Earlier this week someone was talking about this show Extreme Couponing. It sounded very interesting so I went on the computer to try to find it. Of course, TLC does not broadcast their shows on Hulu and we do not have cable, but I did get to watch several clips and trailers.
My first thought was my mom. While not as bad (or good) as these people she went through a phase where she was an avid coupon clipper. Some of this (or all of it) was my fault because I was working at a grocery store with a great coupon policy.
We did 24 hours of cashier training on how to calculate/ring these (this was way back in 1993 and cash registers were not that smart.) The store accepted “Tear outs” from other stores deals. So you had to ring the item, look at the price on the other store’s ad and then subtract and write down the savings. Now we also doubled coupons up to a total value of $2.00 (except on certain days we would triple coupons with a face value of less than $0.50.) But in no case could you give the customer more than the value of the item.
As you can imagine this could get very complicated, which is why the application for the job included a 2 page math test and if you passed you were a cashier, PERIOD.
For instance you bought 5 cans of soup which were $0.89 each. You have a tear out from another store for soup for $0.25 each (for up to 4 cans). So you do some quick math and write down $2.56 on the tear out. So you know that the customer is now paying $1.89 for those cans of soup and then they give you coupons for $.25 off one can and $.75 off 4 cans. So you triple $.25 the one to $.75 (since it is Thursday) and apply it to the remaining $.89 cent can. And the other coupon is doubled to $1.50. But since the customer only paid $1.00 for those cans you can only value it at that. So the customer ends up getting the 5 cans for $0.14.
Don’t think I made this overly complicated on purpose, these are the types of things we had all the time. People came to the store from hours away because the couponing was SO GOOD! We regularly had customers save 80% off their bills. Ringing some of these customers would take an hour.
I taught my mom the ins and outs of the system. She started couponing with a vengeance. She would spend 10 hours a week or so clipping and organizing her plan. ANYTHING she could get for under $.05 she bought, and if we did not need it she gave it to the food bank. She would come home with 10 boxes of cereal and a pile of canned goods almost every trip. But it was a lot of time and commitment.
Now I heard on this show about “Coupon Clipping Services” and looked them up. Pretty cool, you can get good, high value coupons for $.05 to $.12 cents each. If it is a $.75 cent one you double to $1.50 that can be quite a savings. But as I looked through I realized that it is of little good to us.
We use ALMOST NONE of these products, they seem to be 90% highly processed foods, with lots of ingeredients we avoid. But I did do some research and I found a few coupons which looked good. Here are the links if you want to take advantage of them…