How to Use Coupons Without Being Extreme


Have you been watching the new season of Extreme Couponing?  It is interesting to watch how much the people featured are saving and how they are hauling bags and bags of groceries for only a few dollars.  Is this realistic?  Is it really possible to save that much on groceries?

While it is possible (as filmed with high suspense on the show), there is a lot that happens behind-the-scenes that we do not get to see.  In order to prepare for the shopping trips you see on the show, the people featured spend many, many hours planning and organizing their coupons and deals to get the results you see.

Personally, I do not want to spend that much time cutting coupons.  Instead, I have come up with a system that works for me to still save money, but in a shorter amount of time.  I spend about 1-2 hours per week planning and preparing for my shopping trips, and although I don’t save 95% off my bill, I have cut our spending significantly since following these steps I provide at The Spirit of Saving.  Decide for yourself what works for you and your family, and go with it!

Key steps:
  1. Each week, I flip through the inserts and cut out only the coupons I know I will use, are of high value, or are for products that I might be interested in buying – usually about 10% of all the coupons.
  2. I date and file the remaining inserts and organize the coupons I did cut out in a little coupon organizer.
  3. Each week, I look through the ads for the best prices on the items I need and price match at my favorite store.
  4. Many awesome blogs post coupon matchups for stores, helping you match the sale prices with available coupons (At the Spirit of Saving, you can find highlights of the coupon matchups for CVS, Walgreens, Target, and HyVee.)

Related Posts: New to Using Coupons?  Helpful Tips for Beginners

For further information, be sure to visit other helpful resources:

What tips would you share with others who are starting to use coupons?

Want to keep updated on the best activities and events to have Family Fun in Omaha?
Sign up to receive our FREE weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox!

Share Your Thoughts

  1. says

    I, like you, am a “Realistic” couponer. I only spend about an hour a week preparing for my shopping trips (using the same steps you mentioned).

    Since the grocery stores near us rarely have great deals on fresh fruits I purchase them at Aldi. Aldi’s regular price is typically better than the sale price at most other stores. And when the items are on sale, the price is significantly lower.

    We also purchase our meat and chicken from a local butcher. The quality is wonderful and there sales are just as good, if not better than the chain grocery stores.

    • says

      “Realistic” couponer–love that! After a couple years of trying to coupon “agressively” I found that on most items I didn’t save much at all compared to what I could get it for at Aldi… and I didn’t enjoy it at all!

      Like you Julie, I’ll use a high-value coupon for items I need but since there are so many other frugal activities I’d rather spend my time on, don’t worry about saving 5¢ with a coupon anymore.

      Thanks so much for linking up at Thrifty Thursday! :)

  2. says

    I love your word “Realistic” couponer – that describes me exactly! I also price match fruit from Aldi at other stores – their prices are so good. Thank you so much for your tips on buying meat and chicken – we will have to check that out!