“Extreme Couponing”: Color me addicted

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As an out-of-work freelance writer/editor, couponing has become a bit of an obsession for me. And, I must admit, I definitely get a rush watching dollars subtract from my bill.

I’ve only been couponing religiously for a few months, but I think I’ve been doing pretty good. I’m steadily growing a stockpile (which is comprised for the most part of body washes and toothpaste, of which I am sure I will never run out), and I think I can now spot a really good deal when I see it.

I definitely wouldn’t call myself an “extreme couponer” like those people on the TLC show of the same name, though. I have no desire to own one bottle of hot sauce, much less 50. And since I am a family of one (unless I count my two cats, Ginger and Bella), it really doesn’t make much sense for me to accumulate more foodstuffs than I’m able to eat before they go to waste. Plus, I live in a condo and space is at a premium. I do share my bounty with my mom, and I have amassed a small collection of items I will be donating to the local food bank.

My interest in coupons was definitely piqued when I attended a free class at my local library taught by Steph, the founder of Generous Savings. Steph was so helpful and excited to share her knowledge of couponing that it was impossible for me not to get excited, too. Her enthusiasm and encouragement is infectious, and I strongly suggest you check out her site for tips/advice on the process, as well as specific weekly deals at ShopRite, CVS and Rite Aid. She is always willing to help out, too, so don’t hesitate to ask her questions.

Even my kitten, Bella, was impressed with my savings at CVS today./Photos by Ava Gacser

My trip to CVS today is a perfect example of why I get so excited about couponing. I purchased the following:

*2 Pantene shampoo/conditioners for $6.97, minus $3/2 Pantene coupon and $2 Extrabucks reward

*1 Colgate Total toothpaste for $2.79, minus $.35/1 coupon and $2 Extrabucks reward

*1 Renpure shampoo for $4.99, minus $3 Extrabucks reward

*1 Irish Spring body wash for $2.99, minus $2 Extrabucks reward

*1 CVS brand anti-itch cream for $5.99 (no sale or coupon)

*2 newspapers for $1 each

Everything I purchased was on sale, with the exception of the anti-itch cream (even the newspapers were discounted).  The order totaled $25.73 plus tax. But when the $3 Pantene and $.35 Colgate coupons – combined with $9 in Extrabucks rewards and a $4 off a $20 order or more discount – were subtracted, I only wound up paying $10.20 out of pocket.

Want to know the kicker? I received $10 in Extrabucks rewards for these purchases, so I literally got these items for free! Well, OK, I really paid $.20, but that’s as close to free as I’ve gotten so far!

The CVS cash register spit out $10 in Extrabucks for my purchases today, which makes my total out-of-pocket expenses $.20!

I only wish every one of my shopping trips was this successful!


  1. August 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    […] fact, most days are definitely not. But I am saving a lot of money when I match coupons up to store sales, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to shopping […]

  2. avagacser said,

    June 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I have been on CouponMom.com, but I mainly focus on Coupons.com, SundayCouponPreview.com, Steph’s site, GenerousSavings.com, and I also go to specific sites for products I use regularly to see if they have coupons. I definitely find myself getting impatient waiting for things to go on sale at the store (I typically visit two different grocery stores and two different drugstores), and sometimes I never find that great of a deal to use certain coupons. I loved it when Pathmark was doing triple coupons because even stuff that wasn’t on sale you could get cheap. But I don’t think deals like those come along very often. And hey, Kathleen – 45-50% off is nothing to scoff at! Most of the time I’m happy when I get $17 or $20 off a $100 order! Try not to compare yourself to the people on “Extreme Couponing” because, like the title of the show, they’re extreme examples.

  3. avagacser said,

    June 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    You’re welcome and thanks, Steph!

  4. steph said,

    June 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Wow Ava, awesome Job and thanks for all the compliments!!! I am so proud of you …you are doing awesome!!! you write very well too!

  5. boyonabudget said,

    June 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Are you using sites like couponmom.com t ofind the free deals and coupon dates? Good luck. I’ve never been able to save more than about 45-50% and I’ve been trying for 6 months or more.

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