Not-so-extreme Couponing

The TLC show Extreme Couponing is definitely entertaining reality television.

That said, it’s completely unrealistic.  I don’t have 20 plus hours every week to dedicate to digging circulars out of dumpsters and organizing binders full of coupons.  I clip coupons when I can, but it’s nowhere near close to the stuff you see on Extreme Couponing.  I do what I can, and try to shop sales at the three stores I split my shopping between (Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods).  Cooking for two is kind of hard, so I do my best to make plans for leftovers, etc.  Things that you might be surprised by:  Whole Foods pairs manufacturers coupons with their in-store deals, so that you can get name-brand stuff cheap, and they do one day deals on meat products once a week where they cut their prices in half.  Harris Teeter has a 5% student discount in big university towns (like Charlottesville!) and they do student nights for a set period of time, and students get a whopping 20% off groceries.  One of these nights was this past weekend while my mom was here, so we ventured out into the madness for some grocery savings.  I seriously have never been to a store that crowded.  I actually had to stalk people in the parking lot just to get a grocery cart.  I think going to the Vatican prepared me for weaving through crowds like this, because mom and I developed a pretty good system and made it out of there alive.  Here’s a glimpse of the crowded mess of a grocery store:

So, I like to coupon for groceries where we can, but I don’t go crazy over it.  It’s not like we spend a ton, I like to make most things fresh, so we save a lot of money by not going for the prepackaged convenient things.  Hey, I’m a fan of saving money and avoiding preservatives.

My new favorite coupon thing:  a coupon book I bought from a woman at work whose son was selling them for a fundraiser.  It it chock full of coupons for restaurants around Charlottesville.  This is exciting for two reasons:  1) we save money and 2) we now have a guide of where to eat around Charlottesville.  So thanks to Carol’s son, we are going to try a bunch of new places at really good prices.   We are also going to have discount oil changes, which is pretty great too.



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