In which I (fail to) become an extreme couponer

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So I decided recently that I needed a new hobby. And that hobby should be extreme couponing. I watched the show, I loved the idea of saving big money on things we use, and I loved even more the idea of getting high dollar things that I could donate for pennies. How hard could it be, right?

Turns out, it's kinda harder than it looks. I read some blogs about it, but didn't finish most of them, as I got bogged down in following a breadcrumb trail to search for stores that double and considering my position on the various coupons: buying and selling? debates. That or I just got bored. Too much instruction! I decided. I'll just figure it out myself. Print out a bunch of coupons, carry them around until the items they're for are on sale, then reap big savings!

I printed out coupons. I learned about catalinas and how you can go back and re-print once, but typically not more than that. I wrote to some companies and gushed about how much I love their stuff, then waited for the envelopes to come rolling in (one baby food company gave me three coupons for $.55 off, one gave me a half dozen free item coupons--guess which one of those I now prefer?) I liked the Facebook page and printed off some more. I filed them in a little accordion file. And then I went to Target.

At the end of my first big coupon-fueled shopping trip, I had spent $79.14 and saved $43.46. Not great, but not the huge savings I'd been hoping for. For my $80, I got:

-a pair of Merona shorts for myself
-a Merona tank top for myself
-two boxes of Kashi granola bars
-a box of Market Pantry cookies
-a tube of Gud lotion
-a box of generic Claritin
-ten Plum Organics baby food items
-two eight roll packages of store brand paper towels
-three tubes of Burt's Bees Lip Shine

Not quite the haul I'd hoped. So back to the drawing board, I guess? Are any of you great couponers? Give me some tips!


The whole thing scares me, honestly. I can barely remember to go shopping, let alone develop this extensive understanding of how to play the game so you can come home with free razor blades for a lifetime. Though that would be nice, as razor blades are freakin' expensive.

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July 2013

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