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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Confessions of a Couponaholic: Yes, I teach coupon classes in Northern Virginia. And, No, I do not consider myself an EXTREME couponer.

This is what I think about "Extreme Couponing". It's just plain old CRAZY!

So everyone keeps asking me if I've watched the new TLC Extreme Couponing show. I watched the first episode that aired a while back. And, Yes, I did record the episodes that aired last night--I have yet to watch them. Time will tell if I do.

I thought that the first episode portrayed couponers as a little bit crazy with super hoarding tendencies. OK, to be fair, I did think one of the ladies on the original show was normal. She seemed to just want to save a little money and help other people do so as well. Now that's the kind of couponing I'm talking about.

Let me dispel all the things you may be thinking about me. I do not have 100 jars of spaghetti sauce lining my hallways. I have never purchased caseloads of items and had them delivered to my driveway. (What on earth would I do with 1000 boxes of cereal? We don't even eat cold cereal!) I do not spend hours a day searching for and clipping out coupons. I do not throw my kids into dumpsters and make them fill buckets with coupons before I let them come out. I do not use my hoarded food as decorations in my children's rooms. Yes, I have two pantries--one in my kitchen and one in my basement. And, yes, I have a deep freezer. Does that make me crazy? I sure hope not.

The first show depicted a man that purchased a gazillion boxes of cereal for FREE! What the show did not tell you was that he actually paid around $70 for the coupons to get those FREE boxes of cereal. In my humble coupon master opinion, that does not make those items FREE. Yes, I get FREE products. Truth be told, I get free products all the time. And, yes, I have been paid for my groceries. I once left a store with my cart piled high and an extra $14 and change in my pocket. However, I don't consider that EXTREME, I consider that SMART SHOPPING.

Yes, I teach coupon classes in Northern Virginia. A lot of my friends and neighbors jokingly wish I wouldn't. They say that I make it harder for them to get good deals by teaching others to do the same. But you know what? Heather and I have been teaching coupon classes for a long time and I STILL get GREAT deals ALL the time.

I don't mind when I get approached at the grocery store by someone who has attended one of our classes. I'm happy to hear about how much money they are now saving. Just last week I drove a little maniacally into a parking spot at my favorite grocery store. A lady was placing her groceries in the back of her car and watched me do so. I made a mental note to pull into parking spots a little more reverently next time since she was still staring at me as I was sitting in my car. She continued to stare at me as I walked past her with my coupon binder tucked under my arm and my three kids hanging from the shopping basket.  She turned to me and said, "Thank you so much. I have saved SO MUCH money since attending your class." Awesome! She wasn't staring at me because of my wonderful parking skills. She was just a fellow hip shopper saving money by using coupons.

Just to clarify:

I'm not trying to cheat the system. I'm just using coupons in conjunction with sales and in accordance with store policies to get the most bang for my buck.

I'm not trying to get all my groceries for free. (But wouldn't that be nice? If anyone wants to pay for my groceries from here on out I promise I won't stop you.)

I'm just a stay at home mom that likes saving a buck or two on my groceries (OK, so it's more than a buck or two--more like 75%) and then spending that saved money on a fun filled week at Disney World with my family.

Want to join me in being a SMART shopper? Hold a coupon class and learn the tricks we've learned. If you decide to take it to the EXTREME we won't mind. We'll just call YOU "Crazy"!
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