The TLC show Extreme Couponing is definitely entertaining reality television.
That said, it’s completely unrealistic. I don’t have 20 plus hours every week to dedicate to digging circulars out of dumpsters and organizing binders full of coupons. I clip coupons when I can, but it’s nowhere near close to the stuff you see on Extreme Couponing. I do what I can, and try to shop sales at the three stores I split my shopping between (Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods). Cooking for two is kind of hard, so I do my best to make plans for leftovers, etc. Things that you might be surprised by: Whole Foods pairs manufacturers coupons with their in-store deals, so that you can get name-brand stuff cheap, and they do one day deals on meat products once a week where they cut their prices in half. Harris Teeter has a 5% student discount in big university towns (like Charlottesville!) and they do student nights for a set period of time, and students get a whopping 20% off groceries. One of these nights was this past weekend while my mom was here, so we ventured out into the madness for some grocery savings. I seriously have never been to a store that crowded. I actually had to stalk people in the parking lot just to get a grocery cart. I think going to the Vatican prepared me for weaving through crowds like this, because mom and I developed a pretty good system and made it out of there alive. Here’s a glimpse of the crowded mess of a grocery store:
So, I like to coupon for groceries where we can, but I don’t go crazy over it. It’s not like we spend a ton, I like to make most things fresh, so we save a lot of money by not going for the prepackaged convenient things. Hey, I’m a fan of saving money and avoiding preservatives.
My new favorite coupon thing: a coupon book I bought from a woman at work whose son was selling them for a fundraiser. It it chock full of coupons for restaurants around Charlottesville. This is exciting for two reasons: 1) we save money and 2) we now have a guide of where to eat around Charlottesville. So thanks to Carol’s son, we are going to try a bunch of new places at really good prices. We are also going to have discount oil changes, which is pretty great too.