Rasha over at the AFC Blog wrote an article that I loved and thought I would share over here. These are all her words, but I had to steal it and share it with you all.
Here we go again. The TLC show Extreme Couponing returns to TV the end of September. While we certainly love shopping with coupons, there’s no doubt this show has caused unrealistic expectations, especially among new couponers.
Let’s Get Real
Couponing WILL save you money. But Extreme Couponing is not the best way to do it. Truth be told spending hours loading up a cart, keeping track of hundreds of coupons, and overwhelming cashiers is likely to just lead to a lot of hassle and ugly looks.
Start Small, Then Keep It Real
If you’re new to couponing, start small with just a few coupons and a few deals so you’re certain to get them right. Then once you get the hang of it, sure get more deals, but let’s keep it real. Who really needs more than 1 grocery cart per shopping trip? (Unless you have 10 kids, then we totally understand.)
Don’t Expect Couponing to Always Mean Free Stuff
Yes, we all like free deals, but you can’t live off of them. All couponers DO pay money for groceries, the TLC show Extreme Couponing just likes to focus on the freebie deals. You can’t expect using coupons to always mean you’ll get things for free. Hello, saving 25% or 50% off is plenty of success!
What You Don’t See on TV
Keep in mind they only show on TV these shopper’s most extreme shopping trips, you don’t see that next week they’re back at the store buying milk, eggs, bread, meat, and produce and spending *gasp* almost full price!
Extreme Couponing is Extreme Work
The people you see on Extreme Couponing spend 30 to 60 hours per week on couponing. Do you have that kind of time to devote to couponing? If you don’t put in the effort you can’t expect the same rewards. It’s called extreme for a reason.
The Point of Couponing – To Cut You Grocery Bill
The truth is anyone can use coupons to reduce their grocery bill. You don’t have to be extreme to save money. So be smart, shop with coupons and seek out the best deals, but keep it real by expecting to save some money, rather than expecting to never pay for groceries again.
Not knowing the rules of couponing and misinterpreting the shopping tactics on Extreme Couponing has caused plenty of problems. No wonder couponers are complaining about the show. When people misuse coupons they affect all couponers. Now, let’s get the facts on the myths new couponers take away from the Extreme Couponing show.
Extreme Couponing Myths & Facts
Myth: I can use multiple coupons for the same item.
Fact: You are allowed to use 1 manufacturer coupon per item. Some stores will allow you to use 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 store coupon per item.
Myth: I can use all the coupons I want.
Fact: Some stores have limits. For example, at Walmart you are only allowed to use 40 coupons per transaction/shopping trip.
Myth: I can use as many identical coupons as I want.
Fact: So you have a stack of coupons all for the same product, for the same amount off, they’re all the same coupon offer. Be aware that some stores limit how many “like” or “identical” coupons they will accept in one transaction. Also, some coupons now have limits written in their fine print, for example, P&G coupons now say, “Limit of 4 like coupons in same shopping trip.”
Myth: I can print as many coupons as I want.
Fact: When you print internet printable coupons you have to download a little piece of software often called a “Coupon Printer” before you can get the coupon. This software tracks your printing (just your coupon printing, nothing else). Coupons are limited to 2 per computer.
Also, you can NOT make copies of internet printable coupons. Each one has a unique code. If you try to make copies of your coupons you are committing serious coupon fraud and could face legal punishment. Just don’t do it.
Myth: I can use my coupon on anything made by the brand listed.
Fact: Read the wording. If it says the coupon is for ANY product of that brand, then yes, you can use it that way. If it says a particular type or size then you can only use the coupon on those listed items. If it mentions items excluded, then you cannot use it on any of those items.
Myth: All stores work the same.
Fact: ALWAYS learn each store’s coupon policy before beginning to shop with coupons. They do vary and you must stick to the rules if you want to save money with coupons. Check the forum on AFullCup for your store to find coupon policy info.