show a beginner how to only spend 5-10 minutes a week couponing (which could save you 5-10% on your grocery bill), or train you up to about 1 hour a week and increase your savings even more.

    Here are some numbers:
    Time=5 minutes/week, 20 minutes/month 
    Example Grocery Bill=$500/month
    10% Savings=$50 per 20 minutes
    Value of Your Time=$150/hour (3×50)
    5% Savings=$25 per 20 minutes
    Value of Your Time=$75/hour (3×25)

    Now, this is all rough numbers, but you get my point. If your time is worth more than $150/hour then couponing is not for you. But, for most people, this can be a life saver.


    • http://www.girlsjustwannahaveufunds.com/ Ginger-GirlsJustWannaHaveFunds

      Im not following the rationale behind your numbers there Ahmad :-)

      5 minutes a week for couponing?  When I did it, I spent at least an hour pooling and matching the coupons.

      • http://youngandcentsible.com/ Charlotte

        I agree, couponing definitely takes a while if you are going to really play the drugstore game right, that said, it can still lead to a really good per hour value (especially because the government doesn’t tax you on savings), if you are careful.

  • Tammy Freeman

    This article is filled with inaccuracies and false assumptions.  

    I am positive the writer is NOT a couponer as things like “impulse buying” and all the other warnings are things that avid couponers and bargain shoppers are well aware of…its the “average” shopper who succumbs to these tactics.

    Paying full price for items is for suckers. Companies are smart they have strategic reasons for issuing coupons and those who pay full sticker price essentially pay for those who use coupons…since most people don’t take the time to clip coupons or even shop sales.  

    Many experts claim to save money you need to get rid of cable, cut off your phone, stop going out to the movies and eating out, etc…  But savvy couponers get these items and eat out and go to the movies for free or cheap! So we can live luxe on less because like a strict diet…people don’t do well with cutting out all of their “comforts” in such a drastic way.And yes, it does take time to clip coupons but an average person can save at least half on their grocery bills by being smart, using coupons and matching them up w/ sales and rock bottom prices.  Non couponers pay $7 for Nivea lotion (my fav) and I pay $2…big difference. Who is going to voluntarily pay more money than you need to?

    Does time=money? Absolutely! But considering that many people can’t just go get a second job or a part time job or may be in school and don’t have the time, couponing is a great way to save on costs.  Single moms can’t work second jobs many times because the cost of daycare will eat up any income brought in from the second job, not to mention the opportunity costs! I can clip coupons and do my matchups at 2am or have my kids help me (which they do at times).  Instead of attempting to bash couponers…realize that we are saving big time!  If someone offered a job seeker a job at $100K or $50K for the same job…who would take the $50K?  That’s how I feel about couponing, why pay more when you can pay much less??  What I have learned via couponing is not running to the store every time I want something…I have learned the art of delayed gratification. The problem with society is we have a “have it your way right now” mentality which is a cause of overspending.  I wait for things to go on sale (a true sale, not because the store puts “great buy” or a red sticker on an item) and match them up with coupons to get items at rock bottom.  I

    ‘ve been couponing for 6 months and my family has all our favorite things and I am happy because I know I get items for next to nothing and many things absolutely free!  When we need deodorant, toothpaste or detergent we just grab it from the stockpile…no need to run to the store and spend more than necessary.  When my local homeless shelter had an influx of people, we grabbed items from our stockpile and took it down to help out.We actually have more of the little luxuries we went without before and I have been able to contribute more than ever to our savings account and we have money to indulge in things we love (like wine festivals, broadway trips and mini vacations).  

    My smart spending strategies consists of using coupons, rebates, using affiliate programs like Upromise to save (like getting a percentage back everytime I pump gas) and taking advantage of oyalty programs.  Many times I get paid to purchase a product! There is even a service that pays you for sending in your receipts (I’ve received over $70 in checks from them since I started using them in October 2011).  I never leave money on the table!

    As a small business owner and blogger who also works part time my goal is to maximize my income and decrease my expenses while still enjoying the things I love to do…coupons is one way to meet that goal.  If you are interested in couponing, I encourage you to try it. Even if you just coupon for your favorite items, saving a little is better than saving nothing.

    Happy savings!

  • Kimickeyhouse

    I started couponing from watching the tv shows and I must admit its a ton of fun imho. it doesnt take hours to clip and im usually doing it when im watching t.v. for me its a way to learn to be frugal when im at the store. I dont have kids yet bit I already see myself saving a lot.

    now im not extreme and I do believe in moderation so I dont go around clearing shelves and what not. the other day I managed to snag 4 boxes of my favorite general mills cereal for a buck.fifty total. couponing is not for everyone but I say dont knock it until you try it.

    • Ginger

      I agree, it isn’t for everyone.

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  • FrugalBehind

    Wow. This is so misguided and nonsensical, it’s not even funny.
    Good luck with that, is all I can say.

  • http://blog.debteye.com Kevin @ DebtEye

    I couldn’t agree more.  How much time is spent trying to clip coupons?  Time = Money!

  • Ginger

    Same here. I can’t imagine spending time doing this and then roaming through the aisles for the items. What if I want something different? Then Im either forced to get the product or lose money because I want something else. I don’t like being told what to eat/consume based on what I am able to save on.

  • http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com Barbara Friedberg

    I am an aweful couponer. If I cut it out, I either leave the coupon at home, in my purse, or in the car. It’s not worth the effort for me.