Friday, July 5, 2013

Reasonably Extreme Couponing

With the recent changes to the household's employment situation, I feel like it has become even more important for me to save money on groceries and household purchases whenever I can.  However, we have made one major purchase recently:  Due to my new job, it was important for me to quit being a curmudgeon and get with the "digital age" by upgrading to an Android smartphone.  Fortunately, there are available 'apps' that can help save money, and maybe help this phone pay for itself to some extent.

You know, I actually hesitate to write about this type of thing, because one of my absolute least favorite shows on television is "Extreme Couponing".  I find myself becoming completely disgusted by the people whom they feature on the show; to me they are just these completely self-absorbed people who only care about adding to their hoard of stuff in their garage that they're never going to be able to use all of, and don't care who else they affect when they completely clean a store out of inventory on sale items.  It wouldn't even be so bad if they went out and got $1000 worth of stuff for 15¢ if they donated the excess to a food bank or something, but the way it's depicted, I just see them as a different kind of "hoarder."

That being said, I do think there's a middle ground, where I can search for good deals on things we will use, and to that end, I've started to learn the art of "Couponing."  I've been trying to combine sales with coupons for a while, but there are tricks to it that I hadn't quite stumbled on on my own.  I got myself all excited when I learned how to 'coupon stack,' which means I can use a "store" coupon and a "manufacturer" coupon and a bonus deal from an app like Ibotta (which I highly recommend, by the way) all on the same one item.  Very occasionally, there might even be a "Moneymaker" deal where the combination of sale, store coupon, manufacturer coupon, and Ibotta rebate can end up being cheaper than free!  I haven't actually done that just yet, but the possibility gives me a tingly feeling.

So maybe I am an "extreme couponer" at heart after all, then?  I certainly don't ever see myself cleaning out a store of inventory just so it can go bad on expensive-looking shelves in an expensive-looking garage.  But I do have to admit, I've been having a lot of fun finding deals that maybe not everyone else would.  I even joked to my sweetie the other day that I might bring home a receipt and announce that it was a "New High Score!"  I guess, to me the difference between "extreme" (in a bad way) and "reasonable" is whether or not the items go to waste, and whether or not I'm being considerate of other shoppers as I find my amazing deals.

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