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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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How to avoid getting burnt out on couponing.

This week we’ve had a lot of posts on getting started couponing the “real” way.  Now a post for all of you that have been at this for a while… how to not get burnt out (or how to work through it).  This is actually a post from almost two years ago, but sometimes it’s good to dust things off.

With couponing it is very easy to grow tired.  You may feel like you are stuck in a rut or confined to only buying items that have coupons.   With all activities, we can get too involved. It’s something that can save a lot of money, we consider it a good addiction but really we can be setting ourselves up for exhaustion.

First, 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 stay focused on the point here 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 room for a splurge into your budget. 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.

My tip: I set a timer for 30-45 minutes, when the timer goes off I’m done.  Whether I have cut all the coupons or not it doesn’t matter.  It is more important to me that I focus on my kids and not getting frustrated.

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 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.  If I have extra money in the food budget at the end of the month, to help not get fatigued with coupons, it 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.

In case you missed any of the other posts this week:

Getting Started Couponing
Gathering Coupons
Putting it All Together
Using Mail in Rebates

    • Hailey Hurst 22

      Loving this series! Thanks for your help and hard work!

    • Rae

      Love, love, love this article. Thanks for reposting. I haven't bought a newspaper in *GASP* two months because I got so tired of all the regional differences (Gainesville, FL). I used to buy two every Sunday…but realized I was wasting time by storing and labeling the inserts because 75% of the time we get a lower value q or none at all. I switched over to just IPs or the mailouts and it has been great! I still save TONS just by knowing what's on sale before I head to Publix. Bless you, Jenny…and all your fans that submit tips, too.

    • Teri

      Thanks Jenny, This is me all the way. Thinking I need to catch every single sale. It gets exhausting because I have three kids (4, 2, and 6 months). Just thinking about it sometimes just makes me want to stop couponing but I do not ever want to go back to paying full price for anyting. Couponing is like my me time also and I don't get much of that. I am very addicted to COUPONING.

      • Sue

        My thoughts exactly!

    • Hasims

      I was starting to get a bit burnt out….and then a 'miracle' occured.  My 16 year old daughter realized she could get her favorite gum for .15 a pack with a coupon I had found online. One evening I came home from a 12 hour shift at work and she had clipped, sorted, and organized all of the coupons from multiple Sunday inserts and had also found some good ones online for things we use and printed them out.  My 14 year old son has since started helping as well.  *Heaven*!!!!  I get a break, and they learn the value of the coupon!!!  Win-win.  Recruit your kids, if you can!

      • Ap17182

        love it.  my two youngest love to help clip coupons and find the ones we are using that day too.  it is nice to have the help.

    • Albert_The_Gator

      I really like the “timer” idea for scouring internet coupons/deals.  It really does make sense to limit the amount of free time spent doing this.

    • Nonna Beach

      Great post Jenny ! I remember reading it before but it was a good reminder.

      I just recently posted about my own burnt out experiences. Sometimes it's good to step back and take a break. I usually do when my Hubs and me take mini vacations and getaways, then I'm fresh when I come back. I'm still working my way out of my last burn out…doing little deals here and there and not stressing on what I'm missing. I also have stopped getting multiple papers and when I want to stock up now, I order clipped coupons from a clipping service…so worth it !

      • Mcmurrayfamily

        Which coupon service do you use and where are they located?

        Leah

    • Shenna

      Lovely! Very good tips

    • Naomi

      Oh, Jenny! Thank you so much! What a timely article. I was just crying to my husband about how I hadn't used a coupon in over two weeks because there just weren't any deals on the items we needed! God Bless!

    • Rlynn103

      I love Jenny's approach to couponing and saving!  Everything in moderation!

    • Kenia

      Very well said it! I’m psychologist and a couponer! I love the way a save money for my family (5). Because I decided stay at home while my baby get bigger! I also have the necessity to work as a volunteer in my church! That’s mean that I need time to do it too!  People don’t need to be a Psychologist to know when something is getting unhealthy!, when there’s a necessity to get a break!…Congratulations  and thanks because you also think not just teach others the way to have more on their stomach and their pockets, also to help others how to maintain mental health!

    • Tina

      You're a breath of fresh air.  It's exhausting sometimes when you see how couponing just takes over peoples lives, even over their families.  I love the way look at things very sensibly.

    • Peggy

      Thanks for a repeat of the article, Jenny.  Since my husband qualifies for the senior discount at Publix, we head out early Wednesday mornings to do our shopping.  I will sometimes find later in the day or week that there was a better or additional coupon on something I already bought and I've been mentally “beating myself up” for not getting the best deal.  I needed to hear what you had to say.

    • I loved this article the first time around almost as much as I love it today. There are so many people eager to learn the ropes who assume you walk in one day and everything is free….forever. Balance is the key. Thanks for the reminder! I will definitely be sharing this with my group.

    • Mandasparkle

      Thanks for this post, I needed to read it. I feel like I'm starting to get burned out with coupons/deals/saving money, so I will keep this article and re-read it from time to time. We usually only shop at one store instead of trying to shop at several stores. Also, does it seem like to anyone else the sales are not as good this year or is it just because of prices going up on food? Has anyone else noticed the sales are not as good this year in your area too?

      • Hasims

        I am wondering if it isn't because of that stupid show.  So many people are trying to coupon and get thins for 'free' now that I think the manufacturers AND the stores are trying to put the brakes on it a bit to discourage some of the less serious people.  Last Sundays coupons and ads were awful!!!  :-(

        • Luci

          Some stores have actually been easier for me.

          As for the prices and coupons, per the general news. Companies were trying to get people to buy as things slowed. As costs have increased, many aren't offering as many incentives because they are trying to keep profits by offering fewer deals instead of passing all of the costs in higher prices (higher than we already see).

          hope I said this clearly. Two small kids around.

    • I WANT THAT GIRL'S HAIR! My red hair comes from a bottle. ;)
      Okay, back to topic. Good advice all around. I have been a bargain shopper all my life, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes not. Sometimes I use coupons, sometimes I don't. I am using coupons now, but who knows if I will a year from now? If I don't, so what? If you get burned out on couponing or just don't have the time as has happened to me many times (such as the time I was working a full-time job, 2 part-time jobs, and freelancing!) there are other strategies. When I didn't have time to shop for bargains or coupon, I did most of my shopping at Aldi and Wal-Mart. At Aldi, I didn't have to choose among brands. They have one brand and that's it. I knew what was good and what wasn't. What I couldn't get at Aldi, I would get at Wal-Mart or wherever I had time to go. 

      The advice about shopping at one store most of the time works for me. My mother was disabled and could not work but she was an expert at combing through all the sale ads and finding the best deals. The problem was that it might involve me and my dad going to 3-4 different stores and being totally exhausted by the time we were done. I prefer doing most of my shopping at one store that is very close to where I live, thought I will venture farther for a good sale. For example, I rarely shop at Harris Teeter, but I did go there yesterday to unload a bunch of coupons during their super coupon promotion. 

      There are all kinds of ways to save money and couponing is just one of them.

      • That is my middle child, all my girls have the same color hair (as does my husband and most of his family)!  I want it too since I'm the only one that doesn't fit in around here!!

        • Jen in GA

          I had to double check when I saw this picture because she looks exactly like my daughter!!!

    • Sally gott

      So true. When I get tons of things b1g1 I can get that special item I wanted that wasn't on sale and I don't feel bad about it. It's a happy balance

    • Clarkwoman

      I need that but we have a budget of roughly $170 a week for food, gas, anything extra… that sounds like a lot at first but almost every week it is never enough to do everything for a family of 6! I don't know how we always end up short when that SHOULD be plenty?! Add to that the stress of just being sick and tired of the same old sales…I'm just at a blah point right now with it all. (and I do save 50% plus every month)

    • Mel

      Oh my goodness… is that your daughter?  She could be a twin to my 6 year old daughter!

    • vtthomas

      Thanks, Jenny, for the awesome reminder!  I felt some of my own issues coming to light when you mentioned being “confined to only buying items that have coupons.”  I was just talking to my husband last night about how I don't want couponing to feel like a jail sentence.  I asked him if there was anything he wanted me to add to my grocery list, but he said no.  I didn't want him to feel like he was missing out because I stick to buying items that have coupons.  Though I do get that little feeling of anxiety deep down inside over paying a more for an item when I know I could get it cheaper later, I feel much better knowing I am saving on everything else!

    • VanessaCook

      I can relate to the “buying things I need” part. About 8 months ago I bought Viva Paper towels for $2.50 for an 8 pack. 3 weeks ago we ran out of toilet paper and I am not willing to pay much for it, so we have been using the paper towels…good think it was the extra soft kind that I got such a good deal on:)

      • Bee

        Hope you are not flushing the paper towels.

      • Rae

        Oh, goodness – one visit by the plumber will not only erase any savings but will put you in the hole!!

    • Bambi

      When I took my coupon box on vacation with me I realized I had a problem so yesterday before my grocery store trip I didn't spend hours doing my homework, instead I spent about 20 minutes.  I saved only 37% on my groceries yesterday and I realized that was okay b/c 37% savings was more than I saved a year ago! I also have not visited Walgreens or CVS in 2 weeks (except for a prescription) and I didn't even look at the sale paper.  I actually read a book yesterday (all day) and have not printed any online coupons since before vacation.  We have plenty in the pantry and I am not stressing about coupons for the first time in months and it feels good.

    • crap this took 5 min of my internet time about coupons, lol, just kidding.. After reading this i have come to the conclusion “i got it bad” What a great article… 1-4 were ALL me… still after 6months

      • kimmie

        Me too. I have always done the couponing thing…but not to this extreme. I have done it for 20 years and never knew I could use a store and manufacturer coupon until a couple of months ago. Strange thing is…we don't eat alot of what the coupons are for…but I still buy if they are a great deal and give thm to the food bank.

    • Afretz1

      Beautifully said! I find that if I buy what is on sale, i still get the thrill of saving. Coupons are wonderful, but I find I need to focus on what we really use or really want. If not, I end up buying random stuff that I can't even begin to work into the weekly menu :)

    • Kcreviews

      I must admit I saw myself in more than one of those statements…it is so hard to “chill out” and not go crazy with the couponing. I love it. I'm not getting burned out. But I have decided that I will at least give up going to Walgreens (unless I just cannot pass it up). It's my least favorite store and it does cause a lot of frustration. I avoid FL every other week as well.

      Funny you posted this today, because I tried to use an expired RR at Wags today (I didn't realize it at the time) and the cashier told me I couldn't use it. I nearly passed out. I had to tell myself over and over that I was saving a lot and that $5 was not going to break me considering all the money I've saved. It about killed me though.

    • Donna

      Thank you so much for this post.  I have used coupons for years, but sometimes it can become so cumbersome.  I am generally a one store shopper and have recently made the switch from Kroger to Publix.  I have realized that shopping truly is a pleasure at Publix.  Their customer service cannot be beat, especially during the summer when my kids have to go with me to the grocery store.

    • Dee

      GREAT post and great suggestions. I especially like the signs of burnout. I didn't even realize I was doing half of these things until I read this. As of now, couponing is an outlet to “get away” from my daily life (I am a SAHM to a child with special needs and many health problems). I use the time to go shopping as my mommy and friend time and save loads of money to help pay for the medical bills, but I do still need to find a balance between my coupon life and family life. :) Thanks for the info.

    • HSMom

      I found myself starting to “burn out” back in April.  I had been couponing with every ounce of energy for about 6 months straight.  I felt like I couldn't make a purchase without a good sale and a coupon. Spending hours trying to find the best deal, cut coupons and plan trips quickly became an obsession and stressful.  Just in the last 3 week have I MADE myself back off.  I've been much more relaxed and am even enjoying the extra time with my girls (who are teens).  Now my couponing trips seem more fun and enjoyable even if I don't get the absolute best deals.

    • Thank you so much for the site, the posts and for sharing all that you have learned. I am new to couponing (about 3 weeks) and all this weeks posts were so great for me. This last post was what I needed as I was struggling with keeping couponing in balance (the right priority) with the rest of my life.

      Thank you, thank you.

    • Sarah

      Wow, I really needed this right now.  I have been giving myself a hard time lately because my coupon binder is so disorganized, and because I'm getting to sales late, after all the super-couponers have cleared the shelves. (Don't get me started on the shelf-clearers.)  I work full time and we just moved, so I told myself this morning it is time for a coupon break. I started couponing a while back when I got so tired of going to the store every week. I needed something to encourage me back into going, as I had hit a wall mentally and was dealing with some serious depression about other matters in my life.  Surprisingly, clipping coupons along with shopping deals was a good solution: it got me back in the habit of shopping again, and getting a good deal was a great boost to my mood. I definitely quit trying to hit every store each week.  Now I just shop the circulars and pick one store that has the best deals.  It is very easy to burn out on this if you let it!

    • Bakerhomeschool

      I experienced burnout last summer and really nearly quit couponing altogether (except for HT Super Double).  I really appreciate all the work that you do for this site(it makes my job so much easier) and for these Real Extreme Couponing articles….especially this one.  Thank you!

    • ChelleK

      thanks again for REAL insight. This has hit “home” with me this week — still struggling to strike a balance between all things. thanks for always giving us the REAL perspective on savings – not “extreme” craziness!

    • KeavensCoupons

      My burnout is not simply from couponing TOO much. I”m getting sick of going to the stores for my deals and there being NOTHING LEFT! I thought it was because I could only go later in the week (thursday or Friday) but I went yesterday and every shelf was empty of what I wanted! Do I seriously have to start going at 5 or 6 AM on Wednesday? I love couponing, I love the money I save for my family, I love the thrill of it, I even love the organizing parts… But this is seriously ruining it for me! Why does everyone have to buy out the shelves? Are they using it? Or simply hoarding food and groceries into every nick and cranny in their house?

      • Luci

        Check and see if the store offers rainchecks so you can shop after the sale period with your coupons.

        • I agree! I often get rainchecks, then turn right around and use them the next week when I go for the next sale. Takes the stress right out of not finding the great deal in stock if I know I can just get it next week…

    • Almsw119

      Thanks!  I am always trying to thing, I am not trying to be a “crazy” person, I am trying to do better.  Now, when I leave the grocery I spend $50 to $60 instead of $100 or more.  I will work in what is needed at the grocery, but I flip out when my husband wants to add things on at CVS!  Ha!  He does not even ask anymore!  If I Need something, I will just buy one until it goes on sale, and then I can stock up again.

      • Chris

        LOL!  Just let him know “Honey, it's a better price somewhere else” and remind him of the money you've saved couponing and he'll really stop!  I'm so happy to have cut my grocery expenses from 2-300 a week to 2-300 a month – it's so awesome!

    • I am on a low-carb diet, so I don't really get to have the significant savings that many of you have at the grocery store. Buying something that's just on sale without a coupon (like my meat and produce) isn't that bad.

      • Darla

        I'm on a low-carb diet too!  I agree about the meat.  I buy it on sale and that's good enough.  Do you have any tips?  I have one… buy some La Banderita low-carb wheat tortilla shells.  Spread pasta sauce on them, add your favorite meat toppings and cheese.  Spray your pan with a cooking spray.  Bake until the tortilla shell becomes crisp.  It's delicious :)

        • Luci

          Don't have that brand, but I do want to try idea. We are trying to cut back on corn products, especially corn syrup. Been eating multigrain tortillas and heating them with a crepe pan. May try baking tortilla for a taco pizza..

      • 7308cls

        don't forget those rainchecks- it sure will pay off when some produce is not in season

    • Konnie

      I needed this… I LOVE the freshly prepared sushi they make at my local store, but I haven't been buying it because it never goes on sale.  Yesterday I bought some anyway just because I NEEDED it, but felt guilty.  Now I don't!  Thanks!

    • Michelle

      I have only been doing this since February, which is a relatively short time!  And boy do I feel so stupid for not doing this before!! I know that it is important to use coupons in conjunction with sales, but in this article you were talking about working in requests.  I get lots of coupons for snack items that don't seem to go on sale.  I don't seem to be buying a lot of snacks these days for this reason, and my children are COMPLAINING! ;-) Should I use the coupons I have for snacks even though the item isn't on sale, or should I hold on to them until (if ever) there is a sale?

      • 7308cls

        one of the best things i have learned is thats it's ok to let it expire– i used to feel like i needed to use them up and would run all over the place to get the best deal–now i chill i hope they won't expire and what do ya know most of the time in the 11th hour i end up getting it for free and there is plenty on the shelves because everyone else has used their coupons already!!  my kids ask for different things every now and then and i explain when it's a great price i promise to buy bunches but i have changed their snacks on a regular basis and made it a fun thing to see what kind of “new and great thing” mom got for them this week–and if it happens to be something they are not crazy about – it gets passed to Dads take to work box–i stick to mainly 1 groc store and if their is something great at cvs or wal or rt aid-i usually take it to walmart to price match–for stock reasons

    • Rgnurse911

      Couponing is just like anything else.  I lost 128 lbs.  To keep that weight off every once in a while I have to “splurge” on some calorie laden item.  If I only eat good things all the time then in the end I am going to get burnt out on it and splurge on everything.  That is exactly how I look at couponing too.

      • kimmie

        Wow!!!! Congratulations on the 128 lb loss!!!!! That is great!!!

    • Chris

      Thanks for this series Jenny!  It's great to see a reminder that it's still OK to buy when it's not on sale and no coupon – don't deprive yourself or you won't want to continue couponing.  Thanks again – this site has been great!!

    • Luci

      Ahhhh…… Thank you for the perspective :)

      Last year I'd clip every coupon from the newspaper insert until I heard you say you keep your inserts intact and file them by the week. Since I don't always see the coupon matches with the sales, I created an index from the coupon preview to place in front of each set of inserts. This saved me hours of time. Now I only clip the ones I'll use.

    • Amy

      I've felt burnt out for a few weeks. I've not gotten a lot of deals lately because of it. I went to kroger last night and only saved 38%. I felt awful about it. Like I spent too much. But it was all on sale so I guess it could've been worse. Thanks Jenny for all you do. This site has helped me stretch my food budget to include a lot more things.

    • Sporksoma

      I find that the one thing that keeps me from getting burned out is to not keep a coupon binder.  I was spending SO MUCH TIME clipping coupons and putting them in the binder, then going through the binder and getting out the expired coupons, that I was dreading Sundays because it meant more coupons to add to the binder.  I don't have as many coupons floating around in my house now, I just have everything in one business envelope sitting in my desk drawer.  If I want multiples of a coupon, I get them from a clipping service or ebay.  I know exactly what coupons I have and what I'm going to use them on, instead of hunting through a binder.  I miss out on some sales at the store (especially the clearance finds) but usually it's just stuff I don't need, anyway.  Since giving up the binder I've not had any sort of coupon burnout and instead of it taking hours every day each week, it takes me an hour every day each week, give or take.

    • Bargainqueen7

      I love this post!!!  I have been feeling less than excited about getting ready for trips so it made me feel a lot better!

    • Thanks for this reminder. I have been going to the store every few days (and without coupons!) for the last several weeks. I know my grocery budget has been taking a hit, but sometimes, you just need a break! I have a big shopping trip planned for the middle of July, so it's time to hit those coupons again!

      My husband has to have sugar-free and he loves strawberry syrup to add to his milk. The only place that sells it is publix and it is hardly ever on sale and I have never seen a coupon for it and it costs more than the regular syrup. BUT, because I save so much with my coupons, I am happy to give him his little piece of heaven in the form of strawberry milk! Even when it's NOT on sale and I don't have a coupon.

      • Teri

        Wal-Mart also sells strawberry syrup. That's where I get my kids one from.

    • Nickieal

      Thks for the repost this article really took away that addictive feeling of couponing. Where you can't wait to rush to the store to pick up an item because you found a coupon printable, and a sale ad, that makes the item free… oh and it's on an item that you never uesd or even thought about using…but, it was free, lol:)

    • robin

      Today I was at the store to pick up a new weather radio.  Ours went on the fritz last night during 5 tornado's touching down around us.  Yes, it was at the very top of the list, first thing this morning.  While I was in the store I said to myself, oh a bagel with cream cheese sounds sooo good.  I went over to the dairy case and saw that the cream cheese was $2.00 for one package.  I walked away because I know that  I should not pay more than .50 for this.  Well about 5 minutes later, I went back over and picked up the cream cheese and a pack of bagels.  If that is my biggest splurge ($4.00) I think I am doing a wonderful job of stockpiling our savings account.  
      In reality I had to unforeseen cost today.  The radio and the nagging craving.

    • SuperSavingMama

      LOVED this post!!  It can be easy to get in a rut.  So many bloggers push the ” I want it for free or nearly free” line that I think it overwhelms those who are just starting to think they MUST do it that way too or they aren't really saving.  My grocery goal is always 50%.  When I save more I'm pleased.  When I save only 40%….I do not burst into flames! I purchase items my family NEEDS and wants and don't hold myself to an “extreme couponing” standard…we all know that's not reality!

    • Msmarshun01

      Amen sister!… Amen

    • Evangeline

      I completely agree! I've been a couponer since college and learned to just try my best and not get obsessed with it. Just yesterday I opened the cupboard door and realized it is filled with things my family will eat and enjoy. I'm probably spending about the same, but I'm actually buying more. I felt like it was a blessing to my family. But a word of caution: Don't be fooled by receipts that say you saved  80%. Unless you deposited the actual dollars saved then it really isn't 'savings'.  Take those dollars and do something wise, smart of fun with them. And most of all, only do it if it doesn't stress you out.

    • wendypledger

      Jenny, you are so right. That's how I do it too. I have been couponing for 21 years and there have been ups and downs. It's a way of life for me, but if we want something we get it. I average saving around 50%. Sometimes it's a lot more, sometimes it's a lot less, but I don't thinks it's worth driving myself crazy over every sale. Thank you for all you do!!

    • Meredith

      Thank you so much for the post!  I have laid low with my shopping over the last couple of weeks and I am feeling this odd sense of guilt.  I am trying to work some of the “competitive” feelings about shopping out of me.  Ha.  I compete to buy products that I end up donating to my local homeless shelter….LOL.  I printed out your post to hang near my computer.  I love your site!  I am up in Washington State but you always have such good information!  Thank you!  Meredith

    • Sjlo76

      Awesome post!

    • Denise

      Ok I don't know if this is where to post this but I'm really bummed out.  I started couponing about 1 year ago.  So I did a comparison from the last year to the year before when I wasn't couponing.  I added all my dining out, fast food, groceries and household items.  The amount was literally a $16.42 difference.  Granted I do have a lot stocked up but it's not a crazy amount like on the t.v. show.  Any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong??  Any words of advice??

      • Chris

        Did you take your savings from grocery and household, year over year, and use it elsewhere (ie. tended to splurge more on groceries or ate out more)?  If you take the money saved and use it elsewhere keep in mind you're still saving because you were able to apply elsewhere what you would have normally spent on day-to-day items.

        I certainly don't have any extra money but I have been able to afford to pay more on my credit cards this year vs last since couponing more heavily (because I have a lot of stuff stocked up and don't need to buy).  Keep that in mind when factoring how much you're saving and you'll probably see you're saving more than you thought.

        • Denise

          Yes I took year vs year.  I saw that our fast food and restaurant went down (because I am cooking more at home since I don't work now) but grocery/household went up.  Now if I look at my stock, I have more toothpaste, razors, shampoos, etc then I ever had before but if I bought those really cheap then it shouldn't make that much of a difference.  Maybe I need to make a master list of all the stuff I buy and price shop at each store.  Maybe the stuff I buy that is not on sale is eating up all my savings.

          • The difference that I've noticed with couponing is the quality of food that I now get. Before I used to go into the store and try to find the cheapest of everything. Now I get name brands and healthy choices (whole wheat bread and pasta instead of white bread since it was cheaper). While what I spend is not drastically different, the quality of food that my husband and I now eat is.

            • Meredith Medved

              I agree with you on this one!  I love that I can save money on quality namebrand products!  I also love trying new products and it seems that some of the best coupons are for cool new products.  This makes the time invested worth it!

      • Denise

        Yeah I've been thinking our family has needed more allergy medicines and other medicines.  I am getting better quality stuff too.  Also I think in the beginning I bought stuff that may not have been as cheap as I get it now just because I didn't have a stock pile.  I'll have to look a little closer, maybe month by month will help.

    • Hubbardca

      I know I'm missing some sales this week, but I want to spend time with the kids instead.

      • Hubbardca

        Okay, I did just go out to get a few deals; great prices and I took the kids. Safeway had b2g2 golfish, some of which had peelies on them.

    • Melissapepin

      Im really glad that I read this post today. Im fairly new to couponing (only been at it for 2 months now) but the amount of money Ive saved has been incredible. Because I started couponing, we have started eating home more (thus saving money), and paying more attention to what we actually buy at the store. I have had a few successful trips where I have saved anywhere from 40-65% and I had one planned for yesterday at Publix (Im a Kroger'er…so I was venturing into Publix because I had their circular and paired it with my current coupons). This was going to be a GREAT one for me. 2 gillete razors, 6 shampoo/conditioners, 3 large crest mouthwashes, pasta sauce, Solo cups/plates, etc. I had it mapped out that I would walk out paying around $31 for over $85/$90 worth of stuff. I get to publix…grab my cart (with kids in tow) and get to the first item….not on sale. Get to the 2nd item….not on sale. Then I realized that my local newspapers mid week publix insert was an old one by mistake. The sale ended Wed. night…and I went on Thursday morning. I WAS SOOOOOO upset. I had done all this planning and was SO excited to go and have this big trip full of super discounts and coupons and free items…and walked out with nothing. Then I came home and saw this article and felt a LOT better. The sales will come up again and i will be able to cash in next time. Thanks for putting it all into perspective…it kind of made me realize how kids get so wrapped up in video games (or me with the coupon game)…a liiiitttllle obsessive. shesh. :)

    • Lesliebarnes8

      I am so glad to have read this article.I started couponing years ago but not on the scale I am at now.My husband is already going a little nuts,but I have had worse hobbies.lol.Anyway,I have an OCD personality so it's nice to hear that I am not the only one taking couponing to extremes haha.I am going to chill out a bit because I am running out of room and we are not going to be needing anything for awhile. I knew I was about to burnout when I got this weeks ads and was HAPPY that there wasn't anything good on sale( except Kraft salad dressing .49 cents ea.,I will have to get that) At any rate I am glad I am not the only one that gets a little coupon crazy….Happy 4th everyone

    • Linda S

      Thanks Ginny! I needed to hear that. I'm burnt out.

    • Linda S

      Thanks Ginny! I needed to hear that. I'm burnt out.

    • kimmie

      I can say this too helped me :) I have couponed for 20 years and up until 2 months ago I did not know you could use a store and manufacturing coupon for oneitem. Now the problem is that I have no young kids at home…so alot of the coupons don't applyto our eating habits. I am enjoying doing this unbelievably so I have 3 goals…1-I give the food to the food banks  2-I am getting the hygeine stuff together for gift bags for the residents of the local nursing home and 3-Our local animal shelter now looks forward to seeing me come in about once a month with loads of food, bones, treats and litter for all our homeless animals…and the animals also know what I have :) So…even though I don't use some items there are people and animals loving my new addiction :)

    • Anth3nA

      *mine's a lil off subject*  I don't like being compared to other couponers and everyone's definition of extreme is different. For instance, one of my girlfriends at my job does the coupons too but she likes to buy 40 of an item at a time and saves like 90%. While i'm very proud of her, love her to pieces but me? …. I dont take that route. I save 50% to 80%, depending on match ups and what not but i fill my cart all kinds of stuff. I get produce and meats that don't normally have coupons manufactured for them, i get the DiGiorno's pizzas with wyngs or cookies and paper towels and cleaners, shampoos. ect… and i only buy up to 18 of an item, to stock for the three months or so between great deals and that was only one time with the Rice A Roni's. Normally i keep it to like ten or ballpark but they were BOGO and i had coupons that stated b3g1 free that rang up for 2.00 so i got 18 rice and 6 Pasta Roni's. We eat a lot of that stuff, so its worth it. Anyhow lol ppl say i'm not extreme cause i pay $31 bucks for $165 dollars worth of groceries. I think that's darn good!! I normally pay like $16 to $35 bucks on like apx $40 to $170 worth of groceries and i feed four ppl for that. Just because i don't get out for free doesn't mean a thing to me, i'm darn proud of me too, i don't see how one's better that the other… Savings are savings and whatev you can save is amaze!!!

    • Jsparks052008

      Thank you so much for all your insightful information!!! I am new to this and I am finally catching on. I know my family is truly going to benefit from using all of the awesome tips you've given!!!

    • WornOutinTN

      It's nice to read this.  I've been couponing for about a year.  I enjoyed it so much, until the extreme couponing show started….  now there is so much competition that it's more of a chore than exciting.  I've really slacked off this summer because I just don't have the heart to be disappointed again and again by the empty shelves.  I'm hoping that as stores put more limits on, that the fun part of it will come back.