With the recent coupon craze sweeping the nation I couldn't help myself, I had to try it. After all, who doesn't want to pay pennies on the dollar for the things they need? I was excited to get started, and had a hard time waiting for my first shopping trip; however, that excitement quickly faded. I found that extreme couponing didn't work well for me, at least not the way others were doing it. So, I came up my own set of rules. These are some of the rules I apply when I coupon my way.
If you've seen the show on television that started this craze, you've seen how insane the stockpiles can be. Some people have thousands of dollars worth of items stored throughout their homes. I knew this part wasn't for me. I honestly feel it's a waste of my family's resources to spend money on items I can't use until months or even years later. I keep it simple, if I can't use something within six months of the purchase I do not go out of my way to purchase it.
Only things I use regularly
I have a friend that began extreme couponing about a year ago, and has been quite successful at it. She has amassed an impressive stockpile, but it's full of things she doesn't need or use. For example, she has a large amount of cat food, but doesn't have a cat, and she has diapers with no baby to use them on. She got a great deal on these items, but it seems like a waste to me. I know there are animal shelters to donate the food to and places that can use diapers; however, it doesn't make sense for me to take money out of my family's budget for things we can't use.
Don't invest too much time to it
I think this part would have the biggest impact on our finances if I wasn't careful. Being a freelance writer my work tends to be very time-consuming. Even when I don't have a deadline staring me in the face, I have topics that need to be researched, along with the many other aspects of being a writer. I honestly don't have the time to invest to be a true extreme couponer.
I will admit that I have saved a great deal of money with coupons, though I can't be sure of the total. My latest shopping trip saved me $4 on the three items I purchased. Of course that isn't a record breaking deal, but it's enough for me.
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More from this contributor:First Person: 3 Financial Lessons I Learned From the Recession
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