The Quest for “Mild” Couponing?

Admit it.

You’ve all sat down and watched TLC’s Extreme Couponing (even if you had the remote in your hand, ready to change the channel if someone should walk in and see you) and you’ve all wished you had the time/patience/resources/knowledge to save that kind of money by cutting out pieces of paper.

As a recent college graduate and hopefully going to be on my own within the year, it is one of my goals to save money in realistic ways. Instead of spending hours each week cutting coupons to have a stockpile of canned goods and diapers for a baby I don’t even have in every room of my future apartment, my plan is to strive for “mild” couponing—saving money, stocking up on important items, and perhaps even donating to food banks at little to no cost to me.

I realize that while I am still living at home, this isn’t all that necessary just yet (I know, I’m still lucky!), but I want to learn as much as I can this summer so that I’m ready to put it into practice when I’m on my own. Baby steps, right?

So here’s my first tiny step in my quest for mild couponing: I went to Barnes and Noble the other day for a cute bookstore date (Thanks, Love, Actually!) with Aaron and spent a gift card on this lovely receipt organizer.

photo courtesy: Barnes and Noble

On the left side is a small accordion file and on the right side is a notepad with a pencil in between.

I figure that, as a beginner, this will be a good way for me to write grocery/shopping lists and store coupons on the left side. It’s small and compact enough to store in a purse and it’s also adorable. Maybe it will even encourage me to start collecting my receipts and become better at my financial record keeping, too…(That’s probably a stretch.)

Tell me—how do you save money in small, but significant ways? I’d love to hear your tips on couponing, too!

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7 thoughts on “The Quest for “Mild” Couponing?

  1. marissa, i am an avid couponer and am so excited to see someone else interested in starting to use coupons. my favorite way to use coupons & save money is at target. if you shop at target, be sure to check out the target coupons. not a lot of people know these coupons exist or that they can be “stacked” with a manufacturer coupon for the same item for twice the savings. there also a lot of great apparel coupons. my favorite deal/coupon website is totallytarget.com, she does all the work for you in finding matchups, deals, and freebies at target. i hope this helps! i love talking about shopping smartly and using coupons so let me know if you’d like to continue this conversation! 🙂

  2. Couponing is definitely something you get better at with practice, so it’s a great idea to give yourself some time to prepare! I’m a college student paying medical bills, and couponing is my way of making my meager paycheck go further.

    Did you know a lot of the methods used on Extreme Couponing are illegal? A few companies have actually banned TLC from shopping in their stores. I’m not trying to scare you away from couponing, but rather trying to make the point that the show does in fact portray EXTREME couponing. Keep in mind that it is illegal to buy or sell coupons, and coupons are only to be used on the items specified on the coupon. I know it seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how often I see people couponing illegally. When in doubt, read the bottom “disclaimer” text on a coupon!

    I consider myself a realistic couponer; getting things for free is nice, but it doesn’t happen often and you should aim to pay only reasonable prices for items. This is where experience comes in because as you start to pay more attention to prices, you’ll know what a good price is versus just a plain bad price. Just because something’s on sale doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. In that same regard, just because you have a coupon for something doesn’t mean you should use it and buy the item.

    I could go on and on about couponing, but that’s what my blog is for! I would definitely suggest checking out Jill Cataldo’s website as she has a bunch of amazing resources for reasonable couponers such as yourself. http://www.jillcataldo.com/

    Also (and I don’t mean to shamelessly advertise) you should check out my blog too. I may not have the wealth of information Jill does, but it’s a work in progress. I’d love to see more posts detailing your adventures in couponing!

    • Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your feedback 🙂 Yes, I’ve learned a lot about coupons from my mom and it’s true what you said about how Extreme Couponing is indeed extreme! You’re right when you say that just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it is a good deal…I hope to recognize that even more with practice/experience.

      I will definitely take a look at your and Jill’s blogs. I appreciate the advice!

      -Marissa

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