If you haven't heard of Jill Cataldo, I urge you to take a few minutes to check out her site. Jill runs one of the best coupon sites I have seen, plus teaches couponing workshops, has a great couponing how-to DVD, plus has regularly appeared on TV shows and radio shows about couponing. I love her insight on couponing and how she stresses using coupons ethically.
I read a post on her site today, Why your shopping trips aren't quite like the ones on "Extreme Couponing..." and I think it is great reading for anyone starting out in couponing. I have been couponing as long as I can remember, but with TLC's "Extreme Couponing" and frugality being in the center of the minds of many people these days, there are many misconceptions about couponing that the show is spreading.
I have been able to pull of some pretty serious savings at the grocery store checkout, but nothing like what is seen on this show. This article explains some of the misconceptions, such as stores that allowed double couponing and overages that typically don't offer this benefit to all shoppers, or limit the amount of coupons doubled.
Most of you have probably noticed that a lot of companies are imposing limits of how many identical coupons are allowed per transaction right on the coupon. One that I remember seeing recently, and saw used on the show, was $5 off any Similac. I personally used this coupon, because initially I was stocking up on the formula for a friend (the ready made formula is usually $5 or less) and eventually, myself, since I found out I am pregnant. On the show, I saw this coupon used as a money-making opportunity for the shopper, and I noticed she had many bottles of the formula, resulting in a small overage for each one she was purchasing. This coupon clearly said "One coupon per transaction" on it, so I was wondering how TLC allowed this purchase to be done on their show. Jill's article points out this situation and others that I had not even noticed.
So... long story short, do NOT become discouraged over shows like Extreme Couponing. You do not need to save 100% every time, and eating like a normal person, it is just not possible. My opinion is any amount saved is a great thing, buy what you will use and try to save on those things.
Happy Shopping to you all!