Deciding to take on the world of couponing can seem like a daunting task. Where to begin and how it all works is frightening not to mention overwhelming. There are blogs about coupons and social media sites that post freebies and the latest deals. You can join forums, become a member of various coupon groups, take surveys on products; the list goes on and on. Just type first time couponing into a internet web search and you will be amazed at all of the information you are given. This is all fine and dandy like cotton candy. Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t it be nice if after watching an “Extreme Couponing” marathon you could go to one place/ site and find all the help you will need to get started? Pipe dream… I know.
There are coupon trains, online coupon sites, product web pages, and marketing pages. There is even coupon clipping services (should you decide that clipping your own coupons is too time consuming.) There are articles on how to score free newspaper inserts, on dumpster diving etiquette, and coupon fraud (yes, it’s real and yes, you can get in serious trouble.) There’s a whole list of unwritten rules to abide by and cautionary tales of those who have broken them. What’s more most couponers I have met seem quite obsessed with their Stockpiles (myself included.) I mean someone has to have a store available when the world ends right?! Ha!
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the “LINGO”… Are you kidding me?! OOP, SS, RP, BOGO, ECBS, Cats… It’s as if one needs to take a college level course just to understand the verbiage that they use. I feel like I am learning shorthand all over again just to figure out how to score the best deal on toothpaste. It is completely absurd.
I am sure that all of the couponing blogs out there started with the very thought of helping out those just getting started. I mean they all had to start somewhere… right? To be honest though, most (but not all) of them are oh so far away from that now. Sure they have a “Just starting out” link that can be vague and complex. Some post cute little tutorials that give you just enough information to make yourself look stupid in a store; while others post videos that lead you down a rabbit whole where you end up in a CVS, wrapped in a Walgreens, wrapped in a KFC, wrapped in an obscure grocery store you have never seen with a courtesy clerk named Gladys. Then you have the couponing seminars… some are free and others charge you a fee. Why should you have to pay to learn to “save”? Kind of an oxymoron if you ask me!
I wish that I had a quick miracle fix to a question that has plaguing my mind since I began my couponing adventure about a month ago. Is there a one stop site that can help me get through this tangled web of confusion? The reality is that there is no such thing as a quick fix, no site that can give all the answers. My personal couponing journey has been one of investigation, research, and time, riddled with a heavy dose of trial and error. Sure the sites that are out there can help you along this New Frontier, but remember that they are not the end all- say all in the big giant world of couponing. Reality is that Extreme Couponing is a “reality” television show. Most of the people that are on the show are not: A) From California where stores that double coupons are ALMOST impossible to find. B) First time couponers… Most have been couponing for years and have it down to a science. C) Buying things that they really use or need. (Seriously, 800 cans of soup… c’mon now! My kids would stage a coup if all I did was feed them canned soup! That stuff has an expiration date you know!)
With all that being said and having been given the opportunity to vent I will leave with these parting thoughts. Couponing is not easy and it is not fast. It requires hours of research and time to find applicable deals and the coupons to match. However, couponing can be very rewarding and if you are serious about saving money this is a sure fire way to do it! I love saving money and having a supply of items that I need on hand. Couponing gives me the opportunity to be a blessing to others and to my family. (It’s not for everyone and I realize that, but for me it is an endless adventure that I do not want to end!)