Confessions of a reformed extreme couponer

Confessions of a reformed extreme couponer

Yes, you read that right…. I’m a reformed extreme couponer. What does that mean? It means you won’t see me lined up at a store at opening, doing pre-orders or stocking 3 years of items in my house anymore; I’m done.

I’ve been couponing since 2010, originally it was out of necessity. With a baby on the way and the imminent threat of my income dropping down to 55% I was in a panic, how could I possibly buy diapers, formula, medicine, and still manage the everyday costs of living when I was already just scraping by? My friend Danielle re-introduced me to the wonders of couponing, I tagged along on a shopping trip one day and was stunned…. was it really THAT easy to save gobs of money!? Why wasn’t everyone doing this!?

Diaper stockpile - Confessions of a reformed extreme couponer

And that’s where the problem started. Everyone started doing it..

Extreme Coupon Shop

I started small with just a folio of coupons, items that we used regularly and liked and it slowly grew from there. I went from a folio to a coupon purse and then finally to the dreaded binder. I amassed coupons totaling thousands of dollars and carried them with me everywhere, an Extreme Couponer will never miss a deal after all. We never buy single items, it’s always in the 10’s and 20’s if we can. With little regard for coupon etiquette many shoppers would clear shelves, damage product or take entire pads of coupons because they felt they were entitled, it was a slippery slope in the coupon world.

Extreme coupon shop

I spent 3 years extreme couponing, I saved tens of thousands of dollars, stocked my entire house in toiler paper, shampoo, laundry soap, tooth paste; you name it and I had it in large supply. Slowly every room in my house was shrinking and my family was suffering.

Extreme coupon shop

What really screeched me to a halt was the realization that I was buying things we didn’t use or need because it was free. Sure, I could always donate that item to someone who could use it but I was ultimately taking products out of someone’s hands that went to the store to find that specific item on sale, and couldn’t.

Some people who Extreme Coupon will tell you  that they donate most of what they buy but it’s rarely true (and I’m sorry if that is a generalization for some.. but in my experience, it’s accurate). They have a pretty stockpile room or shelf or hide it all under their bed. It’s their pride and joy. They enjoy watching the pile get bigger and bigger and knowing that they won’t HAVE to buy any toothpaste for the next 3 years!

Extreme coupon shop

In short… couponing is a drug and extreme couponing is the ultimate high. 

It takes hours to gather coupons, sort deals, organize your coupons and prepare for a shop. Sure, my time is valuable and I enjoy saving money but I found that I was taking far too much time away from my family to grab a deal that we didn’t ultimately NEED and I chose to re-assess my priorities.

While I will still continue to use coupons on my regular shopping trips, I won’t go out of my way any longer to grab that golden deal or buy in large quantities. In the long run it’s just not worth it in our house. So join me as I say goodbye to the binder, goodbye to the stockpile and hello to the world outside my scissors!

Are you a couponer? What are some of your pet peeves when out finding a deal? If you aren’t a couponer, what’s prevented you from starting? Leave me a comment below!

Tara Jensen
Tara is a parenting influencer based on the West Coast. With her full time career in health care, she focuses on green living, healthy family choices and encouraging families to live a fabulously frugal lifestyle. She lives on coffee, cuddles and post-its, generally in that order. When she isn’t working, she can be found outdoors exploring beautiful British Columbia with her family.