Welcome to Southern Savers, where finding deals and steals is simple and rewarding!

See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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burnout

Have you ever struggled from coupon burnout?  You may feel like you are stuck in a rut or confined to only buying items that have coupons.  We can sometimes get too involved with only couponing and saving money, we consider it a good addiction but really we can be setting ourselves up for exhaustion.

Do any of these sound like you??

1.  The last time you bought something not on sale was over 2 weeks ago.

2.  You are craving a favorite food, but won’t get it because there is no good deal on it.

3.  You are spending every free minute scouring the web for deals.

4.  You make frequent trips to the store just to grab the latest free find.

If one of those struck home, you are not alone.  Most of us get very wrapped up in saving money.  There are limits though and we can’t be super savers on every trip.  To help you recover from burnout or to help you stay focused on the point here are a few tips.

1.  It’s okay to spend money on the things you need. Really.  If you have to repeat that to yourself every time you head into a store, then make it your mantra.  Buy things if you need them.  Try to work in your family’s requests.  If you don’t, its possible that this will ultimately lead to frustration.

2.  Work in some room in your budget for a splurge. If you are going into the store and saving 60% on your groceries then you probably can handle that $3 splurge item.  Yes, it has no coupon and is not on sale, but that little splurge is really helping you stay grounded.  If you never splurge then you will grow resentful of the coupons and the sales.

3.  Remember most of your savings come from the sale price, not the coupon. Yes, you read that right.  When I go in and get a $5 box of cereal for $1, over 60% off the savings was because I bought the item at it’s lowest price, NOT because I used a coupon.

If you are ready to give up on coupons, then do it.  Take a break from cutting, sorting, and gathering.   This week instead of gathering coupons you could just make a shopping list from the items on sale.  Skip the coupons and you will still save over 50%.

4.  Limit your internet time. Spending 4 hours surfing for the best deals seems fun in the beginning but eventually it is not worth your time.  In the end you will either be exhausted and overwhelmed by the things that aren’t getting done around you, or you will go crazy feeling like you need to get every possible deal at the store.

5.  It’s okay to miss a deal. If someone finds a crazy deal on detergent for 25 cents but you have 5 bottles, do you really need to run out for it??  Remember that all sales run on cycles.  If pickles are 9 cents at the store this week, it’s not the last time pickles are ever going to go on sale.  Making a daily trip to the store to get the latest reported deal isn’t really saving you time or money.  Grab the deals you know about when you are out and only go back for the latest find if you were headed there anyway.

6.  It’s okay to only shop at one grocery store. Everything comes on sale at every store.  Stock up, then there is no need to feel like you have to hit 4 different stores in the same week.  If you wait a few more weeks, those items will come on sale at the store that you frequent the most.

7. Set a goal. In the end, stay focused on why you are couponing. Is it out of a basic need to feed your family or to save for something? Does it relieve stress to have money left over at the end of the month? Whatever your answer, realize that no one saves money just to say they did it.  Don’t focus on the number at the bottom of the receipt but focus on whether you are accomplishing your purpose for saving.  As long as you are meeting your goal it doesn’t matter whether you are saving 60% or 45%.

Our story:  We got started couponing out of a need to pay off a large bill.  Now that we have covered that expense we coupon to put money in savings each month.  Our weekly grocery budget is small, but it still has a lot of wiggle room for things we like.  To help me not get fatigued with coupons, any extra money in the food budget at the end of the month, is not put into savings. Instead that extra food money is put back into groceries getting things that we love but that aren’t on sale.

    • Shannon

      Thank you so much for your words, they really hit home this week.

      • vicki

        I SOOOO AGREE AND I TOO THANK JENNY FOR THESE THOUGHTS. Sometimes I feel as though I am caught somewhere in the middle of all this..!! In the beginning (about 3-4 mos.ago), I was a maniac AND overwhelmed, naturally. I saw people in the stores with the binders and thought, OMG !! Then as I stood “sifting through my “stacks” of coupons in my hand,(yep, cut them all and took them all…didn’t want to be caught missing something), the binder seemed the only way to go. Of course, now I “BINDER” with the best of them. NOW I’m beginning to feel like I can never get and keep caught up with all the cutting and filing,(I do 2 papers). I truly feel that the filing and keeping the inserts to clip as needed, is the best way to go. I always try to stick to my list and just the coupons needed, but we all need to get things we think of while we are at the store, that are not on the list. That part, I STUMBLE over….what if there is a COUPON..!!?? OH MY…..what to do..??

      • Sebastian’s Mommy

        My family and I moved 30 miles away last weekend from Fairburn, GA to Vinings, GA. The move was stressful as it is and I think I made about 30 trips up and down I-285. I truely became aware of my “couponing addiciton” when I had a mini-breakdown Sunday.

        I set up my computer, hooked up my wireless router, and then compiled my shopping list for Publix when I realized that half of my coupons were with me in Vinings while the other half were still in Fairburn waiting to be moved. What am I going to do? I have to get my Penny Item! I don’t drink coffee but for one penny it’s worth getting for when company comes over. Coupons are waiting to be clipped in two seperate filing cabinents in two seperate Counties.

        That’s when I gave myself a much needed reality check. Getting my home in order should be my first priority. (Not penny coffee …especially since I’m not a coffee drinker.)I did not go to Publix Sunday nor Monday Tuesday or Wednesday. My home is unpacked and in order which has given me much more peace then penny coffee ever would. :)

        • FT

          Thanks for sharing this story. Couponing can grow additicive and compulsive. I’ve had instances where I thought I was going to crack because I couldn’t find my coupon organizer(so much for being organized LOL)–I mean, one can’t shop without it.

          Unlike many here, I don’t have children but my place had become overtaken by inserts! That was my reality check. Like Jenny indicated, sometimes we just have push away the coupons and breathe. Missing one deal won’t be the end of the world..hopefully. ;-)

        • Francoise Van Heusden

          Wow, your tale brought a tear to my eye. I very much relate to your story. Sometimes I even think I use couponing as a means of justifying procrastinating on much more pressing tasks…. If that makes sense. Thanks so much for your story.

    • Andrea

      Thanks for this. It’s great to have encouragement and balance.

    • Susie

      Hi Jenny,
      I think this is an excellent article about couponng to the extreme.
      You hit on several areas that I have struggled with just in the last few weeks. I have backed off from thinking I had to hit every store and despairing over losing out on a item that someone else found for .05 and buying 20 of it! Do I really need 20 boxes of Pop Tarts at one time? Lol
      Thanks for all the tremendous amount of time you put into this website. You really make it so easy to save and I will continue to encourage my friends to take advantage of these fantastic savings. Just not to get fanatic about it.
      Blessings to you and yours! Susie

      • CouponNERD

        Suzie – I agree! Unless all of my kids are having a sleepover, I don’t need 20 boxes of poptarts… :)

        Thanks to Jenny for all your hard work – your site is my main way of saving so much! I couldn’t come up with all of the lists on my own!

    • A

      Thank you. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with couponing…feeling I always have to catch the best deal, whether for my family or to give away to church…and just overwhelmed in general with all the deals out there and feeling like I have to check all of the couponing blogs and websites every day, multiple times. I feel better having read your entry and I just want to say thank you. I’ll go have a relaxing evening now and wait on shopping/couponing, which I’ve already done probably every day this week.

    • CouponNERD

      What a timely article! I stopped at Publix last night to get the free Snuggle, and my dh had asked me to get a snack for us to share… I didn’t have coupons/sales for anything… thought about it and bought (sugar free) Oreos… GASP… AT FULL PRICE!
      Now, of course today I see the FLIP for $1 any Oreos… sigh.
      That dollar went to a good cause of quality time!
      The balance for me is to use coupons/sales for stocking up and routine meal planning. There are some staples that I will need to buy that aren’t always on sale, like Soy Milk, sandwich meat/cheese, and eggs.
      That said, I tend to keep weekly household spending for 6 people under $150. Cuz I’m a real tightwad!

    • I’ve been on a coupon break for quite a while. I felt like I was at the grocery store every day. Something had to give. Coupons are GREAT and you can save TONS of money, but sometimes a break is in order :-) Like you said, the deals will come around again.

    • Jaime

      A great article. I bought some items last week that were not on sale at all and it was almost painful. But I did it anyway. I am trying to break from shopping for a few weeks and keep saying to myself “it will go on sale again, it will go on sale again.” :)

    • Michelle

      Thanks for your advice. Like for others it was very timely. I have limited my shopping to once a week for those very hot items. And twice a month for the rest the shopping. I am new so I am just starting to build my pantry. I limit my self 30 minutes and actually set the timer. When the timer is done. I am done looking for coupons, or deals on the computer. I do this twice a week. I also spend 15 minutes on Sunday organizing and cutting new coupons from the paper. At the end of 15 minutes I am done, even if I am not. I could spend every hour everyday doing this.
      Thanks Michelle

      • Gayle

        What a great idea!! I need to find some kind of balance, and the timer is the perfect way to do it.

      • Heidi

        Thanks for that tip! I need something for checks and balances and a timer is a great idea. I am going to have to ease off slowly as even though I feel a burn out, I am so addicted!!

        The timer 30 min each day will be my start and my end goal is 30 min 2 times each week!

    • You hit every major point in this post and I’ve been through them all. My Hubs and I take mini vacations near and far away from home. Those have become my coupon breaks…except when I visit my daughter who I taught how to coupon…we have a great time going for deals and she does all the math and brainwork and I just smile and enjoy LOL !

    • Jenn

      Thank you so much Jenny! We are a homeschool family of 7. I couldn’t get everything cut and clipped and filed and knew that I was trying to keep up with what I was taught, and was “beating myself up” for that. I recently read another one of your articles that said you just put a date on inserts and file them. This has helped me so much. And since we are a Hs family, we are one-income that hasn’t increased in 10 years, so I need “every penny,” and every applicable good deal. But you are right it is OK to not be obsessed. Thank you for pointing that out. I have been trying to run our house on $50 or less/week, food, cleaning and personal. Thank you again for everything that you have done, I really appreciate it!!!

      • Jann

        I’d love to hear your tips for a family of 7 on a 50/week budget! We’re a family of seven and I coupon sparatically and try to keep it around 350/month

    • Jenny, you are amazing! You hit the nail on the head with your many points. I bought some apple dip that wasn’t on sale last week at publix. And this week it is, but I NEEDED it! So, we are couponing to help to let me go back to school. I got laid off 2 months ago, have reenrolled in college, and my husband is supporting us! He’s such a great man. So, I’m trying to do my part to save us $. Thanks for all you do on this site. It’s my go to for couponing!

    • Julie

      Thanks. I needed this! I knew I was a bit extreme when my kids kept answering one another’s requests with, “Not right now. It’s not on sale & we don’t have a coupon.” I need a little balance to splurge on them occasionally. On the flip side, your tools have allowed me to afford them many more “fun” foods that I NEVER bought before. Thanks for all you do!

      • Heather

        I could not have said it better myself! I just started couponing 3 weeks ago and my children have already marveled at the sudden selection of food in the pantry. Usually I only bought that same things over and over again. I will admit, it was pretty slim in the pantry.

        I am so glad you wrote this article, Jenny. I have been completely obsessed over the past few days looking for deals, because I am new at this and cannot stop thinking or talking about it! I have my trip planned for tomorrow and sadly, that is the highlight of my week. LOL

        • Bethany

          This article was so timely since I am new to this as well. I dreamed last night about Pop Tarts(of all things!!) since they are on sale at Publix and I was thinking of a Target printable to use with it!! That one was a wake up call that maybe this is gone a little too far :) But reading all of the other posts makes me feel not so alone! I just love being able to save so much money and get such a high! I think I need to start a group called ” coupons anonymous”.. I also need to learn that this will not be the LAST sale EVER and I will be able to buy it again. Jenny you have truly been a blessing with this sight and I enjoy it so much! Thanks for EVERYTHING you do!

        • CouponNERD

          Heather – I’ve been couponing since March, and our pantry and freezer have much more variety than ever before! And more quick and easy foods than I ever used to buy. When the Aunt Jemima frozen breakfasts are free I just can’t pass that up!
          You’ll notice as the months pass that the same things tend to go on sale, in the 6 wk cycles…. my kids aren’t quite bored with it yet, but we do still have italian ice in the freezer from 2 months ago…
          I have to remember to buy their fave cereal brands as they go on sale, not just whatever cereal is on sale. We still have 10 boxes of unopened cereal in our pantry and I’m not sure we are going to use some of them!
          Honey Bunches was on sale a few months ago and my kids like that, but somehow we didn’t use all 6 boxes!
          As a matter of fact, I need to check the expiration date and donate them somewhere if we are not going to eat them.

    • Alberta

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

      You spoke straight to my heart. I have become so obsessed with only buying items on sale that I am stressing so much when it come to going to the store and saving money…it’s not as fun as it used to be. Even though I knew it, I just need to hear (see) someone say it’s ok…to not go to the store everytime there’s a good deal or you bought an item without a coupon or the item goes on sale after you purchase. In the grand scheme of things I’m saving more money than I ever have and I’ve got to be satisfied with that. Thanks for the inspiration and knowledge that you share with all of us. Bless You!

    • Holly

      As a mom, a full time student, and work full time I do really well when time permits. I took a break at the end of the last two semesters to prepare for finals and it was a relief, and when I went back to couponing and the big savings, I walked out of the store with that smile and good feeling and remember why I love this obsession. My savings is to reward my family for standing by me through school while it has taken away from them at times. We are going to disney the week after I graduate and I am seeing to it that we don’t take away from our monthly budget.

    • Katrina

      Just a tip—When you start to feel burnout or just want to avoid it, hit ALDI for basics you “need” or to stock up with produce or items that don’t have coupons. (In my area, milk is usually 2.39, eggs are .99, 3 lb bag of apples 1.19, cereal 1.39-1.69 etc) For the most part, the prices are usually at sale level to begin with. They don’t accept coupons and they only carry their own brand, so it is a fast, fairly guilt-free place to pick up items without having to note deals or see what you “missed”. It is a good place to shop if you plan a weekly or monthly menu and don’t always want to be limited to what’s on sale at the major stores. Before couponing, I shopped ALDI and kept our grocery and household (family of 5-kids 4, 2, and newborn) to around $425–but at the end of the month our cupboards were BARE. Now I coupon using Jenny’s lists at CVS, HT, and FL and then fill in my menus from ALDI. My average since May when I started couponing is around $275 and we have a very full pantry. THANKS SOUTHERN SAVERS!

      • Bethany

        The ALDI idea is great since I do this as well. They are great about produce and I use them as a staple for things such as milk, bread, cheese and veggies and fruits. It helps save money since my family of 4 can go through about 3 gallons of milk in 5 days!!

      • Sarah P

        I also shop at ALDI for milk, cheese and produce. A great fill in store for these items.

      • JessC

        I love Aldi’s, but we don’t have one close. I wish we did…it would make grocery shopping a bit easier!

      • I love ALDIS for just this reason. I go probably once every month or so to stock up on meats alone and it saves me money PLUS the time of scouring sales/last chance bins at Krogers each week.

      • Carissa

        Yes, Aldi is a great stress-free shop. Better bargains than Walmart and no pressure to coupon.

    • Debbie

      I agree that I have been able to buy things that I was never able to buy before – however my grocery budget hasn’t gone down! I’m not able to come up with extra at the end of the shopping trip. What am I not doing? I seem to spend the same amount every week and they just keep having things go on sale that we need and use.
      Help – getting really frustrated.
      Debbie

      • Stephanie

        As your pantry builds, you will start seeing the savings. The first 2 or 3 months that is what I was thinking too – okay I am “saving” money but I don’t see it.

        It will come, and you are stocking up on other things for you pantry now.

        As it builds, decrease your budget by 5 dollars and start putting that in an envelope, after a month do 10 dollars, keep doing it and you will see the savings add up fast.

        • MW

          I agree – my budget did not go down at first, but I was buying “better” things – not really “better” but I was a store brand queen before this. Eventually you will have a stock pile and not have to buy lots of an item. I bought enough for six weeks to begin with and at first thought none of this is going to fit in my pantry! Eventually you figure it out and then you don’t have to buy 12 boxes of cereal or 15 boxes of brownies just because they are on sale.

    • Stacie

      Thanks so much for your article- it was quite timely for me! I just posted on Facebook last night that “You know you are addicted to couponing when your son has a dream that you printed 3 coupons for a FREE BABY!! Nothing like your kids to bring you back to reality! I have always been a penny pincher, but have recently gone to extremes!! I previously spent 225.oo a week at ALDI for a family of 9- I will still do all filler shopping at ALDI because dairy, produce, etc is still almost always cheaper, but I estimate saving approximatly 100.00 a week at this point- that’s alot for an already ALDI shopper. Thanks for all you do- your site is by far the best I’ve looked at!

      • Rachel

        Ha ha! Very funny. I’d love a free baby if you know where to get one!

        • Stacie

          No free babies here! We have adopted 3 and not for free- but I have definately stockpiled as we have 7 kids and the youngest are TWIN 8mo olds!! Won’t need anymore for well over 6 weeks!! :)

    • OK…..OK I am going turn off my computer now!!! This article has me pegged!

      • I’m with Kathy, DeAnn, Larissa, Grace, Heather, Ginny W., Jaime….

        I think I may goto Belk’s and buy something I don’t have a coupon for and perhaps not on sale. I feel like a rebel. LOL!!! :)

    • Grace

      BIG THANKYOU :)

    • DeAnn

      Incredibly perfect timing for me. I started in May and have been so overwhelmed the last 2-3 weeks. Now I feel relieved to know it is ok to take a break.
      Thanks!

    • Val

      The first 2 months of using coupons was exhausting. I tried to get every great deal regardless of weather it was something we needed. I have finally figured out the balance and don’t purchase items just because they are free or cheap. I try to find items that my family will use and not waste. Thanks for the advice and all the hard work.

    • becky

      good word jenny. thanks.

    • Larissa

      I too needed this. I tend to buy 62 boxes of Nature Valley Granola bars “just because,” and I’ve noticed lately that they will be on sale by the time I need them again! I also needed this before my trip to Publix tonight. I usually am at the tail end of a deal and find empty shelves when I’m shopping for a particular. Yes — the Snuggle section was totally bare tonight. However, Snuggle will go on sale again, or I can stop by Wal Mart & get it for just a few cents…..

      Your article spoke to me in volumes: “Jenny is not looking over my shoulder to see what’s in my buggy!”

    • Dani P.

      Just today someone said to me, “Saving money with coupons is just too much work.” I started out clipping every coupon and filing them away. I started to hate the coupons! I switched to filing the entire insert, saving my time and sanity. Sometimes I do get upset knowing that there’s a coupon at home for $.50, should I buy it, should I not, oh the stress. I’ve learned to let it go. But I remember being the person you described!

      • Val

        I too quickly decided clipping EVERY coupon was too time consuming. I have the inserts for quick reference. People give me inserts, so sometimes I have 5-7 of each insert. To much time. I will cut them as needed.

    • Amy

      Wow, I am so there! In between trying to buy our first home and living with my parents & 3 siblings (with our own 4 kids), I got too stressed trying to stay on top of couponing. Hopefully in a few weeks we’ll be in our own home and I will be able to have more control over the pantry and stocking up on sales. So, I’ve given myself a major break until then!
      PS. I’m sending this article to my sister BETH who needs to follow some of your suggestions LOL!

    • I so needed to read this! I’ve been on a quai-hiatus for a couple of months now. Still couponing some, but not experiencing the “high” like I once was. You are right…buying on sale is great, coupons are gravy. :)

    • I think I’m starting to find a balance by alternating weeks. The sales lately have led me to that, but I’m enjoying it. One week might be a shop-every-lunch-hour kind of week. Then the next week might mean just one quick trip to Kroger for odds and ends. I try not to do two extreme shopping/saving weeks in a row. It would feel like shopping was taking over life at that point! Thanks for this great article!

    • Julie

      i used to get stressed when shopping CVS, W, and RA. and would get very angry when i got there to find all to awesome products in the scenerios proposed were gone (i can only get there on monday). so i have given up mostly on those…I will go now and again. But now I just limit myself to two stores.

    • Amanda Carnes

      Jenny, thanks so much for the wonderful reminder:) I needed that tonight:)

    • Kristin

      Thanks for your words of wisdom! Please send this out a few times a year as a reminder to all those who tend to become engulfed!(I am guilty at times) It’s all about balance, like everything in life.

    • Looking for coupons online would be way more time consuming if it wasn’t for your site. You make things much easier for me and because of you, I don’t have to spend so much time on the computer.

      I always used coupons before, but after awhile, it seemed like it was always the same old stuff, and I wasn’t saving that much, but then I was introduced to your site and the combination of you listing and matching coupons to save more money was a light-bulb moment for me. I now save, on average, 50-60% on my grocery bills. I whine a little at the fact that you post such great deals for Bi-Lo, Publix, and Kroger– all stores that I don’t have, but having Food Lion, CVS, and rite aid make up for it, so I don’t feel too bad. I just skip over those posts so I don’t freak over such good deals that make me wanna go on a road trip! LOL

      Thanks for your website, from one Jenny to another! :o)

    • Jennifer

      Call me crazy, but I actually like couponing and shopping. It is like a stress relief for me. Granted, I am a single 22 year old, but when I have a family I will have my skills honed by then. I even go shopping for family and friends because they hate it and I love it. I really think that is what keeps me sane. I coupon because I like to, no other reason. But like I said, I am 22 and single, when I have a family I am sure I will have every reason to save money.

      • Jennifer I am with you! It is only me and my fiancee and I coupon because I like it. Its a stress relief for me, my hobby. Family ask to go with me sometimes, but I tell them no because its “my” hobby and I like doing it alone.

      • I’m married, mid-40s w/2 kids and leaving my house in the evenings to go Q-ing is my sanity break. If I couldn’t do it, I think I’d have gone batty by now!! My husband doesn’t mind b/c I come home so happy and excited about … getting 5 jars of PB for .15 cents!!! WOW!!

        • MW

          Me too! I enjoy it – I have calmed down a bit and no longer buy everything in sight just because it is on sale! After throwing out an entire thing of kid yogurt that had expired I learned to only buy what my family will actually use. I also will have great stuff for stocking stuffers this year!!

        • Cathy

          This is my “hobby” too! It relieves my stress to come home with $100 of stuff for $10! I try to help my friends and family as well, and it helps me to feel like I am helping those I care about.

          I usually only get stressed when there are extreme circumstances like when all 4 of our kids were sick at the same time a couple of weeks ago. I had already “mapped out” all of my deals and could not work them. The up side is that I got to spend time taking care of everyone and saved even more money b/c we only ate and used what we had on hand :)

    • vonda

      Thanks for the article. I buy meats and other products without coupons from our new Food Outlet in Millbrook, Alabama

      • Gina

        Where is the food outlet?? I live in Montgomery and wonder if it would be worth the drive?

      • Mrs.Litz

        You know they take coupons at Food Outlet right? We asked the other day. :)

    • Thanks so much for that last post. I am just starting off “couponing” and have already become overwhelmed. Although I love shopping for a good deal, it has overpowered my life and I’ve spent so many hours online trying to figure things out and hunt for the best deals. Thanks for the reminders…

    • Lana

      After crying because I misplaced a Kraft coupon a few weeks ago (yes, crying – my DH was speechless!)…I really needed this!

    • Mary F.

      Thanks so much. I realized this week with two family emergencies, a store to run, and kids home from school, and the monies not making ends meet, it was time for a break. The Lord answered the prayer with less sales this week in my area and Publix can wait till Monday. It also made me realize that I have been too focused on only buying sale/coupon freebies or cheapies. Mostly because of budget, but when the kids started asking where are all the veggies and fruits – it made me think!!! Thanks Jenny for all you do and to our families for supporting us!!

    • karen

      Are all of you lazy extreme coupon queens kidding me? How about all of us crazy people, who get high off the bargain, band together and end world hunger? Why don’t we just all buy 20 Sunday papers and go extra extreme? I bet if we all gave it half a chance and totally gave in to couponing we could finally put the biggest dent in world hunger that the world has ever seen. How much would it cost for all of us to ship all of our free or nearly free, un-needed items to the neediest parts of the world? Of course, we should look at unpacking those items from the cardboard boxes and what ever else needed to lower shipping cost, but the prices don’t lie. There is a deal on Ocean Spray oatmeal @ Bi-Lo this week for something like .67 cents, after coupon in Sunday papers. Imagine the damage just 20 of us, gung ho, couponers could do with a deal like that. I have my calculator right here, please allow me to do the math for you. 20 people with 20 coupons for Ocean Spray oatmeal could provide 3200 hungry people with a meal. That’s only $13.40 for product and around $1.24 in taxes, give or take. $14.64 cents for 20 people to pay for 3200 people to be fed one meal from Ocean Spray Oatmeal. If I can get 20 of you to commit, I will contact Ocean Spray and strongly recommend they match our donation in order to END WORLD HUNGER once and for all. That would be 6400 people fed off a mere $293. Who’s with me? I will commit to buy 40 Sunday papers and another 40 papers to people who live in the middle TN area. It’s all about paying it forward. We should all do selfless acts from time to time. It’s good for the soul and for karma. If we could get enough people involved, I bet I could get us some free shipping too. We shouldn’t put off ending world hunger any longer. Our children and their children will wonder why we didn’t put an end to it sooner. If we leave these things up to our or other governments, it just won’t get done. LET’S START A REVOLTION. Imagine the headlines, “Couponing Extremeist Finally Put An End To World Hunger. What will they tackle next?” It will only take a few of us to get it started. Who’s with me? I will volunteer to cover the middle TN area. Who else wants to step up and make a difference that they can be proud of?

      • MW

        Okay…I don’t know about buying 40 papers, but I do pay it forward. I donation items to the local food bank once a money. Yeah, when you are getting it for pennies it totally makes sense! Our JSL also takes donation once a month – I always take cereal, oatmeal, or something that will go farther than one canned good. I am totally with you about helping out – even when pet food is on sale the local shelter will take that :)

      • Hahahahahah!

        • Heather

          Amy, I Love you! That was exactly what I was thinking. And as for goofy nuts, I donate locally only. Just like I believe in adopting locally (if financially possible). I donate half of my overage at the end of every month. I always buy two of each item so my dd can donate to her special needy friend.
          Have fun with your revolutions, I’m sure your kind heart will find another movement by the end of the month.

      • Carissa

        I think the point is, everyone needs to find their balance. Too much of anything is never a good thing. While extreme couponing is a great technique and shows good stewardship of what we are given, and blesses those in need, it can also be an addiction, a source of frustration that takes up time and energy that should be spent elsewhere.

        Making sure priorities are lined up is important. My husband regards my couponing as my “gainful employment”; my clock-in/clock-out job (as I am a stay-at-hom mom). The money I save with couponing is my paycheck. And like every job, vacation is necessary to avoid burnout and provide respite so that we can return to work refreshed and rejuvinated.

    • Thank you, Jenny! Shopping like this surely can be addictive! Let’s face it women like the shop! And that’s a good thing because we do it for our families, but we need to be reminded every once in a while to keep it in perspective. Thank you so much for caring enough to take the time to help us keep it in perspective!

    • Excellent post, Jenny!

    • Thanks!

    • Traclyn Cook

      Thank you so much for the words of wisdom … I will take them to heart.

    • Thanks for this article Jenny, you couldn’t be more right. I’ve felt some coupon burnout lately I’ve noticed and I agree with you on all your points. I’ve had to remind myself on occasion that I can’t get every single deal out there and it’s okay to buy stuff that I don’t have a coupon for or is on sale. I know I’ve felt guilty buying things without coupons or that are not on sale before. Shopping for deals and with coupons can become addicting and overwhelming, thanks for pointing out limiting your time on the internet too. Great post!!

    • Deborah

      Jenny – Excellent post! A good reminder that any “good thing” can easily become BONDAGE – and yes, even an idol if not handled with wisdom and balance.

    • Traci M.

      Thanks for the reminder ! I took a ‘break’ last week when my daughter wanted chips ahoy and they were not on sale at the store we were at, so I relenquished and did buy them ‘full price’…..At least we are trying to remain grounded and see the light at the end of the tunnel (saving money, paying bills down, etc!) Thanks again for a great post.

      • CouponNERD

        HaHa!! I bought Pringles at FULL PRICE $1.79 in Publix the other night because my teen daughter was having a craving. The free Snuggle and $.50 fruit snacks balanced it out.
        That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway. ;)

    • Emily

      Sometimes couponing can be like dieting – you have to make your money saving tactics a way of life – whatever that suitable level is for you. Just like dieting extreme, couponing extreme can cause you to fall off the wagon.

    • Janet

      Thanks! needed that!

    • I was getting burned out on couponing at Publix. I took a week off and shopped at Aldi instead. It was a refreshing change, and I found low prices on things that rarely go on sale at Publix, like salmon and baking supplies. It was a breath of fresh air not to use a single coupon this week!

      • Andrea

        Aldi is a great store and I find myself not shopping there as much as I used to since I’ve been couponing. I try to hit them at least once a month for canned items, produce, and their flavored Fit & Active drinks. They are yummy and only .59!

    • angela

      Thanks for the article. Really hit home this week. DH went out and spent $30 on items to make himself lunch one day (turkey sandwich, salad, and V8). I got mad b/c that was like half of what i would spend for a week’s worth of groceries. But he complained I wasn’t getting the stuff he liked anymore. So I’ve scaled back a bit on the coupons. It’s OK to pay full price for things you really want and need. And then you can still match sale prices/coupons on essentials that you are OK with.

      • CouponNERD

        Ouch! I’ve gotten the same complaint from my DH/kids too… so I bought deli meat/cheese on sale at FL today.
        I tend to get fixated on only getting the deals, and forget that we are out of sandwich fixings or some other family staple….

    • Courtney

      Thank you for this. I have been feeling totally burnt out and overwhelmed! I have started filing my inserts by date and stopped clipping every single coupon. I’ve also stopped looking for IP’s too. Shopping has become a good experience again, and I can now focus on that savings high instead of the coupons that still need to be clipped or the next deal I have to do.

      For my family couponing helps us to stay within our grocery budget ($40 a week for a family of 3 including personal items, cleaning, paper goods, etc.) Like you, any money left over from the weekly grocery budget goes back into the grocery budget. It’s then used for splurge items or to stock up on really great sales (like the week I found ground beef for $1 a lb! I bought 30 lbs!)

    • chasgal

      Wow, I was just thinking about the “burnout” yesterday. Realized I have stuff in my pantry I may or may not use, just because it was “free” or only 5 cents. I have decided that if I dont use it after a month, I am going to box it up and take it to Meals on Wheels so it doesnt go to waste. (Pasta, rice, can veggies, etc). To me that’s a win-win situation!

      • MW

        That is help end world hunger!

    • Dani

      I’m on a coupon break right now. Since two weeks – fells weird and very good at the same time. I will restart today but with a different mindset. Thanks for your article. Just hit the spot for me!

    • Michelle

      AWESOME post! I’m feeling a little burned out myself. I can’t go to the store 4 days out of the week. That’s getting to be too much.

    • Erin P

      I have to agree with most of you…I’ve been feeling the burnout lately too. But at the same time, I would never give it up. I’ve had lots of mixed feelings about it in the last few weeks. It’s nice to know that it’s not just me!

    • Alicia in Summerville

      Thank you for putting this out there Jenny! I had three weeks in a row where I spent less than $10 dollars on groceries, not because I found so many great deals, but because I had stocked so much stuff, I really needed to cook through some of it before I bought more.

      Yesterday I visit my local Publix on Central Ave, and had to get a rain check for Snuggle. No biggie (they had it back in stock today). However, when the CSM told me that a woman came in first thing Wednesday morning with 30 coupons and wiped them out, I was a little ticked. Maybe she was new to couponing and did not realize that sales come around again, as do great coupons. All I could think is why would she possibly have needed 960 loads worth of fabric softner before the next round. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was new at this whole thing, put I think she needed a serious lesson in coupon etiquette, and making sure everyone gets some of the good deal instead of being greedy…

      (THUNK, THUNK). That was the sound of me stepping down off of my soap box. Sorry to rant everyone!

    • Andrea

      I went camping this past weekend and my family was teasing me about “no coupons on Sunday….you’re camping”. I missed the penny items and everything. I did manage to snag a Sunday paper late Monday night, but *gasp* didn’t even take the rubber band off of it until Wednesday.

      It was nice not to feel that need to run out for that Sunday shopping and just hike and then kick back and relax.

    • Kathy

      I’m still too new to be burned out but I did have to take a good look at myself yesterday when I forgot to get the Snugghle on my trip to Publix. My HEART was actually racing because I wasn’t sure I had time to make it back to Publix and back home before my grandchildren came to spend the night. I went flying back down there and ran in to a traffic accident blocking the road- had to turn around a go another route! OMG! I couldn’t take it knowing someone might be buying the last Snuggle. Then my gas light came on and I had to weigh the deal against the prospect of hoofing it to the gas station. Deal won! Screeched in to Publix and got the last 3 bottles! Um…not a becoming picture of myself…I will cool it a little!

    • Cathi Carpenter

      SERIOUSLY! Have you been watching me? It sure sounds like me. I’m still very new to the couponing…and still ok to get treats and goodies that my dh and ds like…but…. I do deprive us when there isn’t a coupon to be had and I HAVE TO get the penny coupon every Sunday…and that ends up frittering away a good chunk of my time…because God knows I can’t just run in and out of Publix….sigh….. I am doing everythingi n my power to NOT sort tonight…just sit on my butt, watch tv with my menfolk and just “BE”….but I hear them calling me….sigh… a constant struggle.

      Thank you thank you thank you for this article….it soooooooooo hit home for me!

    • nancy

      I love coupons it is a stress reliever for me. However, two weekends ago on sunday. my family had family day went to park played all morning then stopped on the way home AT FL to buy some staples and dinner. Had Qs but no pocket to carry them and only wanted to be 15 mins or less in store (did not take Q bag in) I gave my DH Q to hold that we were going to use. We are on the last item and I hear my oldest D say mom Karla (16mon old) just ripped the Qs. with thinking I turned and mouth opened “what the Hell” I thought my husband let her play with them.And how could he do that to me. It was an emotion “slap in the face”. My oldest who was laughing at time stopped and was looking behind me at other people. My husband explained that karla toke them from his hands. It happened Quikly. I calmed down (some) and said well I never had Ripped Qs before maybe they will still use them. The cashier did very nice. At the car my oldest said “mom, U said a bad word. I was shocked at my self I did not even relies what I had said. I asked her What I said since I could not remeber She stated “Mom you said the H word and there was other kids around. too.”
      Told them I was sorry i did not think. A few days back I wanted to run to the store with my DH he asked if i could take him home. Poor husband he speaks spanish but he would love this article.

      my dh is great too he knows it is a hobby and at work takes everyones coke caps. then if he sees Q in a store he grabs them for me. What a big heal i was that day.

    • Amen!

    • CouponNERD

      Get the coupon police, I’m going to WALMART this weekend!
      One of my kids has a prescription waiting there (no transfer q’s out right now) and we need cups/plates for a birthday party and I’m not stocked up, and a few other things that aren’t on sale anywhere right now. Maybe I should have gone to Aldi today….
      However, I did go to Publix (spent 38 saved 78) and Food Lion (spent 73, saved 53) today. I got a $1 off your next order at FL, but will use it at Publix when I go for the penny item this weekend. I mainly stocked up on meat/cheese and got pizza/chips for a party, but man that FL bill HURT! Now I remember why I don’t shop there often….
      But you know what? It’s ok because everything I bought was around by usual “buy” price and we will use it.

    • Mina

      Jenny, I’m glad that so many people took this article to heart.

      I’m a person who never did enjoy going to a store. It doesn’t matter what kind of store. I don’t get any enjoyment from buying things. It was just a time consuming chore that I would get out of any time that I had the opportunity to just write out a list and send dh or the teens to pick the stuff up.

      Couponing did make a difference. First, because it became impossible to send the others. LOL They’d get too flustered and confused. But it also made it more interesting for me because it was no longer a matter of replacing whatever staples were running low; there was a more stimulating mental aspect in the preparation and planning that got rid of the drudgery. The family also greatly enjoyed the growing variety of choices and goodies that I never would have purchased otherwise.

      That preparation time is also, by far, the most time consuming part. The novelty wore off in time, and it also eventually became drudge work when I got to the point that I felt like I MUST put in the prep time before making a trip.

      My collective posts in the Friday Finals show my own stages as I found my way through the burnout as I freed myself to buy the things we crave even though they *never* go on sale, learning that it’s okay to spend much more some weeks because no week stands alone in the budget, and beyond the point where I felt happy when I passed up *great* sales to the point where I’m not even interested unless it’s something we’ll use. They’re just missing what I would have said tonight if you hadn’t posted this. :-) I made only necessary shopping stops this week for perishables and one quick stop for needed items that don’t go on sale. From now through mid-January is the continuous holiday season when I have much more that I’d rather do, and need to do, than routine shopping.

      Shopping is a necessary chore. It’s part of living, but it is not my LIFE. Grocery and drugstore expenses are part of the budget, but have always been a comparatively small slice. Anything that makes the shopping more effective and/or more enjoyable is good, but only to the extent that it is meeting that goal. I expect the next three months to be my season for investing little time and effort in it because the greater emotional payoff comes from spending my time doing other things.

      Jenny, I thank you for cautioning those who read this. It’s nornal for people to go overboard with something new. It can be a real help to learn how to find balance early, instead of burning out to the point of giving up. I do sincerely hope that you are extending the greater message to your own life. The continuous improvements you’ve made on your blog, steady and increasing number of articles you’ve been posting, immense jumps in readership over the year, and active traveling to conduct classes, do pay off emotionally and financially. But there is an exchange in time and energy that you have available for your family and the rest of life. What I see is a blog you may have started for pleasure has become very successful and turned into a “job”. My wish for you is that you remember to keep your balance, too, and never let the job be at the expense of your real LIFE priorities. :-)

    • robin

      I want to thank everyone who commented on this article and a HUGE thanks to Jenny. I now realize I’m not alone, we should know that too. There is always someone out there who has or will have the same problem. I keep thinking I am doing something wrong since I just can’t get organized or get my groove. I wasn’t able to read each and every one of the posts, however, I plan on keeping this email and when I feel overwelmed, like today, I will read more of the comments. I also just started a couple months ago, have no kids, cuts in income and my husband had to go back on 2nd shift. Wanted to do more to save and since I had some spare time, nights are lonely, started surfing the web. Well as you well know what happened. I jumped in head first, big time. I rationalized that I would have to spend a little money (ie: coupons, newspapers, etc) to save a little money. Well it pretty much consumes my life now, along with helping a mother who is very demanding. I found this as my escape also. I really don’t use a budget or have not been able to put any more funds away than I use to I am not good at rolling the deals, because I detest shopping, so I make all my trans at one time. I’ve gotten better in stretching them to 2-4 trans to lower my OOP. Funny thing is though the other night took my mom shopping and actually bought 6 items with no coupons, usually I can’t/won’t do this, however, reached my breaking point that night not with just couponing with everything. I too bought Oreos and today still don’t care if a coupon came out or not. Today after making 2 trips to stores and I’m removing my purchases I’m thinking to myself “I didn’t think I would ever have to pinch pennies again after getting married again and having a stable job for both of us” I liked it when I didn’t have to carry a calculator everywhere I went anymore and didn’t have to wonder should I or shouldn’t I get something. I’ve gone backwards in my life style. There’s alot more,however, won’t bore you guys as you get the idea.

      Again thank you all very, very, very much.

    • Allison

      Great article. I absolutely agree that you have to take a break every once in a while. My pantry (and “drug closet” and garage) can only hold so much. Every few months we do freezer and pantry clean out and I find that to be just as fun of a “game” as my couponing. We see how long we can go without going to the grocery store at all for anything (except of course basics like milk and bread). Sometimes we can go several weeks!!!

    • Vicki Kays

      I read and re-read this article. It struck home on so many fronts. Due to the job situation, my husband are living separately in two different states for a couple of years. This year I became obsessed with stockpiling both homes as inexpensivly as possible. I attended some workshops and went into extreme couponing mode. I am saving an incredible amount of $$ and really appreciate this website for its help….but I was stacking things in the garage, laundry room, bathroom closets, overflowing freezers, etc. I regularly travel between five states to be in both homes. I’ve found myself buying newspapers in all states as I travel, checking the best deals in advance on the Internet at the different stores, and carrying groceries back and forth. It has truly become addictive. I really can’t even remember the last time I bought something NOT on sale! The final blow was in the last couple of weeks when a friend told me she thought this was a good “hobby for me,” but not for her (she’s very polite). My husband asked me to STOP talking about it so much. My own frugal mother told me I was spending too much time in grocery stores. Thank you for this timely article as permission to BALANCE once again! I especially like the point about remembering WHY we do this. It is for a goal (retirement savings for us) and not an end in itself. But please keep up the good work. I’m so glad you are there for us.

    • Cynthia

      Well stated! Gradually more and more of my routine has adjusted. My latest adjustment is that I will only go to TWO grocery or drugstores each week so I choose where I am going carefully. It’s an effort for me to pass up some of the deals, which tells me I have lost sight of my goal. We have 25 boxes of cereal for two people… definitely need to spend some time examing my goals here again and adjusting as needed.

      Thank you!

    • Lisa

      Great article! I find that every 5 or 6 weeks I have to take a break. I don’t read any savings blogs, I pull the coupons out of the paper, but don’t clip them. I make my list and go to the store. I definitely don’t get as much for my money and I always walk away remembering why I coupon! But for that week or 2, it is very freeing to just buy what I need/want, and not worry about anything else. And yes, I have lots of impulse buys, but being so infrequent, it doesn’t really affect our budget or stockpile too much! It’s just like hiring a babysitter. You get fed up/frustrated with the kids but as soon as you hire a sitter, you miss them and come back ready to try again!

    • Susan

      This website by far is the best. I just started this less than two months ago. Used to spend over 1500. easy each month for 6 of us. I have spent half that both months and my kids think I have a 24hour grocery store in the pantry. They’ve never seen so much food and varieties! I obviously hated dealing with food, groceries and cooking previously. This method has me liking meal planning and is mind stimulating.
      I knew that last week I was overboard when my husband came home with 5 grocery items totaling over 50.00. I freaked. I took them back to the store! OMG I realized what a nut I had become after this article. I got everything he needed plus 47 items later the bill was still less than 45.00.
      I do have to find my balance. I will not, cannot go back to those bills. It feels good to save, and to be able to splurge on nonfood items for the kids and not bust out the budget with miscellaneous.
      I’ve been trying to help some single mothers around me, by giving them coupons for the “deal” and teaching them.
      I don’t want this to be my hobby, so I will limit myself to how often I hit the grocery store. Everyones ideas and suggestions have been awesome and I thank you all for giving your input. It ALL has been so helpful.

    • Katie

      So I have just started doing this couponing thing seriously (two grocery trips). I always shop at Publix, and have just been spending wayyyyy too much on groceries. I have two small children and have a limited amount of time to get my shopping done sans kids (not worth it otherwise). Basically I do it either in the evenings or on the weekend at some point, and so I have concluded that I’m just not going to go to different grocery stores. I know my Publix like the back of my hand and I’ll just do the best I can there. That said, my savings for the past two grocery trips have been 27% and 31% respectively. I was hoping for more, and I hope I’ll improve with practice, but do a lot of you only shop at one store? What’s realistic average savings for an inflexible person like myself? :)

      • Erin B.

        I wouldn’t say that you are inflexible, just focused. There is not a publix near me, but it seems that there are a lot of great deals there so you really don’t have to go anywhere else to save big. The good thing about going to one store is that it takes much less time to plan one list per week. I would bet that you would see your savings increase to 50% over the next several months. You will begin to accumulate a bank of coupons, and you will also begin to stockpile items you use regularly so that you are only buying them when they are on sale.

    • brittany b

      Last night was the first time I have “couponed”. I shopped at Bi Lo and my total before savings was 272, and after savings/coupons my total was 150. I saved about 127 dollars. Since it was my first time it was kind of confusing and frustrating because some of the deal ideas on the website did not match up at my local store. So even though I saved money I am not sure how i did it, lol. Hopefully things will get easier to understand the more I do it.