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Is 'Extreme Couponing' Worth It?

Join the debate.

Extreme couponing is a huge trend. Those who comb newspaper circulars and online sites for coupons say they can end up paying next to nothing for groceries while geting a thrill out of the deals. It's why sites like Groupon and Living Social are taking off. Another daily deal website, Saving Star, based in Waltham, Mass., just launched -- offering deals on basics at stores like the Westford and .

Other argue extreme couponing makes you buy stuff you don't need and can get a bit obsessive.

We asked our experts for their opinion. Here's what they said. You can join the debate by leaving a comment.

Sally Rosenthal:

In my own life, I’m trying to simplify and consume less. When possible, I like to buy food directly from farmers or small businesses. As a result, extreme couponing at the grocery or drug store just isn’t for me. Besides, there are too many other ways I want to spend my time than planning extreme couponing shopping trips!

But I can understand the lure—I imagine it’s quite a rush to get a hundreds of dollars worth of stuff for just a few bucks. I know many people employ extreme couponing to get items for food banks or other charities, a worthy use of one’s time in my opinion. But for those who spend hours each week to buy tons of stuff they’ll hoard and never use, I wonder if it becomes an unhealthy obsession.

Jeremy April 20, 2011 at 09:56 PM
You do not have to spend hours putting together lists like they do on the show. With programs like www.couponsense.com you can be a "moderate couponer" and save 50-80% on the groceries you are buying already in no time at all. You can even try it free by putting in promo code "dean" at sign up. Dean was the financial advisor that worked with the Bruce's on Downsized and he endorses www.couponsense.com
Kristina Greene April 28, 2011 at 11:23 PM
I have to admit that I am very intrigued by extreme couponing. I watched the TLC show last week. I wonder how people do it, but I wonder what the heck they are buying! I only see coupons for packaged items, hardly ever fresh produce or dairy items. On the show, this woman bought 60 bottles of mustard! She had a coupon for $1 off each and paid .39 for each. OK that's a good deal, but what are you doing with all that mustard - and she still spend .39 each they weren't free. Although she did get over $1200 of stuff for about $103. Still, what are they eating. And will she eat those 30 cups of yogurt before they expire? If found it hilarious that the show before this one was Hoarders!
Barbara October 04, 2012 at 05:54 PM
The Groton Library will be sponsoring Kathy Spencer from howtoshopforfree.net on October 16th. Can go to the library calendar page to sign up. I have read Kathys book and am on her fb page and web site. I can not wait to attend the class.
Barbara March 05, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Really glad I took Kathy's class and I continue to save alot of money on my groceries. It does take some time but with the savings I get it's worth it. Even if all you use is Kathy's site I mentioned above or her facebook page to see peoples comments. I've been doing alot of shopping at Shaws lately so I've even been using their fb page which has helped greatly with savings. People that coupon like to help others. By the way - if it's free I will get it - the other day I gave someone a couple of nailpolish kits I had gotten since she was going to go to a shelter to drop them off and somewhere I was Saturday was collecting for a food pantry so donated 2 boxes of cereal I had paid about .25. Last night for dinner I used free carrots, "managers special" meat and peppers and used free kikoman stir fry sauce. Of course with the meat you have to use the meat that day or freeze it so I cooked it along with some left over onion and some other vegetables I had. I could have drank free soda that I had gotten with a coupon from using mycokerewards but I felt like water instead. YES YES YES - couponing paying. coupons.com is a site I use and have never had any problems printing them. I am nothing like the show especially since I only shop for 2 of us (and donate) but in this economy every savings helps. I live here in Westford and I am a single parent who doesn't make alot of money but am living here so my daughter can finish up at WA - only another 1 1/2 years to go.

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