I've been couponing for a couple of weeks now, and I'm fairly impressed with the results. I haven't been able to totally immerse myself in the extreme couponing method, as seen on TLC's Extreme Couponing show, but I've still saved a good amount.
I find that much of the savings at this point comes from going online in the wee hours of Wednesday mornings and downloading the weekly sales ads from Fry's Grocery, where we do almost all of our grocery shopping. Just by identifying items that are on sale, and avoiding items that are at their maximum price, has saved us lots.
I haven't amassed that many coupons for the items we really buy. I've been trying not to clip/print coupons for items that we have never used. But with the items we do buy and also find coupons for, the savings are even more impressive. It isn't unusual to save 30-45% off our grocery tab using these two methods. Our record so far is 87% off our grocery bill, on a trip specifically to buy coupon items on sale.
My room mate is not completely convinced.
It does take a lot of time. I'm spending quite a bit of time clipping and printing coupons, and my present system has me entering each coupon's data into a Google spreadsheet and I keep all of my coupons in a pencil case (presently holds about 325 coupons). But my system is getting more and more efficient. For instance, when I go to the store, I can pull up my database of coupons on my cell phone and can have the coupon in hand in just a few seconds. I try to pull coupons before we drive to the store, so I'm not digging through my stash in the aisle or in line. I keep envelopes for individual stores, and organize coupons by store for items I know we must buy.
Folks do tease me about my new fascination for couponing. But I see it as this: if you were walking along and saw a five dollar bill on the sidewalk, wouldn't you bother to pick it up?